Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce

An elegant and easy seafood entrée that’s outstanding to serve on special occasions or just when you want a unique change of taste for a family dinner is this delicious recipe for pan seared scallops with lemon caper sauce!

Scallops are one of nature’s most incredible and versatile seafoods; plump and sweet with a tender texture and flavor that’s light and buttery. They’re perfect broiled, baked, grilled, or sautéed. In this dish, the caramelized scallops with their beautifully delicious crust and savory lemon caper sauce are all made in one pan.

Thanks to The Recipe for today’s mouthwatering recipe:

Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce courtesy of

Recipe Type: Main

Cuisine: French

Serves: 4


  • ⅓ cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 cups ice water
  • 1 pound large scallops, 1 ½ inches wide, about 14 to 16
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Black pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 6 lemon wedges



  1. In a medium-sized bowl combine salt and hot water, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add ice water to cool the brine. Add scallops to the brine and let stand for 10 minutes. Line a sheet pan with paper towels, set aside.
  2. Drain the scallops, rinse under cold water, and then arrange in a single layer on the paper towel-lined sheet pan. Place another paper towel on top of the scallops and gently pat scallops. Remove as much surface moisture as possible for the best browning results when cooked.
  3. Allow scallops to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
  4. In a 12-inch sauté pan or cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until oil ripples and just begins to smoke.
  5. Sprinkle scallops lightly with salt on both sides.
  6. Place scallops into the hot pan without crowding. Gently press scallops with a spatula to make direct contact with the pan.
  7. Sear scallops without moving them, continuing to cook until bottoms are a rich golden brown, 3 to 3 ½ minutes.
  8. Add butter to the pan. Turn the scallops over and cook the second side. Use a spoon to baste the scallops with the butter, tilting the pan to collect the butter as needed.
  9. When the scallops are opaque in color and firm to the touch, about 1 to 2 minutes, turn off heat and transfer to a plate, do not discard pan.
  10. In the same pan used for cooking the scallops, turn heat to medium. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant but not browned.
  11. Increase heat to medium-high and add wine. Simmer wine, stirring as needed until the wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  12. Turn heat to high and add the chicken stock, lemon zest, lemon juice and capers to the pan. Cook until sauce is reduced by half, about ½ cup, 8 to 10 minutes.
  13. Turn off heat and whisk in Dijon mustard.
  14. Turn heat to medium and add scallops back to pan, cook until warm, 2 minutes.
  15. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  16. Garnish scallops with chopped dill, chives and serve immediately with lemon wedges.


The luscious and savory lemon caper sauce complements the scallops, and the garlic, white wine, chicken broth, lemon juice and capers adds a hint of pungency to the taste. You can add your own twists for different flavors if you wish too!

To make the scallops dish an even more filling meal, add some angel hair pasta or sautéed zucchini noodles to bulk it up. Now serve it up and watch everyone enjoy every irresistible bite!