Soy Butter Scallops

Soy Butter Scallops

Soy Butter Scallops are one of those amazing appetizers that are so elegant but unbelievably quick to prepare. You don’t need a box of those premade frozen appetizers. This is just as easy, promise! And so much more impressive. You’ll always be company ready in the kitchen now that you have this recipe. Just 5 ingredients makes a memorable start to any meal.

There are some combinations that are magical: America’s honey and mustard, Korea’s sesame oil and garlic, and today we’re showing you Japan’s love for soy butter. Something transcendent happens when soy sauce meets butter. It’s salty richness is so delicious and it enhances just about everything it touches. Never cooked scallops before? Don’t worry, it’s super easy and once you try these I know you’re going to make them over and over.

soy butter scallops ingredients

Boiled Scallops

I usually keep a package of boiled scallops in the freezer. They are individually frozen, so I can take out as many as I want to defrost and then leave the bag in the freezer. I like to add them to soups or broil then with a quick glaze. And they are a super popular ingredient in Japan. If you have a local Japanese specialty market they will probably already have them thawed for you. Or if you go to a more generalized Asian store, they will have them in the freezer section.

They still have the frills and roe attached, which may look a little strange if you’ve only ever seen the white scallop nugget, but I assure you they are deliciously edible. In fact, I prefer the full scallop because you get a range of textures. The chewy “band” (Asians love chewy!), the creamy roe, and finally the sweet scallop. It’s the perfect taste sensation in one juice bite.

You can of course also use the raw scallops from your grocery store’s seafood market, but you might need to adjust the cooking time depending on the size. Also, if you’re buying raw scallops, look for un-treated dry scallops which have not been artificially plumped and have a natural sweetness.raw soy butter scallops

The Perfect Sear

Scallops are best when they get a good sear. That browning caramelizes their sugar and gives a nice contrasting texture to the silken interior. There are a few tips to getting the perfect sear:

  • Start with a really hot pan. Pre-heat it before adding your fat to prevent smoking.
  • Use a non-stick or well seasoned pan.
  • Make sure the scallops are dry. Blot them with paper towels.

melt soy butter scallops

sear soy butter scallops


All that’s left to do is to plate these beauties and wow your dining partner!

Soy Butter Scallops are the fastest way to earn oohs and ahhs. And they are doubly amazing served with:

Let me know how you enjoy them by rating and commenting on the recipe below, and by tagging @funkyasiankitchen in your pics, we love seeing your creations!


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recipe card soy butter scallops

Soy Butter Scallops

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 2
  • Category: small plates
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 8 oz boiled baby scallop
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 scallion, minced


  1.  Dry your scallops with some paper towels. 
  2.  Heat a large 12” pan over medium-high heat for several minutes.
  3.  Add the butter and garlic and let the butter melt in the pan. 
  4. As soon as the butter has melted, add the scallops to the pan in one layer.
  5.  Sear the bottom side of the scallops for about 1 minute and then flip to sear the other side for another minute.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the soy sauce. 
  7.  Stir the sauce and turn the scallops a couple of times to coat them in the sauce. (The residual heat in the pan will cook off some of the liquid.) 
  8.  Transfer to a plate, garnish with scallions, and serve.

Keywords: scallops, soy sauce, butter, shellfish,

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