Pan Seared Scallops with Bacon, Spinach & Mushrooms
This bacon fat scallops dinner tastes like a gourmet meal, but it’s so EASY to prep! Rich & savory pan seared scallops with bacon, spinach, mushrooms, & butternut squash—all cooked in ONE skillet. Ready in just 15 minutes! I’ll walk you through this one-skillet meal step-by-step: starting with frying the bacon, sauteing the veggies, then how to cook scallops in bacon grease.
I usually cook pan seared scallops in butter or ghee, and they always turn out delicious. But this time I’m showing how to pan sear scallops in BACON fat for some added salty, umami deliciousness! Bacon wrapped scallops are a classic favorite for a reason, and this method lets me enjoy the flavor pairing without dealing with the wrapping process.
Sea scallops are a surprisingly simple protein to cook, since they really only need to sear for 1-2 minutes on each side. And for this quick one-skillet dinner, we’re pan frying bacon, sauteing veggies, then pan searing scallops in the bacon fat—all in the same pan! I love the comforting flavor pairing of scallops with bacon and spinach, butternut squash, & mushrooms, but feel free to customize with any veggies you like.
Bacon Fat Seared Scallops Skillet Meal
Bacon & Veggie Saute
- Cooked & Chopped Bacon
- Chopped Onion
- Sliced Mushrooms
- Butternut Squash
- Coconut Aminos
- Black Pepper
- No Salt Needed (the bacon has plenty of salt & flavor!)
Scallops Seared in Bacon Fat
- Butcher Box Frozen Sea Scallops, thawed* (or you can use fresh sea scallops)
- Reserved Bacon Fat
- Black Pepper
- Salt is Optional when sauteing scallops in bacon grease
- Lemon Juice & Sest
- Fresh Parsley
- Sesame Seeds
*Note on Frozen Scallops
When using frozen scallops for pan searing, transfer them to the fridge to thaw about 24 hours before you plan to cook them. Then, when you’re ready to cook, remove the thawed scallops from their packaging and rest them on paper towels at room temperature for a few minutes. It helps to pat them as dry as possible—this will help you get a better sear!
How to Cook Scallops with Bacon & Veggies
Cooking scallops in bacon grease requires first pan frying some bacon, so you can use the leftover bacon fat. So I recommend prepping this skillet dinner in 3 stages: (1) cook the bacon & reserve some bacon grease, (2) saute the veggies, then (3) pan sear your sea scallops. You can do it all in the same skillet, and each component is really quick to cook—so the whole cooking process only takes around 15 minutes!
1 Pan Fry Bacon & Reserve Some Bacon Grease
First, pan fry bacon until it’s as crispy as you like, so you can chop or crumble it up to use in your veggie saute. I like to cook 2 strips of bacon, or you can do just one—whatever suits you. When the bacon is done, transfer it onto paper towels to let some of the fat drain before chopping or crumbling.
Most importantly, in order to sear scallops in bacon fat, you’ve got to reserve some of the bacon fat that’s left in your pan after cooking. I just pour about half of the bacon grease into a separate bowl to use for my scallops, and I keep the other half in the pan to use for my veggie saute next.
2 Saute Vegetables in Bacon Fat
Next, heat the bacon pan left in the pan and start sauteing your vegetables. Start by sauteing chopped onion for a minute or two, until it’s fragrant. Then add in sliced mushrooms and cubed butternut squash (chopped into small cubes so they’ll cook faster!) and cover the pan to help them soften. After 7-8 minutes, add a generous heap of spinach and allow it to wilt for about a minute.
Finally, season to taste! No salt is needed since you’re sauteing these vegetables in bacon fat, so I just add a bit of coconut aminos and black pepper for flavor. Stir to integrate, then chop up or crumble your cooked bacon and mix it in with the veggies. Set the veggie saute aside (or in the microwave to keep it warm) while you sear the scallops—they’ll only take around 3 minutes!
3 Pan Sear Scallops with Bacon Fat
Wipe out that same pan and heat your reserved bacon fat over medium-high to high heat, until it’s really hot and almost smoking. A hot pan is essential to get a good sear—a droplet of water should sizzle immediately when it touches the pan! Then, add the scallops to sear in the bacon grease, and just let them sit still for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with pepper (salt is optional).
After about 90 seconds, when your bacon fat scallops are browned & crisp on the bottoms, flip and let them sear for another 1-2 minutes on the other side. After that, they’re done! Finish with lemon juice and zest, maybe some fresh herbs and sesame seeds if you like, then serve your seared scallops with the bacon & veggie saute.
What to Serve with Bacon Fat Scallops
Anytime you want to pair scallops and bacon in the same meal, you can cook the bacon first and then use the bacon grease to pan sear the scallops. But you don’t always have to serve them with this same spinach & squash veggie saute.
Change things up by serving scallops with a simple rice pilaf or over coconut cauliflower rice. Top them with garlic lemon butter sauce or a fresh mango salsa for a flavor twist. Serve them over a yummy salad or with your favorite pasta. Bacon fat seared scallops are a rich, savory versatile protein that pair well with all sorts of different flavors, so have fun trying out new flavor combinations!
Perfect Pan Seared Scallops with Bacon & Veggie Saute
Bacon & Veggie Saute
- 2 slices bacon, cooked & chopped (optional)
- ¼ cup onion, diced
- ¾ cup sliced mushrooms
- ¾ cup butternut squash, small cubes
- 2 cups spinach
- coconut aminos, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- no salt needed if including bacon
Bacon Fat Scallops
- 4 oz Butcher Box frozen sea scallops, thawed*, (or fresh scallops)
- 1-2 Tbsp reserved bacon fat
- pepper, to taste (salt is optional)
- ½ lemon, juice & zest
- fresh parsley
- sesame seeds
To Cook Bacon & Veggie Saute:
- Cook bacon as desired. Remove bacon from pan and rest on paper towels. Reserve some of the bacon fat for cooking the scallops, and leave the rest of the fat in the pan for the veggies.
- Add onion to heated pan and saute 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat. Add butternut squash cubes and mushrooms. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, until reduced and softened to your liking, stirring occasionally.
- While veggies cook, chop bacon.
- Add spinach and cover for about 1 minute, until wilted. Stir in a dash of pepper and a splash of coconut aminos, if desired. (There’s no salt needed when cooking with bacon, so season to taste.)
- Remove veggie saute from heat, stir in chopped bacon, and set aside.
- Wipe out pan and cook scallops with reserved bacon fat.
To Cook Scallops in Bacon Fat:
- *If using frozen scallops, transfer to the fridge to thaw 24 hours before cooking.
- When ready to cook, remove thawed scallops from package and pat dry with a paper towel. Rest 5-10 minutes on paper towels at room temperature. (Make sure they are very dry for a nice sear!)
- Heat reserved bacon fat (or butter, ghee, oil) in a pan over medium-high to high heat for 1-2 minutes, until it’s hot and almost smoking.
- Add scallops into hot pan with bacon grease and season to taste with pepper. (Salt is optional.) Don’t move them on the pan! Cook 1-2 minutes and then flip once browned. (If the pan gets too hot or smoky during cooking, turn heat down slightly.)
- Season again after flipping, searin for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.
- Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, some lemon zest, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Serve pan seared scallops with bacon & veggie saute, garnish with sesame seeds, and enjoy!