This recipe teaches you how to sous vide and sear scallops from fresh or frozen perfectly. The time and temp for sous vide scallops is very similar to other seafoods: 122 degrees for 20-45 minutes. I like to do a half hour even. Top the scallops with brown butter sauce and serve with a side of sous vide asparagus, or your favorite vegetable side dish.
Scallops are one of my favorite things to make sous vide because they make me feel FANCY. I can make incredibly tender, perfectly seared scallops perfectly whenever I want to thanks to the temperature magic of sous vide cooking. How cool is that?! In fact, I feel this way about most sous vide seafood recipes. That’s why I included plenty of them in my cookbook, Everyday Sous Vide: It’s All French to Me.
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 only purchase fresh scallops when I’m really familiar with the source (my local seafood shop). Other 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.
- I get my scallops from Thrive Market (delivery is always a good selling point for me!).
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 – I recommend the Vesta Precision Imersa Elite
- A container (you can just use a stockpot, or my favorite sous vide containers are Everie containers)
- A handheld vacuum sealer, like the Vesta Precision Handheld Vac n Seal, or simply a plastic zipper top bag. 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.
Can I Use Frozen Scallops?
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.
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 super 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, remove the air, and seal. I’ve got a whole post on air removal methods if you’re not sure about this.
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 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. 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!
This recipe works for all kinds of dietary preferences, whether your gluten free, keto, soy free, nut free, or pescatarian.
Looking for something delicious to serve with your scallops? How about some sous vide asparagus and easy crusty bread? Or add them to a pasta dish, like this recipe for Barilla Collezione Bucatini Seafood Pasta.
If you have leftovers (although it’s unlikely you will!), you can safely store them in a tupperware container in the fridge for up to 3 days after they’re cooked.
30-Minute Sous Vide Scallops
- 1/2 pound of scallops
- Salt and pepper
- 4 tbsp cold butter, divided
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Set up immersion circulator in a waterbath and preheat water to 122 degrees F.
- When the scallops are done, 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 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.