Pan Seared Scallops with Brown Butter Beer Sauce is easy to cook but also the perfect special occasion dinner. This special scallop recipe is sure to impress. If you are wondering what to serve with these scallops, I have that covered here too!
Scallops are high up there on my list of favorite things to eat and cook. If you want to know what scallops they taste like, you can get more details in this post that I wrote. This brown butter scallop recipe is a special dinner but very easy to make and cooks in no time.
Pan Seared Seared Scallops with Brown Butter Beer Sauce is a perfect dinner to make for Valentine's Day or any dinner where you want to impress.
Tips for Buying Scallops
- Look for Dry Scallops - I get dry scallops when I can that are U/10 or U/12 (meaning about 10 or 12 per pound). They are nice sized scallops. I prefer the dry ones because they contain no preservatives so they do not produce much water when cooking them. This allows for a nice seared crust.
- Choosing Fresh Scallops- They should be firm to the touch, not have a fishy smell and be a beige to creamy white color.
- Buy Scallops when on sale - The downside is that dry scallops are more expensive however the extra money is worth every penny. But they do go on sale so that is when I buy them.
How to Thaw Scallops
If you can't find fresh scallops, you may be able to find frozen scallops. Frozen scallops are often high quality but defrosting them properly is key to having scallops that are caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside.
Scallop Thawing Method 1 - Place frozen scallops in a colander set in another bowl (to catch the liquid) and place in the fridge overnight.
Scallop Thawing Method 2 - Place frozen scallops in a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes or until the scallops are thawed all the way through.
For BOTH methods, be sure to thoroughly dry the scallops before cooking. Wet scallops won't caramelize!
How to Sear Scallops
- Pat the Scallops Dry - Always pat the scallops dry with paper towels before they are added to the pan. These steps insures a beautiful golden crust.
- Give the scallops a nice coating of seasoning before cooking. I use salt and pepper in this recipe. The seasoning will keep the scallops dry and ensure a lovely golden crust.
- Use a HOT Pan - My favorite pan to cook this scallop recipe in is a cast iron skillet. The pan gets really hot and the scallops get a really nice seared crust therefore they are really delicious.
You can also use a stainless steel pan to give the scallops a nice golden crust. They can be cooked in a nonstick pan however this type of pan will not give it as nice of a crust.
- Use the Right Oil for Cooking - I use grapeseed oil because it has a very high smoking point so it doesn't burn quickly. Other oils that you can use with high smoking points are canola oil, avocado oil and peanut oil. Scallops only require a small amount of oil to coat the pan. If you use too much they will get soggy rather than have a brown crust.
Brown Butter Beer Sauce for Scallops
I am not a stranger to cooking with wine and a light wine sauce would go perfect with pan seared scallops. But this time I decided to try beer instead.
Since there is a craft beer craze, I have jumped on the beer wagon. I've never been a beer girl until now. So many flavors and different kinds that now I like beer. My favorite are the fruity beers with overtones of citrus and mango. A lemony beer would be perfect in this recipe. Since it only needs half a cup, feel free to drink the rest while cooking.
How to Brown Butter
Add butter to a pan over medium heat. The butter will melt and begin to foam. When the foam subsides it will begin to turn a nutty brown color. Watch closely so that you don't burn the butter!
What to Serve With Scallops
Pan Seared Seared Scallops with Brown Butter Beer Sauce is a perfect dinner to make for Valentine's Day. As a matter of fact, I might make this with some Angel Hair Pasta to go on the side.
If you are looking for lower carbs, a Cranberry, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad will be perfect to serve too.
Here are some more favorites if you are still wondering what to serve with scallops:
- Mini Parmesan Truffle Hasselback Potatoes
- Greek Quinoa Salad
- Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest
- Air Fryer Baked Potatoes with Seasoned Sour Cream
- Tomato Chick Pea Salad
Check out this post for more side dishes to serve with scallops.
More Scallop and Seafood Dinner Recipes
- Asian Scallops with Spinach (Pan Seared)
- Saucy Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles & Crispy Prosciutto
- Lightened Up Shrimp Scampi
- Salmon and Asparagus With Spicy Ranch Sauce
- Chimichurri Grilled Shrimp from Cook Eat Well
If you like this Seared Scallops with Brown Butter Beer recipe, please give it a 5-star rating below.
Pan Seared Scallops with Brown Butter Beer Sauce
- One pound large dry scallops
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter
- ½ cup beer citrus types work best
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a cast iron pan on medium high heat. Add the scallops to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until they have a nice sear on them. Remove from pan and keep warm.
- Add the butter to the pan and turn heat to medium. Cook until butter starts to foam and turns slightly brown. Add beer, honey and thyme. Whisk mixture and cook for a few minutes until liquid is reduced by over half. Add parsley. Place scallops back in pan and pour sauce over them.
- Serve scallops with extra sauce poured over them. Enjoy!
First Published January 2018; Updated February 2021