With sous vide, you’ll never over- or under-cook your scallops again. The time and temp for sous vide scallops is very similar to other seafoods: 122 degrees for 20-45 minutes and can be used with fresh or frozen scallops. Top the scallops with brown butter sauce and serve with a side of sous vide asparagus.
Scallops are one of my favorite things to make sous vide because they make me feel FANCY. I can make the most tender, perfectly seared scallops perfectly whenever I want to thanks to the magic of sous vide cooking. In fact, I feel this way about most sous vide seafood recipes. That’s why I included plenty of them in my cookbooks, too!
What to Look For When Purchasing Scallops
Fun fact: did you know I worked at a seafood startup as a digital marketing specialist for 2 years? During that time, I got to learn so much about what to look for when purchasing seafood so I could help our customers.
When it comes to seafood, don’t be afraid of frozen! Freezing seafood is one of the best ways to keep it fresh, especially because it usually has a long way to travel.
I prefer to purchase scallops from a local seafood shop I know well, but Costco can have a great selection, too. Things I look for:
- “Day Boat” – this means it was caught on a boat that comes back to shore each day to offload, rather than staying out for days at a time and keeping seafood in a hold.
- Bottom culture or off bottom culture farmed is best when it comes to sustainability, but US or Canadian wild caught is okay, too. Head to Seafood Watch to learn more about sustainability and scallops!
- Look for “dry-packed” – this means there are fewer additives and they’ll exude less liquid when cooking.
Equipment You’ll Need to Make Sous Vide Scallops
The good news is, you don’t need much when it comes to making sous vide scallops!
- An immersion circulator
- A container (you can just use a stockpot, or my favorite sous vide containers are Everie containers)
- A vacuum sealer. Don’t have one? No problem. I have a blog post all about air removal methods to help you out!
If you’re looking to expand your sous vide kitchen arsenal, I’ve got a whole post about sous vide equipment.
Time and Temperature for Sous Vide Scallops
The time and temp for these sous vide scallops are very similar to other seafoods: 122 degrees for 20-45 minutes. I like 30 minutes on the nose.
If you’re cooking the scallops from frozen, go to 45 minutes.
My go-to time and temp for sous vide scallops is 122F for 30 minutes.
How to Make Sous Vide Scallops
This recipe will teach you the basic method for sous vide scallops, and you can use whatever sauce and seasoning sounds yummy, but I did make my suggestion for a traditional lemon brown butter sauce.
It only takes about 10 minutes to prep this recipe! Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add the scallops to your bag of choice – make sure they’re in a single layer -, remove the air, and seal. I’ve got a whole post on air removal methods if you don’t have a vacuum sealer.
Add to a water bath preheated to 122 degrees F and cook for 20-45 minutes (30 minutes is my preferred time, and do 45 minutes if cooking from frozen).
When the scallops are done cooking, remove them from water bath and bag and pat completely dry with paper towels.
Heat a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet over high heat. Once smoking, add 1 tbsp butter or ghee. Sear scallops on both sides until golden brown. Don’t go more than 30 seconds on each side to avoid overcooking!
After the scallops are done, reduce heat to low. Add remaining butter and cook until it starts to turn golden. Add the lemon juice and whisk together. Pour the sauce over the scallops and garnish with fresh parsley!
Looking for something delicious to serve with your scallops? How about some sous vide asparagus and easy crusty bread?
Yes, you absolutely can! All you need to do is adjust your cook time if you’d like to cook from frozen. And, since scallops are relatively small, you don’t need to add much: just go the full 45 minutes instead of 30.
You can safely store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days after they’re cooked.
You can also view this recipe as a step-by-step web story here.
Get the Recipe:
Sous Vide Scallops (Fresh or Frozen)
- 1/2 pound scallops
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 tbsp cold butter, divided
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat your water bath using an immersion circulator to 122 degrees F.
- Season the scallops lightly with kosher salt and pepper.
- Add scallops to a vacuum seal bag and vacuum seal. They should be in a single layer, this is important. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, use another air removal method.
- Add the bag to the preheated water bath and secure with sous vide magnets if you have them to keep them from floating. Cook for 25-45 minutes. I usually do 30 minutes for fresh and 45 minutes for frozen.
- Remove the bag from the bath and pat the scallops thoroughly dry with paper towels.
- Heat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter and melt. Sear the scallops quickly (less than 30 seconds!) on each side until golden brown. Remove to a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add remaining butter. Cook until melted and beginning to brown. Turn off heat and add lemon juice and parsley. Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Pour the sauce over the scallops and serve.
I have a bag of frozen scallops. They are literally bunched up together in the bottom of the bag. Can I still cook them frozen? I understand food needs to be in a single layer. Please advise