You can skip the fancy restaurant and have your own gourmet dinner at home with these Bacon Wrapped Scallops! Sea scallops are pan-seared until a gorgeous golden crust forms, topped with an addicting garlic butter sauce and they’re secretly super simple to cook. They make the best low-carb and keto main dish recipe to serve for Valentine’s Day dinner or a romantic date night in!
Bacon Wrapped Scallops Recipe
Any time I am at a restaurant and scallops are on the menu I MUST order them. Especially if they’re served with bacon!
The buttery, flaky texture combined with a perfectly seared exterior just makes me salivate thinking about this seafood delicacy.
For something I love eating at a restaurant so much, why hadn’t I ever tried making them at home?
To be honest, they were quite intimidating and came with a hefty price tag!
But when I saw one of my friends (who swears she can’t cook!) whipping up some pan-seared scallops – I knew I had to give it a try.
Add a bit of a succulent garlic, butter, and brown sugar sauce and voila! You’ll have a restaurant quality recipe on your table in no time.
And this particular recipe is so easy to make that you can whip it up on a casual weeknight or treat your Valentine to a romantic evening in without being too consumed with cooking!
Before we get into how to make this seafood dish, let’s first take a look at how to select the best ones for this recipe.
Sea versus Bay scallops
When at your grocery store you will want to look for sea scallops, and not bay. Sea scallops tend to be on the larger side and will be easier to wrap in bacon.
Wild versus Farm-raised
Since scallops are indeed bottom feeders (just like shrimp!) you will want to get the healthiest option available. Wild scallops, versus farm-raised, have slightly more nutrition than farm-raised without too much sacrifice on taste.
Wet versus Dry
If you can find them it’s always better if you can use dry-packed scallops. “Wet” scallops have been injected with a phosphate solution that extends their shelf life but also adds up to 30% more weight that’s just water.
You can tell the difference in these two by noting their color and moisture level:
- Wet scallops are a little whiter and have more moisture.
- Dry scallops have a pinker tint and release less moisture at rest.
How many per pound?
It’s best if you purchase scallops that are large and have about 10-12 count per pound. Not only is it easier to wrap them but this extra weight will also give you a little wiggle room so you’re less likely to overcook them.
While scallops may initially look like they are ready to rock and roll straight from the grocery store, there are 2 steps you MUST follow before cooking them.
- Remove the tendon. Almost all scallops have a tougher tendon that will need to be removed before cooking. You can find this by looking down on the scallop and locating a long, thin flap of harder meat. To remove it simply peel it back like you would the peel of an orange.
- Patting dry. In order to get a crust from a pan-sear, you will need to pat them completely dry. Any excess moisture will make the scallops have a mushy exterior instead of a crusty sear.
Best Type of Bacon
While scallops are the main star of this show, the bacon you choose is the supporting actress.
The scallops will only taste as good as the bacon they are so lovingly wrapped up in!
So that pricey scallop you have there? Make sure it’s surrounded by a good, high-quality piece of bacon.
Cook’s Tip: If you happen to be on a Whole30, Paleo, or keto diet – make sure you look for a bacon that is prepared without nitrates or added sugar.
How to Cook
Below you will find a quick step-by-step guide for how to make bacon wrapped scallops. For more detailed instructions, please see the recipe card below.
- Cook bacon over medium to medium-low heat in a large skillet for 10-12 minutes.
- The bacon should be almost cooked through but still pliable.
- Prepare scallops by removing the tough tendons and patting dry.
- Wrap one piece of bacon around each scallop. Secure with a toothpick.
- Whisk together butter, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- In a large, clean skillet over medium to medium-low heat add 1 tablespoon of a high smoke point oil.
- Don’t use the bacon grease skillet – the scallops will end up sticking to the burnt bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees.
- Brush the butter garlic sauce on top during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking.
- Remove from the skillet and let rest for 5 minutes. Once the temperature reaches 130 degrees they are ready to be served.
FAQs & Pro Tips
What temperature to cook scallops?
Scallops are fully cooked when their internal temperature reaches 125 to 130 degrees. Since they will continue cooking once removed from the heat, make sure you stop cooking them when they reach 115 to 120 degrees.
What is the best type of oil for searing scallops?
A high smoke point oil, such as avocado, grapeseed, or canola oil, will help give scallops their crusty sear.
Since butter has a relatively low smoke point, make sure not to add this until the last few minutes of cooking so it does not burn.
What type of skillet should I use?
A clean, stainless steel skillet is the best type to use for pan-searing scallops. Make sure there are no bits or pieces stuck to the bottom of the skillet before searing and adequate oil is used so the scallop does not stick.
How long do I sear scallops?
Heat a stainless steel skillet over medium heat and sear large scallops for 3-4 minutes per side.
Smaller ones can be cooked for 2-3 minutes per side.
What to Serve
Serve bacon wrapped scallops with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a few lemon wedges.
You can also prepare them along with one of these easy side dish ideas:
Bacon Wrapped Scallops Recipe
Sea scallops are wrapped in bacon, pan-seared until a gorgeous golden crust forms, topped with an addicting garlic butter sauce and are secretly super simple to make.
- 9 oz. bacon or 10 strips
- 1 lb. scallops large, about 10-12 count/pound
- 2 Tbsp. butter melted
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 2 tsp. coconut sugar or brown sugar, optional
- ¼ tsp. salt to taste
- Pinch of black pepper to taste
- 1-2 Tbsp. avocado oil or other high-smoke point oil
Cook bacon over medium to medium-low heat in a large skillet for 10-12 minutes. The bacon should be almost cooked through but still pliable.
Remove the bacon from the skillet and let drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
Prepare scallops by removing the tough tendons, or side muscles, and patting dry.
Wrap one piece of bacon around each scallop. Secure the strip of bacon with a toothpick.
Whisk together butter, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
In a large, clean skillet over medium to medium-low heat add 1 tablespoon of a high smoke point oil.
Cook wrapped scallops for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees.
Brush the butter garlic sauce on top during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking.
Remove scallops from the skillet and let rest for 5 minutes. Once the temperature reaches 130 degrees they are ready to be served.
Serve scallops with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and lemon wedges. Enjoy!
If you are on a Paleo, Whole30, or Keto diet, use bacon that is free of added sugar and leave out the sugar in the recipe.
Ghee can also be used in place of the butter.