This recipe for perfectly Grilled Scallops is simple to prepare and ready in mere minutes. Featuring juicy, plump grilled sea scallops with fresh avocado corn salsa and a flavorful honey lime vinaigrette, you’ll fall in love with this incredibly delicious summer dinner!
Featured comment: Just made these tonight and they were a HIT! I will be adding this to my regular rotation!” -Joy
This simple scallop recipe makes the perfect easy dinner, or can be served as entertaining-worthy appetizer that is sure to impress! Continue to read on for helpful tips on purchasing scallops, plus learn step by step how to perfectly grill scallops every single time!
Hi, friends! How was your weekend? I hope it was glorious and filled with lots of laughter, relaxation and fantastic food!
Our weekend was fine and dandy with a touch of productivity! I tested, developed and finally photographed my last summer recipe! While it feels good to be finished with all the fresh summer recipes, it feels a little strange to be moving on to fall flavored foods. My brain just doesn’t want to think about pumpkins, apples or heavy casseroles. And, I may have forgotten how to operate an oven – because, hello summer grill life! I’m thinking a very slow transition from sweltering summer recipes to cozy fall foods will be necessary.
Anyways, enough chit-chat about autumn! Right now it’s still hotter than a firecracker on the fourth of July and Labor day is right around the corner! So, today we are firing up the grill! And, today’s recipe just so happens to be one of my all time favorite summer recipes, ever.
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About this recipe for grilled scallops
You guys, I’m not joking when I say that I have made (and devoured) these scallops seven times (possibly 9 or 10, but who’s counting) in the last three weeks. I am beyond obsessed. Seriously, if I could wax poetic I would be writing all the eloquent sonnets and haikus about this insanely delicious dish.
First of all – scallops! But, not those teeny, tiny bay scallops. Big, beautiful U-10 scallops! They are my spirit animal. Tender, juicy, succulent, jumbo scallops with a bit of smoky char from the grill. They’re so good I could die.
Second – salsa! Juicy scallops just beg for a bright, fresh salsa to accompany them, and this salsa has it all! It’s a bright mix of creamy avocado, pops of sweet grilled corn, hints of spicy jalapeno, bites of pungent red onion and specks of herbaceous cilantro. Honestly, this salsa is the stuff dreams are made of!
Last, but oh my goodness, certainly not least – a honey lime vinaigrette. A sultry, silky dressing that’s tart, luscious, sweet and perfectly smooth. I may have bathed in this stuff it’s so darn good!
This dish is just nirvana! Juicy, tender grilled scallops on a bed of fresh avocado corn salsa with a generous drizzle of honey lime vinaigrette! You absolutely need to get these grilled scallops in your life! Even my persnickety other half who despises scallops gave this dish two raving thumbs up. And, if that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does.
What is a scallop?
Scallops are a type of marine bivalve mollusk of the Pectinidae family – meaning, the interior muscle is surrounded by two shells. Scallops are semi-related to oysters, clams and mussels.
There are many varieties of scallops, but the two most common are sea scallops and bay scallops. Both varieties of scallops are delicate and tender when cooked with a sweet flavor and briny, salty taste.
- The sea scallop is larger (as big as two inches), and primarily harvested in the Atlantic Ocean from Eastern Canada to North Carolina. Sea scallops are available year-round.
- The bay scallop is much smaller than sea scallops (about the size of a dime), and considered to be sweeter and more succulent. Bay scallops are typically harvested from the shallow waters of bays and estuaries along the East Coast of the United States. Sold fresh, bay scallops are a seasonal specialty, with a peak season during the fall and early winter.
How are scallops harvested?
Scallops are harvested either by trawling or diving. Trawling is done by scraping and dredging the ocean floor and pulling up the scallops with nets. Unfortunately, trawling can cause damage to the ocean floor. Diving is a more environmentally friendly method, however it is much more labor intensive and expensive. Divers go down and harvest mature scallops by hand. These scallops are known as diver scallops.
How to buy scallops?
Shopping for scallops can be confusing. Below are a few tips to ensure you’re purchasing the best scallops from the grocery store, every time.
- Know the sizes. You can buy both bay and sea scallops by the pound. The smaller the number, the bigger each scallop. The packaging of scallops is marked with the letter U (for “under”) and a number or range of numbers indicating how many scallops there are per pound. For example, “U-10” means you’re getting under 10 scallops per pound, while “U20” means there are under 20 scallops in a pound. Bay scallops are tiny, numbering upward of 100 per pound.
- Shop with your eyes and nose. Fresh scallops should be pale pink or light beige in color and appear moist, but not milky. Avoid any scallops with a feathery white surface, this is a sign of freezer burn. And, avoid any with darkened edges, as it’s a sign of age. Scallops should smell like the ocean – somewhat briny, but not offensive or like iodine.
- Make sure you are getting what you pay for – avoid fake scallops. All real scallops should vary slightly in size – they shouldn’t be perfectly cylindrical. Like all animals and humans, no two are exactly alike! Fake scallops are typically made of shark meat or cheaper pieces of fish. They will look identical and appear cookie-cutter in shape. They will also have a dense, solid appearance.
How to store fresh scallops?
It is best to cook scallops on the day you purchase them, if possible. If not, you can store them for up to two days in the refrigerator.
To store scallops, place them in a resealable bag and place the bag in a large bowl of ice (don’t let the scallops come in contact with the ice). Store the scallops in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
How to perfectly grill scallops?
Scallops are one of my absolute favorite things to throw on the grill during summer. They are incredibly fast and easy to prepare! When properly grilled, they are sweet, succulent and absolutely delicious!
However, there are a few rules to keep in mind when grilling scallops. Below are a few easy tips and tricks to obtain perfectly grilled scallops every single time!
Tips for scallops on the grill
- Purchase dry-pack scallops and opt for large (15 count per pound) or jumbo (u10) scallops. Smaller scallops are very easy to overcook and can turn rubbery quickly, while larger scallops are more forgiving on the grill.
- Keep your scallops cold until ready to grill, and make sure you blot your scallops as dry as possible before grilling! To prevent them from sticking to the grill, make sure your grill grates are as clean as possible and wipe the grates with a neutral, high-smoke point oil, such as canola.
- Use a brush to clean the grates of your grill prior to cooking scallops. This will ensure the scallops don’t pick up any flavors from food you have previously grilled. Use a paper towel soaked in a neutral oil with a high smoke point (canola, peanut, avocado or grapeseed) and brush the grill grates to keep the scallops from sticking.
- Get the grill hot. You don’t want to overcook scallops, so you need a really hot grill! Scallops cook best fast over hot heat.
- Pat scallops dry. Make sure you pat the outside of your scallops thoroughly dry prior to cooking on the grill.
- Season right before grilling. Always season your scallops generously with salt and pepper just before grilling! Do not salt them too far in advance as the salt will draw out moisture.
- Don’t peak. Grill the scallops without moving or flipping them until you have a nice char! Messing with them will prevent a good sear. It’s better to grill the scallops all the way through on the first side and let the second side barely cook on the grill.
FAQs: grilling scallops
Are dry or wet scallops best for grilling?
Ask the fishmonger for “dry-pack” or “dry” scallops. Dry scallops are packaged without any additives. Both dry and wet scallops are shucked on the boat after being harvested; however, that’s where the similarities end. Dry scallops go directly into a container without any water or preservatives. The flavor of dry scallops is more pure and concentrated. On the other hand, wet scallops go directly into a container filled with a solution of chemical salts and water (sodium tripolyphosphate, or STP) to plump the scallops and keep them fresher for longer. Unfortunately, with wet scallops you are paying for the extra water and purchasing an inferior product. The wet soaking diminishes the scallop’s natural sweet, fresh taste, alters the texture of the meat and makes it hard to get a good sear.
Can I grill frozen scallops?
Don’t dismiss frozen scallops. If you live near the coast and have a great fresh seafood market, fresh scallops are the obvious choice. But, if you are inland and don’t have access to fresh, high-quality frozen scallops are a great option! If you’re using frozen scallops, be sure to thaw them prior. To thaw, place scallops in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to the fridge and thaw overnight.
How long to grill a scallop?
Scallops are extremely quick cooking! They take just around five to six minutes to cook on the grill — that’s it! Scallops are fully cooked when they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. If you do not have a reliable instant read thermometer, you can use your sight to tell when scallops are done cooking. Grill scallops until they are just opaque. Never overcook them as they can get tough and chewy very quickly.
Are grilled scallop recipes healthy?
Like other shellfish, scallops are incredibly nutritious and good for you! Scallops are a power food as they’re low in calories and fat, while being full of beneficial vitamins and minerals!
- High levels of protein: Scallops are about 80 percent protein. A 3-ounce serving of has approximately 19.5 grams of protein.
- Rich in fatty acids: They are a good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. One serving has approximately 333 milligrams.
- Excellent source of selenium: Scallops are rich in selenium, which promotes proper thyroid function and a healthy immune system.
- Good source of vitamins and minerals: They are high in zinc, copper and vitamin B12, all of which aid in brain development. Plus, they are a good source of magnesium and potassium, which are both important for heart and brain health.
Serving scallops grilled
What to pair with scallops?
This scallops corn recipe is incredibly light and flavorful! This seafood dish is extremely versatile and pair well with a wide variety of sides – from simple salads and roasted potatoes to fruit salads or fruit cobblers!
Side dishes to pair with scallops
- Warm fruit salsa
- Grilled Watermelon
- Fresh Veggies
- Marinated Tomato Salad
- Best Coleslaw Recipe
- Corn Succotash
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Coconut Rice
Whether you like or loathe seafood you are going to LOVE these Grilled Scallops with Avocado & Corn Salsa! Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s do this!
More seafood recipes!
If you love these scallops on the grill, try one of these delicious fish recipes next:
Seafood on the grill
Fresh seafood recipes
- Champagne Risotto with Scallops
- Honey Sriracha Spicy Salmon recipe
- Easy White Fish Taco Bowls
- The Best Fish Ceviche Recipe
- Salmon Quinoa Fried Rice
How to make cook scallops on the grill (with avocado corn salsa!) 👇
Grilled Scallops with Avocado Corn Salsa
- Grill or Grill-pan
- Mixing bowls (2)
- 2 pounds Large Sea Scallops - side muscle removed & patted dry
- Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper , to taste
- Make the dressing: In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing. Whisk well until completely emulsified and combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Make sure you whisk the dressing well before using.
- Make the salsa: In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salsa, except the corn. Season with a scant ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Set aside.
- Heat grill to medium-high (425°F to 450°F). Place corn on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and corn is cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Remove corn from grill and let cool slightly. Slice kernels off cob and transfer to bowl with salsa and gently stir to combine. Taste salsa and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Grill scallops: Pat the scallops thoroughly dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Place scallops on grill and close the lid. Grill for 4 minutes or until the scallops are charred on the bottom side. Open the grill and use a thin fish spatula to flip the scallops. Close the lid and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until scallops have reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
- To Serve: Transfer scallops to a serving platter. Drizzle scallops with the dressing and serve with salsa and any remaining vinaigrette on the side. Enjoy!
- Please refer to the post for tips on purchasing scallops and tricks for perfectly grilled scallops!
- Dressing will keep up to 5 days, covered in the refrigerator.
- Salsa will keep up to 2 days, covered in the refrigerator.