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These quick Herbed Garlic Butter Scallops with Lemony Feta Dressing are a vibrant seafood dish to serve any night of the week. Pan-seared scallops cooked with butter, lemons, and garlic, and served with a tangy and herby feta dressing. This quick-cooking, easy skillet dinner comes together in less than 30 minutes. It’s a touch buttery, colorful, healthy, and beyond delicious. Incorporate this into your weekly dinner or serve it up at your next dinner party. These scallops are easy enough for a weeknight, but fancy enough to serve to guests. Serve with steamed rice or creamy polenta and a simple salad.

overhead photo of Herbed Garlic Butter Scallops with Lemony Feta Dressing

So often I associate seafood with the warmer months of the year and tend to forget about it when the weather is bitter cold. However, this year I’m really making an effort to use more seafood…even if we’re experiencing below-freezing temperatures this week. Yes, it’s freezing here, but that’s why these scallops are the perfect recipe. They remind me of spring so much. And you guys…I’ve officially hit that point where I’m very much over the cold and ready for warmer days. Well, kind of…I’m still enjoying the “cozy” vibes. But at the same time…I’m longing for vibrant colors and fresh foods too.

So yes, I’m in this weird in-between phase. Still enjoying winter comfort, but yet wanting to add a touch of spring into my life as well. Enter in these Herbed Garlic Butter Scallops. I made these last week on a complete whim towards the end of the day. Originally, I was thinking I would share a scallop recipe before Valentine’s Day, but I just never got around to it. When I saw scallops on sale at Whole Foods, I decided to pick some up. I was pretty unsure as to what I wanted to make with them, but I figured I’d think of something.

The thing about scallops…I always find them best when they’re made simply…and with a touch of butter and garlic. And that’s kind of this recipe. It’s simple, but all done up with a slightly addicting lemon feta dressing. Delicious and so easy to toss together.

prep photo of lemons in the sun

Everything you need to know about cooking scallops.

In the past, I’ve found scallops to be a little tricky, but only because I was cooking them wrong. Here is what I’ve learned.

First, you must pat each scallop completely dry before cooking. This step is essential. If the scallops have excess moisture on them, they’ll never get that perfect golden crust we all desire so much.

Next, you have to use a hot skillet and you must not overcrowd the skillet. Again, this is KEY. A hot skillet with give you that perfect sear, but if you crowd the pan with too many scallops, they will steam instead of crisp. Be sure to cook the scallops in batches, if needed.

And finally, butter + lemon + garlic. But added towards the end of cooking so that butter has just enough time to brown, the lemon has time to fry, and the garlic gets perfectly golden, but not burnt.

So. Simple. SO. SOOD.

overhead close up photo of Herbed Garlic Butter Scallops with Lemony Feta Dressing

But that’s not all, there is lemony feta dressing…

You guys know me. I love simple, but I love a good amount of flavor even more, and that’s where this dressing comes in. It’s actually more of a sauce or a marinated feta situation, but then kind of a dressing too. Honestly, I had no idea what to call this, but we’re going with lemony feta dressing.

Regardless, this “dressing” is addictive. It’s that feta and those herbs.

And…it’s inspired by the dressing I made a few weeks ago for my roasted chicken. It’s very, very similar, but incorporates some salty feta cheese.

This is a simple mix of olive oil, parsley, oregano, and basil, it’s the perfect balance of flavors in addition to the salty feta. Then just add buttery olives to pull everything together. Honestly, this is one of my favorite dressings. It’s so full of flavor, light and fresh, but also rich and cozy too. All the things I love so much.

So here is how this works.

Take those buttery, garlicky, seared scallops and plate them. Make sure you spoon out any buttery sauce left in the pan. Trust me, you want that sauce.

Now, spoon the lemony feta over each scallop. Be sure to be very generous with the feta and the herby dressing it’s sitting in…this is where most of the flavor is.

Finish with flaky sea salt.

So is your mouth watering yet? Because these flavors will do that to you.

overhead close up photo of Lemony Feta Dressing

A few notes.

If you’re not a fan of scallops, this recipe would work wonderfully with shrimp too. The cooking times would be basically the same, so simply swap out and follow the directions as they are.

I love to serve the scallops with crusty fresh bread for soaking up all the buttery sauce. Oh, and a side of orzo or steamed rice. Either or both would be so great!

These make for a really fun, fancy…ish weeknight dinner, but they’re special enough to serve over the weekend too. Added bonus? Start to finish this is one of those recipes that comes together in less than thirty minutes. So quick and easy.

Herbed Garlic Butter Scallops with Lemony Feta Dressing with bread serving plate

Lastly, if you make these herbed garlic butter scallops with lemony feta dressing, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Herbed Garlic Butter Scallops with Lemony Feta Dressing.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 431 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Pat the scallops dry. Season with salt and pepper.
    2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the scallops and sear on both sides until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add the butter, lemon zest, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the scallops are opaque, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    3. To make the dressing. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, parsley, oregano, basil, green onions, olives, vinegar, and lemon juice. Add the feta and gently toss to combine.
    4. To serve, plate the scallops and spoon over the feta and dressing. Season with flaky sea salt. Serve with crusty bread.
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Comments

    1. Hey Shirley,
      Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a try, I am glad to hear that it was enjoyed. Have the best weekend!! xTieghan

  1. 5 stars
    This is marvelous, so Mediterranean. My scallops were not huge so a very quite saute. I used olives castelvetrano, my favorites, i prefer not pitted, less salty. I sliced off pieces. The sauce is insanely good, heat up some good bread, I added marinated fava beans at the local deli. just wonderful.

  2. We made this in our online cooking club last night, and it was a huge success. I used the leftover vinaigrette for my salad at lunch today.

    1. Hey Jennifer,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am delighted that it was enjoyed! Have a great weekend! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    I had scallops in the freezer just waiting for the perfect recipe. My in-laws were
    Coming over for dinner, so I tried this recipe. Not a single plate had anything left… it was a hit! Absolutely loved! I served it over orzo and it was a complete meal.

  4. My husband actually made this for me! DELICIOUS! He didn’t sear his scallops so it wasn’t as beautiful as yours. The sauce is SO GOOD! I’m going to use it on shrimp, chicken, salad, etc!!!

  5. 5 stars
    Really really tasty!!! The scallops didn’t sear as much as we’d like when we made it but we used a non-stick so that was our bad haha. Next time we’ll use a stainless steel pan. I think we’ll also throw the feta dressing ingredients in a mini food processor so it blends more, I found the dressing a bit too chunky for what I would prefer which is more of a pesto vibe. The flavors overall were ah-ma-zing, very refreshing!!!

    1. Hey Charlotte,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am thrilled that it worked out for you! Happy New Year! xTieghan

  6. Ummmmm whoa. This recipe is absolutely delicious and so simple. I have screwed up scallops every time I’ve tried to make…NOT THIS TIME! I just enjoyed a great dinner. Thank you Tieghan!

  7. do you have any tips for making sure that the scallops are dry enough so that they’ll get that browned crispy exterior?

    1. Hi Tavia,
      I would recommend letting them dry on a paper towel, this should help! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    Another winner from HBH! I used shrimp per your suggestion – my hub declared new shrimp fave which will be quite confusing as i’ve made so many of your shrimp recipes that were, and i know still are, faves. This is super simple and foolproof. The bread is key for all the goodness that’s left behind.

  9. 5 stars
    This dish was a hit! It looks so fancy and expensive but is pleasantly surprisingly simple to put together. We didn’t have crusty bread as recommended so I served it over spaghetti noodles and it was perfect! As other reviewers state, don’t let the scallop sauce go to waste – it so so good! For the dressing I used dried oregano and parsley (but still used fresh basil!) and we really enjoyed it, thanks for another great recipe!

    1. Thank you Jordan!! I am really glad you enjoyed this one and I hope you enjoy others as well!! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    Tieghan… this is a restaurant quality meal. I used some fresh and some dried herbs based on what I had then mixed the feta lemon mixture with orzo. Served the scallops over the top of the orzo/dressing mixture and with some sourdough we baked this afternoon. PRO TIP: Do not let a drop of the juice that the scallops was cooked in go to waste!! We scraped it into a bowl and dipped the bread in it. I literally almost licked my plate. So easy and so good!!

    1. Wow such a great idea!! Thank you for trying this one, Tori! I am glad it turned out so well for you! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    I made this with shrimp and it was delicious. My mom said she felt like she was eating at a restaurant. Light, flavorful, and fresh.

  12. AMAZING!! Literally there is nothing else I need to say.. I was hesitant as I was making it but wow.. I didn’t want to share any! I would suggest having another side with it, we were ready for a second helping!

  13. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit! I have to get a better sear on my scallops next time but great recipe! Looks fancy but totally simple. highly recommend!