Can You Cook Shrimp and Scallops in the Same Pan? The Complete Guide

Cooking seafood like shrimp and scallops can seem intimidating. Getting that perfect sear while keeping the interior tender and juicy takes finesse. Many home cooks wonder if you can cook shrimp and scallops together in one pan. The short answer is yes! With the right techniques, cooking times, and temperatures, you can absolutely cook shrimp and scallops simultaneously with delicious results.

In this comprehensive guide we’ll cover everything you need to know to cook shrimp and scallops together including

  • Key differences between cooking shrimp vs scallops
  • How to select high-quality shrimp and scallops
  • Recommended sizes and amounts to use
  • Pro tips for prepping and seasoning
  • Step-by-step instructions for pan searing
  • Exact time and temperature guidance
  • Serving ideas and recipe inspiration

By the end of this guide, you’ll be a pro at cooking shrimp and scallops together in one skillet for restaurant-quality seafood right at home. Let’s get started!

Key Differences Between Cooking Shrimp and Scallops

While shrimp and scallops share a similar sweet briny seafood flavor there are a few key differences to keep in mind when cooking them


  • Shrimp have a firm, slightly chewy texture when cooked properly. Overcooking makes them rubbery

  • Scallops are more delicate, with a tender, almost custard-like interior when cooked right. They toughen up and turn rubbery if cooked too long.

Moisture Content

  • Raw shrimp contain more natural moisture compared to scallops.

  • Scallops act like little sponges, absorbing water easily. This makes getting a good sear more challenging.

Cooking Times

  • Shrimp cook quickly, in just 2-3 minutes total.

  • Scallops need a bit more time, around 3-4 minutes total, to develop a crust without overcooking.


  • Shrimp can be pan-seared at a slightly lower temperature of 375-400°F.

  • Scallops require a ripping hot pan around 450°F to sear properly.

Keeping these factors in mind will help you adjust temps and times accordingly to cook shrimp and scallops together perfectly.

Selecting Quality Shrimp and Scallops

Since seafood cooks so quickly, the quality of your raw ingredients makes a huge impact on the finished dish. Here’s what to look for:


  • Shell on is best for maximum flavor and texture. Go for peeled if you prefer easy prep.

  • Raw, unfrozen shrimp should have a clean ocean smell, firm flesh, and intact shells/tails. Pass on any with black spots.

  • Opt for wild-caught U.S. Gulf shrimp when possible for sustainability.

  • Size 16-20 (16-20 shrimp per pound) works well for pan searing.


  • Dry-packed scallops are ideal for searing as they retain less moisture compared to wet-packed.

  • U10 and diver scallops are the large sizes best for pan-searing. Avoid tiny bay scallops.

  • Fresh scallops should smell sweet, not fishy, and feel quite firm to the touch.

  • Opt for scallops harvested via diving rather than dredging for sustainability.

For top quality, shop at a trusted local fish market if available in your area. Grocery store seafood departments can also yield good finds with a little discernment.

Recommended Amounts for Cooking Together

When cooking shrimp and scallops together in one pan, we suggest:

  • 6 jumbo (16-20 count) shrimp
  • 8 large (U10) scallops

This provides a good balance of both proteins to serve 2 people without overcrowding the pan. The shrimp and scallops will cook in a single layer with space between them to get an even sear.

You can double these amounts to serve 4 people, cooking in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding. Pan size will also impact capacity. Use a 10-12 inch skillet for the amounts above.

Pro Tips for Prepping Shrimp and Scallops

Proper prep is key for delicious results when cooking any seafood. Follow these tips:

  • For shrimp, peel, devein, and pat dry with paper towels. Leave tails on for presentation.

  • Give scallops a quick rinse, then pat very dry. Moisture is the enemy of good browning.

  • Chill both shrimp and scallops until ready to cook for freshness.

  • Lightly coat shrimp and scallops in oil just before searing to encourage browning.

  • Season with just salt and pepper to keep the sweet seafood flavor front and center.

  • Let ingredients come to room temp before cooking so they sear rather than steam.

  • Have all other ingredients prepped and ready to go before adding seafood to the hot pan.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Cooking in One Pan

Follow these simple steps for perfect pan-seared shrimp and scallops every time:

1. Prep your ingredients

Rinse and pat dry shrimp and scallops. Peel, devein, and oil shrimp. Salt and pepper everything.

2. Heat your pan

Get your skillet very hot over medium-high heat. Stainless steel or cast iron work best.

3. Sear the scallops

Carefully add scallops to the hot, oiled pan in a single layer when it reaches 450°F. Resist poking or moving them!

4. Cook 3 minutes then flip

Let the scallops sear undisturbed until a crust forms, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook just until opaque, 1 more minute.

5. Remove scallops and reduce heat

Transfer cooked scallops to a plate. Reduce heat to 400°F.

6. Add shrimp to pan

Immediately add oiled shrimp to the pan in a single layer. No need to overcrowd.

7. Sear shrimp 2-3 minutes per side

Cook shrimp undisturbed for 2-3 minutes per side until opaque and lightly charred.

8. Combine and serve

Return scallops to pan and toss everything to combine. Serve shrimp and scallops immediately while hot.

The key is searing scallops first at a higher heat, then lowering the temp slightly to finish cooking the faster-cooking shrimp. Using the dry heat pan sear method keeps everything tender and juicy.

Serving Suggestions and Recipe Inspiration

The possibilities are endless when it comes to how to serve up your perfect pan-seared shrimp and scallops! Here are just a few tasty ideas:

  • Toss with fresh lemon, herbs, and garlic butter for a classic pairing.

  • Serve over creamy polenta or grits for a comforting dish.

  • Pile on a salad of mixed greens, orange segments, and avocado.

  • Pair with sautéed asparagus and tomatoes for a light spring meal.

  • Make seafood tacos with all the fixings like pico and chili mayo.

  • Top creamy pasta or risotto for a restaurant-worthy experience.

  • Enjoy as an appetizer by adding aioli and crostini.

Cooking scallops and shrimp together opens up so many options for easy, impressive meals. Get creative with your own flavor combinations using this handy cooking guide.

The next time you’re craving a surf and turf kind of dinner, give this simple method a try. In no time, you’ll be plating up tender, deliciously seared scallops and shrimp–all made in just one pan.

Here’s a quick recap of the key points for successfully cooking shrimp and scallops together:

  • Understand the differences in texture, moisture, cook times, and temps
  • Select fresh, quality raw seafood for best results
  • Prep ingredients properly—dry, oil, and season scallops and shrimp
  • Use a hot pan and don’t overcrowd
  • Sear scallops first at a higher temp, then cook shrimp at slightly lower temp
  • Let crusts develop before flipping seafood just once
  • Immediately serve shrimp and scallops together while hot

What are you waiting for? Gather your ingredients and head to the kitchen to treat yourself to this quick and tasty surf and turf dinner. Just be prepared for the rave reviews when you master cooking shrimp and scallops together in one pan. Enjoy!

can you cook shrimp and scallops in the same pan

Mastering the Art of Cooking Shrimp and Scallops

There is nothing more satisfying than a plate of perfectly cooked shrimp and succulent scallops if you love seafood. It’s important to know how to cook shrimp and scallops perfectly, whether you’re making a fancy dinner for guests or just eating something tasty for yourself. In this guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of preparing these delicate oceanic delights.

Baking or Broiling:

For an easy and fuss-free cooking method, baking or broiling your seafood is a great option. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and lightly grease a baking dish. Arrange the shrimp and scallops in a single layer and brush them with melted butter or olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs or spices. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the shrimp are pink and curled, and the scallops are opaque.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of cooking shrimp and scallops, it’s time to plate your culinary masterpiece:

  • For a classy Italian dish, put your shrimp and scallops on top of al dente pasta that has been tossed in a garlic and white wine sauce.
  • Mix mixed greens, diced mango, avocado slices, and grilled shrimp and scallops to make a colorful and refreshing salad. Top it off with a zesty citrus vinaigrette.
  • Straws of grilled shrimp and scallops make a quick and tasty appetizer. Serve them with a spicy cocktail sauce or a tangy lemon aioli.

With these easy-to-follow tips and techniques, you’re well on your way to becoming a seafood aficionado. When you want shrimp and scallops the next time, go ahead and make them. They taste like they came from the sea.

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