Kalyn's Kitchen

Sauteed Scallops with Garlic

Scallops are a challenge to cook well, but these Sauteed Scallops with Garlic were amazing, thanks to great instructions from Mark Bittman. 

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Sauteed Scallops with Garlic found on KalynsKitchen.com

I’m still working my way through Mark Bittman’s wonderful new cookbook, The Best Recipes in the World (affiliate link). In this book Bittman goes all over the world and experiments with the best dishes from various countries, and then presents them in a way that home cooks can duplicate. Nice work if you can get it, right? Bittman’s famous “minimalist” cooking style, where he doesn’t fuss, but does just enough fancy preparation to make the food memorable, really shines in a dish like this.

Scallops can be a little tricky to cook at home, since they’re so easily overcooked. Overcooking turns them rubbery and tasteless, so be careful. I live in Utah where it would be difficult or extremely expensive to get fresh scallops, but I used frozen scallops from Costco to make this (thawed in the refrigerator) and they were very good.

What kind of Scallops did I use?

There are three kinds of scallops. The large ones like I used are sea scallops, always best cooked slightly underdone. Medium sized scallops are bay scallops, considered the most tasty, especially when they are caught wild. Calico scallops are the tiny ones you might see being breaded and deep fried in a fish and chips place; personally I don’t think they have any flavor at all compared to the other two types.

Can you make this recipe without the flour?

I did dredge these in a tiny, tiny bit of flour to get them nice and browned. The total amount of flour in one serving would be well under a teaspoon of flour, so I’d still consider this recipe to be quite low in carbs! You can definitely omit the flour if you prefer; see my recipe for Warm Scallops Caesar Salad for scallops that were cooked without flour.

More Scallops Recipes to Try:

Warm Scallops Caesar Salad
Seared Scallops with Chimichurri Dressing from Cookin’ Canuck
Air Fryer Scallops with Tomato Cream Sauce from Two Sleevers
Low-Carb Baked Scallops from Step Away from the Carbs

Sauteed Scallops with Garlic

Sauteed Scallops with Garlic

Yield 2 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes

Sauteed Scallops with Garlic were amazing for an impressive dinner that's actually easy to cook!


  • 8 large sea scallops
  • 2 T flour for dredging
  • 1 T good quality olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. very finely minced fresh garlic
  • parsley, for garnish, optional
  • fresh lemon slices to squeeze over, optional (I did eat it with the lemon, which was my only real change to the recipe.)


  1. Dry scallops gently with paper towel.
  2. Put oil in medium-sized frying pan and turn heat to medium.
  3. Add butter, and while butter melts, lightly dredge each scallop in flour on both sides. (You need two tablespoons flour to do this, but some will be left in the dish.)
  4. When butter is starting to foam, add scallops to pan.
  5. Cook two minutes on the first side.
  6. Then turn and cook 2 minutes more on the second side, or until scallops are barely browned on both sides and starting to feel firm, but not until they feel completely firm. (This will depend on the thickness of your scallops. Mine were quite thick.)
  7. When both sides are browned slightly, add garlic, lower heat a little, season with salt and pepper as desired, and cook about 2 minutes more, either stirring or shaking the pan so the garlic is well distributed around all the scallops.
  8. Garnish with parsley and serve hot, with lemon slices if desired.


Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 685mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 12g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Even though there is a teeny-tiny bit of flour, I’d still say that Sauteed Scallops with Garlic are good for low-glycemic or low-carb diets, because there is the tiniest amount of flour. If you want to avoid flour entirely or need the recipe to be gluten-free I wouldn’t hesitate to just skip the flour.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Quick Recipes for more tasty ideas with seafood. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Sauteed Scallops with Garlic found on KalynsKitchen.com

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    19 Comments on “Sauteed Scallops with Garlic”

  1. This was the best Scallop dish I have ever made and it was super easy with ingredients I already had on hand. What a winner!!

  2. Martha, so glad you liked the recipe. I think you'll love this cookbook; it has so many good ideas.

  3. This recipe was excellent. Delicious. The timing information you provided was the key – to not overcook. As well, I was not concerned when my garlic became a bit brown and crunchy – your photograph showed that this is correct. The garlic did not overpower the scallops, and the scallops were not overdone. Took a total of 8-10 minutes to prepare and put on the table. Very subtle and delicate flavor. Thank you. Also ordered the cookbook you recommended from Amazon. I squeezed the juice of the fresh lemon in the pan during the last 5-8 seconds. I did not put lemon on the scallops after they came out of the pan. I might try lime next time – in the same manner – and compare.

  4. Anonymous, not sure how the flax seed meal would taste on this, but something like almond meal would be a good choice. You could easily cook them without the flour too.

  5. These look yummy Kalyn. Do you think you could substitute flaxseed meal for the flour to make them a little more phase 1 friendly?

  6. Hi Angimage,
    I am familiar with Guar gum and have used it to thicken sauces with good results. I use flour here because it’s such a small amount of flour, and most everyone has flour but may not have the guar gum. Also, South Beach isn’t really a low carb diet, so you could use this small amount of flour for any phase except phase one because you’re only eating maybe a tsp. of the flour. Thanks for the suggestion though, which some people might want to try.

  7. Hi Kalyn!
    I plan on making this tonight & just wanted to mention Guar gum to replace flour (or cornstartch) It is a really great thickener for low-carb diets & a little dab’ll do ya! I’m sure it will work to get the browning “crust” that you pic appears to have~~thanks for the great recipe idea, I can’t wait to try it!!

  8. Richelle, thanks. That’s two comments today on this recipe. I just love scallops!

  9. Kalyn, I made this last night using Costco scallops. It was WONDERFUL!!! It is “fine dining” restaurant quality! Thank you for posting it!

  10. Anonymous, thanks so much for the feedback, and thanks to Mark Bittman for the recipes. I haven’t had a bad recipe yet from this cookbook.

  11. I’ve made this twice and shared the recipe with friends. DELECIOUS! I’m making it again tonight.

  12. Hey Kalyn — I agree with Sweetnicks, and I gave in. Based on your drool-inducing posts, I just picked up Bittman’s book. Can’t wait to delve in!

  13. Those scallops look amazing, and you’re making it really hard not to buy this cookbook!

  14. Kalyn- this looks yummy !

  15. Kalyn–I promise not to call the South Beach police! I promise.

    I am glad you have done well on the diet. Especially when you get to eat such tasty food as sauteed scallops with garlic!

  16. This looks really, really good! I just love Mark Bittman … I think he’s kinda sexy! Wish his PBS series was still on the air….

  17. Hi Kalyn, looks scrumptious! And thanks for your review of Bittman’s book – I’ve been coveting it for a while!

  18. oooh!
    this looks yummy
    I will keep an eye out for you christmas message, exciting!