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How to Tell When Grilled Scallops Are Done

Scallops are a popular seafood choice because they’re relatively easy to cook and can be very impressive. They also have a sweet, delicate flavor that is enhanced by grilling.

However, scallops can also be tricky to grill because they tend to overcook quickly and become tough.

In this post, we will go over how to tell when grilled scallops are done and how to avoid overcooking them.

Grilled scallops on a white plate.

Ways to tell when grilled scallops are done

Grilling is a quick and easy way to cook sea scallops. It’s important not to overcook them as it changes the texture in an unpleasant way.

When testing for the doneness of grilled scallops, there are several factors to consider. The type of scallops, size, and how long you grill them.

There are a few different ways you can tell when grilled scallops are done and ready to come off the grill.

1. Look

You can tell when grilled scallops are done by looking at them. Check the edges to be lightly browned. If they are slightly opaque and white they are ready to come off the grill.

You can also check to see if they are starting to become flakey around the edges, but still moist and juicy in the center. If they are still translucent or soft, they need to cook longer

2. Touch

When cooking scallops on the grill, it is important to cook them slowly over a low flame to give them a delicate and succulent finish.

To check if the scallops are cooked, carefully touch them with your finger or tongs. If they feel slightly firm with a little bit of a springy touch to them, they are done.

3. Use a Thermometer

To tell when grilled scallops are done using a meat thermometer, insert it into the thickest section and check the temperature.

The temperature should register between 125 to 135°F. This method is the most accurate way to know when your scallops are done cooking.

Learn more about grilling seafood and how to tell when grilled lobster is done or how to tell when grilled tilapia is done.

Consider the Type of Scallop Being Cooked

The type of scallops being cooked is important because it will affect the flavor of the dish and how to cook them.

Bay scallops are smaller and have a sweeter flavor. They are ideal for adding to seafood chowder, cooked in sauce, or added to pasta dishes.

The sea scallop has a meatier texture and a more delicate flavor. Their meatier texture is better for grilling or pan-searing.

Grilling with larger sea scallops prevents them from falling through the grill grates and also allows them to cook slower without burning and drying out so quickly.

How Long Do Scallops Take to Cook on the grill?

Cooking scallops on the grill is a quick and easy process that yields delicious results.

Grill the scallops uncovered directly over medium heat for five to eight minutes, or until they are opaque, turning them halfway through grilling. Don’t go over seven minutes—they’ll become rubbery.

When the scallops have reached the desired level of doneness, pull them off the grill and serve them immediately. Enjoy!

What is the difference between dry scallops and wet scallops?

The main difference between dry scallops and wet scallops is that dry scallops are unprocessed and have nothing added to them after harvest.

Wet scallops have been processed with the chemical tripolyphosphate which helps with preservation and water absorption to increase their mass.

Dry scallops tend to have a better flavor and texture than frozen scallops, and won’t have the excess water that prevents a flavorful crust from forming when cooked.

For the best quality scallops, choose fresh, dry-packed scallops for the best results.

For a delicious grilled haddock recipe check out my post.


The short answer is yes. It’s important to make sure scallops are cooked all the way through, as undercooked scallops can contain harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.

Yes, a pink scallop is still OK to grill. To be sure, cook them until they are opaque white in the center and slightly transparent around the edges. When they are cooked through, they should be slightly browned on both sides.

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