gordon ramsay's pan seared scallops

Gordon Ramsay’s Pan Seared Scallops: The Ultimate Guide

Cooking scallops like a professional chef can seem daunting, but with the right technique and ingredients, you can create a stunning, delicious, and visually appealing dish. The key to a perfect sear starts with choosing the best scallops.

Look for dry sea scallops, which have not been soaked in any additives and are the best option for searing. Wet scallops tend to release more moisture when cooking, making achieving that desirable golden crust difficult. Let’s dive into the secrets of making perfect pan-seared scallops.

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Pan Seared Scallops Recipe

Pan Seared Scallops Recipe

Gordon Ramsay’s Seared scallops: a simple phrase that conjures images of delicate, sweet seafood encased in a caramelized sheath, golden and crisp. It’s a dish that can transport you, with just one bite, from a home kitchen to the swanky interior of a fine dining establishment.

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  • 10 each Scallops, U-10 dry, cut in half

  • As Needed Olive Oil

  • To Taste (TT) Salt

  • 12 oz Apple Butter Puree

  • 8 oz Tarragon Mayo

  • 4 oz Candied Walnuts

  • 8 oz Celery Apple Salad

  • For Apple Puree
  • 8 Apples, finely sliced on a mandolin

  • 3 cups Apple Juice

  • ½ cup Sugar

  • ½ cup Cider Vinegar

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • For Tarragon Mayo
  • ½ cup Tarragon, finely chopped

  • 1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar

  • 8 oz Mayonnaise

  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

  • Candied Walnuts
  • ½ cup Sugar

  • 1 ½ cups Walnuts

  • 1 cup Water

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • 1 Cinnamon Stick


  • Scallops
  • Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  • Season scallops with salt and place them in the pan.
  • Cook until blonde on the first side, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  • Flip the scallops and cook for 30 seconds on the other side.
  • Remove from the pan and place on a plate or sheet tray lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  • Apples Puree
  • Add all ingredients to a pan with a lid.
  • Simmer until apples are very soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and reduce the liquid.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Tarragon Mayo
  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Candied Walnuts
  • Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan.
  • Allow a syrup to form.
  • Strain the walnuts from the liquid.
  • Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Recipe Video

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How long does it take to pan-sear scallops?

Pan-searing scallops typically take about 4 to 5 minutes. They should be cooked at high heat on each side for 1 to 2 minutes until they develop a golden-brown crust and are slightly translucent in the center.

Should I cook scallops in oil or butter?

Both oil and butter can be used for cooking scallops, but for the best results, you can start with oil and then finish with butter. Oil is ideal for achieving the high heat necessary for a good sear without burning while adding butter towards the end gives the scallops a rich, nutty flavor and helps them brown beautifully.

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Why do you soak scallops in milk before cooking?

Soaking scallops in milk is a technique to tenderize them and remove any fishy odor. The milk can also help to whiten the scallops, making them look more appealing. The lactic acid in the milk helps gently break down proteins, making the scallops more tender.

Are scallops better grilled or pan seared?

The choice between grilling and pan-searing scallops depends on personal preference and the desired outcome. Pan searing is often preferred because it provides a consistent high heat that allows a caramelized crust to develop quickly while keeping the inside tender and moist. Grilling can impart a smoky flavor and is a great option in the warmer months or for outdoor cooking. Both methods are excellent when done correctly.

Summing Up

In the orchestration of flavors and the symphony of sizzling pans, we ultimately find that the elegance of seared scallops, a dish of seemingly intimidating stature, is personal. It is an intimate dance of heat, timing, and intuition, all coming together in the grace of golden crusts and tender centers. The culinary narrative woven in the kitchen with each flip and sear embraces a simplicity that speaks volumes.

The magic of home cooking transcends the mundane and touches upon the delectable zeniths of gourmet greatness. So, take these learnings, let the warm scent of olive oil and sizzling sound be your guide, and elevate the humble scallops to new heights right in your kitchen. After all, the joy of cooking lies not just in the exquisite bites but equally in the journey from pan to palate.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2024 by John Siracusa


  • John Siracusa

    Hi, I'm John. I've worked in the Food Service industry for over 25 years, working in my family's business. Cooking for me has always been an art infused with traditions. My career was inspired by Hell's Kitchen, the West Side of Manhattan, which has one of New York City's best independent restaurant communities. I also admire Gordon Ramsay's no-nonsense approach to always being your best.

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