Cajun sea scallops in the air fryer is the easiest way to cook scallops at home! This quick spicy scallop recipe is an easy air fryer recipe and done in about 10 minutes. Perfect served with a side, on pasta or with some roasted vegetables.

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Air fryer cajun scallops in the air fryer basket.

Tips and Tricks

How many scallops do you make per person? It may not look like a lot but I typically serve four to six scallops per person. With a side of pasta or salad this is a light and quick dinner recipe but still very satisfying. 

Do you have to use tin foil to make the scallops in the air fryer? There are a lot of different basket types in air fryers. Mine is a wire rack and isn’t particular non stick. Because of this, I opted to line my basket with aluminium foil to prevent sticking. If you have a nonstick basket you can just spray it lightly with cooking spray and should be all set. 

Can you reheat scallops? Scallops overcook very easily so I’d recommend reheating them very slowly or eating them cold on a salad. Scallops is one of those foods that I only cook enough for dinner and no extra because of how quickly they overcook. 

What do you serve with cajun scallops? I like to serve these on some pasta, on a salad in the summer or with a few sides of roasted vegetables like roasted cauliflower or roasted brussels sprouts

Close up of cajun scallops on pasta

Method

How do you make cajun scallops in the air fryer? First, preheat your air fryer to 400 F. Next, take out your fresh sea scallops and rinse them quickly under cold water to remove any sand that may be in there. Remove the side muscle with your fingers and then pat dry with paper towels. Once the air fryer is preheated, line the basket with a small piece of aluminium foil and spray it lightly with cooking spray. Spray the scallops lightly with cooking spray and season the scallops on both sides slightly with salt and cajun seasoning. Place four to six scallops in the air fryer and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for another three minutes until 130 F internally. The scallops will not develop a brown sear like in a pan. Serve with pasta, salad or roasted vegetables. If you need to make multiple portions, cook the scallops in batches to avoid crowding the basket and prohibiting air flow.

Air fryer cajun scallops in the air fryer basket.

How long do you cook scallops in the air fryer? It only takes 6 minutes total to cook scallops in the air fryer if they are fresh.

How do you know when the scallops are done? I always take the internal temperature of each scallop to make sure they are cooked through. I make sure they are at atleast 130 F, which results in a tender and delicious scallop. The scallops will be more white than opaque but will not turn brown. Unlike when you sear scallops, there is no browning of the scallops in the air fryer. 

How many scallops can you make at once in the air fryer? This depends on how big your air fryer is. Mine is a 3 qt Nuwave Brio air fryer so I make  six to eight scallops at a time. You don’t want to overcrowd the basket so it’s best to do these in batches. 

Do you have to preheat your air fryer? Because scallops cook so quickly, I’d recommend preheating your air fryer. It should only take a few minutes to bring it up to 400 F. If you don’t preheat your air fryer, cooking time may need to be adjusted. 

Ingredients

How do you buy fresh sea scallops? When you’re looking for fresh sea scallops, make sure to check that they are dry packed scallops. Dry scallops should be uniform in color and moist but not soaking wet. If they are labeled wet scallops they have been placed in a solution as a preservative. These usually have a metallic taste, are soggier and generally lower quality. If this is all you can find, avoid buying them and try another store. 

How do you remove the side muscle on scallops? Sometimes when you buy fresh scallops they have a side muscle. It is very easy to remove, just use your fingers to peel it off and discard. It’s a little tougher than the rest of the scallop but can be consumed if you miss it. 

Are sea scallops and bay scallops the same? They are not the same! Sea scallops are bigger and not as sweet as bay scallops. Bay scallops are very small and will cook much much faster than sea scallops. 

Do you use fresh or frozen sea scallops? I live on the east coast of the United States, so we have access to a lot of fresh seafood. Therefore, I always buy fresh sea scallops at my local market. Frozen seafood can be used if thawed first in the refrigerator. 

How long can you keep fresh, raw scallops in the fridge? Typically fresh scallops will last up to two days in the fridge. I’d buy them the day you plan on cooking them. 

What type of cajun seasoning do you buy? I have tried to make my own a lot of times, it’s never what I want. I’ve also tried a lot of different brands and my favorite is McCormick Gourmet Cajun Seasoning, it’s in a green bottle. Too many of them are very salty and have salt as the first ingredient. Avoid those ones.

A plate of miso mushrooms, roasted carrots and cajun scallops

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Air Fryer Cajun Scallops

Cajun sea scallops in the air fryer is the easiest way to cook scallops at home! This quick spicy scallop recipe is an easy air fryer recipe and done in about 10 minutes. Perfect served with a side, on pasta or with some roasted vegetables.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Total Time11 mins
Servings: 1 Serving
Author: Samantha

Ingredients

  • 4-6 scallops
  • Cooking spray
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Cajun seasoning

Instructions

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400 F.
  • Take your fresh sea scallops out of the fridge and quickly rinse them in cold water. Remove the side muscle with your fingers and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Once your air fryer is preheated, line the basket with aluminium foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • Lightly spray the scallops with cooking oil and season with kosher salt and coat with cajun seasoning all over.
  • Place all the scallops in the air fryer and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 3 more minutes until they are opaque and register at least 130 F internally.
  • Serve with pasta, salad or alongside roasted vegetables.

Notes

  • Be sure to only buy dry packed fresh sea scallops for this recipe.
  • 4-6 scallops is perfect for one person for one meal. Scale up as necessary.
  • Scallops are done when they reach an internal temperature of 130 F and are opaque.
  • Because these are not cooked in a pan, the scallops will not turn brown but can still be done cooking.
  • Serve with pasta, a salad or roasted vegetables.

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