Pan Seared Scallops with White Wine Sauce

This recipe for creamy pan seared scallops with a white wine garlic cream sauce is perfect for unexpected guests or an indulgent weeknight meal. Seared to perfection and coated in a simple pan sauce, these garlic scallops are ready in just minutes! Serve with asparagus, rice, or pasta for a simple, easy dinner.

pan fried scallops in a creamy garlic wine sauce

Seared Scallops with White Wine Garlic Cream Sauce

Growing up, a seafood dinner was always a special event. Bacon wrapped scallops, crab, shrimp, prawns — all the good stuff would be served up during Christmas Eve or a special get together with family and friends.

Now that I’m grown and in control of my own meal plans, I like to treat myself to scallops once a month (hello, surf and turf Fridays).

I usually serve up scallops on their own, as buttery garlic scallops, or wrapped with bacon, but I wanted to try something a little different for this blog post: a white wine garlic cream sauce.

Why you will love this pan seared scallops recipe

  • Ready in no time – less than 15 minutes, from start to finish
  • Impressive flavor – your guests will have no idea how easy it was to make
  • Short ingredient list – scallops and cream, plus wine and pantry staples
  • No fancy tools needed – just a skillet and a saucepan
Pan seared scallops simmering in a garlic cream sauce

How to Sear the Perfect Garlic Scallops with Wine Sauce

Scallops are super quick to cook. They’re perfect for those nights where you know you don’t have a lot of time (like when you have hockey and gymnastics back to back). Add a simple pan sauce and your favorite side, and dinner is served!

Prep the scallops

There are a few steps to take before you get cooking to ensure that your wine scallops come out perfectly seared and tender.

  • Thaw slowly. You can use either fresh or frozen for this creamy scallops recipe. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator (ideally overnight) for best results.
  • Halve if needed. If any scallops are particularly large, feel free to slice them in half widthwise (so each piece is still circular). It’s easier to cook each batch if all of the pieces are similar in size and shape.
  • Bring to room temperature. Let the seafood rest on the counter for 20-30 minutes first. This will ensure even cooking throughout, without any cold spots in the center.
  • Always pat dry. Rinse scallops, then dry both sides with a paper towel before adding the seasoning. If they are still wet, the garlic scallops won’t brown properly when seared.
pan seared scallops in a cast iron pan

Make the sauce first

Because the white wine garlic cream sauce takes longer than the seafood, you’ll want to have it ready and waiting!

If you are skilled at multitasking, your best bet would be to sear the wine scallops while the cream sauce thickens. That way, everything is hot and ready to serve at the same time!

Don’t stress – it’s just as easy to work on one at a time. The sauce will hold since the seafood cooks in mere minutes.

Pan Seared scallops over a bed of asparagus

Look for the MSC Certified logo

When shopping for scallops (or any seafood) it’s important to look for the MSC Certified Logo.

The MSC Certified Logo means that the seafood you’re buying is certified sustainable seafood by the Marine Stewardship Council. Find out more at the Marine Stewardship Council website.

What does this mean? 

It helps protect fish stocks for the future.

You can find MSC Certified Logo seafood at grocery stores around the country in fresh, frozen, or canned varieties. I personally found the scallops for this recipe at Walmart but you can find more at Loblaws, Whole Foods Markets, Costco, Sobeys, and other retailers.

ingredients for making creamy garlic scallops

Frequently Asked Questions about White Wine Scallops

What is the secret to cooking scallops?

Surprisingly, less is actually more when preparing this delicate seafood! Keep the seasonings light, then sear for just a minute or two on each side. It’s also important to pat dry scallops before searing them in hot butter or oil. Extra moisture will prevent them from getting that gorgeous caramelization on the surface.

Avoid overcooking or they will turn out tough and rubbery. Perfectly seared scallops should be browned on both sides and tender in the center.

What to serve with creamy garlic scallops?

I love to pair this recipe with Garlic Roasted Asparagus or my Three Pepper Salad. Creamy garlic scallops would also be delicious over a bed of pasta or rice to soak up all of that delicious pan sauce!

stirring seared scallops in white wine garlic cream sauce

What is the best white wine for garlic cream sauce?

I used a Sauvignon Blanc by Nibilo. It paired beautifully with the creamy scallops and added a little something extra to the sauce.

This wine itself is from New Zealand and offers a fresh, crisp pairing with seafood. It’s refreshing with some citrus and tropical fruit flavors. The perfect wine for summer.

Nobilo’s Sauvignon Blanc is proudly certified by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand and it’s easily available here in Canada.

Find it at the New Zealand section at retailers across Canada (LCBO, Sobey’s, Loblaws, BC Liquor Stores, and some private retailers.

bottle of Nobilo wine with asparagus and pan of creamy scallops

Simple ingredients and excellent crisp wine bring this dish together. I’d like to thank Nobilo Wines and the MSC for bringing the best of land and sea to my kitchen.

Not only did my family and I get to enjoy an incredible meal, but I also received the peace of mind of knowing that my dinner came from sustainable practices. It’s a win-win!

More easy seafood recipes:

Healthy Tuscan Shrimp Alfredo

Penne Jambalaya

pan fried scallops in a creamy garlic wine sauce
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3.70 from 39 votes

Pan Seared Scallops with a Garlic White Wine Sauce

This recipe for Pan Seared scallops with a white wine garlic cream sauce is perfect for unexpected guests or an indulgent weeknight meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword cream sauce, scallops, seafood

Equipment

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 395kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 4 cloves garlic large
  • 1/2 cup Nobilo White Wine I used sauvignon blanc
  • 3 tbsps chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs MSC Certified sea scallops look for the MSC blue fish label
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

For the cream sauce

  • In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat add the butter and garlic. Saute for about 1-2 minutes or just right before the garlic begins to brown.
  • Deglaze with the wine, turn heat to medium and reduce until half the liquid is gone.
  • Add the parsley, red pepper flakes, and cream. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the cream thickens. About 4-6 minutes. Set aside while you cook the scallops.

For the scallops

  • Rinse the scallops, pat with a paper towel until dry and season both sides with a little sea salt and pepper.
  • In a cast iron pan, over medium high heat, heat the butter and olive oil for a minute or two (or until the pan sizzles when you add a drop or two of water).
  • Add the scallops, careful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook until opaque. This is takes about two minutes on each side (depending on the size of scallop.
  • Pour the garlic cream sauce over the scallops and serve.

Notes

Serve with asparagus, rice, or pasta.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 1563mg | Potassium: 528mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 781IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
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pan seared scallops in a creamy garlic wine sauce

31 comments on “Pan Seared Scallops with White Wine Sauce”

  1. 5 stars
    That looks absolutely amazing! I love that creamy sauce with the scallops. I think my family is going to love this.

  2. 5 stars
    Holy. Moly. I have to make this for the fam! We live in Florida, so super fresh seafood is always on the menu. They’re going to love this.

  3. I love the idea of Surf and Turf Fridays! I need to implement it in my life! I am a scallop addict and this recipe looks great!

  4. This would make for such a lovely dinner. I’d really like to try this. The sauce must be so nice!

  5. This scallops meal sounds amazing. I need to try and cook this for my husband and myself.

  6. I love your sauce recipe! So simple and so tasteful!

  7. 5 stars
    I haven’t had scallops in so long. Sounds like the perfect date night dinner too.

  8. That recipe sure does look amazing. I’m going to have to give this recipe a try real soon. Looking forward to trying it.

  9. 5 stars
    I enjoy pan seared scallops but haven’t made them in that type of sauce before. This is something I will have to try out for my husband and I for a date night in.

  10. I love seared scallops. If I could I would eat these every night of the week. So good!

  11. 5 stars
    I seriously need to give this a try! It looks really good!

  12. 5 stars
    Looks heavenly! I am totally drooling over this goodness!

  13. This looks like an amazing dish to try. It has all my favorite ingredients. What a lovely meal to have and it’s perfect with some wine.

  14. OMG! Now I am hungry! Making this one for sure.

  15. They look amazing! We’re huge seafood lovers at our house! I can hardly wait to try your dish! 

  16. Love how simple this recipe is!! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  17. I love scallop! This looks delicious and I love that it is in wine sauce.

  18. Trying tonight but have no white wine, any ideas on a substitute ?

    • Hi Lisa,

      You could try a little chicken or seafood broth?

    • Girl just go out and get some. I have found that there is no substitute for wine in recipes. It gives a special something that chicken broth doesn’t do. If you don’t have it… go get it. It’s worth the trip!

  19. 5 stars
    This was outstanding!  My husband and I enjoyed this meal immensely.  Followed the recipe except used a Chardonnay.  Served on thin spaghetti with asparagus on the side,  an arugula salad with lemon dressing and French bread.  I can’t wait to make it again. Thanks so much for sharing this delicious meal.

  20. 5 stars
    These were SO decadent and tasty! We’ve been looking for ways to use the huge bag of scallops my in-laws gifted us (THIS big: https://lummiislandwild.com/our-seafood/alaskan-weathervane-scallops/), but everything we’ve done up to this point has been very light and delicate. We wanted some cream and butter! This recipe did not disappoint!

  21. We thought it was good.   I added too much garlic,  so I needed to tone it down with the  juice of a  1/4 of a lemon.  Will make it again.

  22. 5 stars
    Loved it!

  23. Doubled the sauce recipe in order to add pasta. Added half a lemon to the wine / deglaze step. Seared the scallops for about two minutes per side then let it finish in the sauce for a couple more minutes then added penne pasta. Very, very good. Hubby loved it. Served with a side of grilled asparagus. Next time I could probably add asparagus pieces to the finished pasta.
    Excellent base recipe. Thanks! 

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