Cooking scallops perfectly with a wonderful brown crust and fresh meaty center will impress that someone special. This technique is from America’s great restaurant kitchens. This can be done right in front of your guest in about five minutes. It’s a great way to show off your kitchen skills and then sit down to a nice meal without worries.

Makes 4 Servings                    10 Mins Work Time                15 Mins Total

Ingredient List
  • 1-pound deep sea scallops dry (chemical free)
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper


  1. Make sure the scallops are very dry. Place on a paper towel lined plate and press from the top with more paper towels. Leave for 5-10 minutes to allow more moisture to expel from the meat. Pat completely dry. Sprinkle each scallop with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Secret ingredient time! Sprinkle one side very lightly with sugar.
  3. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil until just smoking. Place the scallops sugar side down into the hot pan. Cook for 90 seconds. Flip the scallops quickly. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook for 2 minutes more. While cooking, spoon the melted butter over each scallop. Tilting the pan can help with this.
  4. Remove from pan immediately to serving platter. Drizzle the remaining browned butter over the scallops. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon and serve right away.
Notes from the Guy

Buy chemical free sea scallops. Get your deep sea scallops from a fish monger or quality grocery store. Specifically ask if the scallops are dry meaning free of chemicals. Specifically, sodium tripolyphosphate (STP). This is used to help the meat retain extra moisture and thereby weight. It also lends a chemical off flavor to the scallops and makes nearly impossible to brown because there is too much moisture. Spend the extra money per pound to get the chemical free scallops.

The internal temperature  of scallops should only be 120F. They will become rubbery at much higher than this. I use an instant read thermometer and a timer. Seconds and degrees matter.

Do not add butter until you’ve flipped them. The butter contains moisture and will prevent browning.