Seared Scallops with Creamy Sauce

Creamy Scallops and Peppers Recipe

Wednesdays are the craziest days in our household. Not only do the boys get out of school 2 hours early each week, but Tae Kwon Do classes start at 5:45pm. Because the boys take separate classes, they normally don’t get out until 7:30pm which means dinner has to be eaten before class. In the afternoons, juggling my own work, homework, cooking, cleaning and then class is nuts.

So you can imagine why I opt for dinners that only take 15-minutes to make, like this Scallops and Peppers dish. The scallops only take 5 minutes to cook – any longer than they they would turn tough and rubbery anyways.

Spicy Creamy Scallops and Peppers Recipe

The tip to the best scallops is to buy the right kind. Look for scallops that have been “dry packed” – meaning they are not sitting in a preservative solution. The clue? If the scallops at the market are swimming in milky, watery solution, pass on them. Instead, get shrimp and make this same dish.

If you’re getting frozen scallops, look for “dry packed” on the package and check the ingredients, which should just simply say, “scallops”.

Before cooking, pat them very dry and add them to a large, hot skillet. Make sure they don’t touch, otherwise they’ll end up “steaming” rather than searing.

**NOTE The written recipe serves 4, however my photos below depict cooking for 2 people.

Scallops for the Creamy Scallops and Peppers Recipe

Give them plenty of space – you might want to do this in two batches. 1 1/2 minutes each side is all you need in this step, just to get a good sear.

Seared Scallops for the Creamy Scallops and Peppers Recipe

Remove the scallops for now, they’ll finish cooking in the sauce.

Seared and Sauced Scallops for the Creamy Scallops and Peppers Recipe

In the same skillet (no need to clean), add the onions and pepper and saute for a couple of minutes.

Onions and pepper and saute

Next add some wine. glug glug glug.

Wine for the Creamy Scallops and Pepper Recipe

And here’s my secret weapon – Philadelphia Cooking Creme, Santa Fe Blend. You can use any flavor – including Original, Italian Cheese & Herb and Savory Garlic. It’s made from real cream cheese, but designed especially to be used as a ready-made creamy sauce. It easily melts in the pan and is already infused with herbs and spices for that ‘one-stir, dinner’s ready’ sauce.

As a substitute for the Cooking Creme, you can use 6 ounces of cream cheese + 1/2 cup vegetable broth + salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking Creme for the Creamy Scallops

Add the scallops back in and cook for 1 minute (or 2 minutes if you’re using very large scallops).

Adding the Scallops

Throw in the parsley and stir. That’s it!

Parsley for the Creamy Scallops

Dinner’s ready. Serve over rice or pasta.

Ready to eat Creamy Scallops and Pepper


Seared Scallops with Creamy Sauce Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes
Creamy Scallops and Peppers Recipe

This recipe works great with any type of protein - shrimp, beef, chicken or pork - just adjust cooking times. If you are using the smaller bay scallops, shorten cooking time as they cook very quickly.

Feel free to use any Philadelphia Cooking Creme flavor, I've used Santa Fe Blend.

If you'd like to use cream cheese instead of the Philadelphia Cooking Creme, substitutions are below.

Serve over rice or pasta.


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound dry-packed sea scallops
1 or 2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
EITHER: One 10oz package of Philadelphia Cooking Creme OR [6oz light cream cheese, softened+1/2 cup vegetable broth+salt/pepper to taste]
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley


1. Pat the scallops very dry. Heat a large saute pan or skillet over high heat. When hot, swirl in just 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the scallops to the hot pan, try to keep them from touching each other. Give 'em room to sear! Sear 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove scallops to plate.

2. In same, now empty skillet, add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the pepper and onions and saute for 2 minutes until softened.

3. Pour in the wine and let simmer for 1 minute. Mix in the cooking creme (or substitution of the cream cheese+vegetable+salt/pepper). Bring to simmer, stir until sauce is evenly mixed.

4. Add the scallops back into the sauce. Cook for 1 minute. Turn off heat, stir in the parsley. Serve immediately.

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Comments 16

  1. Arthur

    The scallops look amazing. Thank you for sharing your secret weapon, I haven’t heard of these yet, but will definitely add it to my supply of quick meal ingredients.

  2. michelle @ The Domestic Mama and The Village Cook

    Oooo, yum!I have a bunch of cooking creme I need to use- so thank you! This may be the way to get my hubby to try scallops… he’s so freaking picky! Grr. because I love scallops. Oooo, he’s going out of town soon. I’m so making this for me and my lil’ seafood eater. 🙂 But I will save him a “sample”.

  3. Gaby

    umm…really…cooking creme?? Jaden I love your site and even have your fab cook book but cooking creme sounds overly processed. What are the ingredients? Fast? Yes. Simple? Yes. Fresh??

  4. *Just Fran*

    I will skip the “cooking creme” and go with cream cheese and some seasonings, but the basic idea of this recipe sound delish. Can’t wait to whip it up. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Chris

    Nice! It’s hard to find dry scallops around here at a reasonable price but I’ll keep this in mind the next time I find some.

    I like the Creme, I’ve used two of them so far with good results. But DON’T try using the Sante Fe as a “slather” on roasted chicken. It sounded good but did not work out. It dried out and made a fugly crust.

  6. Jon

    Says right in the review that it’s a sponsored post. Why the surprise that cooking creme made it in as an ingredient? Still, looks pretty tasty.

  7. Marsha

    Thank you for the excuse to use that Philly Cooking Creme! Been eyeing it in the store but didn’t know what to do. I made this for my fiancé and I for dinner on Friday…..YUM! He loved it!! I used a red onion we had and added baby portobella mushrooms with the red pepper – will definitely make again!

  8. Melanie

    I finally used this recipe yesterday! I made some personal taste changes and could only find the regular Philly cooking creme – but WOW! It is an easy cream based sauce! Thank you so much for this recipe!

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