How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

Ready to elevate your grilling game with some delicious scallops?

In this article, culinary expert Chris Poormet shares his expertise on how to prepare and grill scallops to perfection.

From choosing the right scallops to seasoning them just right, Chris will guide you through each step of the process.

Get ready to impress your friends and family with the ultimate grilled scallop dish!

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose fresh, dry-packed scallops for the best flavor and texture when grilling.
  • Season scallops with a variety of spices and herbs, along with lemon juice and olive oil, for a delicious and flavorful dish.
  • Grill scallops for a few minutes on each side over high heat, until they are opaque and have a golden crust. Serve with your choice of side dishes and sauces for a complete meal.
  • About the Author: Chris Poormet

    Chris Poormet, the renowned owner of, achieved the prestigious title of Culinary Blogger of the Year for his exceptional recipes and culinary expertise.

    With a background as a former chef, Chris leverages his culinary skills to not only create mouthwatering dishes but also capture them in stunning images through his expertise in food photography. Through his blog,, he shares his passion for cooking with a global audience, garnering widespread acclaim for his innovative recipes and engaging storytelling. His unique approach to blending flavors and highlighting seasonal ingredients has earned him accolades in the culinary industry, solidifying his reputation as a tastemaker and influencer in the food blogging community.

    What Are Scallops?

    Scallops, a type of mollusk, are delectable seafood delicacies highly prized for their delicate flavor and tender texture, with sea scallops being a popular variety.

    Sea scallops, which are larger in size compared to bay scallops, are commonly used in gourmet dishes due to their succulent sweetness and robust taste. Their versatility in various cooking methods, from searing and grilling to baking and ceviche, makes them a favorite among chefs and seafood enthusiasts alike.

    Whether served pan-seared with a buttery lemon sauce, wrapped in bacon for a savory twist, or added to creamy pastas and risottos for a luxurious touch, sea scallops lend a touch of elegance and sophistication to any meal.

    How to Prepare Scallops for Grilling?

    Preparing scallops for grilling involves marinating them in a flavorful blend of garlic, olive oil, and other seasonings to enhance their natural taste and ensure a perfect grilled result.

    Begin by rinsing the scallops under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. This step helps remove any excess moisture and allows the marinade to adhere better to the scallops.

    Next, create the marinade by mixing minced garlic, olive oil, a hint of lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt, and some fresh herbs like parsley or thyme in a bowl. Thoroughly coat the scallops with this flavorful mixture, ensuring that each piece is well covered.

    Allow the scallops to marinate for at least 15-30 minutes to let the flavors infuse. This marination process not only adds depth to the scallops’ taste but also helps tenderize them for a juicy and flavorful outcome on the grill.

    Choosing the Right Scallops

    Selecting the right scallops is crucial for grilling success, whether opting for the larger sea scallops for a substantial bite or the smaller bay scallops for a delicate texture.

    Sea scallops, sourced from deeper, colder waters, are typically larger in size, meatier, and have a richer, slightly sweeter flavor profile, making them perfect for bold grilling recipes. On the other hand, bay scallops, harvested from shallower, warmer waters, are smaller, more tender, with a milder taste that pairs well with lighter seasoning and quick cooking methods like grilling.

    When choosing scallops for grilling, freshness is key – look for scallops that are firm, odorless, and have a translucent appearance to ensure optimal results on the grill.

    Cleaning and Preparing the Scallops

    Cleaning and preparing scallops involves thawing them properly if frozen, rinsing to remove any impurities, and ensuring they are firm and dry before grilling.

    When thawing frozen scallops, it is best to place them in the refrigerator overnight to ensure a slow and safe thawing process. This helps maintain the scallops’ texture and flavor. Once thawed, gently rinse the scallops under cold water to remove any lingering ice crystals or debris. Pat them dry using paper towels before seasoning for grilling.

    It’s crucial to ensure that the scallops are firm to the touch before cooking, as this indicates freshness and quality. Dry scallops properly using a clean towel to promote a good sear and avoid excess moisture during grilling, resulting in perfectly cooked seafood.

    What Ingredients Do You Need for Grilled Scallops?

    To create mouthwatering grilled scallops, gather essential ingredients such as garlic, olive oil, lemon, and a medley of spices and herbs to elevate the flavors and aroma of the dish.

    Experiment with various combinations to customize your marinade. Consider adding paprika for a smoky undertone, oregano for a hint of earthiness, or thyme for a touch of freshness. You may also opt for a splash of white wine or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to enhance the tanginess. For those who enjoy a bit of heat, red chili flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper can bring a spicy kick to the dish. Let the scallops marinate in this flavorful mixture for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the delicate seafood.

    Spices and Herbs

    Spices and herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro offer a burst of fresh flavors that complement the natural sweetness of scallops, enhancing the overall grilled dish.

    Each of these herbs brings its unique character to the dish. Sondering the delicate sweetness of basil with the earthy notes of parsley and the citrusy brightness of cilantro creates a symphony of flavors that dance on your taste buds.

    To elevate the grilled scallops further, consider experimenting with various seasoning combinations. For a classic touch, a simple mixture of garlic, lemon zest, and black pepper can intensify the seafood’s taste without overshadowing its natural essence.

    Lemon Juice

    Lemon juice, with its zesty citrus notes and subtle acidity, acts as a refreshing component that brightens the flavors of grilled scallops, adding a tantalizing tang to the dish.

    Its citrus-infused essence brings a burst of freshness that complements the natural sweetness of the succulent scallops, creating a harmonious balance on the palate. When preparing your marinade, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the scallops to infuse them with a vibrant flavor that will intensify during grilling.

    For a finishing touch, a drizzle of lemon juice over the grilled scallops adds a final pop of acidity, enhancing the overall taste profile and elevating the dish to a gourmet level. Experiment with different amounts of lemon juice in your recipes to find the perfect balance that suits your taste preferences.

    Olive Oil

    Olive oil, a staple in scallop marinades, imparts a rich and buttery taste while facilitating the grilling process by preventing sticking and enhancing the overall succulence of the dish.

    When marinating scallops, the choice of olive oil can significantly impact the final flavor profile. Extra virgin olive oil, with its fruity notes and low acidity, is often preferred for delicate seafood like scallops. Its high smoke point makes it perfect for grilling, as it can withstand the high heat without burning. This not only adds a delightful flavor but also helps in achieving that beautiful sear on the scallops.

    The natural fats in olive oil coat the scallops, forming a protective layer that prevents them from sticking on the grill. This results in perfectly cooked scallops with a caramelized exterior and tender interior. Experimenting with different types of olive oil, such as infused olive oils like garlic or lemon, can introduce exciting layers of flavors to the dish.

    How to Grill Scallops?

    How to Grill Scallops? - How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

    Credits: Poormet.Com – Timothy Thompson

    Grilling scallops to perfection requires meticulous attention to seasoning, precise cooking times, and optimal temperature control to achieve the desired caramelization and tenderness.

    In terms of seasoning, a simple yet effective approach is to lightly coat the scallops with olive oil, then sprinkle a mix of salt, pepper, and a touch of garlic powder for added flavor.

    Cooking times and temperatures can vary depending on the size of the scallops, but a general rule of thumb is to grill them for 2-3 minutes per side over medium-high heat, ensuring they are cooked through but still tender.

    To achieve that perfect caramelization, make sure your grill is preheated and clean to prevent sticking. Placing the scallops directly on the grates will help develop those beautiful grill marks and enhance the flavor.

    For added tenderness, consider marinating the scallops in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs before grilling. This will not only infuse them with more flavor but also help keep them moist during cooking.

    In terms of equipment, a clean and well-oiled grill grate is essential for preventing the scallops from sticking. A pair of long-handled tongs and a grill brush will come in handy for flipping and cleaning the grill, respectively.

    Preheating the Grill

    Preheating the grill to the optimal temperature ensures a searing heat that results in beautifully browned and perfectly cooked scallops, enhancing both flavor and presentation.

    When grilling scallops, the initial blast of heat is crucial to achieve that sought-after caramelization on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy. To preheat the grill properly, start by firing it up to high heat, around 400-450°F, for at least 10-15 minutes. This initial surge of heat not only creates those appealing grill marks on the scallops but also locks in the natural juices, preserving their delicate texture. Remember, a properly preheated grill leads to consistent cooking results and prevents the seafood from sticking to the grates.

    Seasoning the Scallops

    Seasoning scallops with a flavorful marinade comprising spices, herbs, and aromatic ingredients infuses them with layers of taste and complexity, elevating the grilling experience.

    In terms of enhancing the flavor of grilled scallops, the key lies in the art of balancing different elements. For a zesty kick, consider a marinade with a blend of citrus juices and zests combined with a touch of garlic and fresh herbs. Alternatively, an Asian-inspired marinade featuring soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil can add a delightful umami flavor. To achieve a smoky essence, experiment with paprika, smoked paprika, or cumin.

    Placing the Scallops on the Grill

    Carefully placing scallops on the grill over direct heat or within a grilling basket ensures even cooking and distinct grill marks, imparting a visually appealing aspect to the dish.

    Your choice of grilling method can significantly impact the final outcome of your scallops. When placing them directly over the heat, make sure to position them at an angle to get those perfect grill marks. It’s also crucial to preheat the grill properly to prevent sticking. Alternatively, using a grilling basket can be a convenient option if you prefer more control over the cooking process. Remember, presentation matters; consider arranging the scallops in an attractive pattern for an added touch of elegance.

    Cooking Time and Temperature

    Monitoring the cooking time and temperature meticulously is crucial to ensure scallops reach the perfect level of doneness, preserving their tender texture and succulent juiciness.

    When preparing scallops, remember that overcooking can result in a rubbery, unpleasant texture, while undercooking may lead to a raw and unsatisfying experience. Checking the internal temperature of the scallops is a foolproof way to ensure they are cooked to perfection. Use a food thermometer to ensure they reach an internal temperature of 120°F to 130°F (49°C to 54°C) for optimal results. Remember, carryover cooking will continue to raise the temperature even after removing the scallops from the heat.

    How to Know When Scallops are Done?

    How to Know When Scallops are Done? - How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

    Credits: Poormet.Com – Jesse Wilson

    Determining when scallops are done involves assessing their texture, appearance, and internal temperature to ensure they are perfectly cooked, tender, and ready to be served.

    One of the primary signs that scallops are ready is their texture; they should be firm yet elastic to the touch, not rubbery. The exterior should have a golden-brown sear, but the center should remain slightly translucent. When using a thermometer, aim for an internal temperature of 120-125°F (49-52°C) for perfectly cooked scallops. By using a combination of visual cues and slightly pressing the scallops to feel their bounce-back, you can ensure a delectable culinary experience.

    What to Serve with Grilled Scallops?

    Grilled scallops pair exquisitely with a variety of side dishes, sauces, and dips, offering a harmonious culinary experience that complements the delicate flavors of the seafood.

    For side dishes, consider a refreshing arugula salad with citrus vinaigrette, garlicky sautéed spinach, or a flavorful wild rice pilaf with herbs. In terms of sauces, a classic lemon butter sauce, tangy mango salsa, or a creamy garlic aioli can elevate the scallops’ taste. Try serving the scallops with a zesty cilantro-lime dipping sauce, a spicy sriracha mayo, or a sweet and sour pineapple chutney as versatile dip accompaniments to add extra layers of flavor to each bite.

    Side Dishes

    Side dishes like pasta dishes, asparagus, and sesame ginger snap peas offer vibrant flavors and textures that elevate the dining experience when served alongside succulent grilled scallops.

    To create a well-rounded meal, consider pairing your grilled scallops with a simple yet flavorful pasta aglio e olio, tossed in a garlic-infused olive oil and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. For a refreshing twist, try blistered asparagus drizzled with a lemon-butter sauce and topped with toasted almonds—a delightful contrast to the rich taste of the scallops. Additionally, sesame ginger snap peas provide a unique Asian-inspired flavor profile. Simply stir-fry the snap peas with sesame oil, soy sauce, and a hint of ginger for a quick stir-fry that adds a pop of color and crunch to your plate.

    Sauces and Dips

    Sauces and dips featuring lemon, buttery accents, and garlic undertones enhance the succulence of grilled scallops, providing a decadent and flavorful addition to the seafood dish.

    For a zesty twist, consider whipping up a lemon and herb sauce by mixing fresh lemon juice, chopped herbs like parsley and thyme, minced garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil. This vibrant sauce brings a burst of freshness that perfectly complements the charred notes of the grilled scallops.

    Alternatively, indulge in the creamy richness of a garlic butter dip. Melt butter in a pan, sauté minced garlic until fragrant, and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. This luxurious dip coats each scallop in velvety goodness.

    Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Grilled Scallops

    Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Grilled Scallops - How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

    Credits: Poormet.Com – Kenneth Martinez

    Achieving perfectly grilled scallops with a buttery taste requires expert tips and tricks, including marination enhancements, grill techniques, and seasoning secrets.

    • One essential tip is to ensure that the scallops are dry before placing them on the grill, as excess moisture can prevent proper searing.

    • Experimenting with different marinades, such as citrus-based ones or herb-infused oils, can add depth of flavor to your scallops.

    • Grilling scallops over high heat for a short amount of time is crucial to retain their tenderness and succulence.

    • Consider using a grill basket or skewers to prevent the scallops from falling through the grates.

    • For a smoky flavor, try using hardwood chips or planks while grilling your scallops.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

    What ingredients do I need to cook scallops under the grill?
    To cook scallops under the grill, you will need fresh scallops, olive oil, salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings or herbs of your choice.

    How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

    How do I prepare the scallops before cooking them under the grill?
    Before cooking, make sure to rinse the scallops and pat them dry. You can also remove the small side muscle if desired.

    How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

    How long should I cook the scallops under the grill?
    The cooking time for scallops under the grill will vary depending on their size. Generally, it takes 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-sized scallops.

    How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

    Should I marinate the scallops before cooking them under the grill?
    It’s not necessary to marinate scallops before cooking them under the grill. However, you can marinate them for 30 minutes to an hour if you prefer.

    How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

    Can I use a gas or charcoal grill to cook scallops?
    Yes, you can use both gas and charcoal grills to cook scallops. Just make sure the grill is preheated to high heat before placing the scallops on it.

    How to Cook Scallops Under the Grill?

    What is the best way to know if the scallops are cooked under the grill?
    The best way to check if the scallops are cooked is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit for safe consumption. Alternatively, you can also check if the scallops are opaque and firm to the touch.

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