My simple air fryer scallops recipe yields the most mouthwatering results! Garlicky, breaded scallops are blissfully buttery with an incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture in just 15 minutes.
Cooking scallops in the air fryer is your ticket to a sensational, stress free seafood dinner. I know that scallops can be intimidating to cook at home, but you no longer need to worry! I’ll show you exactly how to air fry scallops to end up with succulent, expertly seasoned scallops every time.
These air fried scallops are tender and juicy on the inside with a savory seasoned crust. They make an amazing snack, appetizer, or main dish. One batch and your family will surely be begging for more!
How to Cook Scallops in the Air Fryer
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F.
STEP TWO: Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together in a shallow bowl. Add the melted butter to a separate shallow bowl.
STEP THREE: Dredge each scallop first through the butter, followed by the breadcrumbs. Coat each scallop thoroughly with bread crumbs and set aside on a plate.
STEP FOUR: Arrange the breaded scallops in a single layer in the bottom of the air fryer basket. You may need to work in batches if using an air fryer basket and not an air fryer oven.
STEP FIVE: Air fry scallops for about 2 minutes on one side before using tongs to carefully flip them over. Return to the air fryer to cook for another 3 minutes. You want your scallops to be golden brown and opaque.
Tips to Make The Best Air Fryer Scallops
- Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket. The air needs to circulate for your scallops to cook evenly, so be sure to put them in a single layer with a bit of space in between.
- Pat them dry for best results, especially when making breaded scallops. Otherwise, the breading won’t stick to the surface.
- Remove the side muscle. There is a small muscle on the side of each scallop that will harbor sand. While often already removed, be sure to check for the best texture.
What to Serve with Air Fried Scallops
- Jasmine or Basmati Rice
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Air Fryer Broccoli
- Cajun Corn on the Cob
- Air Fryer Hush Puppies
- Air Fryer Green Beans
Variations to Air Fryer Scallops
- Switch up the breading. For extra crunch, you can air fry scallops with panko breadcrumbs in place of Italian breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can season and air fry scallops without any breading.
- Make frozen scallops in the air fryer. Follow the same basic instructions for fresh or thawed air fryer scallops with a small tweak. You’ll want to air fry for 4 minutes, then flip and air fry for another 3.
- Use bay scallops. I designed this recipe for large scallops, but you can also make air fryer bay scallops. Just keep in mind that they are much smaller and will cook faster.
- Switch up your spices. There are countless ways to season scallops. Seasoning for scallops can include Cajun, lemon pepper, blackened seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, and so much more.
How Long to Cook Scallops in the Air Fryer
Cooking sea scallops in the air fryer is as quick as it is easy!
- Fresh, unfrozen sea scallops take about 5 minutes to cook in a 390 degree air fryer.
- Frozen scallops in the air fryer require slightly more time and should be air fried for around 7 minutes.
In all cases, you want to cook your air fried scallops until they are opaque and golden brown with a firm yet tender texture. The ideal internal temperature is between 125 – 130 degrees F.
Storing Leftover Air Fryer Scallops
You can store any cooked leftovers in a shallow airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Stored similarly, uncooked scallops are good for about 2 days.
Reheat any leftovers in a 390 degree air fryer for about 2-3 minutes.
More Air Fryer Seafood Recipes
- Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
- Air Fryer Swordfish
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Air Fryer Cod
- Air Fryer Oysters
- Air Fryer Calamari
- Air Fryer Mahi Mahi
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 pound sea scallops, patted dry
- Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F.
- In a shallow bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together. Pour melted butter into a second shallow bowl.
- Dredge each scallop through the melted butter, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture until they’re completely coated; set aside on a plate.
- Lightly spray the preheated air fryer basket with cooking spray. Arrange scallops in a single layer, working in batches if necessary.
- Air fry the scallops for 2 minutes. Use tongs to carefully flip them over, then air fry for 3 more minutes until opaque and golden brown.
How to Reheat Scallops in the Air Fryer:
1. Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees.
2. Cook leftover sea scallops in the air fryer for 2 to 3 minutes, until warmed thoroughly.
How to Cook Frozen Scallops in the Air Fryer:
1. Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees.
2. Place frozen scallops in the air fryer and cook for about 7 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 1135mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 26g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.