Easy and Irresistible Air Fryer Scallops Recipe

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Make the most delicious, juicy scallops right in your air fryer. This incredibly easy recipe is ready in minutes and tastes like the scallops you’d get at a high-end eatery!

Air fryer scallops have beautifully golden-brown exteriors while the insides remain tender and succulent. The texture is perfect, with a light coating of crispy breadcrumb outside and a soft buttery texture inside.

I love using lemon pepper seasoning on scallops for a tangy citrus flavor combined with a bit of spice. This effortless recipe gives you perfectly cooked, succulent scallops every time.

In this article, we’ll dive into the simple steps to making the most delicious, juicy scallops right in your air fryer. Complete with spice variations, serving ideas, and expert tips and tricks, you will create a seafood feast in no time.

Looking for more air fryer seafood recipes? Try air fryer shrimp, air fryer fish and chips, or air fryer cod.

🦪What Scallops to Use

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

Let’s chat about the main ingredient here: scallops! You’ll want to use large sea scallops for this recipe, which are plump, juicy, and perfect for air frying.

Bay scallops are smaller than sea scallops and are too small to work well in an air fryer. Frozen scallops work fine. Just thaw them before air frying.

When shopping for fresh scallops, look for fresh and translucent ones that are not dull or slimy. Also, try to find dry-packed scallops which haven’t been soaked in a sodium solution. This gives you the best flavor and texture for your air fryer scallops.

labeled ingredient photo air fryer scallops.

🥣How to Make Air Fryer Scallops

  1. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This simple step makes all the difference in getting that beautiful golden crust.
  2. Season scallops with bread crumbs, lemon pepper, and a sprinkle of garlic powder. Simple, yet incredibly flavorful. You can also add a touch of paprika or cayenne pepper for a little kick if you’re feeling adventurous.
  3. Arrange the seasoned scallops in a single layer, leaving some space between them. This will ensure even cooking and that coveted crispy exterior.
  4. Air fry the scallops for 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye on them, as air fryer cooking times may vary. You’ll know they’re done when they’re firm to the touch and golden brown on the outside.
scallops in air fryer before cooking.
Before air frying
scallops in air fryer after cooking.
After air frying

🍴Serving Ideas

The serving possibilities are endless for this delicious dinner! Some of my favorite sides to serve with a scallop dinner include a simple green salad, roasted potatoes, green beans, or a creamy risotto. Here are some other great options:

  • Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce: In a small saucepan, melt some butter and add minced garlic, lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Drizzle this heavenly sauce over your scallops for a restaurant-worthy dish.
  • Pasta: Toss your air fryer scallops with some cooked linguine or spaghetti, a splash of white wine, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. This makes a light yet satisfying meal that’s perfect for weeknights.
  • Grain Bowls: Serve your scallops atop a bed of cooked quinoa or brown rice and some fresh veggies for a nutritious and delicious meal that comes together in no time.
  • Salad: Add your scallops to a fresh salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, and a tangy vinaigrette. This is a light and refreshing option for those warm summer evenings.

💭How to Store

If you have leftovers, you can put cooked scallops in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop for a few minutes. Air frying leftover scallops tends to dry them out, so it isn’t a great way to reheat them.

Closeup of air fryer scallops with light breading and snap peas.

🧄Seasoning Variations

Lemon pepper seasoning is my favorite for scallops because the tangy citrus notes combined with the kick of pepper work wonders on the delicate taste of scallops. But here are some other ideas you can try:

  • Garlic and Herb: Combine garlic powder, black pepper, and salt with herbs like parsley, thyme, or basil for a seasoning blend with fresh, aromatic flavors.
  • Cajun Spice: Add a bit of southern flair to your scallops with a spicy blend of paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme or your favorite Cajun spice blend.
  • Chili Lime: Give your scallops a zesty and slightly spicy flavor by using chili powder and lime or lemon zest.
  • Curry Powder: For a global twist, a dusting of curry powder can provide a warm, aromatic, and complex flavor profile to scallops.

⭐Tips and Tricks

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • Pat your scallops dry: This is crucial for achieving that perfect sear. Use a paper towel to gently pat each scallop dry before seasoning and cooking.
  • Season generously: Be bold and use a good amount of seasoning and breadcrumbs. Change the seasoning to reflect your tastes, making them spicier or sweeter.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer: Give your scallops space to breathe. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and a less-than-ideal texture.
closeup of an air fryer scallop on a fork with a plate of scallops in the background.


Can I use frozen scallops in the air fryer?

The scallops you air fry should not be frozen. So if frozen, thoroughly thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and pat them dry before cooking.

How long do scallops take to cook in the air fryer?

Scallops typically take 6-8 minutes to cook in the air fryer, depending on their size. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t overcook.

Can I make air fryer scallops ahead of time?

Enjoy your scallops freshly cooked for the best taste and texture. You can make them ahead of time and reheat them, but it will affect the texture.

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top view of air fryer sea scallops with light breading.
5 from 1 vote

Air Fryer Scallops Recipe

Published By Anne
Air fryer scallops are perfectly seasoned with lemon pepper and lightly breaded for a crispy bite. Enjoy restaurant-quality scallops in minutes!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Total Time11 minutes
Servings: 3
Print Save Rate Pin


  • 1 pound sea scallops about 20
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning


  • Rinse the scallops with cold water. Then pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
    1 pound sea scallops
  • Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and lemon pepper seasoning in a shallow bowl. Add the scallops to the bowl a few at a time and coat them with the spices.
    ½ cup breadcrumbs, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • Lightly coat the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Or use a sheet of parchment paper at the bottom of the basket so the scallops don’t stick.
  • Arrange the seasoned scallops in the air fryer basket in a single layer, leaving space between them.
  • Air fry the scallops for 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees F. Keep an eye on them, as air fryer cooking times may vary. You’ll know they’re done when they’re firm to the touch and golden brown on the outside.


  • Pat your scallops dry for the best results.
  • Season generously. Don’t be afraid to use a good amount of seasoning and breadcrumbs.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer.

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Nutrition Information

Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 725mg | Potassium: 360mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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breaded air fryer scallops on a plate with snap peas.

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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