Buttery air fryer scallops become tender and delicious in your Ninja Foodi or Cosori. Great served on rice or in a bed of butter noodles. We will show you how to cook fresh or defrosted pieces. If you have been forgetful and they are still rock hard we share here how to cook frozen scallops a few different ways here.
Super easy Air Fryer Scallops are made in under 20 minutes are elegant, and the perfect dinner option for any occasion. Buttery scallops with garlic on a pile of butter noodles are one of the best air fryer recipes will ever eat. (affiliate links present, originally published 1/21)
Ninja Foodi Scallops
You guys already know how obsessed I am with my beloved air fryer. But did you realize you could seriously throw something as delicate as bay scallops inside and cook them in a matter of minutes?!?! It doesn’t matter what name brand you have, they all basically work the same.
The biggest tip no matter what you use is to keep your food spread out and in one layer. That will ensure you get a nice crisp on the outside all the way around no matter what type of fish recipes you decide to make.
Scallops in Air Fryer
FIRST – You should sign up for my free newsletter so you get new posts emailed to you twice a week and never miss out on anything! If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
Garlic Butter Scallops in Air Fryer
Sometimes we get in the mood for seafood or my favorite crab cakes from Joe’s Crab Shack…..but I don’t feel like traveling to a nice restaurant to make it happen.
That’s where this recipe for air fried scallops saves the day. Cooking in the air fryer has been a real game changer for us. Everything comes out perfectly cooked in under 15 minutes many times. Then just whip together some veggies or white rice and you have yourself a complete healthy air fryer meal.
You don’t want to overcook these babies. Just until the insides have lost their transluscent color is the key. If you want the outside to be seared then you’d want a spray of olive oil and a few more minutes. This is what was used here:
Air Fryer Scallops Frozen
So, forget dining out when you can prepare this incredible meal with very few ingredients at home. If you have access to fresh scallops, go for it! I used frozen just because they aren’t common in our area.
Either way, after the first taste, you will know you made the right decision making these scallops in the air fryer. The best way to defrost them is to leave them in the bag they came in and set that inside a bowl with cool water. Check, and if it has warmed up but they aren’t softened yet, change the water to cool again.
Beyond that you can drizzle with melted butter, sea salt, pepper, garlic or whatever you like best.
Cosori Air Fryer Scallops
If you forgot to defrost these babies it is okay. For this you want to cook a bit lower in temperature to get them just right.
- Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees f for 5 minutes
- Spray basket with olive oil spray
- Lay pieces in without overlapping them
- Squeeze lemon juice on top and add seasonings
- Air fry for 12 minutes flipping over halfway thru until tender
While scallops are known for being served at fancy dinner parties, you can totally make them any time or for any reason.
I served this scallops air fryer recipe with some butter noodles. It’s the most simple recipe ever, and you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. Plus, even the kids will eat the noodles without complaint even if they don’t want the scallops! Parenting win!
Add a glass of wine, a fresh garden salad, and enjoy your meal with the comfort of knowing cleanup is a breeze and you didn’t even spend tons of money to make it.
What do scallops taste like?
Scallops have a very similar taste to clams, oysters, lobster, and crab, all tied together.
They are sweet and have a flavor that is sort of nutty. If you haven’t tried scallops before, now is the time to make it happen. You aren’t going to regret it.
How do you thaw frozen scallops?
As with any seafood, you need to be careful when you thaw it, so you don’t risk causing bacteria to grow. Here are a couple of different methods for thawing them out.
Place the frozen scallops in a bowl and add a piece of plastic wrap. Let them sit in the fridge overnight or until they are thawed. This is the best way to thaw them, but you will notice you have to plan ahead a little bit since it takes longer.
Another easy option that is perfect for those people who aren’t the best at planning ahead! Simply place the scallops in a ziplock bag and make sure it’s closed tightly.
Then put the bag into a bowl and add cold water. The reason you need to put the frozen scallops in a bag is if you put them directly in the water, they will be watered down.
- It may take a couple of hours for them to thaw, so keep changing the water at least every 30 minutes until they are defrosted.
How long should scallops be cooked?
Cooking scallops in the air fryer is FAST! They only need to cook for 6-7 minutes. See what I mean about quick and easy? We talk all about how long to cook scallops other ways here too if you want to compare all the methods out there.
- They should reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees F. before serving. You never want to overcook air fryer scallops, or they will turn tough.
On the other hand, it’s equally as important not to undercook the scallops either. They can make you very ill if you eat them raw or undercooked.
NOTE: Never, ever use warm or hot water to defrost the scallops. You will risk bacteria developing and could make you sick.
Here is a quick step by step, there is a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post as well: Boil egg noodles on stovetop (if you want to serve scallops with this). Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Put sea scallops on paper towels to completely dry scallops on outside of each.
Sprinkle each one with salt and pepper.
- Lightly spray air fryer basket with non stick cooking oil, I like olive oil version. Lay scallops in the basket so they aren’t touching.
- Allow them to cook for 3 minutes. While you’re waiting, combine butter and garlic in a bowl and melt in microwave.
- Flip over scallops after the initial 3 minutes and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Then open basket and brush some butter on each one. Continue cooking for last 2 minutes for 7 min. total (timing will vary slightly depending on how large your pcs. are).
Remove, serve over butter noodles that are cooked and pour remaining butter mixture over the top of everything. Serve together for dinner.
Seafood in Air Fryer
Looking for other air fryer fish recipes you’ll love? We have a bunch because each one has turned out so great like:
- Frozen fish in air fryer saves the day when you forgot to defrost dinner.
- We’ve even made air fryer frozen shrimp and air fryer fried shrimp before.
- Air fryer fish and chips is probably my girls’ favorite snack.
- This very lightly breaded air fryer tilapia is a great choice as well with some vegetables.
We’ll end these ideas with some air fryer oysters…oh yes we did!
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Air Fryer Scallops
- Boil egg noodles on stovetop (if you want to serve scallops with this).
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Put your fresh or defrosted sea scallops on paper towels to dry scallops on outside of each.
- Sprinkle each one with salt and pepper.
- Spray air fryer basket with non stick spray and lay scallops inside so they aren't touching.
- Cook for 3 minutes. While you're waiting, combine butter and garlic in a bowl and melt in microwave.
- Flip over scallops after 3 minutes and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Then open basket and brush some butter on each one. Continue cooking for last 2 minutes for 7 min. total (timing will vary slightly depending on how large your pcs. are).
- Remove, serve over butter noodles that are cooked and pour remaining butter mixture over the top of everything. Serve.