Delicious Air Fryer Scallops Recipes: Quick & Easy Methods

Air fryer scallops recipes have become increasingly popular in recent years as people look for healthier ways to cook their favorite seafood dishes. Air frying is a great alternative to deep frying because it uses hot air to cook the food instead of oil, resulting in a crispy texture without the added fat and calories.

Scallops are a delicious and nutritious seafood option that can be cooked in a variety of ways. However, air frying scallops has become a favorite method for many because it is quick, easy, and produces perfectly cooked scallops every time. Whether you are a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, air fryer scallops recipes are a great way to add some variety to your mealtime routine.

In this article, we will explore some of the best air fryer scallops recipes that are sure to impress your family and friends. From classic garlic butter scallops to spicy Cajun scallops, we will provide step-by-step instructions and helpful tips to ensure your scallops turn out perfectly every time. So, grab your air fryer and let’s get cooking!

Selecting Scallops for Air Frying

When it comes to selecting scallops for air frying, there are a few important factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you choose the best scallops for your air fryer:

1. Freshness

Freshness is key when it comes to scallops. Look for scallops that have a sweet, briny scent and a firm texture. Avoid scallops that have a strong fishy odor or a slimy texture, as these are signs that they are not fresh.

2. Size

When selecting scallops for air frying, it’s important to consider their size. Smaller scallops may cook more quickly and evenly in the air fryer, while larger scallops may take longer to cook and may not cook as evenly. Choose scallops that are a similar size to ensure even cooking.

3. Type

There are two main types of scallops: sea scallops and bay scallops. Sea scallops are larger and meatier, while bay scallops are smaller and sweeter. Both types can be air fried, but the cooking time may vary depending on the size and type of scallop.

4. Preparation

Before air frying scallops, it’s important to prepare them properly. Remove any excess moisture from the scallops by patting them dry with a paper towel. Season the scallops with salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings. You can also coat the scallops in breadcrumbs or a light batter for added texture and flavor.

By following these tips, you can select the best scallops for air frying and ensure that they cook up perfectly in your air fryer.

Essential Air Fryer Settings

When it comes to cooking scallops in an air fryer, there are a few essential settings that one should keep in mind. Here are some of the most important ones:


The temperature setting is crucial when cooking scallops in an air fryer. It is recommended to set the temperature between 375°F and 400°F for the best results. This temperature range allows the scallops to cook evenly and achieve a crispy exterior while maintaining a tender interior.


The cooking time for scallops in an air fryer depends on their thickness. It is advisable to cook them for 5-7 minutes for scallops that are 1 inch thick. For thicker scallops, it is recommended to increase the cooking time by a minute or two.


Preheating the air fryer is an essential step before cooking scallops. It is recommended to preheat the air fryer for 3-5 minutes before placing the scallops in the basket. This ensures that the air fryer is at the right temperature for cooking the scallops.

Basket Shaking

Shaking the basket during cooking is an important step when air frying scallops. It helps to ensure that the scallops cook evenly and achieve a crispy exterior. It is recommended to shake the basket once or twice during cooking.

By keeping these essential settings in mind, one can cook delicious and perfectly cooked scallops in an air fryer.

Preparing Scallops for Air Frying

Scallops are a delicious seafood option that can be cooked in a variety of ways, including air frying. Before cooking, it’s important to properly prepare the scallops to ensure they come out perfectly crispy and flavorful. Here are some tips for preparing scallops for air frying.

Cleaning and Drying

The first step in preparing scallops for air frying is to clean and dry them thoroughly. Rinse the scallops under cold water and remove any dirt or debris. Pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. This step is crucial to ensure the scallops cook evenly and don’t become soggy.

Seasoning Choices

When it comes to seasoning scallops for air frying, the options are endless. Some popular choices include garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. For a more adventurous flavor, try adding cumin, chili powder, or cayenne pepper. Be sure to season both sides of the scallops evenly for maximum flavor.

Marinating Techniques

Marinating scallops before air frying can add an extra layer of flavor and moisture. A simple marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic can do wonders for scallops. For a sweeter flavor, try a honey mustard marinade or a teriyaki sauce. Be sure to let the scallops marinate for at least 30 minutes before air frying.

By following these tips for preparing scallops for air frying, you can create a delicious and healthy meal in no time. Experiment with different seasoning and marinade options to find your favorite flavor combination.

Air Frying Techniques

Air frying scallops is a quick and easy way to enjoy this delicious seafood dish. However, there are a few techniques to keep in mind to ensure that they are cooked to perfection. Here are some tips to help you achieve the best results when air frying scallops.

Preheating the Air Fryer

Before cooking the scallops, it is important to preheat the air fryer. This will ensure that the temperature is consistent throughout the cooking process. Preheating the air fryer also helps to reduce the cooking time. To preheat the air fryer, set the temperature to 400°F and let it run for 5 minutes.

Arranging Scallops in the Basket

To ensure that the scallops cook evenly, it is important to arrange them in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Avoid overcrowding the basket as this can cause the scallops to steam instead of fry. If necessary, cook the scallops in batches to ensure that they are evenly cooked.

Cooking Time and Temperature

The cooking time and temperature for air frying scallops may vary depending on the size of the scallops and the air fryer being used. As a general rule, cook the scallops at 400°F for 6-8 minutes. Flip the scallops halfway through the cooking time to ensure that they are evenly cooked.

It is important to note that overcooking scallops can cause them to become tough and rubbery. Therefore, it is recommended to check the scallops frequently to ensure that they are cooked to your desired level of doneness.

By following these air frying techniques, you can enjoy perfectly cooked scallops every time.

Serving Suggestions

Sauces and Dips

Air fryer scallops are delicious on their own, but they can be taken to the next level with the addition of a flavorful sauce or dip. Here are a few suggestions to try:

  • Lemon butter sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan and add fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt. Drizzle over the scallops before serving.
  • Garlic aioli: Mix mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Serve as a dipping sauce on the side.
  • Tartar sauce: Combine mayonnaise, chopped pickles, minced onion, and lemon juice in a bowl. This classic seafood sauce pairs perfectly with air fryer scallops.

Side Dishes

When serving air fryer scallops, it’s important to have the right side dishes to complement the flavors. Here are a few ideas:

  • Roasted vegetables: Toss your favorite vegetables in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in the oven until tender. This is a healthy and flavorful side dish that pairs well with scallops.
  • Garlic mashed potatoes: Mash boiled potatoes with butter, milk, minced garlic, and salt. This creamy and flavorful side dish is the perfect accompaniment to scallops.
  • Caesar salad: Toss chopped romaine lettuce, croutons, grated Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing in a bowl. This classic salad is a great side dish for any seafood meal.

With these serving suggestions, you can elevate your air fryer scallops to a gourmet meal that will impress your guests.

Healthy Cooking Tips

When cooking scallops in an air fryer, there are a few healthy cooking tips to keep in mind. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of your air fryer scallops recipes:

1. Choose the Right Oil

When cooking scallops in an air fryer, it’s important to choose the right oil. Opt for oils that have a high smoke point, such as avocado or grapeseed oil. These oils are less likely to break down at high temperatures, which can help prevent the formation of harmful compounds.

2. Use a Light Hand with Salt

Scallops have a naturally sweet and delicate flavor, so it’s important not to overpower them with too much salt. Instead, try using herbs and spices to add flavor. For example, a sprinkle of garlic powder, smoked paprika, or dried thyme can go a long way in enhancing the flavor of your air fryer scallops.

3. Don’t Overcook

One of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking scallops is overcooking them. Overcooked scallops can become tough and rubbery, which can ruin the texture and flavor. To avoid this, cook your scallops for just a few minutes on each side, until they are golden brown and just cooked through.

4. Pair with Healthy Sides

To make your air fryer scallops meal even healthier, pair them with healthy sides. Steamed vegetables, quinoa, or a mixed green salad are all great options. This will help balance out the meal and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive.

By following these healthy cooking tips, you can create delicious and nutritious air fryer scallops recipes that are sure to impress.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with the best air fryer scallops recipes, issues can arise. Here are some common problems and solutions to help you get the best results every time.

Issue: Scallops sticking to the air fryer basket

Solution: To avoid scallops sticking to the air fryer basket, lightly coat the basket with cooking spray or oil before cooking. You can also try placing the scallops on a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil before placing them in the air fryer.

Issue: Scallops not cooking evenly

Solution: To ensure even cooking, make sure the scallops are spaced out evenly in the air fryer basket. Avoid overcrowding the basket as this can lead to uneven cooking. You can also try flipping the scallops halfway through cooking to ensure even browning on both sides.

Issue: Scallops turning out dry

Solution: Overcooking is the most common reason scallops turn out dry. Make sure to follow the recommended cooking times for your recipe and check the scallops frequently to avoid overcooking. If your air fryer does not have a temperature control, try reducing the cooking time or temperature.

Issue: Scallops not getting crispy

Solution: To ensure crispy scallops, make sure they are dry before cooking. Pat them dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper before cooking. You can also try coating the scallops with breadcrumbs or panko for extra crunch. Finally, make sure the air fryer is preheated before cooking to ensure maximum crispiness.

Recipe Variations

Air fryer scallops are a versatile dish that can be prepared in many ways to suit different tastes. Here are some recipe variations to try:

Herb-Infused Scallops

For a fresh and herbaceous flavor, try infusing your scallops with herbs like thyme, rosemary, or basil. Simply mix chopped herbs with olive oil and lemon juice, then brush the mixture onto the scallops before air frying. Alternatively, you can sprinkle the herbs directly onto the scallops before cooking.

Spicy Scallops

If you like a bit of heat, try adding some spice to your scallops. You can use chili powder, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes to add a kick of flavor. Mix the spices with olive oil and lemon juice, then brush onto the scallops before air frying. For an extra spicy twist, try adding a bit of hot sauce or sriracha.

Garlic Butter Scallops

Garlic butter is a classic flavor combination that pairs well with seafood. To make garlic butter scallops in the air fryer, mix melted butter with minced garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice. Brush the mixture onto the scallops before cooking, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

These recipe variations are just a few examples of the many ways you can prepare air fryer scallops. Experiment with different flavors and ingredients to find your own favorite recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know when scallops are done in Airfryer?

The best way to determine if scallops are done in an Airfryer is to check their internal temperature using a meat thermometer. The ideal temperature for cooked scallops is 145°F. Another way to check if scallops are done is to look for a golden brown color on the outside. Overcooking scallops can make them tough and rubbery, so it’s important to keep an eye on them while cooking.

What is the best cooking method for scallops?

Airfrying is a great cooking method for scallops because it allows them to cook quickly and evenly while retaining their natural flavor and texture. It’s important to preheat the Airfryer before adding the scallops to ensure they cook evenly. Brushing the scallops with a little bit of oil or melted butter can also help them cook evenly and prevent them from sticking to the Airfryer basket.

Why do you soak scallops in milk before cooking?

Soaking scallops in milk before cooking can help to remove any fishy taste or odor and make them more tender. The milk contains enzymes that break down the proteins in the scallops, making them more tender and flavorful. To soak scallops in milk, simply place them in a bowl of milk for 30 minutes before cooking.

What not to do when cooking scallops?

When cooking scallops, it’s important not to overcrowd the Airfryer basket. Overcrowding can prevent the scallops from cooking evenly and can cause them to steam instead of sear. It’s also important not to overcook the scallops, as this can make them tough and rubbery. Finally, avoid using too much seasoning or sauce, as this can overpower the natural flavor of the scallops.