Lemon Butter Scallops made in the air fryer is a perfect way to cook delicious scallops. Fresh scallops are coated with a light lemon butter sauce to make this easy recipe with very little effort and cook time. Perfect to serve for a special occasion dinner at home or just a easy weeknight supper.
Scallops are a wonderful meal that cook quickly and are perfect for holiday dinners. If you are not familiar with cooking scallops, you can check out my scallop guide before you make this recipe as it has everything you need to know about these delicious morsels from the sea.
This scallop dinner is good food and these scallops will be the star of the show. The air fryer method of cooking is a good idea when you want dinner on the table quick.
scallops - Both large dry scallops and medium size bay scallops work in this recipe. The smaller bay scallops are not a great choice as they will get overcooked.
lemons - I use both the fresh lemon juice and lemon wedges in this recipe.
Old Bay seasoning - You can't go wrong with this seasoning as it is a perfect match with seafood.
melted butter- I love the rich buttery flavor that it gives to the scallops. A little goes a long way.
fresh chopped herbs (optional)- both fresh basil or fresh parsley brighten this easy scallop recipe and give lots of freshness. I use whatever is in season at my local grocery store.
salt and black pepper - to taste
See recipe card below for exact amounts and quantities.
- Pat the wet scallops dry with paper towels and mix them in a small bowl with the Old Bay seasoning so they are fully coated.
2. Place scallops in a single layer in the air fryer basket or rack after it has been coated with cooking spray.
3. Air fry scallops for 3 to 6 minutes depending on size of your scallops turning once during cooking. Melt butter and mix with lemon juice and fresh herbs in a medium sized bowl.
4. Coat the cooked seasoned scallops with the lemon butter sauce. Garnish the scallops with extra herbs and lemon zest if desired and serve.
Hint: Make sure to dry the scallops on a paper towel before cooking them. This will eliminate excess moisture and will give the cooked scallops a golden outside but tender inside.
Variations and Substitutions
I love this recipe with the lemon butter and fresh herbs but you can always change up some things so the recipe has a whole new flavor. Here are some ideas.
- Seasoning - instead of using Old Bay seasoning, you could try a lemon pepper seasoning, cajun seasoning or just garlic powder, salt and pepper. Or try making a homemade version of Old Bay. You can use just about any seasoning that you like on fresh scallops.
- Citrus - change up the lemons and use limes. You could also do a chili powder seasoning and add some chopped fresh cilantro to give the scallops a Mexican flair.
- Dairy Free - To make this recipe dairy free, you can eliminate the butter and use olive oil instead.
Leftovers and Storage
Leftover scallops can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. I really don't like to keep cooked scallops for more than a day as any type of seafood doesn't keep for long.
The leftovers are great cold and I like to substitute them for the shrimp in this Greek Shrimp and Artichoke Salad. They can be quickly heated in the microwave in 20 second increments but I find that reheating them causes them to get borderline too well done so I like eating them cold.
Top tip for Cooking Air Fryer Scallops
It's best to undercook scallops rather than overcook them. You can always add an extra minute in the air fryer if you cut one open and it is not cooked enough to your liking.
The cooking time for a pound of scallops is 3 to 4 minutes for mid sized bay scallops and 5 to 6 minutes for larger fresh sea scallops. For best results, keep an eye on them because different air fryers cook differently and the smaller scallops cook much quicker than the larger ones do.
I set my air fryer at 400 degrees and preheat it for 5 minutes. Some air fryers need to pre heated and some do not. Make sure to check your manual.
In my opinion this scallop dinner goes great with simple sides. I like to serve them with rice, potatoes, salads or vegetables. Here are some of my favorite side dishes to go with these easy air fryer scallops.
- Air Fryer Baby Carrots
- Oven Roasted Baby Potatoes
- Perfect Instant Pot Long Grain Rice
- Middle Eastern Bread Salad
Check out my post on what to serve with scallops for more side dish ideas!
If you like these air-fryer scallops, please give them a five star rating below.
Lemon Butter Air Fryer Scallops
- 16 ounces scallops (see notes below)
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (plus extra for garnish)
- salt and pepper (optional) to taste
- Pat scallops dry on paper towels to remove excess moisture. Mix them in a bowl with the Old Bay seasoning.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees if necessary. Coat your rack or basket with cooking spray. Place the seasoned scallops in a single layer in your air fryer rack or basket.
- Cook scallops for 3 to 6 minutes depending on size. Do not overcook. Melt butter and mix with the juice from the lemon and fresh parsley.
- Garnish with extra lemon slices and herbs if desired before serving. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
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