Pan-fried to perfection and seasoned with just soy sauce and butter, these Butter Soy Sauce Scallops are unbeatable in my book. Each morsel is so tender, flavorful, and so addicting! This is a crowd-pleaser appetizer you can make in no time. Perfect for any Japanese-inspired party!
Looking for a quick party appetizer that pair perfectly with beer or sake? You must try these Butter Soy Sauce Scallops (ホタテのバター醤油焼き)! These candies from the ocean are juicy, sweet, and so darn good. They make a crowd-pleaser dish to serve on Japanese New Year or any Japanese-themed parties.
Unlike regular scallops, these babies are much easier to prepare as they are already cooked. That means you can get them on the table real fast. All you need is to give nice sear marks on the scallops and flavor them with the golden combination of soy sauce and butter!
The Popular Butter Soy Sauce Flavor
“Butter shoyu” (バター醤油) or butter soy sauce is a common flavor combination in Japanese cooking. It’s easy to see why the Japanese people are utterly obsessed with this east-meets-west pairing.
One rich, creamy and sweet, and one salty and full of umami. Butter and soy sauce are the two most basic items in our pantry, but together they make such a magical duo in flavoring our food!
When in doubt, we can always count on the combo. As you can see in my recipes: Butter Shoyu Chicken, Japanese Corn Rice, and Pasta with Shrimp and Broccolini. And there’s really no limit there. You can even level it up by tossing in chopped garlic, fresh herb, shichimi togarashi, etc.
For this Japanese-style pan-seared scallop, a good basting of butter and soy sauce are all that you need.
The Use of Boiled Scallops
In Japan, we can find broiled scallops and raw scallops at the markets. The boiled scallops typically come with himo (紐) or a small band of muscle still attached. They are edible and tasty, but some people don’t like the stringy and chewy texture. I highly recommend eating everything, without any waste!
For this recipe, I used frozen baby boiled scallops which are already cooked.
Where to Find Boiled Baby Scallops
You can purchase boiled baby scallops all year round at the refrigerated section of the Japanese grocery stores.
Let us know if you find these at your local store in the comment box below, so others can enjoy them as well!
For Those Who Can’t Find Boiled Baby Scallops
You can still use regular scallops to make this dish. Follow this step to make Seared Scallops, and quickly coat with butter and soy sauce.
How to Make Butter Soy Sauce Scallops
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Boiled baby scallops
- Unsalted butter (If salted butter, use less butter and less soy sauce)
- Soy sauce
Overview: Quick Steps
- Sear the scallops in butter.
- Add more butter and drizzle soy sauce.
- Coat scallops well with the sauce. Enjoy!
An appetizer like this sure looks fancy but it’s worth making it at home because it’s really that easy. They have a beautiful caramelized crust on the outside and are juicy, tender and sweet inside. I’m not a big drinker, but oh boy, these pan-seared scallops are absolutely delicious and so flavorful that I can’t stop eating and sipping my sake. The moment I served it at the table, they disappeared so quickly.
Other Japanese Party Appetizers You’ll Enjoy
- Gyoza (Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings)
- Agedashi Tofu
- Teba Shio (Salted Chicken Wings)
- Spicy Edamame
- Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken aka JFC)
- Japanese Sake-Steamed Clams
- Fried Chicken Wings
Butter Soy Sauce Scallops
- 8 oz boiled baby scallop
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (divided; 1 Tbsp to sear, 1 Tbsp for the sauce)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Season the scallop with freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat the frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp butter and let it melt. Add the scallops to the pan.
- Sear the bottom side of the scallops, then flip to sear the other side. The key is to sear quickly, as these scallops are already boiled/cooked.
- Add 1 Tbsp butter and swirl the pan to let it dissolved.
- Add soy sauce and coat the scallops.
- When the scallops are well-coated with the sauce, transfer them to a plate. If you're serving it as part of your osechi dishes, let them cool before packing in the jubako box.