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A quick and impressive dinner, scallops turn succulent and tender in the air fryer. The lemon-herb sauce drizzled on top is the perfect way to bring zest to each bite.

EatingWell.com, January 2019; updated November 2022


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

20 mins
20 mins

What Type of Scallops Should I Use?

We use sea scallops for this recipe, which are larger in size than bay scallops. There are two types of scallops sold at grocery stores and seafood markets: bay scallops and sea scallops. Bay scallops are found in shallow waters and bays along the East Coast and are small in size, most measuring 1/2 inch in diameter. Sea scallops are found in deep, cold ocean waters around the world and are larger in size, with some as big as 2 inches in diameter.

Sea scallops are typically creamy off-white or a light pink hue. When shopping, look for dry-packed scallops that are about the same size and thickness so that they cook evenly in the air fryer.

How to Prepare Scallops for Cooking

1. Locate the side muscle on each scallop. The side muscle is a chewy, tough piece of fibrous tissue found on one side of the scallop. This is what once held the scallop to the shell.

2. Pinch the piece of muscle between your thumb and forefinger. Gently tug until the muscle pulls away.

3. Pat dry each scallop to remove moisture on the surface.

For more scallop tips, check out our guide to buying and cooking scallops.

How to Know When Scallops Are Cooked

The scallops may not brown in the air fryer, so don't wait for a golden crust to tell you they're ready. Be sure to cook the scallops to an internal temperature of 120°F using an instant-read thermometer. This should take about 6 minutes or so depending on the thickness of each scallop.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Sprinkle scallops with pepper and salt. Coat the basket of an air fryer with cooking spray. Place scallops in the basket and coat them with cooking spray. Place the basket in the fryer. Cook the scallops at 400°F until they reach an internal temperature of 120°F, about 6 minutes.

  • Combine oil, parsley, capers, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle over the scallops.

Nutrition Facts

4 scallops
348 calories; protein 13.9g; carbohydrates 4.6g; dietary fiber 0.4g; sugars 0.1g; fat 29.8g; saturated fat 4.2g; cholesterol 27.2mg; vitamin a iu 325.3IU; vitamin c 6.4mg; folate 24.7mcg; calcium 15.8mg; iron 0.8mg; magnesium 28.4mg; potassium 259.8mg; sodium 660.2mg.

5 1/2 fat, 2 lean protein