Looking for a delicious and luxurious dish that’s perfect for a special occasion or a romantic dinner at home? Look no further than this recipe for oven-baked Champagne Risotto with Scallops! Seared scallops and risotto are a match made in culinary heaven. Plus, the end result is creamy, dreamy, elegant, and SO EASY! (Shhhh, don’t tell! 🤫)
Featured comment: I made this yesterday for Valentine’s Day. Totally delicious!!!! It was one of the best dishes I’ve ever made.” – Brian
Update: This recipe was originally published in October 2014. I made updates to the post below to include more information about making perfectly seared sea scallops with buttery champagne risotto. Plus, I’ve included a step-by-step photos to show you *just* how stress-free this scallop risotto recipe is to make!
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About this scallop risotto
As they say, “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.” JK, but I won’t be busting out this magnificent dish for anyone other than my nearest and dearest.
Risotto is one of those comforting dishes that I absolutely adore, but slightly dread preparing. Much like eggs benedict… delicious, but hollandaise from scratch? Pain in the rear! The constant stirring (or whisking for hollandaise)… I need a nap or a shoulder massage just thinking about it.
But, the slow addition of hot bullion or chicken stock and constant stirring is what makes risotto so creamy, rich and insanely delicious, right? WRONG! You can achieve the same level of silky perfection using this supremely easy pan-seared scallops risotto recipe that uses the oven rather than your arm.
Trust me when I say this baked seafood risotto with scallops is just as creamy and dreamy as the stove-top kind. It’s just extra awesome because it requires NO constant stirring! Delicately flavored with champagne and chives, this fancy little ditty is beyond delicious. Seriously, it’s *chef’s kiss* 🤌🏻amazeballs.
So, if you don’t make risotto at home because of the hassle of standing over a hot stove, ladling and stirring until you are blue in the face, or if you have not attempted to make anything like this recipe for seared scallops with risotto because you thought it was too difficult…. Have no fear. Oven-baked risotto is here to save the day. And your arm. 💪🏻
Why you’ll love these scallops and risotto
TL;DR?? This scallops and risotto recipe is:
- Fantastically Fancy – It’s the kind of dish you’d see on a fine dining restaurant menu for $35+ per serving. (Honestly. I used to work in one.)
- Quick & Easy – You might think “fancy” and “easy” are oxymoronic, but you’d be wrong. You only need to spend about 30 minutes of active kitchen time to get this gorgeous plate of scallop and risotto champagne deliciousness on the table. The oven does all the rest.
- Easily Adaptable – Can’t do shellfish? Swap in salmon. Dairy make you down? Vegan butter saves the day. Read on below for lots of ways to make this incredibly simple and stunning recipe work for you.
Ingredients for this scallop risotto recipe
You only need 12 simple ingredients to make my scallops with risotto recipe:
- Butter – Mmmmmm butter.
- You’re welcome to use either EVOO or vegan butter for sautéing, but (vegan) butter is needed for the sauce.
- Shallot – These are like red onions-lite.
- Red onion or sweet onion can also be used.
- Garlic Cloves – Fresh is best, but I’ll keep your secret if you use minced jarred garlic. 🤐
- Arborio Rice – This Italian short-grained rice is the go-to for making risotto.
- Italian Carnaroli rice or Japanese sushi rice also work.
- Champagne – This doesn’t have to be true French champagne. I used peach-flavored sparkling white wine.
- You’re welcome to swap Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling instead.
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth – Always opt for the low-sodium version of any store-bought broth for greater control over the seasoning.
- Low-sodium fish stock or veggie stock, or high-protein chicken bone broth can also be used.
- U10 Scallops – No, these mollusks aren’t trying to 1-up (or 8-up?) Bono & the boys. U10 stands for “under 10,” meaning there are <10 pieces per pound.
- Feel free to swap in smaller, cheaper bay scallops or any fish you like!
- Olive Oil – Just your normal cooking oil is perfect.
- Romano Cheese – This hard-aged, salty sheep’s milk cheese has a bold, tangy kick.
- Pecorino has a flavor that’s a little softer than Romano. Parmesan is also totally acceptable! If you’re looking for a non-dairy option, a few shakes of nutritional yeast work.
- Half and Half – Made from equal parts cream and whole milk, this adds a ton of richness to the risotto.
- Feel free to substitute 1 ½ TB Cold Butter (or vegan butter), cut into 2 pads.
- Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper – Because EVERY dish needs seasoning!
- Chives – Totally optional, but beautiful.
- Feel free to omit or swap in lemony parsley.
Risotto scallops variations
As much as I love this champagne risotto with scallops recipe, I want you and your family to love it too! Here are some optional variations and dietary adaptations to consider:
- Dairy-Free – Vegan butter can easily be used in place of the dairy butter AND the half-n-half, making this delightful scallop risotto recipe safe for all the lac-tards out there.
- Vegetarian – Not into meat and seafood? No problem! Simply swap in your favorite variety of mushrooms.
- Vegan – Don’t eat any animal products at all? No worries! Follow the instructions to make the champagne risotto dairy-free, then swap in these wildly tasty heart of palm scallops instead.
- Alternate Grains – If you’re looking for a non-rice alternative, you could try using pearl barley or farro, which will give your risotto a nuttier flavor and a slightly chewier texture. Note: you may want to double check the package to make sure you’re using enough liquid if you make these swaps. If not, simply use the same 1:8 champagne to stock ratio, or just bump up the stock to keep things easier.
- Alternate Fish – As I mentioned above, feel free to omit the pricy scallops here in favor of your favorite fish. Salmon, swordfish, halibut, trout, or jumbo shrimp are all great subs!
How to make risotto with scallops recipe
While this risotto recipe with scallops does require a few steps, the process is pretty straight-forward and fuss-free. Here’s how:
- Prepare the Scallops: Pat the scallops dry with paper towels. Then, season the scallops generously with salt on all sides. Cover the scallops with paper towels and thoroughly pat dry again. Transfer the dry scallops to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 20 minutes. Remove the scallops from the fridge and pat them dry again using more paper towels.
- Sear Scallops: Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet until very hot and lightly smoking. Working in two batches to prevent over-crowding the pan, add half the scallops to the pan, arranging them so that there is a space in between each one to prevent steaming. Cook the scallops, without moving or touching them, for 1 ½ – 2 minutes, or until the underside is well browned and the scallop releases easily from the pan. Then, carefully flip the scallops over and continue to cook for 1 – 1 ½ minutes longer, or until the other side of the scallops are well browned and the mollusks are just opaque throughout. Use tong to transfer the seared scallops to a paper towel-lined plate to drain or excess grease. . Repeat the cooking process with the remaining scallops.
- Make Butter Sauce: Return the pan to medium heat. Add the champagne to the pan and use the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Next, add the butter, thyme sprigs, a generous pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Then, use your spoon or whisk to stir and melt the butter before setting the pan aside.
- Preheat Oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Start Risotto: Heat butter in a saucepan and add the shallots. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the shallots are soft. Then, add the garlic and thyme leaves and cook until fragrant.
- Add Arborio: Add the rice to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted and fragrant.
- Add Champagne: Next, pour the champagne into the pot and cook until the rice just starts to look creamy in texture.
- Add Warm Broth: Add the warm broth to the pot and bring the contents to a rapid simmer.
- Cover and Bake: Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove the risotto from the oven. Uncover, and give the risotto a good stir, recover, and return to the oven. Continue to bake the champagne risotto for 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender, and the liquid is almost all absorbed.
- Once Risotto is Done: Transfer the risotto from the oven to the stovetop and give the risotto a good stir. Then, add the remaining warm broth, butter, champagne, and parmesan cheese. Gently stir to combine and then adjust for taste.
- Top Risotto with Scallops: Arrange the seared scallop on the risotto and drizzle the butter all over the scallops. Enjoy immediately.
Expert tips for the best scallop and risotto
When it comes to making this risotto with scallops recipe, there are a few tips to keep in mind as you go:
- Use high-quality ingredients. Since this recipe uses only a few ingredients, it’s important to use the best possible ones to make your dish really shine. Look for fresh, high-quality scallops, and choose a good-quality wine that you enjoy drinking. After all, the recipe only calls for a little more than 1/4 cup, so there will be plenty left for sipping!
- Sear the scallops properly. Make sure your pan is nice and hot and that you’re using enough oil or butter to prevent sticking. Sear the scallops on one side just until they’re golden brown, then flip and sear on the other side. Don’t overcook them, as they can become tough and chewy.
- Patience is a virtue. Baking the risotto takes longer than cooking it on the stove, but it’s worth the wait. Resist the temptation to open the oven and stir it, as this can release steam and prevent it from cooking properly.
- Add the scallops right at the end. Once your risotto is fully cooked, add the seared scallops on top just before serving. This will ensure that they stay tender and juicy and that they don’t overcook.
- Go for garnishing gold. A sprinkle of fresh parsley or chives and some grated Romano cheese will add a pop of color and make your dinner look and taste even more pro.
FAQs: champagne risotto
What wine goes with scallops and risotto?
I strongly suggest using whichever dry white wine you cook the risotto with — it’ll be a perfect match for the flavors of the dish!
Serving risotto with scallops and champagne
Wondering what to serve with your oven-baked risotto and seared scallops? Here are a few of my favorites that are sure to delight your taste buds and impress your guests:
- Garlic bread with roasted garlic. The crispy, garlicky bread is the perfect complement to the creamy and luxurious risotto, plus it’s great for sopping up every last grain of creamy deliciousness.
- Pair with a crisp white wine, preferably the one you cooked with. If you drank the rest of the champagne while you were cooking, I see you! Try a dry, un-oaked white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio to help cut through the richness of the dish and enhance its flavors.
- Add some roasted vegetables. A side of roasted asparagus wrapped with prosciutto, oven caramelized onions, sautéed bell peppers with onions, and/or cherry tomatoes in marinade will add some color and texture to your plate. Plus, with all that richness swimming around, a few extra nutrients might be in order.
- Top with some shaved cheese. Because CHEESE.
- Add a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest to add a bright, citrusy flavor to the dish and help cut through the richness of the risotto and scallops.
Storing scallops risotto recipe
- Let the risotto and scallops cool to room temperature before storing.
- Store the risotto and scallops separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (Storing them separately prevents the scallops from getting wonky.)
- To reheat the risotto, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the risotto in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. If the risotto seems dry, you can add a splash of chicken broth or champagne before reheating.
- To reheat the scallops, heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter or oil to the skillet and swirl to coat. Add the scallops and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until heated through.
Alright, friends! That’ll do for today. I hope you love this mesme-ricing recipe for Champagne Risotto with Scallops as much as we do. Just don’t be shell-fish and save it all for yourself — food is best enjoyed with the ones we love! Until next time, cheers — to champagne and easy eats!
More risotto recipes!
How to make scallop risotto with champagne wine👇
Scallop Risotto with Champagne
- 1 Large Saucepan or Dutch Oven - with lid (for cooking champagne risotto)
- 1 Wooden Kitchen Spoon (for stirring)
- 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet or Stainless Steel Pan (for searing scallops)
- 1 Tongs or Fish Spatula (for searing scallops)
- 6 TBS Unsalted Butter - DIVIDED
- 2 large Shallots – peeled and finely chopped (about ¾ cup)
- 2-3 large cloves Garlic – peeled and minced
- 1 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
- 1 ½ Cups Arborio Rice (282 grams)
- 1 Cup + 6 TBS Dry Champagne – DIVIDED; at room temperature, or more to taste (sub: sparkling wine or white wine)
- 4 ½ Chicken Bouillon Cubes – Dissolved in 4 ½ Cups of Boiling Water or more to taste; keep WARM (sub: Low Sodium Chicken Broth – WARM)
- ½ to ¾ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (sub: pecorino Romano)
- Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
- Optional for Garnish: Snipped Chives or Microgreens Lemon Wedges, Heavy Cream
- 1 ¼ pound Fresh Dry Sea Scallops – foot removed and discarded; about 12 large scallops (SEE NOTES)
- 2-3 TBS Vegetable or Canola Oil - enough to coat the bottom of your pan
- 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- Preheat Oven: Arrange oven rack to the lower third position and then preheat the oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Start Risotto – Sweat Aromatics: Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium to medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the shallots and season with ¾ teaspoon of salt and heaping ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme leaves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add Arborio: Add the rice to the pot and increase the heat to medium. Cook the rice, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly toasted, fragrant, and every grain is coated in the butter/oil, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add Champagne: Pour one cup of champagne into the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until the rice just starts to look creamy in texture.
- Add Warm Broth: Add 4 ¼ cups of warm broth to the pot. Then, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the contents to a rapid simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Cover, Bake, Stir: Cover the Dutch oven or saucepan and transfer it to the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven, uncover, and give the risotto a good stir.
- Return to Oven, Bake Again: Recover and return to the oven. Continue to bake the champagne risotto for 10-15 minutes, or until the rice is tender, and the liquid is almost all absorbed.
- While Risotto is in Oven, Prepare the Scallops: Cover a clean work surface with paper towels. Next, place all the scallops on top of the paper towels and pat dry. Next, season the scallops generously with salt on all sides. Cover the scallops with more paper towels and thoroughly pat dry. Transfer the dry scallops to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 20 minutes. Remove the scallops from the fridge and pat them dry again using more paper towels.
- Heat Pan, Then Sear Scallops in 2 Batches: Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil (enough to just coat the bottom of your pan) in a large cast iron skillet or stainless-steel pan over high heat until very hot and lightly smoking. Working in two batches to prevent over-crowding the pan, add half the scallops to the pan, arranging them so that there is a space in between each one to prevent steaming. Cook the scallops, without moving or touching them, for 1 ½ - 2 minutes, or until the underside is well browned and the scallop releases easily from the pan. Then, carefully flip the scallops over and continue to cook for 1 – 1 ½ minutes longer, or until the other side of the scallops are well browned and the mollusks are just opaque throughout. Use tong or a fish spatula to transfer the seared scallops to a paper towel-lined plate to drain or excess grease. Season with a pinch of salt. Repeat the cooking process, adding the remaining oil and scallops to the pan; remove scallops to plate and season with a pinch of salt. (Note: I typically cook my sea scallop for 2 minutes on the first side and one minute on the second side.)
- Make Butter Sauce: Return the pan to medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of champagne to the pan and use the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits (fond) from the bottom of the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, thyme sprigs, a generous pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Then, use your spoon or whisk to stir and melt the butter. Set the pan of butter aside.
- Once Risotto is Done Baking, Add Remaining Broth, Butter, Champagne, and Cheese: Transfer the pot of risotto from the oven to the stovetop and turn the burner to low heat. Give the risotto a good stir. Next, add the remaining ¼ cup of warm broth, tablespoon of butter, 2 tablespoons of champagne, and ½ cup of the parmesan cheese to the pot. Gently stir to combine and then take a bite of the risotto and adjust for taste, adding champagne or lemon juice for acidity, butter or heavy cream for richness, salt and pepper for overall flavor, and warm broth to thin the risotto. (Note: I typically add 2 more tablespoons of champagne, ¼ cup more broth, and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.)
- Top Risotto with Scallops: Using a large kitchen spoon, transfer the risotto to a large serving bowl or platter. Top with the seared scallop and drizzle the butter in the pan all over the scallops. Next, squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the scallops and sprinkle the remaining grated parmesan, and chives or microgreens all over the scallop risotto, if using. Enjoy immediately.
- Purchasing Scallops: Seared scallops with a golden-brown crust starts at the grocery store. Look for scallops labeled "dry" or "dry-packed"- this means they haven't been "wet-packed" and treated with a chemical preservative (which packs a ton of extra unnecessary moisture in the scallops). I typically use fresh frozen scallops as they're easiest to find.
- Pan Size for Searing: If you want to brown anything in a skillet, you need to avoid overcrowding the pan - think of overcrowding as the kiss of death for searing. Opt for a heavy-bottomed, stainless steel or cast iron skillet that is big enough to give each scallop about a 1/2 an inch to 1 inch of space all around circumference.
- Searing Scallops: Once you've added the scallops to your hot pan, resist the urge to move them around or touch them! HANDS OFF! Scallops need uninterrupted time in order to form a beautiful golden-brown crust. Once the scallops have been cooking for about 1 1/2 minutes, use your tongs and gently try flipping one over. If it releases easily, then they're ready to be turned over. However, it the scallop sticks, give them another 15 seconds before attempting to flip again.
- Butter Sauce: This sauce is super basic. Feel free to add to it, if you'd like. Try mincing shallot and saute that in the leftover oil in the pan, add a little minced garlic and saute until fragrant, then continue with the recipe as stated. I encourage you to play around and make any and every recipe your own.
- Serves: Risotto Scallops Recipe serves 4-6
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