Air fryer scallops wrapped in bacon are a great party food that can be made in about 20 minutes. As an extra bonus, these little bites of goodness are both keto-friendly and gluten-free.
Serve this mouthwatering finger food with a garlic butter sauce and be ready to hand out copies of the recipe!
🦐 Easy appetizer recipe
This recipe for air-fried scallops uses just a couple of ingredients and a little salt and pepper. You can serve these as a fancy appetizer or as a lunch or dinner entrée.
From game day parties to bridal showers, you’ll be the only one to know how fast and easy these are to put together.
🥘 What’s in them?
The short-list of ingredients is just the first thing that makes these air fryer scallops so great.
You’ll want to use sea scallops (the larger variety) for this easy appetizer. These can range in size from 2 to 3 inches and typically come 20 to 30 in a pound These are the same kind we use in our version of Alton Brown’s Seared Scallops recipe.
Pro Cooking TIp: Avoid wet scallops that contain the flavor-sapping preservative of STP (Sodium Tripoly Phosphate.) This is how you’ll find most scallops in your grocery store’s seafood case. Instead, look for ones that are either fresh or frozen while dry-packed.
I buy my mine from Aldi. They are dry-packed and frozen and have a great flavor. (We are not an affiliate and receive no compensation from Aldi.)
Here are more tips for how to buy scallops.
You’ll par-cook the bacon, in the air fryer, before wrapping it around the scallops. This will help crisp it up while not overcooking the scallops.
The first thing you need to do when making this recipe is to turn your air fryer on at 400° F. Then, grab a bunch of toothpicks.
- Thaw the scallops (if frozen) and blot dry with a paper towel. If you are using fresh ones, make sure they are dry by using the same process.
- When your air fryer temperature has reached 400°, place the bacon on a rack and air fry for 3 minutes. Leave the machine on, at the same temperature.
- Use a kitchen scissors or a sharp knife and snip each slice of bacon in half, after it is par-cooked.
- Wrap each scallop in a slice of bacon. Some of the bigger scallops might need a longer piece of bacon and the smaller ones will use a shorter piece. I always make a little extra bacon, just in case. (Can you ever make too much bacon?!)
- Secure the bacon-wrapped scallop with a toothpick.
- Place each piece on a rack and then in the air fryer. Cook them for 4 minutes, then use a kitchen tongs to flip them and cook for 4 more minutes.
When they are finished cooking, remove them to a serving platter using a set of tongs.
Pro Kitchen Tip: Pre-warm your serving platter to help keep these air fryer scallops warm. One of my pet peeves, especially in restaurants, is when hot food is served on cold plates! The food will start to cool the second it hits the cold surface.
🥗 What to serve with these
You can make an easy dipping sauce for these air fryer scallops using a little butter and some minced garlic. We explain how to do that in the recipe card below.
Besides the dipping sauce, you can garnish them with chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley and some wedges of fresh lemon.
❗Top cooking tips
- Do not leave scallops in the air fryer after cooking they will become dry and hard.
- You can easily double this recipe but the bacon and scallops need to be cooked in batches. So additional time will be required. Resist the temptation to cook all at once as this will result in soggy scallops.
- These can be served at room temperature if you are making them for a party but I recommend warming the butter sauce for drizzling to warm the scallops versus reheating them.
- Do not skip par cooking the bacon or the bacon will not be fully cooked when the scallops are ready.
- For extra flavor, brush the scallops with some soy sauce, pure maple syrup, honey, or sriracha sauce before wrapping them in bacon.
📖 Variations and substitutions
- Bacon-wrapped dates in the air fryer
- Air fryer bacon-wrapped asparagus
- Spicy air fryer bacon-wrapped shrimp
💭 Common recipe questions
The best way to thaw frozen scallops is to place them in the refrigerator overnight. Or, if take them directly from the freezer, you place them under cool running water.
Do not allow them to come into direct contact with the water, (leave them in their package while thawing.)
I don’t recommend that you defrost scallops in the microwave. Learn more tips about how to defrost frozen scallops here.
You can assemble these ahead of time and refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 24 hours, before cooking.
🍲 Other easy appetizers
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Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Scallops
- 8 Sea scallops
- 4 slices Bacon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Parsley for garnish
Dipping Sauce for Bacon Wrapped Scallops
- 3 tbsp Butter Unsalted and melted
- 1 tsp Minced garlic Dried
- Place scallops on paper towel-lined plate and gently pat dry.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400° F. When the the air fryer is hot, place bacon strips in a single layer and par cook for 3 minutes.
- Use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to cut the bacon strips in half. Wrap a cut bacon strip around each scallop and secure with a toothpick. Continue this process until all of the scallops are prepared.
- Place the scallops on the air fryer tray. Cook the scallops for 4 minutes at 400° F. Flip them and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
To Make the Dipping Sauce
- While the scallps are cooking, prepare the garlic butter sauce. Melt the butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Add the minced garlic and stir to combine. Chop some fresh parsley for garnish if desired.
- Immediately remove the scallops from the air fryer and transfer them to a serving dish. Sprinkle them with fresh-ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Garnish with chopped parsley and drizzle the sauce over them.
- There is no need to grease the air fryer tray as the bacon has already greased it.
- Place these on a pre-heated serving dish to keep them warmer, longer!
Smoking can occur when bacon is cooking. If you are making multiple batches of bacon I recommend draining the drip tray of the bacon grease before proceeding with the next batch. Be Careful when working with hot bacon grease.