Pan Seared Scallops with Orange Ginger Sauce

How about a fancy-looking dinner that only takes 20 minutes to prepare? Ahh yes, I got your attention. These pan seared scallops with orange ginger sauce are it. 

This scallop dish is fast to make on a weeknight, and is filled with bright flavors that will make everyone cheer when you bring it to the table.

Close up side shot of Orange-Ginger Seared Scallops.

How to cook the perfect scallops

  1. Use fresh scallops from a reputable source.
  2. Pull the ‘foot’ off.  It’s a little rubbery piece on the outside of each scallop that peels right off.
  3. Dry each scallop really well with paper towel.  If there is excess moisture, it’s difficult to get a good sear (that crispy-brown outside).
  4. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, on all sides, after they’re nice and dry.
  5. Get the pan nice and hot, add oil, wait until it’s shimmering, then add the scallops.  It should sizzle!  Try not to crowd the pan.
  6. Only cook them for a few minutes on each side, just until each side is browned.  They cook reeeeallll fast. (yay!)
  7. And voila!  Best ever Pan Seared Scallops with Orange Ginger Sauce!
Overhead shot of Orange-Ginger Seared Scallops + Sugar Snap Pea Slaw on a white plate.

Cooking Tips

  • Keep ‘em Dry: Always pat down scallops with paper towels so that they’re completely dry. That ensures a golden crust when they leave pan.
  • Keep it Hot: You want your pan to be screaming hot when the scallops hit the pan. The sound that you’re looking for is a big sizzle when they land in the oil.
  • Give Them Space: Use a good sized pan for the scallops, and make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. If they’re too close together they’ll steam instead of searing. For the golden crust, you want to give the scallops space.

Ingredient Tips

  • Peeling Ginger: Because ginger is a root, it has indents and knobs which makes it a little fickle to peel with a traditional vegetable peeler. And of course you can use a knife to peel it, but that means that you’ll lose a bit of the scrumptious flesh. The answer to the ginger peeling quandary is as simple as your utensil drawer. Grab a basic teaspoon, and draw it over the peel of the ginger. It comes off easy peasy! And you won’t be losing any of the ginger goodness.
  • Heat Level: If you’d like to add some additional spice to your slaw, you can substitute in hot sesame oil for a bit of kick. Also, a little deseeded diced jalapeno would be delicious too!
  • Make Ahead: You can make the slaw topping up to 2 days ahead of making your scallops. The ingredients will meld in the refrigerator, giving you an even more flavorful salad!
  • Oranges: Any type of orange will be delicious in this recipe!  But, if you can find blood oranges they add a bit of extra sweetness and color. You’ll typically find them on your grocers shelves from December through May.
  • Snap Peas: If you can’t find sugar snap peas some fun substitutes are: Snow peas, fresh edamame, or fresh fava beans.
  • Radishes: You may have noticed that when you go to the grocery store or farmers market, there are tons of colorful radishes to choose from in addition to the Cherry Belle radish that you typically see in the produce aisle. Some of our favorites are Watermelon radishes (bright pink on the inside with a vibrantly green exterior), and the Black Spanish radish (black on the outside with a bright white interior). Play with your radishes!
Side shot of Orange-Ginger Seared Scallops + Sugar Snap Pea Slaw.

Ingredient Substitutions & Alterations

  • To make it gluten free: This recipe is naturally gluten free!
  • To make it dairy free: This recipe is naturally dairy free!
  • To make it vegan: Try this recipe with crispy tofu!

Other fabulous seafood recipes:


Pan Seared Scallops with Orange Ginger Sauce

This 20-minute scallop recipe makes a wonderful healthy protein addition to your dinner and is elevated with a delicious orange ginger sauce and slaw. 

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Seafood
  • Method: Stove-Top
  • Cuisine: American, Asian




  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
  • 5 radishes, julienned
  • 1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced


  • 1 ½ tablespoons oil
  • 1-pound sea scallops, cleaned
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • Zest and juice of 2 large oranges
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together sesame oil, vinegar, honey and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in sugar snap peas, radishes and green onion. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet to medium-high heat. Dry scallops with paper towel. Season both sides of the scallop with salt and pepper. Once oil is hot, place scallops in the pan. Cook until bottom is browned and crispy, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel.
  3. Add orange zest and juice to the hot pan, the whisk in brown sugar. Place ginger in the pan. Simmer until slightly thickened, then whisk in butter. Remove ginger. Spoon sauce over scallops and serve topped with sugar snap pea slaw.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 259
  • Sugar: 16 g
  • Sodium: 589
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 19 g
  • Cholesterol: 43 mg

Keywords: healthy, pan seared, easy, simple, quick, weeknight dinner

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Side shot of Orange-Ginger Seared Scallops + Sugar Snap Pea Slaw.

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