Skip to main content
Weeknight Cooking

How Do I Know When My Scallops Are Done?

Overcooked scallops are the worst.
By Published Aug. 1, 2020

Sign up for our weekly newsletter, "Dinner Tonight." Each Monday, we feature a fresh, super simple 30-minute recipe, and deliver a shopping list to your inbox. Sign up now.

Scallops—tender, soft, and luxurious—are near the top of my list of favorite seafoods. As cliché as it might sound, when they’re cooked just right, they seem to melt in your mouth.

But when they’re overcooked? Awful. Rubbery, tough, and totally devoid of flavor.

In this recipe, we suggest cooking the scallops for a minute and a half on each side, just long enough for them to take on a bit of color and cook through (they should still be translucent in the middle). If a thermometer feels like a better route to you, by all means use one. Your scallops should register about 115 degrees when you pull them out of the skillet; carryover cooking will add another 10 to 15 degrees while the scallops rest.

If you can, buy your scallops fresh from the seafood counter. Frozen scallops aren’t bad, but they can have a slightly compromised texture.


Seared Scallops with Pickled Peppers and Couscous

Searing the scallops for just 3 minutes enhances their flavor without overcooking them.
Get the Recipe

All-Clad Stainless 4-Qt Sauce Pan

Buy the right one, and it will be the last one you buy.