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close-up image of a scallop scooped by a spoon from a pan of lemon garlic scallops

Lemon Garlic Scallops

  • Author: Sara Nelson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


These Lemon Garlic Scallops are keto-friendly, low-carb, gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, and the perfect dish to elevate your next at-home date night. This one-pan meal can be prepared and on the table to serve in less than 30 minutes!


  • 8 oz scallops, fresh (labeled as “dry,” if possible), or, if frozen, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • Pinch of black pepper (~¼ tsp)
  • Pinch of salt (~½ tsp)
  • 1 tbsp (15mL) olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp (30mL) unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp (15mL) lemon juice


  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Optional Garnishes (Not Included In Nutrition Info):


  1. If scallops have roe (orange muscle) attached, remove (see notes below).
  2. Pat scallops dry with paper towel. Season scallops on one side with pepper and salt.
  3. In a cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add scallops one at a time, seasoned-side down, to pan (work in batches as needed so as to not overcrowd the pan). Season other side of scallops with pepper and salt. Fry on one side until golden and a crisp crust forms, approximately 2 minutes, then flip and fry until lightly browned and almost cooked to your liking, about 1 additional minute. (Note: cooking times will slightly vary depending on how big each individual scallops is and how you like them cooked.) Remove scallops from pan and transfer to a plate.
  4. In the same pan, melt butter. Add minced garlic and fry until aromatic, for about 1 minute. Add vegetable stock and simmer on medium-low heat until the stock reduces and the sauce thickens a bit, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the scallops back to the pan to warm through. If you plan to add capers, do so now. Cut open one scallop to check if they’re cooked to your liking. Once they are, add lemon juice to pan and turn off stovetop heat.
  6. Transfer scallops to serving plates, top with chopped parsley, and, optionally, a pinch of ground paprika.

Recipe Notes:

Working With Frozen Scallops: Frozen scallops will work in this recipe, but be sure to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. You have the option between getting “wet” and “dry” scallops, and we recommend dry whenever possible. Wet scallops have been treated with a preservative, and are not as fresh. Dry scallops are preservative-free and have a much better flavor.

What Roe Is: Roe is the orange or off-white colored muscle attached to the scallop after it is shucked. It is edible, but can get rubbery when cooked. To remove the roe, simply cut it away with a sharp knife.

Olive Oil Substitution: Substitute avocado oil at a 1:1 ratio for olive oil.

Butter Substitution: Ghee can be subbed in for butter at a 1:1 ratio, making this dish lactose-free.

Minced Garlic Substitution: Garlic paste can be subbed in for minced garlic at a 1:1 ratio. You can also use garlic powder; use 3/4 tsp in place of the minced garlic called for in the recipe.

Vegetable Stock Substitution: Beef stock or vegetable stock can be subbed in at a 1:1 ratio, although note that this will change the flavor profile slightly.

Chopped Parsley Substitution: Fresh chopped chives can be used in place of parsley at a 1:1 ratio.

Net Carbs: Per serving, this lemon garlic scallops recipe contains 3.7 grams of net carbs. Net carbs are calculated by taking total carbs, subtracting fiber, and subtracting sugar alcohols. A serving size is 5 scallops and the recipe, as written, yields 3 servings.

Refrigerator Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than 2 days. To warm, microwave the scallops on low heat, being careful not to overcook them.

Keywords: lemon garlic scallops, pan fried scallops, garlic butter scallops

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