Grilled Scallops Recipe: A Quick and Easy Way to Prepare This Delicious Seafood

Grilled Scallops Recipe

Grilled scallops are a true delicacy, offering a succulent taste of the sea combined with a smoky, charred flavor. This seafood delight is not only easy to prepare but also makes an impressive dish for any occasion. In this article, we'll explore the art of grilling scallops to perfection, from choosing the freshest ingredients to serving them in the most delightful ways.


Grilled scallops are a popular choice among seafood enthusiasts due to their tender texture and exquisite taste. When cooked on a grill, scallops develop a beautiful caramelized crust while maintaining their juicy and delicate interior. Whether you're hosting a summer barbecue or preparing an elegant dinner, grilled scallops are sure to impress your guests.

Grilled Scallops Recipe

What are Scallops?

Scallops are mollusks that belong to the same family as clams, mussels, and oysters. These bivalve shellfish are prized for their sweet and delicate flavor, making them a sought-after ingredient in various cuisines. Scallops have two distinct parts—the edible muscle, often referred to as the "scallop," and the colorful roe (coral) found in female scallops.

Choosing Fresh Scallops

When it comes to grilling scallops, freshness is key. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best scallops:

  1. Opt for fresh scallops: Look for scallops that have a mild, sweet smell, and avoid those with a strong fishy odor. Fresh scallops should also have a firm texture and appear moist, not dry.
  2. Select dry-packed scallops: Dry-packed scallops are free of any additives or preservatives, making them ideal for grilling. These scallops sear beautifully and develop a caramelized crust.
  3. Check for a creamy color: Fresh scallops should have a creamy, off-white color. Avoid scallops that are overly translucent or yellowish, as they may not be as fresh.

By selecting high-quality and fresh scallops, you're setting the foundation for a fantastic grilled scallop dish.

Grilled Scallops: A Delicious Seafood Delight

Grilling scallops is a straightforward process that involves a few simple steps. Follow the guide below to create mouthwatering grilled scallops:

1. Preparing the Scallops

Before grilling, it's essential to properly clean and prepare the scallops. Start by rinsing them under cold water to remove any debris or sand. Then, pat them dry using paper towels. This ensures better adhesion of marinades and helps achieve a nice sear on the grill.

2. Marinating the Scallops

Marinating the scallops adds extra flavor and helps tenderize the meat. You can choose from a variety of marinades based on your preferences. A simple marinade can consist of olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Allow the scallops to marinate for at least 15 minutes, but not longer than 30 minutes to avoid overpowering their natural taste.

3. Preheating the Grill

While the scallops marinate, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Ensure that the grates are clean and lightly oiled to prevent sticking. The ideal grilling temperature for scallops is around 400°F (200°C). This high heat helps create a beautiful sear while maintaining the scallops' tender texture.

4. Grilling the Scallops

Once the grill is preheated, carefully place the scallops on the grill grates, making sure they have enough space between them. Allow the scallops to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they develop a golden-brown crust. Avoid overcooking, as scallops can become rubbery and lose their delicate taste.

Grilled Scallops Variations

Grilled scallops are incredibly versatile and can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few delicious variations to consider:

Garlic and Herb Grilled Scallops

For a burst of aromatic flavors, try marinating the scallops in a mixture of minced garlic, chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, and rosemary), lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Grill them as usual, and the result will be a mouthwatering combination of garlic and herbs that enhances the natural sweetness of the scallops.

Lemon Butter Grilled Scallops

To add a tangy twist, create a marinade using melted butter, freshly squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. The lemon butter marinade imparts a zesty and buttery flavor, beautifully complementing the delicate taste of the scallops. Be generous with the lemon butter drizzle when serving for an extra burst of citrusy goodness.

Teriyaki Glazed Grilled Scallops

For an Asian-inspired twist, marinate the scallops in a teriyaki sauce mixture, which typically includes soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. The teriyaki glaze adds a delightful umami flavor to the scallops and creates a caramelized crust when grilled.

Serving and Pairing Grilled Scallops

Grilled scallops can be served in various ways, allowing you to get creative with your presentation. Here are a few serving suggestions:

  • Serve the grilled scallops on a bed of mixed greens, drizzled with a light vinaigrette for a refreshing and vibrant salad.
  • Pair the scallops with a side of grilled vegetables, such as asparagus or zucchini, for a wholesome and nutritious meal.
  • Serve the scallops as an appetizer on skewers, garnished with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon.

As for pairing, grilled scallops pair well with crisp white wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. For a non-alcoholic option, a refreshing sparkling water with a hint of citrus complements the scallops nicely.

Tips for Perfectly Grilled Scallops

To ensure your grilled scallops turn out perfectly every time, consider the following tips:

  1. Choose dry-packed scallops: Dry-packed scallops sear better and result in a more flavorful crust.
  2. Don't over-marinate: Avoid marinating the scallops for too long to prevent overpowering their delicate taste.
  3. Maintain high heat: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and keep it at around 400°F (200°C) for optimal searing.
  4. Avoid overcrowding: Give the scallops enough space on the grill to cook evenly and develop a golden-brown crust.
  5. Watch the cooking time: Scallops cook quickly, so keep a close eye on them to prevent overcooking.
  6. Use a grill pan: If you don't have access to an outdoor grill, a grill pan can be a great alternative for achieving those beautiful grill marks.

By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of grilling scallops.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use frozen scallops for grilling?

A: While fresh scallops are preferable, you can use frozen scallops if fresh ones aren't available. Thaw them thoroughly before grilling and ensure they are dry before applying the marinade.

Q: How long should I marinate the scallops?

A: It's best to marinate the scallops for 15 to 30 minutes. Marinating for longer may result in the scallops becoming too tender or absorbing too much flavor.

Q: What type of grill is best for grilling scallops?

A: Any grill that can reach high heat, such as a gas grill or charcoal grill, is suitable for grilling scallops. Ensure the grates are clean and lightly oiled to prevent sticking.

Q: Can I use a grill pan instead of an outdoor grill?

A: Yes, a grill pan is a great alternative if you don't have access to an outdoor grill. Make sure the pan is preheated and lightly oiled before grilling the scallops.

Q: How can I tell if the scallops are cooked?

A: When cooked, scallops turn opaque and firm to the touch. Be careful not to overcook them, as they can become tough and rubbery.


Grilled scallops offer a delightful combination of tenderness and smoky flavors that seafood lovers can't resist. With a few simple steps, you can create a mouthwatering dish that impresses your guests and satisfies your taste buds. Remember to choose fresh scallops, marinate them to enhance their flavor, and grill them to perfection. Whether you prefer the classic garlic and herb version or want to explore other delicious variations, grilled scallops are sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire.

So, fire up the grill, gather your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy a delectable seafood feast with these delectable grilled scallops.

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