What Do Scallops Taste Like

I love this little “seafood candy and I want to share my experiences with scallops, how to choose a good sea scallop, and to share and explain what do scallops taste like?

You could have eaten cod, salmon, oyster, lobster, shrimp, squid, and octopus and this is the common seafood we can purchase.

How Many Scallops Per Person – see our handy table for 10,20,50 and 100 people.

Have you ever tried some of the sea’s real delicacies? We are talking about the scallop? If you haven’t tried pan seared scallops, these little chunks of bivalve goodness is a must. They rank up there with the abalone and any other exotic food.

See seafood as crawfish can also be served with them.

Also scallops can be served with a salad of course – add some artichokes to your salad for taste.


Taste can be subjective – but fundamentally they are in a class of their own – let’s answer a few scallop basics before we try to describe their taste.

What Do Scallops Look Like?

In The Wild or the Sea, they are enclosed in a scallop shell that is saucer-shaped, with edges that are fluted. The scallops shell is often colored pink to brown on the top with the bottom being a white to cream color.

Raw Scallop Shell Color
Raw Scallop Shell Color

A live scallop may look like it has a slightly open-shell – they do this to move or swim by opening and closing their fluted shell.

Live Scallop Swimming
Live Scallop Swimming

When you have opened a scallops shell they look like they have two parts – a white fleshy part which is the muscle and a yellow part that is not eaten. So before they are cooked the scallop will look like a little white candy or pure white round marshmallow.

See some common types of shellfish for feeding a staff grill or cookout.

And when they are cooked they look like they are golden brown and ready to just enjoy.

What is the texture of scallops?

The chewiness or texture more firm than a crab or lobster but similar to a really moist most tender piece of chicken you could ever taste. Scallops are similar but different to an Oyster or a Mussel – if cooked right. they are in a class over their own.

What is the flavor of a scallop like?

If cooked correctly it will be sweet, delicate, and buttery. You can enjoy the best seafood flavor in the world when you cook it right. Which we will cover later with a couple of examples on how to cook a raw scallop like a pro.

Link most wet scallops you can lose the amazing butter taste and the delicate texture due to overcooking. Worse, if you do that the scallop meat turns into tough rubber.

Scallops can grow up to 9 inches in size, but for me, the middle size is the sweetest and most tender. A fresh one should not have a fishy taste at all.

To open a scallop correctly – or how to shuck scallops – First grasp the scallop firmly in your hand. Keep the shell flat side next to your thumb and the curved side in your fingers. Now carefully slide and move the knife down the shell (flat side) to remove the white meat.the video below.


Scallops come in a variety of types and most fit into one of two main categories sea scallops and bay scallops. You are most likely familiar with the term sea scallop being one of the most common terms used to promote them.

Sea scallops are sorted on a number system that is similar to shrimp sizing. The numbers represent approximately how many per pound. The smallest size is 20/30, meaning that per pound of sea scallops, you get between 20 and 30 scallops. If you see U-8, that means that you get eight scallops per pound.

Plated Scallop
Grilled BBQ Scallop

Here are three varieties of scallops:

Sea scallop

They are available all year long and are the most common type. What do sea scallops taste like? because they are slightly larger the texture is firmer and they are not quite as sweet as the smaller types.

What do sea scallops taste like – they are slightly more stong in flavor than a bay or calico scallop.

Bay scallop

These are available fresh October to March. These scallops are smaller but I really like them and I think they’re the sweetest variant.

Other varieties are Calico scallop which are in the stores from December to May. These are most common in the US Gulf area and Southern Atlantic coasts. I have recently seen a lot of farmed scallops in my local store – but I have not tried them. I guess this is following the trend of muscles

How To Buy Scallops

It’s important that you smell your scallops, plus ask if they are fresh or frozen scallops that have been thawed – this is a common practice. Some stores do this and call them fresh – other stores may have them out for five days and still label them as fresh – they are not -and they will taste nowhere near as good as a proper fresh one. The scallop meat may even have a slimy feel – reject these ones these are bad scallops.


Fresh scallops will hold their shape and are plump in appearance. Do not buy scallops that are off-color like a cloudy matte white in color! Look for wet fresh scallops that have a shiny and creamy white look.

If you do not live close to the sea, then frozen scallops may be your best choice as they should have been snap-frozen while they were very fresh.

If you must choose dry scallops then a quality dry packed scallop will look slightly opaque? Of course, the best is a diver scallop that you have go yourself – of from a fish market. A wet packed scallop fresh off a boat is the way to go – I head off to the local commercial fishing boat dock where they often sell them.

How To Defrost Frozen Scallops.

When you prepare a thawed scallop, thaw/ defrost them in cold water overnight.

How To Cook Scallops

Before we start to make grilled scallops, or our favorite scallop dish recipe – we need to know what ingredients go best with scallops.

Best Ingredients For Cooking Scallops

  • garlic butter – this makes an amazing butter sauce base for any seafood dish
  • garlic – use it finely diced and in small amounts.
  • lemon juice – do not put too much lemon juice on – just a drizzle.
  • white wine
  • bacon – bacon wrapped scallops are divine
  • onions or bacon bits
  • olive oil
Plated Scallops
Plated Scallops

Health Benefits of Scallops

A common question is are scallops high in cholesterol? The fact is that they are low in fat (do not add butter) and cholesterol. Plus the fat in them is comprised of some of the omega-3 fat that can actually lower your cholesterol.

However, as I said, watch what you put with them – leave out the butter. Planning to pan-sear your scallops, use a non-stick pan with a good cholesterol oil and let the scallop meat caramelize without sticking to the hot surface.

Some points to mention about health concerns for some folks:

Are scallops shellfish? Strictly speaking, Scallops are a mollusk but they can still trigger a shellfish allergy. If you’re allergic to clam, shrimp, or lobster, you should not eat scallops.

Next Scallops actually live and feed on the ocean bottom and sometimes can contain excess mercury if that area has any mercury issues – so do check any local warnings. Also if you are pregnant or planning you should avoid raw scallops. The reason is Bacteria can be neutralized by cooking but toxins cannot.

Nutrition and Benefits of Scallops

Like other shellfish, scallops are very nutritious and low in calories and fat. They have beneficial minerals and vitamins and protein. Scallops are also rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Lastly, they contain selenium, which supports thyroid function and a healthy immune system.

What are the Best Scallop Recipes

Best Scallop Cooking Methods

The most common ways to prepare scallops are

  • sautéed
  • pan-seared
  • grilled or broiled
  • poached
  • boiled
  • baked
  • deep-fried

My favorite dish is pan-seared scallops with olive oil. Then I drizzle on some pepper flakes, kosher salt, and a sprinkle of chili or curry powder.