How to Cook Scallops: Storage, Preparation and Cooking the Healthy Way

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Health Benefits of Scallops

Before we look at how to cook scallops, let’s examine their health benefits.

Scallops are an excellent source of vitamin B12, which is well-known to be beneficial for cardiovascular health. It is helpful in controlling the level of homocysteine in the body. High levels of homocysteine in the body can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis, among others.

Apart from vitamin B12, scallops are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, not to mention magnesium and potassium. Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent blood from clotting. Magnesium helps lower blood pressure and ease blood flow. Potassium is useful in helping maintain blood pressure at healthy levels.

Purines Caution

Accompanying the nutrients in scallops are substances known as purines. Purines when accumulated in the body could give rise to an increase in the level of uric acid in the body. This creates a host of health problems like gout and kidney stones. So, those with gout or kidney-related problems should consume scallops moderately despite their health benefits.


When choosing scallops, make sure their flesh or meat is white and firm. If you detect brownish flesh, don’t make a purchase. If you’re buying the frozen variety, make sure they have a solid and shiny appearance. There should be no signs of frost in the packaging.

If you are planning to store them in a freezer after purchase, find out whether they are fresh or defrosted. If of the defrosted variety, cook them right away before refreezing to maintain freshness.

One way of determining whether scallops are fresh or otherwise is through smell. Odorless or those with a mild pleasant smell indicate freshness. That’s why you should avoid, as far as possible, purchasing prepackaged scallops as you can’t get an indication of their freshness through smell.

If you’ll take quite a while to refrigerate scallops after purchasing, ask for a bag of ice to help maintain freshness.


If you’re not going to cook the scallops immediately, you could freeze them. Freezing can extend the shelf life by about three months. The way to do this is to wrap them nicely in plastic and store them in the coldest part (not too close to the door) of the refrigerator. When you’re ready to cook them, you can defrost them in boiled water after removing it from the heat, or you could defrost them in the refrigerator itself.

Healthy Cooking

Give the scallops a quick rinse to remove any debris. When you’re done rinsing, pat them dry to absorb any excess moisture before you start cooking.

As scallops toughen easily, take care not to overcook them. Here’s a guide to healthy ways of cooking scallops.

You can bake scallops in a preheated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, around 12 to 15 minutes or until they are slightly firm.

To broil scallops, rub them with olive oil and cook about 3 to 5 inches away from a heat source until their color turns light and they become slightly firm.

To saute scallops, place them in a pan with some olive oil and wine, and then cook over medium high heat. The olive oil and wine prevent the scallops from sticking to the pan. Remove scallops when they become firm and turn white.

For all the above methods of cooking, the scallops are done when their translucent appearance turns opaque.

References - health benefits, selection and storage of scallops – information on how to cook scallops the healthy way