Downshiftology
subscribe to new posts: via email via rss

Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce

Scallops are healthy, super easy and delicious to make at home. These restaurant-worthy scallops are pan seared and topped with a delicious citrus ginger sauce. They’re so tender and smooth they’ll melt in your mouth!

What to serve with scallops? Light and fresh vegetable dishes are always a good choice. I recommend my Bok Choy, Swiss Chard, Mashed Cauliflower and Green Beans.

Several scallops in a pan.

Scallops (Pan Seared)

Pan seared scallops have always been my mom’s favorite recipes. If they’re are on the menu at a nice restaurant, I guarantee that’s what she’ll be ordering. She knows what she likes!

Scallops can be a bit pricey, especially for fresh, wild ones so they can be a bit intimidating to cook at home. But the funny thing is they’re one of the easiest seafood items to cook. Just sear both sides make a quick sauce and you’re done! They’re perfect for when you want a special, celebratory or indulgent meal at home.

Most scallops are prepared with a simple garlic butter sauce, but I’m personally a fan of this citrus ginger sauce. It’s light, refreshing, sweet and spicy all at the same time.

Are Scallops Good for You?

Yes! Scallops are high in protein (they’re actually 80% protein) and important vitamin and nutrients, such as B12, magnesium and potassium. They also contain a good amount of iron and calcium and per serving they’re low in calories. A 3.5 ounce serving contains just 110 calories.

Scallops are related to clams and oysters as they’re all mollusks, but they’re lower in cholesterol and low in mercury.

Scallops in a pan.

Frozen versus Fresh Scallops – Which is Best?

I’m fortunate that I live close to the ocean and have access to many great fishmongers. So I always splurge on fresh, wild sea scallops. But I understand that many might not have that same accessibility.

While fresh is always best, frozen scallops are still packed with the same health benefits, so don’t let that deter you. If you do purchase frozen scallops, just thaw them in the fridge the night before you’d like to cook them.

Close up of scallops in a pan.

What’s the texture of Scallops?

When cooked right, scallops are soft, tender and delicate. They’re not slimy, chewy and they shouldn’t smell fishy (if yours do, that likely means they’re not fresh). I’d say the texture is similar to crab or lobster, but more buttery smooth.

Scallops in a pan.

How to Cook Scallops

Scallops cook incredibly fast so it’s key that you don’t overcook them. Remember that different varieties can range in size (sea scallops can be three times bigger than bay scallops) so always adjust the time accordingly. This scallop recipe is based on using larger sea scallops.

  • Blot the scallops dry and sprinkle with salt.
  • Add avocado oil to a pan and heat on high until it’s very hot and sizzling (*see notes below on different oils).
  • Place the scallops in the pan and cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes each side, until golden.
  • Remove the scallops to a plate and add butter, orange juice, lemon juice and ginger to the pan until simmering.
  • Place the scallops back in the pan, drizzle the sauce over the scallops and garnish with fresh thyme before serving.

For More Healthy Seafood Recipes

Watch This Quick Video of My Scallops Recipe

Close up of scallops in a pan.
5 from 10 votes
Did you make this recipe? Leave a review »

Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 4
Author: Lisa Bryan
Scallops that are easy, fresh, pan seared, perfectly golden and topped with a sweet and tangy citrus ginger sauce. Watch the video above to see how quickly they come together!
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 lb sea scallops
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp butter, or ghee
  • sea salt, to taste
  • fresh thyme, for garnish

Instructions

  • Pat your scallops dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them with sea salt.
  • Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. When the oil is nearly smoking, place your scallops in the pan and sear for approximately one and a half to two minutes on each side. Remove scallops to a plate.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the orange and lemon juice, orange zest, grated ginger and butter to the pan. Whisk the sauce together in the pan until it's simmering, then add the scallops back to the pan and spoon the sauce on top.
  • Plate your scallops, drizzle more sauce on top and garnish with thyme. 

Lisa's Tips

  • Avocado oil is preferred over olive oil in this recipe as its heated to nearly its smoke point. Avocado oil is more stable at those higher temperatures. 
  • Scallops are always best slightly undercooked rather than overcooked. Like most meats and fish, they'll continue to cook after they're removed from the stove.
  • To make the scallops dairy-free and Whole30 compliant you can use ghee or coconut milk instead of the butter. 
  • This is my favorite stainless steel juicer. It's perfect for oranges and lemons!

Nutrition

Calories: 254kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 718mg, Potassium: 445mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 5%, Vitamin C: 38.5%, Calcium: 3%, Iron: 4.5%
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pan seared scallops, scallop recipes, scallops
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I'D LOVE TO SEE!Tag @downshiftology on Instagram and hashtag it #downshiftology.

Recipe originally published May 2015, but updated to include new photos and video. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

22 comments on “Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce”

  1. Absolutely love this recipe and so many more from your blog!! 

    I’ve made it three times in three months, only for the most special people in my life I’d like to impress. Would love some advice on how to make the scallops brown a little more..it’s possible I’m using the wrong pan, or possibly the scallops need to be at from temperature before adding them to the pan? 

    Your meal prep advice has transformed my 12 hour shifts as a nurse. I’m starting the day with a delicious smoothie you’ve recommended using the vitamix wich is such an incredible appliance. I’m prepared throughout the day to control my cravings not to mention I have a sense of pride for pre-planning out the day with your help.

    Sorry to go on and on.

    Thank you, thank u, thank u. I’ve found a sense of pride I lost for a long time. 

    Looking forward to many more recipes and great videos!

    Caitlin 

    • Hi Caitlin – I’m so happy you love the scallops recipe and many others from my blog. The scallops really are a great recipe to impress (and yet so simple). The key to getting them to brown is to use a REALLY hot pan. The oil should be almost smoking when you add them. Then you don’t want to touch or move them until they’re ready to flip. And it sounds like you’ve got a good rhythm going with your smoothies and healthier habits – big kudos to you! You should absolutely feel proud of yourself. It’s all of those little steps that really add up over time. :) x

  2. This was truly delicious!  We also had the bok choy and I roasted Japanese sweet potatoes. This will be on my menu rotation as long as I can get fresh wild caught scallops. It was easy and quick too which is a big plus for a weeknight meal. Thank you!

  3. There’s an * indicating information on how to handle different oils, but I do not see any mention of oils other than the avocado. Could you please elaborate??

    • Good catch! I just added it in the notes. Essentially, I recommend avocado oil over olive oil in this recipe given the high heat used on the stove. Avocado oil is more stable at higher temperatures. :)

  4. These scallops are perfect! I wish I lived closer to the ocean so I could have gorgeous scallops like these more often (Chicago has lots going for it, but seafood has a long trip to get here!)

  5. This dish looks yummy and delicious. Love the flavor of sauces added to this dish. Cant wait to try this dish.

  6. Gorgeous! I want to try your recipe, the flavors sound delicious and your instructions are really detailed. So important for scallops, I think. They can be a little intimidating to cook when you’re inexperienced with them. That sear though! :)

  7. I use this sauce every so often and I love it. This sauce is a very simple and delicious. This is a good idea and amazing recipe too.

  8. I have actually never made scallops at home. Definitely need to now. These look absolutely incredible!

  9. I recently discovered your recipes I already have made more than half not only are your recipes easy to make and delicious I am losing weight as well. Oh I also am feeling better

    Rating: 5
  10. OMG! These were so unbelievably good! Thank you Lisa! I will definitely be making them more often at home now that I have this amazing recipe. The orange ginger sauce was perfect and just mild enough to bring out the soft flavor of the scallops. Best of all… they weren’t over cooked so that made them so sweet and melt-in-your-mouth tender. These were the best I’ve ever had! As far as needing a traveling buddy goes… when and where? Love you!