Home Recipes Easy Air Fryer Scallops with Garlic Butter

Easy Air Fryer Scallops with Garlic Butter

Air fryer scallops bring elegance to your table with minimal effort and maximum flavor.

Imagine restaurant-quality scallops cooked to perfection in minutes, then covered in a delicious garlic butter sauce.

Air fried scallops in garlic butter sauce in a white plate with lemon wedge garnish.
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There’s no skillet or stovetop needed. It seems impossible, but it’s true! There’s no grease or mess, just pure seafood goodness. 

Ready to level up your dinner game? Let’s cook!

Why You’ll Love These Air Fryer Scallops

You’ll fall in love with air fryer scallops for so many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • They cook in under 10 minutes. These scallops are ready before you know it. They’re perfect for a quick and impressive meal.
  • They’re tender and flavorful. Each bite is a burst of juicy tenderness. Their perfect balance of flavors highlights the scallops’ natural sweetness.
  • They’re high in protein. Not only are they delicious, but these scallops pack a protein punch. They’re a smart choice if you’re looking to boost your protein intake.
Scallops inside an air fryer basket.


Here’s a rundown of what you’ll need for these easy scallops:

  • Sea Scallops – Go for the largest, dry-packed sea scallops you can find. They’re meaty, sweet, and perfect for getting that golden edge with a tender middle.
  • Olive Oil – A drizzle of olive oil ensures your scallops get that beautiful sear. It also keeps the scallops from sticking to the air fryer basket.
  • Old Bay Seasoning – This classic seasoning brings a blend of spice and warmth to your scallops. 
  • Salt and Pepper – These staples elevate the taste of the scallops, making every bite just right.
  • Butter – Using butter adds richness and depth to the dish. It creates a velvety sauce that coats each scallop beautifully.
  • Garlic – It adds a punch of flavor, infusing the scallops with a fragrant, irresistible aroma.
  • Lemon Wedges – Serving with lemon wedges allows everyone to add a splash of bright, acidic flavor to their scallops. One squeeze can lift the dish to new heights.
  • Fresh Parsley – A sprinkle of parsley not only adds color but also a fresh, herby finish.
Fresh scallops seasoned in a glass bowl.

How to Make Air Fryer Scallops

Air fryer scallops are as easy as they are delicious. Here’s how to do it:

1. Prepare the scallops. Remove the side muscles and pat them dry for the perfect sear.

2. Season well. Mix the olive oil, Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Coat the scallops evenly.

3. Heat the air fryer. Preheat it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-3 minutes.

4. Cook to perfection. Lay the scallops out in the basket in a single layer. Air fry for 6-8 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.

5. Make the garlic butter. While the scallops cook, melt the butter and saute the garlic cloves until fragrant.

6. Serve and enjoy! Toss the scallops in the garlic butter sauce. Plate with lemon and parsley, and enjoy.

How to Know When Scallops Are Cooked

You know scallops are cooked just right when they turn opaque and have a firm feel. When they lose that raw, translucent look, get ready to plate them.  

A thermometer can give you extra peace of mind if you want to be accurate. Aim for an internal temperature of 125-130°F. 

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Tips for Success

Here’s how to ensure your scallops are cooked perfectly every time.

  • Give ’em a good pat down. Before anything else, dry your scallops with a paper towel. This helps get a golden sear without any steam getting in the way.
  • Ditch the side muscle. Peel off the tough bit on the side. It’s chewy and not pleasant to eat.
  • Be generous with the seasoning. It helps bring out the scallops’ natural flavors.
  • Don’t crowd them! Space is crucial in the air fryer basket. Spread them out in a single layer to let the hot air circulate evenly.
  • Size matters. Match your cooking time to the size of your scallops. Smaller bay scallops need less time, so adjust accordingly.
  • Thaw frozen scallops overnight. And don’t forget to dry them well before cooking.
  • Get creative with seasonings. Want a zestier taste? Swap out Old Bay for lemon pepper seasoning. It gives your scallops a fresh, citrusy kick.
Air fried scallops served on top of white rice in a plate garnished with chopped parsley and lemon wedge.

How to Store

Scallops taste best fresh out of the air fryer. If you end up with leftovers, they’re surprisingly tasty cold, especially when tossed in a salad. But if you really need to, here’s how to store them:

To Store: Freshly cooked scallops should be enjoyed right away, but if you’ve got extras, pop them in the fridge. Use a shallow, air-tight container, and they’ll be good for up to 2 days.

To Reheat: Do it gently on the stove in a skillet over medium-low heat. You can also reheat them in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes at 390 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t reheat them in the microwave! It’ll zap the life right out of your scallops.

Air fried scallops tossed in garlic butter in cast iron skillet.

What to Serve with Scallops

Pair the right sides with scallops to turn a good meal into a great one. 

Rice – It soaks up the sauce and also complements the scallops’ delicate flavor.

Mashed Potatoes – They balance the scallops’ lightness with their rich, smooth texture.

Roasted Veggies – They add color, nutrition, and texture to your plate.

Linguine – Toss scallops over linguine with extra garlic butter sauce for a dish that screams gourmet.

More Air Fryer Seafood Recipes

Air Fryer Hush Puppies

Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Air Fryer Pork Chops

Air Fryer Whole Chicken with Crispy Skin

Easy Air Fryer Scallops with Garlic Butter

Course: DinnerCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time



These air fryer scallops couldn’t be easier! They come out tender and perfect, coated in delicious garlic butter.


  • 1 pound large sea scallops (dry-packed, if possible)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced

  • Lemon wedges, for serving

  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


  • Remove the side muscle and pat the scallops dry with paper towels.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the olive oil with the Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Toss the scallops until evenly coated.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for 2-3 minutes. Then, arrange the scallops in a single layer in the air fryer basket with space between each. Work in batches if needed.
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden and opaque.
  • While the scallops cook, melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • Remove the cooked scallops from the air fryer basket, toss gently in the garlic butter, and serve immediately with the lemon wedges and chopped parsley.


  • For best results, ensure the scallops are thoroughly dry before air frying.
  • Adjust the cooking time for larger/smaller scallops. They’re ready when they’re golden brown and opaque in the middle.
Air fryer scallops.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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