Pan-Fried Abalone

Thin slices of lightly browned abalone on a platter

The Spruce Eats / Molly Watson

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
379 Calories
14g Fat
36g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 379
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 122mg 41%
Sodium 936mg 41%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 357mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Simple, pan-fried abalone is the best way to appreciate the unique, crave-inducing flavor—something of a cross between scallops and foie gras—of abalone. It takes a bit of time to pound all the slices, but it's an important step: without it, the abalone will be tough and chewy instead of meltingly tender.

Wild abalone can only be picked in certain areas, with a license, and following strict rules. They cannot be legally purchased. What can be purchased, however, are farmed abalone. They are smaller than wild ones but just as succulent. Since farmed abalone is younger than wild ones (they are harvested after a few years, and to keep wild populations healthy only much larger, older abalones can be harvested), they have a less intense abalone flavor, which is a plus or a minus, depending on how much you like abalone.

Whether it's wild or farmed, abalone needs to be cleaned and tenderized before cooking


  • 1 wild abalone, or 2 farmed abalones

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, optional

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to wrest the abalone from its shell, cut off and discard the dark sac of viscera, cut off and discard the rubbery lip around the edge of the abalone, scrub the rest of the abalone clean or cut off the icky black stuff around the edges.

  3. Thinly slice the cleaned abalone. Pound the slices tender: use a meat tenderizer or, even better, the back of a large metal spoon to gently tap each slice until the texture goes from stiff to limp.


    Important counterintuitive note: Lots of gentle taps are better and more effective than hard pounds.

  4. In a large shallow bowl or wide plate, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the abalone slices in the flour mixture, shake off any excess flour, and lay the abalone slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, cutting board, or platter. Alternatively, put the flour mixture in a large resealable plastic bag, add the abalone slices, and shake to coat.

  5. In a large frying pan or sauté pan, melt the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and stopped foaming, add a single layer of the floured abalone slices to the pan and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook until golden on the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with any remaining slices.

  6. Serve hot and enjoy.