How to Cook Scallops: The Best Ways to Bake, Broil, Sear and Grill

Cooking Scallops

Scallops need little cooking, only enough to make the translucent meat opaque. Scallops go well with all kinds of sauces and spices, but simple cooking is the best way to enjoy. Though they may be large, sea scallops still cook quickly, so keep a close eye on them. Learn how to cook scallops at home, including searing, baking, and broiling, and grilling. Fresh raw scallops can also be cooked in lime juice served cerviche.

Preparing & Handling

  • Plan to cook fresh-shucked scallops soon after they arrive. Scallops are especially prone to spoilage.
  • Keep shucked scallops in their own sealed container. They can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  • Sea Scallops freeze better than most seafood. Simply place scallops in a plastic container and top with milk before freezing.
  • Recipes often suggest cutting large scallops in half across the grain before cooking, but the large size makes sea scallops a natural for the grill.
  • Remove the little tab-like (tough) muscle on the side of the scallop before cooking.
  • Gently rinse scallops under cold running water for a few seconds to remove any sand or grit. Never soak scallops since they will absorb the water! 
  • Always dry scallops before cooking. Pat dry using a clean kitchen towel. Be careful with paper towels since they have a tendency to stick to the scallop and create a mess!

Serving Suggestions: 1 lb. would be an appetizer serving four or as a main course for two.

Scallop recipes

 

Do not microwave scallops – they can explode at higher settings!

 

How to Cook Sea Scallops

Do not cook scallops and re-heat later, you’ll just have tough cooked scallops!

Sauté or Sear Scallops

Good dry scallops will brown quickly and form a caramelized crust when sauteing. Scallops cook quickly so make sure you don’t over cook them or they will dry out, lose their juices.

Heat 2 tbs. olive oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When cooking in butter or oil, do not put them in the pan until the pan is already very hot. Add scallops, and salt and pepper to taste. You can also coat scallops end-to-end with your favorite spice blend. Sauté 2-3 minutes or until scallops turn milky white or opaque and firm. Again, don’t overcook as they will become tough, stringy and lose flavor.

Grill Scallops

Because scallops are high in moisture content, it is easier to adhere a coating to them by adding cornstarch to a spice mixture. You can also poach scallops for about a minute to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Cook large sea scallops on the grill for no more than 3-4 minutes. Try them on a skewer with shrimp!

Broil Scallops

Turn on broiler. Brush scallops with olive oil. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and garlic powder. Broil about 5 minutes until scallops are opaque. Serve with lemon wedges.

Baked Scallops

The scallop shell itself can be used for individual baking dishes since they hold up to high oven temperatures. Be sure to check our recipe for classic baked scallops.

Want to learn more about the incredible sea scallop? See our Scallop 101 Guide for scallop history, facts, and buying tips.

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