Scallops in Air Fryer: A Delicious, Effortless Seafood Feast


Imagine sinking your teeth into a perfectly crispy, succulent scallop that’s been cooked to perfection.

Now, imagine achieving this heavenly dish with minimal effort and mess.

Welcome to the world of scallops in an air fryer!

In this article, we’ll show you how to achieve that perfect balance of golden brown exterior and tender, juicy interior in just a few minutes.

So, get ready to impress your taste buds and dinner guests alike as we unlock the secrets to cooking scallops in an air fryer.

scallops in air fryer

To cook scallops in an air fryer, it is important to use dry-packed sea scallops.

Prior to cooking, the side muscle should be removed and the scallops should be patted dry to remove moisture.

While scallops may not brown in the air fryer, it is recommended to check their internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer.

Scallops should be cooked to an internal temperature of 120°F, which typically takes about 6 minutes, depending on thickness.

Key Points:

  • Use dry-packed sea scallops for cooking in the air fryer.
  • Remove the side muscle and pat the scallops dry before cooking.
  • Check the internal temperature of the scallops with an instant-read thermometer.
  • Cook the scallops to an internal temperature of 120°F.
  • Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the scallops.
  • Scallops may not brown in the air fryer.

scallops in air fryer – Watch Video


Pro Tips:

1. Did you know that the term “scallop” actually refers to the meat part of the shellfish, and not the actual shell? So when you’re cooking scallops in an air fryer, you’re actually cooking the meat of the shellfish, not the shell itself!

2. While most people think of scallops as a seafood delicacy, they actually have hundreds of tiny eyes along the edge of their shells. These eyes help the scallops detect light and movement in the water, allowing them to navigate and avoid predators.

3. Scallops have the amazing ability to swim! Using their powerful adductor muscles, they can quickly clap their shells together and create a jet of water, propelling themselves through the water. This technique, known as “jet propulsion,” allows them to escape from danger or move to different feeding areas.

4. Did you know that scallops have been used as currency in different parts of the world throughout history? In some Pacific Island cultures, scallop shells were used as a form of currency due to their beauty and durability.

5. The bright and vibrant colors of scallop shells are not their original colors, but rather the result of organic pigments produced by the scallops’ mantle. These colors can range from shades of pink, orange, and red, to even deep purple or blue.

Types Of Scallops: Sea Vs. Bay

Scallops are a popular seafood choice known for their delicate flavor and tender texture.

When cooking scallops in an air fryer, it’s essential to understand the difference between sea scallops and bay scallops.

  • Sea scallops are larger and found in deep, cold ocean waters worldwide.
  • In contrast, bay scallops are smaller and can be found in shallow waters and bays along the East Coast.

  • Scallops are best cooked quickly at high heat to maintain their moisture and tenderness.

  • It’s important not to overcook scallops as they can become rubbery.
  • Season the scallops with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices or herbs before air frying.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F and lightly coat the scallops with cooking spray.
  • Arrange the scallops in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they aren’t touching.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the scallops are golden brown and opaque in the center.
  • Serve immediately for the best taste and texture.

Remember: Good quality scallops will be sweet and pearly white when cooked properly. Ensure you choose fresh scallops for the best results.

Size Difference: Sea Scallops Vs. Bay Scallops

The main difference between sea scallops and bay scallops lies in their size. Bay scallops typically have a diameter of about 1/2 inch, whereas sea scallops can reach up to 2 inches in diameter. This larger size of sea scallops makes them great for air frying, as they maintain their tenderness and juiciness throughout the cooking process.

  • Bay scallops: 1/2 inch diameter
  • Sea scallops: Up to 2 inches diameter

Air frying tip: Sea scallops are ideal for achieving a deliciously tender and succulent texture.

Appearance Of Sea Scallops

Sea scallops have a distinctive appearance that sets them apart from their bay counterparts. These magnificent mollusks are typically creamy off-white or flaunt a light pink hue. Their vibrant colors make them visually appealing and add an elegant touch to any dish.

Choosing The Right Scallops For The Air Fryer

To achieve evenly cooked scallops in the air fryer, it is recommended to opt for dry-packed scallops of the same size and thickness. The dry-packed variety ensures that excess moisture is minimized, allowing the scallops to develop a delightful sear when air fried. Ensuring uniformity in size and thickness promotes consistent cooking and ensures a perfect result every time.

Prepping The Scallops: Removing The Side Muscle

Before cooking scallops in the air fryer, it’s important to remove the side muscle. This tough piece of fibrous tissue attaches the scallop to the shell and can affect the tenderness and overall eating experience of the scallops. To remove it, simply grasp the side muscle with your thumb and forefinger and gently pull it away from the scallop.

  • Remove the side muscle to enhance tenderness
  • Grasp the side muscle with thumb and forefinger and gently pull it away from the scallop.

Importance Of Drying Scallops Before Cooking

To achieve the best results when air frying scallops, it’s crucial to pat them dry before cooking. This simple step removes any excess moisture on the surface of the scallops, allowing them to develop a beautiful crisp crust when air fried. Moisture on the surface can hinder browning, so drying the scallops thoroughly ensures a more visually appealing and delicious outcome.

Browning Concerns In The Air Fryer

One common concern when air frying scallops is achieving a desirable browning effect. Due to the hot circulating air in the air fryer, scallops may not brown as expected. To overcome this, other indicators should be considered. It is recommended to check the internal temperature of the scallops using an instant-read thermometer to ensure they are cooked to perfection.

Checking The Internal Temperature Of Scallops

To achieve the perfect level of doneness, use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the scallops. For optimal results, the scallops should be cooked to an internal temperature of 120°F. This ensures that the scallops are cooked through while retaining their delicate texture and flavor.

Cooking Time For Scallops In The Air Fryer

The cooking time for scallops in the air fryer depends on their thickness. As a general guideline, scallops should be cooked for about 6 minutes in the air fryer, assuming they are of medium thickness. Thicker scallops may require a slightly longer cooking time, while thinner scallops may cook slightly faster. It’s important to keep an eye on the scallops during the cooking process to avoid overcooking.

Achieving Perfectly Cooked Scallops In The Air Fryer

To achieve perfectly cooked scallops in the air fryer, attention to detail is key. Following the recommended steps, such as using dry-packed scallops, removing the side muscle, and patting them dry, ensures that the scallops retain their delicate tenderness. Additionally, monitoring the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer guarantees that they are cooked to the desired level and avoids any risk of overcooking. With these tips in mind, your scallops in the air fryer will be a delectable seafood feast that is both effortless and delicious.


You may need to know these questions about scallops in air fryer

Are scallops good in the air fryer?

Scallops can indeed turn out wonderfully in the air fryer. With just a touch of Old Bay seasoning and garlic salt, these delicious bivalves can be perfectly cooked in no time. For an extra touch of flavor, a side of garlic butter adds a mouthwatering element to elevate the dish. The air fryer method ensures a quick and hassle-free preparation, making it an ideal choice for a delightful scallop dish with minimal ingredients.

How long does it take to cook sea scallops in an air fryer?

To cook sea scallops in an air fryer, simply preheat the appliance and spritz the basket with cooking spray. Season the scallops with salt and pepper before placing them in the air fryer. Cook them for approximately 6 to 7 minutes, adjusting the timing slightly for thicker scallops. The result will be perfectly cooked and flavorful scallops, ready to enjoy in no time.

What is the best cooking method for scallops?

While searing in a hot skillet is indeed a great way to cook sea scallops to achieve a crispy exterior and tender texture, another interesting cooking method to consider is grilling. Grilling scallops imparts a smoky flavor and adds a delightful charred touch to their naturally sweet taste. Brushing them with a flavorful marinade or a herbed butter mixture before grilling can further enhance their taste and provide a deliciously light and refreshing seafood dish.

Can you put frozen scallops in an air fryer?

Yes, you can definitely cook frozen scallops in an air fryer. Start by placing the frozen scallops directly into the air fryer basket. Then, set the temperature to 400 degrees F and select the air fryer setting. Flip the scallops halfway through the cooking process to ensure even browning and cook them for around 6 to 8 minutes. For an added touch of flavor, you can baste the scallops with butter while they cook. Enjoy crispy, delicious scallops in no time with this simple air fryer method!

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