How To Air Fry Scallops

How To Air Fry Scallops Without It Being Rubbery?

Do you want to know how to air fry scallops? I mean who could say no to a perfectly seared scallop? Not me! In fact, until a few months ago, that was my number one way to prepare scallops. What changed? I found the air fryer and fell in love. Air fryers, give you the ability to cook things quickly and easily. And guess what? You can get a perfectly seared scallop without the need to stand over a stove. Plus, you can still pair it with your favorite sauces. My absolute favorite is Buttery Lemon Sauce. You’ll still get the same sear without the work.

Choosing the Best for you

Choosing scallops can be a little confusing, but when it comes to buying scallops, there are questions, you will end up asking yourself like, what size to buy. Should I buy sea scallops or bay scallops? Is it better to get fresh or frozen? If you are in this predicament, here are a few tips to consider when choosing scallops.

Scallops Size

Like shrimps, scallops are generally rated by two basic designators. They are labeled by the number that you get per pound. So, if you see, for example, 20/30, you can expect that your package will include between 20 and 30 scallops in a pound. This will tell you that there are smaller scallops.

For the larger scallops, however, you would probably see U/15 or U/10. ‘U’ in this case would stand for under. This would indicate that there are under 15 or under 10 scallops in a pound depending on what the identifier says on the pack. So, if you go to your grocery store and you see 20/30, that’s telling you that the scallops are on the smaller side and you can expect to find 20 to 30 scallops per pound. Likewise, if you see U/15 or U/10, it means your scallops are on the larger side, and you should expect less than 10 or less than 15 in a pound.

Types Of Scallops

Two types of scallops are popular. These are Bay scallops and Sea scallops.

Bay Scallops

Bay scallops are the smallest of the two. These typically are between half an inch and three-quarters of an inch. And this would have the designation of 70 to 120 per pound. That’s how small they are. And because they’re smaller, of course, they will be more delicate. So, they will cook easier. Bay scallops are better suited for cooking methods, such as a quick sauté or poaching.

Sea Scallops

On the other hand, you’ll have sea scallops. These are your big scallops. They are larger than Bay scallops. You typically find Sea scallops between one and a half-inch to two inches in diameter. These Sea scallops would be identified as 10 to 40 on your pack. Meaning that they will be 10 to 40 in a pound. They are huge scallops and are the ones that you’d put in an air fryer or sear. Since they are larger, they can take a longer cooking time.

Should You Buy Fresh Scallops Or Frozen Scallops?

If you live near the sea, why would you go to the grocery store? You can get scallops fresh, which means that you can visit your fishmonger and purchase fresh scallops. These would be the best scallops to buy in your case.

If you’re like me and you live in the city, away from the coast, then your grocery store would be the best bet. Try to find scallops that state that they are IQF. This means that they were individually quick frozen when they were caught. This generally means that when they are cooked from frozen, they’ll still have a fresh flavor and remind you of fresh scallops.

If you do have to buy frozen scallops that are not IQF. I recommend that you take them out at night before you are ready to cook them. Leave them in a refrigerator and have them thaw before cooking that. That way, they will have a better taste than if you should try to force thaw them by throwing them under running water.

Defrosting Your Scallops Quickly

If you’re in a pinch, however, simply place your scallops in a Ziploc bag, then rest it in a bowl of water so that your scallops can defrost quickly. You want your scallops to be about 50 degrees F. That’s the best temperature for them. If they’re any higher, you run the risk of spoiling your scallops or building bacteria. And if they are any colder then they won’t defrost?

Some people recommend that you thaw your scallops in the microwave. I don’t recommend this option as it’s too risky. You would be putting your scallops in the danger zone or risking them becoming rubbery or mushy.

How To Air Fry Scallops

When you’re ready to cook, you must remove the scallops from your refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking them. So, they can come to room temperature. This way, you start with a room temperature product that will be easier to cook through.

Prepping The Scallops To Air Fry

Dry your scallops, thoroughly, and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Next, brush your scallops with melted butter or spritz with oil. If your air fryer needs to be preheated, set your Air Fryer to preheat, this will help your scallop to maintain a nice golden color around the scallop. You also want to ensure that your scallops cook quickly to keep them tender. Some air fryers will get up to temperature instantly while others require to preheat. So, study your air fryer manual.

Spray your air fryer baskets with oil lightly, then transfer your scallops into your air fryer basket. Set your air fryer to 400 degrees F. If your air fryer is required to preheat, this should have been done in step one. If you need to preheat, it should take two to three minutes.

Time To Air Fry Our Scallops

Once the air fryer is ready, set your scallops to cook. Try not to overpack your basket. Pack them in a single layer. Air fry your scallops for three minutes. Once the time expires, flip the scallops and continue to cook for another two minutes. The color will be a good indication that your scallops are ready. To be sure, always check with an instant thermometer to ensure that you have the proper internal temperature.

Scallop Internal Temperature.

Depending on how you prefer your scallop, the temperature may be different. If you like your scallops, rare, your internal temperature will be 125 degrees Fahrenheit. For medium-rare, you’re aiming for 140 degrees F. If you prefer your scallops to be well done, but not robbery, you’re aiming for 150, anything over that could border in the rubbery territory. So, be careful and check your scallops as you go.

How To Serve The Air Fried Scallops

Once cooked, served with a simple lemon butter sauce or a sprinkle with a dash of fresh parsley.


Now you’re ready to serve your scallops! I like to have my scallops with simple sides and a simple sauce. So, I do the lemon buttery sauce, but it pairs well with steamed peas or roasted asparagus as well. It tends to go well with vegetables, but if you prefer a heavier meal, serving it with mashed potatoes, or even a nice risotto would be a fabulous pairing.

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