Brown Butter Scallop Pasta

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A simple and delicious weeknight dinner, Brown Butter Scallop Pasta is restaurant quality food, done at home in under 30 minutes. The nutty aroma of browned butter with with the crispy, buttery, and tender scallop texture all come together for a perfect dinner to impress the entire family.

brown butter scallop pasta

I am always trying new pasta recipes. Maybe it’s the Italian in me, but in my world, no dinner compares to a pasta dish. I’ve made the classics Pesto Pasta, my favorite Tuscan Chicken with a side of linguine, and now I’m trying something totally new: seared scallops with spaghetti, and depending completely on the depth of flavor from browned butter for my sauce.

What do I need to get started?

ingredients for scallop pasta
  • Scallops. I used bay scallops, but sea scallops are great for this recipe as well. Keep in mind that they are much larger than bay scallops and may need additional cooking time.
  • Bacon.
  • Salt and pepper. Salt for the pasta water, and salt and pepper for flavor.
  • Spaghetti. You can use any long pasta for this – linguine, bucatini, and fettuccine would all work just as well.
  • Garlic. As demonstrated by the name of my blog, I believe garlic will elevate nearly any dish 🙂
  • Butter.
  • Parsley – for garnish.

How do I make brown butter scallop pasta?

This is such an easy recipe to do, I will walk you through the entire thing.

brown butter scallop pasta

First you want to take your scallops and dry them off with a paper towel. Only dried scallops should be added to the pan. Generously season the scallops with salt and pepper, then set aside. Prepare your pasta according to box directions.

scallops dried on a paper towel

Next is frying the bacon. Cook it according to your preferences, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate, and do not drain the bacon grease. This will add more flavor to our pasta.

Add garlic (smashed and sliced) to the pan and cook in the bacon grease. Remove to a plate.

cooking garlic in bacon grease

Now for the scallops – cook in the bacon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, turning at least once. Both sides should be golden brown. Return the bacon and garlic to the pan, along with the butter.

Continue cooking the butter until it is browned. Add the pasta directly to the pan and sauce, and toss it all together. For additional acidity, you could add lemon juice or lemon zest, but this is totally optional – I did not do this.

scallops in brown butter

What is brown butter?

Browned butter is basically just butter that has been cooked slightly past the melting point. Browned butter offers a bolder and nuttier flavor, as well as lovely little flecks of color. Read this article for more info on browning butter!

brown butter scallop pasta for pinterest
brown butter scallop pasta

Brown Butter Scallop Pasta

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Pan seared scallops cooked with garlic and bacon, tossed in a browned butter sauce.


  • 3 strips bacon
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups bay scallops (sea scallops are okay too, but adjust cooking times)
  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1-2 tsp parsley, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, and drain. Do not rinse.
  2. Fry bacon according to your preferred level of doneness. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate, and reserve bacon grease in the pan.
  3. Prepare scallops by patting dry with a paper towel, then seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook smashed and sliced garlic in bacon grease on medium-high heat, until lightly browned - about 2 minutes. Remove garlic to a plate.
  5. Cook scallops on medium high heat until pan-side is golden brown, then flip and cook until other side is golden brown. This will take about 3 minutes per side on medium high heat.
  6. Return bacon and garlic to pan, along with butter. Keep mixing until butter is browned - about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add cooked pasta to the pan, and toss everything together so pasta is completely coated in butter.
  8. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Yield 2 Serving Size 1 large bowl
Amount Per Serving Calories 980Total Fat 55gSaturated Fat 32gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 255mgSodium 2701mgCarbohydrates 52gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 71g

Did you make this recipe?

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