Learn How to Cook Scallops Like a Pro

Scallops are a delicious seafood delicacy that can be cooked in various ways. From seared to baked, there are plenty of methods to cook scallops, but the key is to retain their natural sweetness and texture. While it may seem intimidating to cook scallops like a pro, it’s actually quite simple! With the right tips and techniques, you can master the art of cooking mouth-watering scallops in no time. In this article, we’ll share some easy-to-follow steps and guidance on how to cook scallops like a pro.

Learn How to Cook Scallops Like a Pro | Eat Urban Garden
Learn How to Cook Scallops Like a Pro

Types of Scallops

Scallops are a delicious seafood item that many people enjoy. There are different types of scallops available, and it’s essential to know the differences between them to cook them correctly. Here are the types of scallops that you should know about:

1. Bay Scallops

These small and sweet scallops are harvested in the bays of Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Florida. Bay scallops are the smallest type of scallops, and they’re perfect for quick sautés, ceviche, and light salads. These scallops have a delicate flavor and are the most expensive scallop variety.

2. Sea Scallops

Sea scallops are the largest and most recognizable type of scallops available. They’re typically sold fresh and are harvested from the Atlantic Ocean. These scallops have a meatier texture and a slightly sweet flavor. They’re commonly used in pan-seared, baked, and grilled dishes.

3. Calico Scallops

Calico scallops, also known as variegated scallops, are small and have a unique look. These scallops have a zigzag pattern on the shell and a bright orange color, making them an attractive option to use in dishes. These scallops have a slightly sweet flavor and can be used in many recipes.

4. Pink Scallops

Pink scallops, also known as New Zealand scallops, are a smaller variety found in colder waters off the coast of New Zealand. These scallops are naturally a pretty pink color and have a sweet, delicate flavor. They’re great for sautés and also can be used in pasta dishes or salads.

5. Icelandic Scallops

Icelandic scallops are a small type of scallop that comes from the waters around Iceland. These scallops are delicate and sweet and have a meaty texture. These scallops are great for sautés or to use in grilled dishes.

Choosing the Right Pan

If you want to cook scallops like a pro, it’s important to use the right type of pan. Using the wrong type of pan can result in overcooking or undercooking the scallops, which can ruin the dish. So, what type of pan should you use?

A Non-Stick Skillet

A non-stick skillet is the best type of pan to use for cooking scallops. The non-stick surface prevents the scallops from sticking to the pan, which can lead to tearing or uneven cooking. Additionally, a non-stick skillet allows you to use less oil in the cooking process, resulting in a healthier meal.

When choosing a non-stick skillet, look for one that has a heavy bottom. A heavy bottom allows for even heat distribution, which is important when cooking scallops.

  • Pro-tip: Never use a cast-iron skillet to cook scallops. The high heat retention can cause the scallops to overcook and become rubbery.

Preparing Your Scallops

If you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious seafood option, scallops are an excellent choice. These shellfish are a great source of protein, low in fat, and easy to cook. However, proper preparation is key to getting the most out of your scallops. Follow these steps to prepare your scallops like a pro.

Cleaning Your Scallops

Begin by cleaning the scallops thoroughly. This will remove any grit or sand that may be present on the surface. Place the scallops in a bowl of cold water and use your fingers to gently rub each one, taking care not to damage the delicate meat. Rinse the scallops under cold running water and pat them dry with a clean towel.

Removing the Muscle

The next step is to remove the tough muscle that is attached to one side of each scallop. This muscle can be tough and chewy, so it is important to remove it before cooking. To do this, use a small knife to cut off the muscle and discard it. If you are unsure which part of the scallop is the muscle, it will be the slightly tougher, lighter colored part of the scallop.

Dry Your Scallops

Drying your scallops is essential to getting a crispy sear when cooking. Use a paper towel to pat each scallop as dry as possible. The drier the scallop is, the easier it will be to get a good sear when you cook it.

Seasoning Your Scallops

Scallops are delicious on their own, but seasoning can take them to the next level. Salt and pepper are a simple seasoning option, but don’t be afraid to get creative with your flavor profile. Some popular seasoning options for scallops include garlic, lemon, herbs like thyme or basil, and even a touch of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.

Rest Your Scallops

Before cooking, let your scallops rest at room temperature for a few minutes. This will help ensure even cooking and prevent the scallops from sticking to the pan. If you’re cooking a large batch, you may want to rest your scallops in the fridge before cooking to prevent them from getting too warm.

Seasoning Your Scallops

Scallops are one of the most versatile types of seafood. They can be cooked in various ways, and their mild flavor makes them perfect for experimenting with different seasonings. Here are some tips on how to season your scallops for maximum flavor and enjoyment.

The Basics of Seasoning Scallops

Before diving into the various seasoning options, it’s important to understand the basics of seasoning scallops. Scallops have a naturally sweet, delicate flavor that can be easily overwhelmed by heavy or overly complex seasonings. It’s best to keep it simple when seasoning scallops and let their natural flavor shine through. Additionally, scallops cook very quickly, so it’s important to add any seasonings before cooking.

Salt and Pepper

Salt and pepper are two of the most basic seasoning options for scallops. They bring out the natural flavor of the scallops without overpowering them. Usually, sea salt is considered the best option for seasoning scallops.

Lemon Zest

If you want to add a touch of brightness and a tangy flavor to your scallops, adding some lemon zest is a great option. Simply grate some lemon zest over your scallops before cooking, and you’ll have a refreshing, zesty flavor that pairs well with the delicate flavor of scallops.

Garlic and Butter

Garlic and butter are a classic combination that works well with many seafood dishes, including scallops. Melt some butter in a pan, add some finely chopped garlic, and cook for a minute before adding the scallops. This will give the scallops a rich, savory flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of the scallops.


While it’s important to keep it simple when seasoning scallops, you can still experiment with different spices to create unique flavor combinations. Some popular options include smoked paprika, cumin, and chili powder. Be sure to use only a small amount of spices to avoid overpowering the scallops.

Cooking Your Scallops

Scallops are a versatile seafood that can be prepared in many different ways. Properly cooking scallops requires attention to detail and correct techniques to ensure the perfect texture and flavor. In this section, we’ll explore some of the best methods for cooking scallops and techniques to achieve a perfect dish.

1. Pan-Frying Scallops

Pan-frying scallops is a popular cooking method that produces a crispy crust on the outside while keeping the inside juicy and moist. Follow these steps for the perfect pan-fried scallops:

  • Pat the scallops dry before seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a non-stick pan over high heat and add a small amount of oil or butter.
  • Add the scallops to the pan in a single layer, spaced a few inches apart.
  • Cook the scallops for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  • Serve immediately with your favorite side dishes.

2. Grilling Scallops

Grilling scallops is another fantastic cooking method that imparts a smoky flavor and beautiful grill marks. Here’s how to grill scallops effectively:

  • Preheat your grill to high heat.
  • Season the scallops with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  • Place the scallops on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until opaque.
  • Serve with fresh lemon wedges and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

3. Boiling Scallops

Boiling scallops is an easy method that requires minimal preparation time. Boiled scallops can be used in a variety of dishes, including pastas, soups, and salads. Follow these steps:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove.
  • Place the scallops in the water and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender.
  • Drain the scallops and serve with your favorite recipe.

4. Broiling Scallops

Broiling scallops is a quick method that produces a crispy crust similar to pan-frying. Here’s how to broil scallops:

  • Preheat your broiler to high heat.
  • Season the scallops with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  • Place the scallops on a baking sheet and broil for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and your favorite side dishes.

5. Baking Scallops

Baking scallops is a fuss-free method that is perfect for entertaining guests. Here’s how to bake scallops:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  • Season the scallops with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  • Place the scallops in a baking dish and add your favorite seasonings, such as garlic and red pepper flakes.
  • Bake the scallops in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
  • Serve with fresh herbs and a side of your favorite vegetables.

Tip: Remember to avoid overcooking the scallops, as this results in rubbery and chewy scallops. Always monitor the cooking time and test the texture often.

Serving Your Scallops

Once you’ve cooked your scallops to perfection, it’s time to present them beautifully on your plate along with some delicious sides to make a complete meal that will wow your guests.

Plating Your Scallops

Plating your scallops might seem daunting, but it’s actually quite simple if you follow these tips:

  • Start with a clean plate: You want your plate to look as fresh and clean as your scallops. Make sure to wipe down the plate before plating the scallops.
  • Arrange the scallops: Place the scallops on the plate in a circular or diagonal pattern. If you have bigger scallops, you can place one in the center and arrange the others around it.
  • Add color: Use colorful herbs, microgreens, or edible flowers to add visual appeal to your dish. Place them around your scallops or on top of them.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your scallops with complementary sides that elevate the dish and turn it into a complete meal. Here are some ideas:

  • Greens: A light salad with greens, like arugula, spinach, or lettuce, can add freshness to your meal.
  • Grains: A side of grains like quinoa, rice, or couscous can add texture and balance to your dish.
  • Vegetables: Roasting some seasonal veggies like asparagus, carrots, or zucchini can add a pop of color and additional flavors to your dish.
  • Sauces: A sauce can be a great addition to scallops. Lemon butter sauce, garlic sauce, or creamy white wine sauce can all be great pairings.

Thanks for Reading!

Whether you’re a seafood lover or not, scallops are definitely worth a try. They’re versatile and can be prepared in a variety of different ways to suit your taste. With this guide, you now have the knowledge to cook them like a pro and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills. We hope you enjoyed this article and stay tuned for more exciting cooking tips and recipes. See you soon!

Learn How to Cook Scallops Like a Pro

Learn how to cook scallops like a pro with this simple and easy-to-follow guide. Whether you prefer them pan-seared, grilled, or roasted, we’ve got you covered.

  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Pat dry the scallops with paper towels. Make sure they are dry before cooking to ensure a nice sear.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil and let it heat until the butter melts.
  3. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side until a golden crust forms. Flip the scallops and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.
  4. Add the minced garlic and chopped parsley to the skillet and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring continuously.
  5. Remove the skillet from heat and serve the scallops hot with your desired sides.
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