Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta

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A Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta is the perfect restaurant-style meal that you can make at home!

Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta from @whatsgabycookin (@whatsgabycookin)

I think it’s safe to say we’re a bunch of pasta lovers here at WGC. It’s also safe to say we love garlic, lemon, herbs and things that are fresh and light and loaded with flavor. So this Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta is right up our alley!

If you’ve never made scallops before – DON’T FEAR! I’m about to walk you through it. And if you’ve never had scallops before – omg let me be the first to welcome you to your new favorite seafood dish. Scallops are actually quite easy to make.

Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta from @whatsgabycookin (@whatsgabycookin)

Here are a few rules to cooking scallops:

1: First – you need to remove the muscle from the scallop. You can ask your fish monger to show you how – I should have taken a pic to use but I forgot. So I’ll update this post as soon as I make this again!

2: Make sure your scallops are DRY. Pat both sides dry with a paper towel. That’s going to get you the best color.

3: Season liberally with salt and pepper. And I mean LIBERALLY.

4: Use a cast iron skillet and crank that heat.

5: Make sure you use plenty of oil so really get that good sear and lock in the flavor.

6: Don’t futz with them. Place them in the skillet and let them really brown before flipping. Don’t peak or move them around. They only need to be flipped once, and when it’s time to flip them, they should be so golden that it’s really easy to flip!

Okay – there you have it! The What’s Gaby Cooking School of Scallops. Now go make this for Valentine’s Day next week and thank me later.

Stuck in a dinner rut? Looking for new delicious dinner ideas?  Check out my roundup of 50+ easy dinner ideas here.

Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta from @whatsgabycookin (@whatsgabycookin)

Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta

4.9 from 41 votes
A restaurant style scallop pasta dish that'll make you look like an absolute kitchen stud!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 2 People


  • 3/4 pound linguini
  • 1 pound scallops
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus some for drizzling
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 large shallot finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed and chopped
  • 1 cup white wine Sauv Blanc
  • 1 cup seafood stock chicken stock will work too
  • 1 cup fresh basil torn
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced


  • Cook the pasta to package directions. Hold off on starting the scallops until you drop your pasta.
  • Remove the muscle from the scallops and pat dry with a paper towel pat. Season the scallops heavily with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat a large skillet (I like a cast iron skillet for this) over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, once shimmering, add scallops. Sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side until super golden brown. The last minute, add 2 tablespoons of butter and baste the scallops, then remove from pan and tent loosely with foil to keep warm
  • Add an additional drizzle of olive oil to the skillet and add the garlic, shallots, crushed red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and sauté garlic and shallots 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine to the pan and scrape up any pan drippings. Reduce the wine for 1 minute, then add seafood stock. Continue to cook for about 1 minute. Add the basil, chives, lemon zest and juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and stir the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the cooked pasta and cook for about 30 seconds, just to combine and let the pasta soak up the sauce. Nestle the scallops back into the skillet to serve.


  1. This looks amazing! It is hard to find fresh scallops in the Midwest. Would good quality frozen scallops work? Thank you.

  2. I ‘ve bought a bag of frozen butter nut squash in spirals. What would be the best way to season them? Thank you ,Freda

    1. If you reserve a serving spoonful size of water that the pasts was cooked in and add it before you add the linguine it will thicken the sauce.

    1. I used a little white wine vinegar. Not sure if that will work for you? But I didn’t have any white wine… I’m all red! 🙂

    2. Verjus is an excellent white wine substitute. Very similar taste, but non alcoholic. It’s easy to get here in Europe, not sure if that is so in other countries.

  3. Great recipe but mine came out over lemoned (I think), I think maybe the lemons were too big so suggest not using two large lemons!!

  4. This is now my most favorite dish! It is exquisitely delightfully full of flavor…the sweetness of the scallops, a bit of fire from the red pepper flakes, the thyme and basil are sublime…the freshness pop from the lemon, the silkiness of the sauce. And it was so east and ..so so so good!!! YUM!

  5. A new favorite scallop recipe. Love thfresh herbs with lemon and the of the pepper flakes. Will be adding to my rotation. Great recipe for entertaining, nice wow factor with the burst of fresh flavors.

  6. I have shared this recipe already several times! This dish is incredible!!!! Thank you for your thorough directions on how to perfectly cook the scallops! It was my first time cooking them and they turned out superb!

    1. Why did you have to use your oven? Cast Iron is quite fine on a ceramic(glass) cooktop. Just preheat the pan slowly and you don’t need to use the highest heat. I use my cast iron skillets on my ceramic cooktop almost everyday.

      Go to town girl! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Oh my God I just made this it was sooooo good- I had to substitute onions for shallots so it would’ve been even better I think! Also I added a little bit of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano at the end—— Yum thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    Loved the recipe. I ended up adding cream at the end for a little richer flavor and it was fantastic. Thank you for sharing a great recipe!

  9. Loved it! Used 1/2 wine and broth. Thanks for the scallop searing pointers. They came out perfect! I will use this recipe regularly. TJs frozen scallops are actually quite good.

  10. Would definitely sear the scallops in OIL only and add butter after. The butter made my scallops not sear well or brown :/.

  11. 5 stars
    Excellent. Easy, delicious, not too greasy or indulgent. Great complexity and balance of flavors. This amount fed 4 of us nicely. Thank you!

  12. 5 stars
    Hello all,
    My wife and I stumbled across this recipe while driving back from the beach on Sunday… We had bought some fresh scallops and we’re looking for a delicious way to make them.

    We ended up arriving home a little too late to eat pasta so I made the sauce and see how the scallops and served it without the pasta. It was absolutely delicious couldn’t wait to try it with the pasta.

    After looking at it closely and getting a sense of the test, I said let’s make this a clam sauce.. Well we made it tonight with the class instead of the scallops and we’re absolutely blown away by the delicious test.

    I would surely recommend this dish for everyone love scallops or clams.
    It’s perfect summer food… And try it with a nice Chardonnay or Arneis.
    Thnx Louis

  13. 5 stars
    Ridiculous flavours. I don’t usually follow recipes exact but I took a chance and did with yours. I was very fortunate and had a friend ship me Digby scallops that he flash freezes when he harvests. Best in the world. Wow. Your recipe was the perfect one for them. So fantastic. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. 5 stars
    This was supper yummy and quick and easy. I added steamed asparagus on the side and halved cherry tomatoes for some veggies. Will definitely make again!!

  15. 5 stars
    Amazing…. the pasta comes out tasting like it is in a cream sauce. The complex flavors are rich and the hint of spice at the end of tasking with the pepper is perfect.

  16. 5 stars
    This has become one of our favorite all-time meals! The only comment I might make is that you should cut the lemon quantity in half. It is an absolute family favorite now. Not fiddling with the scallops while they are browning is key, the author was so correct!

  17. 5 stars
    This was outstanding. Cast iron for the sear makes all the difference. Going to try with shrimp tomorrow for the boyfriend who doesn’t like scallops. Will also add some spinach.

  18. 5 stars
    I am not a fan of heavy, cream-based sauces, particularly with delicate meats such as scallop. This sauce is light and refreshing, and works well with the sweetness of the scallops. Feel free to add mushrooms if you want a bit more substance. This is definitely a keeper.

  19. 5 stars
    Delicious!! My husband loved it. It didn’t say bay or sea scallops – I used bay and they were fine. Probably could use shrimp in place of the scallops. I changed a couple of things: I sautéed a handful of cherry tomatoes with the garlic and shallots – they added a bit of flavor and some color! Also I used parpadella pasta instead of linguini. Others said there wasn’t enough sauce but there was plenty.

  20. 5 stars
    Delicious! Added a bit of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce at the end. Thought there would be too much herbs but it was amazing!

    Well done Gaby!!!!!

  21. 5 stars
    The tip about patting dry the scallops made all the difference. My scallops never came out looking so seared! Everyone raved. Thanks Gaby!

  22. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I didn’t have the chive, shallot or basil in the house so I improvised. I used red onion finely chopped in place of the shallots and chives and used sautéed spinach in place of the basil. My husband said, “This recipe is a keeper!” Can’t wait to make it again. I think I am going to try using this recipe with shrimp also. Easy to make. I would suggest having all the ingredients prepped and ready before you start cooking, since it is a quick cook recipe.

  23. 5 stars
    I made this with a girlfriend the other night and it was INCREDIBLE. I always get a bit nervous with scallops because the texture can be off-putting if not cooked properly. Your tips were so helpful and they came out perfectly and the flavors in the pasta were truly amazing. I will 100% make this recipe again…and again 🙂

  24. 5 stars
    I made this with dry herbs, including basil flakes…& it was amazing! Having fresh basil & thyme would have been better. I would make this again & have the fresh herbs available. The red pepper flakes added a nice kick. Yumm

  25. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Really tasty. Be sure to get the freshest, highest quality dry scallops you can find. I made the recipe exactly as directed and it was a huge hit. Great advice to use a heavy hand with the salt and pepper. Saving this to my favorites!

  26. 4 stars
    Great flavor! Thank you for the inspiration. I think I’ll reduce the liquids to a total of 1 cup, and the lemon zest and juice to a half next time, otherwise it seems too soupy. I added some pasta cooking water to the sauce, but it still took a while to cook down to a satisfactory consistency. Worked well with thawed out scallops. Will try more chives next time. Yummy!

  27. 5 stars
    Turned out great! I actually bought frozen scallops and didn’t realize til I had them defrosted that it was only 12 oz rather than 16 oz. I had to do some quick math to make a 3/4 serving, but it still ended up being plenty for me and my wife. I’ve done scallops more than a couple of times, and all of Gaby’s tips for cooking scallops are spot on. One trick I use is that to cook them all consistently, I’ll arrange the scallops on the pan like the numbers on a clock, starting with my 12 o’clock scallop down to 1,2,3, etc. This allows you to know how long a scallop has been on the pan with just a glance. When it comes time to Flip or remove them from heat, you just follow the clock and it ensures that they all get a similar cooking time.

  28. Man, I almost blew it by using the wrong pan, but at the last minute I transferred the scallops to my cast iron and saved the day! Really got the sear right. So good:)

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