Air Fryer Scallops with Bacon: A Delicious Seafood Delight

Can Air Frying Create Amazing Scallops?

Yes, it can! Discover the secret to preparing the most tender and succulent air fryer scallops that even seafood skeptics will enjoy. This recipe for air-fried sea scallops takes just 10 minutes to cook and contains only 3.2 grams of net carbs per serving. These low-carb, keto-friendly scallops are enhanced with the deliciousness of bacon. Get ready to savor the simplicity of air-fried bacon-wrapped scallops!

I must confess, it has been quite a while since I last indulged in scallops due to my husband’s distaste for them. However, when he complimented my air fryer bacon-wrapped scallops, I knew that I had discovered a truly winning recipe.

In my experience, air frying is the ultimate method for cooking fresh scallops. In the time it takes to preheat an oven, you can effortlessly air fry your scallops alongside some crispy bacon. The bacon ensures that the scallops remain moist and full of flavor.

The crucial thing to remember when cooking scallops in an air fryer is to avoid overcooking them, as they can easily become dry. It’s essential to keep them tender and delicious by adding some extra fat, such as bacon and a luscious garlic butter drizzle. These little touches elevate the flavor to new heights.

Scallops are a lean source of protein, but this recipe is by no means a lean cooking method. Instead, my intention was to convert previous scallop skeptics into devoted scallop lovers through this tantalizing recipe.

Good-quality scallops can be quite expensive, so it’s wise to transform them into a special and deeply appreciated meal. Consider serving them as a special appetizer or a delectable main course. The choice is yours!

The Nutritional Value of Air Fryer Scallops

One serving of Air Fryer Scallops (consisting of three wrapped scallops) contains 329 calories, 3.2 grams of net carbs, and 23.2 grams of protein. This macronutrient profile makes it ideal for most low-carb diets.

The Benefits of Air Fryer Scallops

Why should you try this air fryer scallop recipe? Let me give you a few compelling reasons:

  • High Protein: Scallops are an excellent source of lean, high-quality protein. Each serving of these scallops provides over 23 grams of protein, making them a nutrient-dense food, particularly rich in vitamin B12.
  • Keto, Low Carb, Gluten Free: If you follow a special diet, these air-fried scallops are perfect. They are gluten-free, keto-friendly, soy-free, and suitable for a low-carb, high-fat (lchf) diet.
  • Quick: The scallops themselves only require 6 minutes of air frying. They’re the perfect last-minute appetizer for any occasion, be it a holiday party or a joyful celebration.
  • Succulent and Tender: While scallops are naturally light, this recipe transforms them into a rich and indulgent delight. If you’ve only ever had dry scallops, you’ll be amazed at how amazing properly cooked scallops can be. They’re tender, buttery, and absolutely delicious.
  • Loved by Everyone: While it’s impossible to please absolutely everyone, this recipe comes close. As long as you have no medical or personal reasons to exclude the ingredients, I encourage you to give it a try.
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The Ingredients You’ll Need

To create these mouthwatering air fryer scallops, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Fresh sea scallops (preferably dry scallops, not wet scallops)
  • Pork bacon (no sugar added, not thick-sliced)
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Fresh minced garlic
  • Butter
  • Fresh lemons (for lemon zest and lemon juice)
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Please note that the cooking times may vary depending on the size of your scallops and the air fryer you use. Scallops are typically sold with two numbers indicating the quantity per pound. For example, “8/12” scallops mean there are 8-12 scallops per pound.

The Cooking Equipment You’ll Need

To prepare these delectable air fryer scallops, you’ll need toothpicks and an air fryer. Additionally, a meat thermometer will come in handy to ensure that your scallops reach a safe internal temperature after cooking.

You can use any air fryer you have on hand, such as a Ninja Foodi, Pampered Chef Air Fryer, Actifry, Cosori, Nuwave, Instant Vortex, Cuisinart, Philips, Power Air Fryer, or any other air fryer model you own. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary slightly depending on the specific air fryer you use.

How to Prepare Air Fryer Scallops

Let’s dive into the exciting process of making air fryer scallops wrapped in bacon! Our first step will be to partially cook the bacon. We don’t want it crispy just yet; it needs to be flexible enough to wrap around the scallops.

Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C) for 5 minutes. Place the bacon strips on the air fryer tray in a single layer. Air fry them for 4 minutes in the top rack position of the air fryer oven.

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I was able to cook four bacon strips at a time, so you might need to cook them in batches too. Remember, one strip of bacon is needed for each scallop.

Some scallops may still have a tough muscle attached to them, which many people prefer to remove. If your scallops have this muscle, feel free to remove it. However, it is edible if you happen to forget.

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and spray your air fryer tray or basket with cooking spray. Wrap each scallop around its circumference with a partially cooked bacon strip. Secure the ends of the bacon with toothpicks. If you need visual guidance, check out the recipe video in the recipe card below.

Place the wrapped scallops in a single layer on the prepared air fryer tray. Mist them with cooking oil and sprinkle them with Old Bay seasoning. Now, it’s time to cook!

Cooking Time and Temperature

To achieve perfectly cooked scallops, follow these guidelines:

Large raw scallops should be air fried for a total of 6 minutes in a preheated air fryer set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C).

Remember to flip the scallops after 3 minutes (i.e., halfway through the cooking time). You can sprinkle them with more Old Bay seasoning after flipping.

While the scallops are air frying, prepare a quick garlic butter sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the minced garlic. Be careful not to brown the butter, but letting it bubble slightly is okay.

After air frying, check that the scallops have reached a minimum internal temperature of 145F (63C) to ensure they’re perfectly cooked. Once done, drizzle the scallops with the decadent garlic butter sauce. Sprinkle them with lemon zest, black pepper, and fresh parsley, if desired.

Don’t forget to serve fresh lemon wedges on the side! Squeezing a little lemon juice over the scallops adds a zesty brightness and serves as the perfect finishing touch.

Leftovers and Serving Suggestions

After thawing scallops in the refrigerator, it’s best to use them within 24 hours. It’s always better to make just enough for your needs, as leftovers won’t be as good as freshly made scallops.

If you do have leftovers, store them covered in the fridge for up to one day. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, reheat them in the air fryer at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190C) for 2-3 minutes.

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Seasonings and Dips for Scallops

Although this air fryer scallop recipe already comes with a delightful garlic lemon butter sauce, you may be interested in exploring additional dressings or seasonings. Here are some ideas to enhance plain scallops:

  • Lemon caper sauce
  • Lemon herb sauce
  • Alfredo sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Coconut milk-based curry sauce for curried scallops
  • Cheese sauce for cheesy scallops
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Italian seasoning
  • Lemon pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Ideal Side Dishes for Air-Fried Scallops

If you’re not using them as an appetizer, air-fried scallops can be served as the protein component in my Butcher Block Dinner formula. It’s absolutely divine!

Here are some other side dish options that pair beautifully with scallops:

  • Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
  • Air Fryer Jicama Fries
  • Brown Rice or Wild Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Kale Apple Slaw
  • Chop Salad Bowl

Expert Tips from a Dietitian

Please note that this is a level 3 recipe, suitable for weight maintenance and active lifestyles. While plain scallops are a lean, low-calorie source of protein, adding bacon and butter to this preparation significantly increases the calorie and fat content. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s worth considering the calorie-dense nature of these ingredients.

Using bacon and butter for flavor is absolutely fine and delicious. However, if weight loss is your goal, it’s essential to be mindful of your intake of added fats. Butter, bacon, and all oils (even healthy olive oil) contribute a significant number of calories to dishes. If you tend to be generous with these ingredients in lighter dishes like roasted vegetables, seafood, or salads, it may impede the calorie deficit needed for fat loss.

However, if your aim is to impress guests with a sumptuous and indulgent appetizer, this recipe is an excellent choice. It’s effortless yet impressive, making it perfect for celebratory gatherings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Other Air Fryer Shellfish Recipes

If you’re craving more shellfish recipes for your air fryer, you’re in luck! Here are a few suggestions for your next culinary adventure:

  • Frozen Shrimp in Air Fryer
  • Air Fryer Calamari
  • Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp

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The Disclaimer…

Please remember that all the recipes on this website may or may not be suitable for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician to determine the dietary pattern that best meets your needs.

The nutritional information provided is an estimate offered as a courtesy. The specific brands and ingredients you choose to use may result in slight variations. Calorie information on food labels can be highly inaccurate, so please don’t obsess over the numbers.

For more information on how our three recipe levels can assist you in achieving your weight management goals, refer to our overnight oats no sugar post. Let’s get cooking!