Skip to main content
Cooking Tips

How to Sear Scallops with a Golden Crust

Cook those scallops with confidence (and a really hot pan).
By Published June 25, 2021

Yes, you can get restaurant-quality scallops—that is, scallops with golden crusts and tender, sweet centers—using your own stovetop. In this video, part of the “Kitchen Smarts” series on America’s Test Kitchen’s YouTube channel, test cook Joe Gitter walks you through the steps to perfectly seared scallops, from shopping to searing. Here are some of his tips:

  • Buy dry scallops: Scallops come either wet or dry. Wet scallops have been treated with a chemical solution to preserve them, which can impart an off flavor. If you aren’t sure if the scallops are wet or dry, ask your fishmonger.
  • Dry your dry scallops: Moisture inhibits browning, and you want your scallops to acquire a golden crust, not steam in the pan.
  • Use hot hot heat: Don’t be afraid to get your pan ripping hot. You only have a couple minutes to brown the scallops’ exterior before their delicate interiors overcook.

Watch our step-by-step tutorial:

Featured Equipment

Subscribe to the America’s Test Kitchen YouTube channel to get alerted whenever we add a new video.


Want to be a smarter shopper and become a better cook? Start a free trial to access all of our rigorous, unbiased product reviews.