How to cook frozen scallops in a pan, air fryer, Instant Pot or microwave is here! Now you can cook this popular seafood dish fast and perfectly to tender. Golden brown seared on the outside while still soft inside, cooked in all sort of ways.
We are here to share how to cook frozen scallops with y’all today!! One of our favorite things out of the sea there are many ways you can cook frozen meat to tender and you’ll be surprised at how successful each one is. (affiliate links present)
How to Cook Scallops from Frozen
Let’s start with my favorite machine nowadays. You can follow our air fryer scallops recipe, buttery and crisp on the edges. You can use fresh, defrosted or frozen this way. Changes would be the temp is lower at 360 F and cook time obviously with the latter version taking longer at 12 minutes.
When cooking frozen fish we just go for simple. That is the best way when you have a delicate food like this and you really want it’s own flavors to shine. Cook only the amount you want to eat at that time, they don’t save very well. A fresh lemon is kinda’ a must and some salt and pepper. That’s really it y’all.
How Long do you Microwave Frozen Scallops
Sounds crazy that you can actually do this but it’s a thing. I mean if you are in an rv or hotel room and this is your primary or only way of cooking it can come in handy. It is best to defrost scallops in microwave first on low power and then cook covered until tender.
- Set to 30% power
- Place frozen scallops on two folded together paper towels on top of a plate
- Heat for 4 minutes if you just want them defrosted
- To cook them beyond this, remove paper towel and set on plate with small pats of butter on top of each piece (season to your liking too)
- Cover with vented plastic wrap and heat on high power for approx. 4 -5 minutes or until tender thru to the middle
If you wanted to get a golden brown on the outside beyond that you could use a hot pan on the stovetop with a bit of olive oil and butter or an air fryer. For the latter set to 380 for a few minutes. Set on top of parchment paper and drizzle melted butter on top. 1 minute on each side is enough to get that seared look.
Frozen Scallops How to Cook
Instant Pot Frozen Scallops
If you just wanted to cook them by themselves you’d essentially use a pressure cooker to steam. You’ll want a trivet to set them on or a vegetable basket to keep them out of the liquid below. Similar to cooking Instant Pot shrimp you’d only need about 1 minute to get tender, then I’d suggest air frying to crisp.
Another way of cooking frozen scallops in pressure cooker would be to throw them in with some sauce and pasta. This recipe explains how that should be done. You only need a few minutes, beyond that they will become rubbery and the texture will be way off.
Frozen Scallops in a Pan
We go super simple with this and most all fish in general. You really want to taste the flavor of the meat, not all the seasonings. Simple salt and pepper is really all that is needed. Beyond that a gentle squeeze of fresh lemon juice is good but that is generally it.
- Frozen meat
- 3 tbsp butter
- A bit of olive oil to sear scallops in a hot pan
- Salt and pepper (or any other seasonings of your choice) to taste
How Long to Cook Frozen Scallops
Set aside about 6 minutes for pan seared scallops that start off rock hard. If you have fresh scallops or choose to thaw frozen scallops ahead of time the cook time would be less. For fresh sea scallops you would pat them dry and add seasonings. Add white wine or oil and cook 2-3 minutes.
You just want a good sear on the outside with a light golden brown crust and still very tender in the middle. Biggest tip is do NOT overcook any fish, that is my absolute worst pet peeve. If we had to choose between underdone or dry and cooked too long it would be the first. You don’t have to kill it.
- Put butter and oil in skillet over medium high heat. Place frozen scallops in skillet. To avoid boiling the scallops as the water is released, cook only 8-10 at a time max.
- If too much water builds up in the pan as they cook, pour off the excess. In that case you’d want to add more butter/oil if needed.
- Cook about 3 minutes and flip, then brown on the other side for 3 more minutes. The top and bottom of the scallops should have a nice browning.
- Season and serve.
Want to pair this with a healthy side dish? Read our article on how to cook frozen brussel sprouts!
How to save leftover cooked scallops
If you do have leftovers you know I hate wasting food. You can save them to reheat and enjoy the next day, but I would eat within the next 24 hours. Use a slotted spoon to remove pieces from pan so they are not in liquid. It is better to package them up not surrounded with oil and/or butter so they get mushy.
You’ll want to wait until they are cooled to room temperature and then transfer into a container with a lid you can seal tight. You can use freezer bags too, you just want to keep as much air out from around the fish. Air is the enemy and will dry your pieces out which means it won’t be ideal for eating later on.
How to reheat scallops
The next day the best way is to reheat is to use your air fryer! Preheat to 380 F for 5 minutes. Lay a piece of parchment paper in bottom and set inside. Spray tops with olive oil and air fry for 1 minute on each side or until warmed in the center. I highly suggest browning a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste.
If you make a fresh batch of noodles you can drizzle some butter on top of that and make an entirely new and 2nd meal out of what is left which is a win win in my book. 😉
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How to Cook Frozen Scallops
- 1 pan
- Put butter and oil in skillet. Set heat to sear or medium-high heat. Place frozen scallops in skillet. To avoid boiling the scallops as the water is released, cook only 8-10 at a time max.
- If too much water builds up in the pan as they cook, pour off the excess and add more butter/oil if needed. Cook scallops 3 minutes and flip. Cook for 3 more minutes. The top and bottom of the scallops should have a nice browning.
- Season and serve.