Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Fire up the grill or take advantage of the stovetop grill pan! With just olive oil, salt, and pepper, this easy grilled scallops recipe is a delicious and healthy dinner that’s ready from start to finish in just 10 minutes. Perfect for special occasions or quick weeknight meals!

Overhead image of grilled scallops on a platter on a white table.
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love this Recipe
  2. Ingredients
  3. Directions
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. Preparation and Storage Tips
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Expert Tips
  8. Grilled Scallops Recipe

If you love seafood recipes, be sure to try this Southern shrimp and grits with tomato gravy, classic Virginia crab imperial, this easy roasted Old Bay salmon, and crispy fried oysters, too!

Horizontal side shot of grilled scallops on a tray.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Quick. Ideal for those evenings when you just don’t have time to devote hours to a gourmet meal! Grilled scallops taste fancy, but they require only 5 minutes of prep time and 5 minutes of cooking time.
  • Simple. Keep some frozen scallops on hand, and you’ll always have the ingredients for a delicious dinner. After all, this easy recipe just calls for olive oil, salt, and pepper — a few pantry staples!
  • Healthy. Packed with protein and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, scallops boast numerous health benefits that make them a satisfying addition to your next meal.

Shrimp make a frequent appearance on our dinner menu each week, but scallops have quickly become another go-to seafood favorite. After all, when we find something that the kids will actually eat, it’s served on repeat — and this grilled scallops recipe is one of those gems!

Square close up side shot of a platter of grilled scallops.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you need for the best grilled scallops recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Sea scallops: thawed (if frozen) and patted very dry. Scallops are a type of shellfish characterized by their distinctive fan-shaped shells. The part that we eat is the muscle. Scallops have a firm, buttery texture and a sweet taste. There are two different types of scallops. Bay scallops are smaller and more delicate, and therefore work well in chowders or seafood stews, pasta dishes, salads, on pizzas, and in stir-fries. Here we’re using the larger, meatier sea scallops, which have a robust flavor and are well-suited for grilling and searing.
  • Olive oil: help the scallops develop a crust on the grill and prevents them from sticking.
  • Salt and pepper: to enhance the natural flavor of the scallops.
Process shot showing how to grill scallops.

Directions

Simple is best! We skip the marinade, glaze, or fancy seasonings, and instead let the sweet, buttery texture and flavor of the scallops shine in this easy recipe. Grilling is our favorite way to cook scallops because it imparts a smoky char and caramelization, enhancing their natural sweetness. Five minutes of prep time, five minutes on the grill, and dinner is ready! You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the overview:

  • Dry the scallops really well.
  • Brush or drizzle the scallops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the scallops on an outdoor gas grill, charcoal grill, or indoor grill pan over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side. To tell when scallops are done on the grill, look for visual cues such as a golden-brown crust forming on the edges and a firm, opaque texture throughout. Additionally, they should release easily from the grill when gently lifted with tongs or a spatula.
Process shot showing how to cook scallops on the grill.

Serving Suggestions

Grilled scallops are delicious with pasta and homemade pesto, or with other side dishes like a loaf of crusty no-knead bread, rice pilaf, tomato, cucumber, and onion salad, oven-roasted asparagus, garlic oven roasted broccoli, Southern succotashcorn on the cob in the oven, or a Caesar salad.

Square overhead image of grilled scallops on a serving platter.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • How to Store: Scallops will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When they’re fresh, they have a sweet ocean smell. When the scallops start to spoil, they smell “fishy.”
  • How to Freeze: Wrapped tightly, cooked scallops can be frozen for up to 2 months.
  • How to Reheat: Be careful not to overcook the scallops, or they will become rubbery and chewy. Reheat the scallops in a skillet over very low heat or in the microwave (on half heat) just until warmed through.
The best grilled scallops recipe served with lemon and parsley on a platter.

Recipe Variations

  • Add garlic powder, onion powder, or fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, basil, or oregano for even more flavor.
  • Add freshly squeezed lemon juice or freshly grated lemon zest after grilling for a bright citrus note.
  • To sear the scallops instead of grilling them, follow the preparation instructions, but instead of placing the scallops on a grill, place them in a very hot skillet with 1 tablespoon oil. Make sure the skillet is really hot, and be sure to use an oil with a high smoke point (like canola oil or vegetable oil). Sear the scallops for about 2 minutes on the first side, then flip them over, add a pat of butter to the pan (for flavor), and continue cooking for about 2-3 more minutes. They should be golden brown on both sides.
  • To feed a larger family, double or triple the scallops. The rest of the instructions remain the same.
Close overhead image of a tray of grilled scallops on a white table with rice and a side salad.

Expert Tips

  • Sea scallops work best for grilling, so I do not recommend substituting with bay scallops. Sea scallops are up to three times larger in size than bay scallops, so you can put them directly on the grill. This avoids having to thread them on skewers and prevents them from falling through the grill grates.
  • Scallops can be labeled as either “wet” or “dry.” When at all possible, it’s best to purchase “dry” scallops. A wet scallop has been soaked in a preservative phosphate solution, which makes the scallop absorb more water. When you cook a wet scallop, it tends to shrivel up more and doesn’t brown as well. The wet scallops also don’t taste quite as fresh. By contrast, a dry scallop is not treated with any chemical additives or solutions.
  • Use fresh or frozen scallops. If starting with frozen sea scallops, thaw them before grilling.
  • Dry the scallops really well with a dish towel or paper towels. This helps them brown on the outside, while still staying moist and tender on the inside.
  • How to thaw scallops: Leave frozen scallops in the refrigerator overnight. If short on time, place the frozen scallops in a bowl of cold water for about 15-25 minutes. Take them out of the cold water and gently pat them dry and absorb all the liquid before seasoning and grilling.
Close up front shot of perfectly grilled scallops served on a tray.

More Grilled Seafood Recipes to Try

Square close up side shot of a platter of grilled scallops.

Grilled Scallops

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 129.7 kcal
These easy grilled scallops are ready in just 10 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. sea scallops (frozen and thawed is fine)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil or vegetable oil (for the grill)
  • Optional, for serving: fresh lemon wedges; chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Pat scallops dry with a dish towel or paper towels. It’s very important to get out as much of the liquid as possible.
    Uncooked scallops on a tray.
  • Drizzle or brush scallops with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Place back in the refrigerator until the grill is ready (keep scallops cold for as long as possible).
    Process shot showing how to grill scallops.
  • Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub the grates liberally with an oil with a high smoke point (such as canola or vegetable oil) to prevent the scallops from sticking. Place the scallops directly onto the grates and grill for 2-3 minutes per side, or until slightly charred on the outside and completely opaque.
    Process shot showing how to cook scallops on the grill.
  • Transfer to a serving tray and garnish with fresh lemon and chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
    Square overhead image of grilled scallops on a serving platter.

Notes

  • Sea scallops work best for grilling, so I do not recommend substituting with bay scallops. Sea scallops are up to three times larger in size than bay scallops, so you can put them directly on the grill. This avoids having to thread them on skewers and prevents them from falling through the grill grates.
  • Scallops can be labeled as either “wet” or “dry.” When at all possible, it’s best to purchase “dry” scallops. A wet scallop has been soaked in a preservative phosphate solution, which makes the scallop absorb more water. When you cook a wet scallop, it tends to shrivel up more and doesn’t brown as well. The wet scallops also don’t taste quite as fresh. By contrast, a dry scallop is not treated with any chemical additives or solutions.
  • Use fresh or frozen scallops. If starting with frozen sea scallops, thaw them before grilling.
  • Dry the scallops really well with a dish towel or paper towels. This helps them brown on the outside, while still staying moist and tender on the inside.
  • How to thaw scallops: Leave frozen scallops in the refrigerator overnight. If short on time, place the frozen scallops in a bowl of cold water for about 15-25 minutes. Take them out of the cold water and gently pat them dry and absorb all the liquid before seasoning and grilling.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the grilled scallopsCalories: 129.7kcalCarbohydrates: 2.7gProtein: 19gFat: 4.4gSaturated Fat: 0.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.5gCholesterol: 37.4mgSodium: 462.5mgPotassium: 364.9mg
Keyword: grilled scallop recipe, grilled scallops, grilled scallops recipe, scallop recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
Square front shot of grilled scallops on a serving platter with lemon and parsley.

This recipe was originally published in May, 2020. It was updated in May, 2024.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




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

Comments

  1. Ntoskrnl.exe says:

    5 stars
    GRILLED SCALLOPS is something new that I have seen and I will definitely try to make it. I will tell you how it is after making it in my home.

  2. Patricia K Kidd says:

    Recipes look very good and I will try several!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We hope you enjoy, Patricia!