Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto

100 reviews / 4.9 average

So Luscious! So Fancy! So Christmas-Date-Night-In Perfect.

Say hello to this bowl of brown butter scallops + risotto that is about to take you by storm with all of its brown butter glory.

But back it up. Brown butter is just the beginning, er, more accurately, the finishing touch.

Get Ready To Be Dazzled

This feels-like-a-fancy-restaurant meal combines the love that is a pile of creamy Parmesan risotto (with a splash of white wine bcz this is a fancy restaurant, remember?) and seared scallops, garlic sautéed greens, and THEN, like we weren't already 😍😍😍 enough, the brown butter gets drizzled all up on top of everything. Just so you can go to heaven and back again in one bite.

In real life, while I was making this, Bjork walked into the kitchen and announced that our house smelled like a fancy restaurant.

Like, are you even ready for this level of food celebrity status? Prepare yourself.

White hand holding a bowl with brown butter scallops, kale, and parmesan risotto.

Can't Stop Swooning Over This One

Two of my very favorite things about this recipe are the process - or maybe better called an adventure 😁 - of searing the scallops (um, PS. hi, I'm a complete novice at the scallop game, so just wanted to throw that out there) and the slow simmering of the risotto.

I am usually all-in for quick and easy meals that require little to no hands-on time. I embrace slow cookers (see also: Midwest born and raised). Short ingredient lists inspire me. I love fast food processor meals, because you can count Magic Green Sauce as a meal, right?

But slow, constantly-stirred, creamy risotto is not necessarily fast, and I love it all the more because of it.

There is something so super zen, so calming and relaxing for your always-on-the-go self when you're standing over the stove and gradually stirring the liquid into the barely-bubbling pan of creamy arborio rice while talking to your people sitting on the other side of the counter. You're just lazily pouring, stirring, pouring, stirring, and together you're just talk-talk-talking. And your house smells amazing like you CAN'T EVEN because garlic + butter + white wine is basically the same thing as aromatherapy. And obviously you can and will manage to find time between stirs to take five hundred bites, you know, just to test it. It's the purist form of food therapy.

Brown butter scallops in a bowl with a fork, parmesan risotto, and kale.

How To Get The Perfect Scallop Sear

The scallops are almost sweet and so perfectly light and luscious, but let's tell it like it is: searing them might not be food therapy and might require some YouTube studying beforehand.

A few things that help:

  • use a non-stick pan
  • use grapeseed oil (high smoke point)
  • get that pan pretty darn hot
  • shake the pan around with the scallops in there so they don't stick and tear
  • keep a fire extinguisher handy
  • just kidding
  • maybe

For real: You can do this. We can do this.

Fancy restaurant status is coming at you in the form of golden brown scallops, creamy Parmesan risotto, and garlic sautéed greens! 👇

Brown butter scallops in a bowl with risotto and kale.

Brown Butter Scallops: FAQs

I need a little bit of extra help searing my scallops. Help, please!

This was a helpful video tutorial I watched for searing the scallops! Thanks, Martha.

Not sure I can handle scallops. What else can I sub?

Shrimp would be really tasty!

How long did it take you to cook your risotto?

Around 20-30 minutes should do the trick!

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

**I developed this recipe in partnership with ALDI for an Instagram campaign, so while this isn't a sponsored post per se, we did use (and enjoy!) ALDI Jumbo Scallops for the recipe! 👌 The Jumbo Scallops will be available in ALDI stores from 12/16 through the end of the holiday season, or while supplies last!**

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Brown Butter Scallops in a bowl with risotto and kale.

Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto


Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto! So Luscious! So Fancy! So Christmas-Date-Night-In Perfect. Say hello to this delicious meal!


Units Scale


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 minced clove garlic or 1 minced shallot (or both)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3-ish cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 pound jumbo scallops


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 4 cups spinach or kale


  • 3 tablespoons butter


  1. For the Risotto: In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic or shallots and saute for a minute or two, until soft and fragrant. Add the arborio rice, stir to coat with butter. Add the white wine and enjoy the sizzles. Add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and simmer/stir after each addition until the rice is soft and creamy. I usually err on the side of more liquid to get a creamier texture. Add the parmesan and stir until incorporated. Salt + pepp to taste.
  2. For the Seared Scallops: Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Pat scallops dry (VERY DRY, as dry as possible), sprinkle with salt, and add to pan. They should sizzle (if not, you need a hotter pan.) Shake gently to prevent sticking. After 2-3 minutes, flip each scallop over. They should have a pretty golden brown exterior and an opaque inside. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Serve immediately.
  3. For the Sautéed Spinach: Heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic, stir for a minute to get the flavor going. Add the spinach or kale and stir until wilted.
  4. For the Brown Butter: Put a few tablespoons of butter in a clean skillet over medium heat and stir it while watching it closely - when it starts to look golden and foamy, remove from heat, transfer to a heat-proof bowl to cool slightly, then drizzle over the risotto, scallops, and greens.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: brown butter scallops, parmesan risotto, scallops with risotto

More Date Night Deliciousness

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh be still my heart!! I adore scallops but haven’t had them in soooo long because let’s be honest – they’re not exactly wallet-friendly. However, these look so good that I’m most definitely making this dish happen soon. Your golden sear looks so perfect!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I’m going to make brown butter scallops with parmesan risotto for my 22nd anniversary tonight!!!!!! Wish me luck!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          I have made this recipe a few times now and all I can say is delicious!! Nothing better than creamy risotto and pan seared scallops. Thanks for this amazing recipe 😋

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    This whole dish sounds divine! And I absolutely adore your writing style, Lindsey. You make me want to come hang out in your kitchen and hear those scallops sizzle

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Risotto for the win! It is one of the only dishes that always makes me feel decadent for something that really isn’t too crazy. The stirring just gives me an excuse to watch Netflix on the iPad 😉

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    i can never get scallops seared (aghhh), and though they still end up delicious, i’m ready to conquer them. you make it sound so easy, and your scallops are so fabulously burnished that i believe it could actually work at home!!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    It’s like you knew that I was looking for a scallop/risotto recipe to make for Xmas Eve. This looks beautiful and delicious!!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh man, serious fancy restaurant status here. This looks AMAZING! Also – I made your falafels and magic green sauce for dinner a couple nights ago with some brown jasmine rice + veggies and it was PERF. Thanks for the recipes! They’re always so good.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    There’s nothing like a nice seared scallop. When I used to work in the restaurant biz, we would actually make sure the oil in the pan hit smoke point (you could see light smoke off the pan) before putting the scallops in, because you’re right, those bad boys can stick!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I haven’t made scallops in ages (and I don’t know why). This looks deelish, thanks much

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    OMG, that looks amazing! I am obsessed for risotto (no exaggerations) and I love scallops, but I have never made them, because I am afraid to mess it up.

    But I have to give this a try though! It looks so delicious!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Never had scallops, but I’m up for the challenge. I’m not going at alone tho; a fire extinguisher will be on standby. 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Am cooking this dish as I write this – it’s our anniversary and a cold night here in Georgia so thought I’d do something special. Curious if your father in law is selling his dishes yet? They are gorgeous!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just want to eat bowls and bowls of this! I’m completely drooling as have a weakness for scallops but never get a chance to order them for a restaurant or buy them from the store very often.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I have made this recipe so many times now. It always makes me feel so confident in my cooking skills! This dish is heaven. Brown butter on everything? Yes. The flavors are perfect together. It’s so indulgent, I think of it as my “show-off” dish. This is a staple recipe, for sure. Perfect for a fun or special occasion! Or not, really… perfect for any day you want something absolutely delicious.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have had scallops a total of ONE time in my life. It took me 10min to get up the nerve to eat them. Then there were texture issues. And then after the entire process (because it indeed became a process) I decided I kinda loved them.

    Pointless story…but this recipe may have me heading down memory lane for that process all over again LOL. Yum.

    Side note: when is your FIL going to just open up an online store because I think you get comments every post about that stunning bowl 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      SOON! I literally have a shipment of bowls that I’m working on selling via workshops right now but hopefully we’ll have a site soon! 🙂

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Looks delicious! Will definitely be trying this.

    And those bowls are gorgeous. I have homemade ceramic pie pans and people always comment. They add such a unique touch to the dish!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Made this tonight for NYE – so good! I love scallops but had to sub in shrimp (scallops were $30/lb, what?!) The brown butter on top made it amazing. We gobbled it up in no time. Thanks again Lindsay!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks incredible Lindsay!

    I just have to say thank you. I love your simple approach to food while still creating something that feels, looks, and tastes so decadent! Keep up the great work! PS. I’m making your falafels with magic green sauce this weekend and cannot wait :)))

    xxoo, Ellie
    Hungry by Nature

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you Ellie! This seriously makes my night. Sometimes I get weary of all the work that goes into this blogging gig, but when I get back to the core – recipes that people actually love and make in their real life – it gets me all jazzed up again. 🙂 XO