Grilled Scallops

Grilled scallops are so full of flavor! They’re easy to grill and need minimal seasoning to taste irresistibly tender and savory.

Grilled scallops

Are you a scallops lover? Then stop right there and make these grilled scallops! They come out incredibly tender and full of flavor, no special seasonings required. Grilling scallops is much easier than searing them in a pan: you don’t have to worry about how hot the pan is or getting an even crisp crust. Nope, just pop them on the grill and in 5 minutes they’re juicy and ready to eat. Outside of grilled shrimp, they’re one of the best grilled dinners out there…period.

Ingredients for grilled scallops

Alex and I eat mostly plant-based, but every now and then we splurge on some seafood. And let me tell you: these grilled scallops are at the top of our list for summer. When I took the first bite, I set down my fork and looked at Alex in amazement. There’s nothing fancy here: just scallops and a grill. Really! Here’s what you need to make grilled scallops:

  • Medium sea scallops, fresh or frozen (we use frozen)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
Grilled scallops

How to grill scallops: a few tips

There aren’t many tricks to making stellar grilled scallops. All you need to know is the basic grill temperature and cook time: then memorize it and make them on repeat! Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):

  • Thaw the scallops: this takes about 15 minutes. See the section below!
  • Preheat the grill to medium high heat: that’s 375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pat dry and mix with olive oil, salt and pepper. Make sure they’re as dry as possible so the olive oil will stick.
  • Place on the grates and grill about 5 minutes, turning once. Grill until browned on the bottom, then flip with tongs. If you want you can spritz with fresh lemon juice before serving: but they’re just as good without!
Grilled scallops

Make it a meal!

There are so many things that pair well with grilled scallops to make a healthy dinner! Of course, you can go uber simple and just do something like a green salad and rice. But here are some of our top picks to round out a meal with scallops:

How to thaw frozen scallops

You can use either frozen or fresh shellfish for this grilled scallops recipe. Most of the time frozen is as good quality as fresh since it’s frozen right after it was caught! Of course, the hardest part about frozen scallops it remembering to thaw them. Here’s how to do it:

  • Day before (best option): If you think ahead, simply place the frozen scallops in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Day of (in a pinch): Keep the frozen scallops in the package or place them in a resealable plastic bag. Place the package of bag into a large bowl with cold water. The scallops should thaw in about 30 minutes.
Grilled scallops

What to look for when buying scallops

Want to buy sustainable scallops? How to find the right fish at the store? Here are a few things to note when buying scallops:

  • Look for sea scallops, not bay scallops. This recipe is for medium-sized sea scallops, which cook up easily on the grill. Avoid bay scallops because they are very small and are harder to grill.
  • Look for wild-caught or US caught. Wild caught scallops are preferable if you can find them. If you live in the US, look for US caught. Imported seafood runs the risk of being overfished, caught under unfair labor practices, or farmed in environmentally harmful ways.
  • Look for hook and line as one example of a sustainable type of fishing gear. Bottom trawling is considered the most destructive and least sustainable method.

This grilled scallops recipe is…

Pescatarian, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Grilled scallops

Easy Grilled Scallops


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.71 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Low Calorie

Description

Grilled scallops are so full of flavor! They’re easy to grill and need minimal seasoning to taste irresistibly tender and savory.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium-sized sea scallops, frozen or fresh
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Thaw the scallops, if frozen. (See above.)
  2. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit).
  3. Pat the scallops dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Place them in a bowl and mix them with the olive oil, salt, and several grinds of black pepper.
  4. Place the scallops directly on the grill grates and grill them 2 to 3 minutes until browned on bottom. Flip and grill for 1 to 2 minutes until just opaque.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Grilled scallops, How to grill scallops

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Patrick
    June 7, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    will a conventional oven work instead of a grill?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 8, 2020 at 10:00 am

      Yes, a hot pan with butter will work as well!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.