This Bacon Wrapped Scallops recipe features tender, juicy scallops surrounded by crisp bacon, topped with a delicious garlic butter. Enjoy these scallops as an appetizer, atop a salad, or as a main course!

Bacon wrapped scallops on a white platter

Easy Pan Fried Scallops with Bacon

This Bacon Wrapped Scallops recipe delivers the fancy restaurant menu item to your table in quick & easy fashion. Like my lemon garlic seared scallops, this seafood recipe comes together with minimal ingredients, in just a few easy steps!

Simply wrap sea scallops with bacon and then pan sear to perfection. Then top with a simple garlic butter. An easy, absolutely crave-worthy dish.

Serve this as an impressive appetizer or main course for holiday gatherings and special occasions, or with a fresh green salad for lunch with girlfriends. It’s a wonderful date night meal, too!

Most people assume that scallops are difficult and/or time intensive to cook – but that’s far from the truth. Once you give scallops a try at home, you’ll see just what I’m talking about. And you’ll be hooked!

Overhead view of bacon wrapped scallops ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

When it comes to this easy scallop appetizer recipe, you don’t need much – just scallops, bacon, and a few kitchen staples. Scroll down to the recipe box for measurements.

  • Bacon – Choose bacon that is sliced on the thin side, with the same width as the scallops. This ensures that the wrapped scallops will sear properly. Avoid “thick cut” bacon as it will take too long to cook and the scallops will become overcooked and tough.
  • Sea scallops – Use large sea scallops. Bay scallops are much smaller, difficult to wrap bacon around (and the scallops would overcook before the bacon is ready).
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Olive oil – Olive oil helps sear the scallops. Feel free to use your favorite neutral cooking oil.
  • Butter – Butter adds delicious flavor and helps create the simple yet rich pan sauce.
  • Garlic – Garlic adds a touch of fresh, pungent earthiness to the scallops.
Overhead view of bacon wrapped scallops

Tips for Buying Scallops

As mentioned above, look for large sea scallops. Bay scallops are just too small for this particular recipe – they are typically used in soups and stews.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying your sea scallops:

  • Buy dry packed scallops. Some sea scallops will be packed in a liquid – avoid those, as they have too much moisture, which prevents the scallops from searing properly.
  • Fresh sea scallops. If you have access to fresh, just-caught sea scallops, let me just say – LUCKY YOU! Plan to cook them within 24 hours of purchasing.
  • Frozen sea scallops also work great! For me, living in Minnesota, my best choice is frozen sea scallops – and they’re still awesome delicious. Thaw the frozen scallops completely and use a paper towel to remove excess liquid before beginning the recipe.
  • Look, smell, and feel. Fresh scallops should have a briny, fresh salt water smell to them. If they smell “fishy” or otherwise “off”, or have a slimy feel to them, they’ve likely gone bad. I recommend buying fresh scallops no more than a day in advance, as they tend to spoil quickly.

How to Make Bacon Wrapped Scallops

These pan fried scallops with bacon take less than 30 minutes to prepare, from start to finish. A quick and easy appetizer for any occasion!

  • Prepare the bacon. Cook the bacon over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the fat has just started to render. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain and cool until you can handle it.
  • Prepare the scallops. Remove the abductor muscle, if present, and pat the scallops with a paper towel to remove moisture. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Wrap the scallops. Tightly wrap each scallop with a piece of par-cooked bacon. Secure with a wooden toothpick.
  • Heat the oil. In a clean skillet, heat the olive oil until it’s very hot (but not smoking).
  • Sear the scallops. Sear the scallops for 3 to 4 minutes on one side. Gently flip and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  • Make the pan sauce. Add the butter and garlic to the hot pan until the butter melts. Baste over the scallops a few times.
  • Serve. Enjoy immediately with some fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Pan seared scallops with bacon in a skillet

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips for making these bacon wrapped scallops.

  • Use the right-sized bacon. Use bacon that’s the same width as the scallops, to ensure everything sears properly.
  • Avoid thick-cut bacon. While you could use a thick-cut bacon and just par-cook it a bit longer, I like the overall texture of the bacon wrapped scallops more when I use a thinner cut. It just goes better with the tender scallops.
  • Don’t let the oil smoke. While you want the oil to be very hot before you add the scallops so they sear properly, you don’t want to heat it to the point of smoking as that will burn the scallops.
  • Don’t force the scallops from the pan. If the scallops don’t release easily from the pan when you flip them, sear for an additional minute. If you pull on them, they can tear – and won’t have a great sear either.
  • How do you know when seared scallops are done? Fully cooked scallops are opaque and firm to the touch. They’ll also release easily from the pan.
A fork grabbing a bacon wrapped scallop

How to Serve This Scallop Appetizer Recipe

My favorite way to serve these bacon wrapped scallops is as an appetizer. I baste them with the garlic butter, add some fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice, and serve. Depending on the occasion, I may or may not leave the toothpicks in for easy grabbing.

You can also turn these scallops into the main course, maybe with a baked potato or creamy mashed potatoes, plus brussels sprouts salad. Or any other sides you choose.

You can also add them to a salad, for gorgeous, delicious protein. My holiday wild rice salad would be so lovely with bacon wrapped scallops!

Overhead view of bacon wrapped scallops

Can Cooked Scallops Be Reheated?

Bacon wrapped scallops are absolutely best enjoyed while they are fresh and hot – as scallops tend to take on a rubbery texture when reheated and bacon is always best when it’s eaten right away.

That said, if you absolutely cannot eat every scallop, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until just warmed through.

More Seafood Recipes:

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Overhead view of bacon wrapped scallops

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Yield: 12 scallops
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Bacon Wrapped Scallops recipe features tender, juicy scallops surrounded by crisp bacon, topped with a delicious garlic butter. Enjoy these scallops as an appetizer, atop a salad, or as a main course!

Ingredients

  • 12 slices bacon, about 8” long (avoid thick-cut bacon)
  • 12 large sea scallops
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • Fresh minced parsley and lemon wedges, for garnish

Instructions

    1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon slices in a single layer (if your skillet is not large enough, you can do this in two batches). Cook the bacon for 5 minutes, or until the fat is just starting to render. The bacon should not be fully cooked. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel and allow it to cool until you can handle it – about 5 minutes.
    2. While the bacon cools, remove the abductor muscle if present (the little square muscle on the side of the scallop) and pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Season them lightly with salt and pepper.
    3. Wrap each scallop tightly with a piece of par-cooked bacon and secure with a wooden toothpick.
    4. Heat a clean skillet (if you use the same skillet that you cooked the bacon in, make sure to wipe out the extra grease) over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and allow it to heat until very hot, but not smoking.
    5. Add the scallops to the skillet and sear for 3-4 minutes. Don’t move the scallops at all while they are searing! Gently flip the scallops. If they do not release naturally from the skillet, allow to sear for an additional minute. Don’t pull on the scallops as they can tear.
    6. Cook the scallops on the second side for an additional 4-5 minutes. Then remove skillet from the heat and add the butter and smashed garlic. When the butter has melted, baste the scallops a few times with the buttery pan sauce.
    7. Serve immediately garnished with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 922mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 20g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

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Overhead view of bacon wrapped scallops