How Long To Boil Scallops? Not as Long as You’d Think

How Long To Boil ScallopsIn my opinion, scallops are one of the most underrated seafood delicacies you can eat! The tender meat with their buttery texture is enough to get my taste buds watering.

At first, it may seem difficult to cook scallops. They are so easy to overcook! But over the years, through some trial and error, I have perfected a method that easily allows you to boil scallops, so they are still tender and tasty. And it doesn’t take long at all!

You’ll never be left wondering; how long does it take to boil scallops, again! Read on to learn how quickly and easily you can start boiling scallops today!

How Long Does it Take to Boil Scallops?

It boils down to the scallop size when it comes to appropriate boiling times. In my family, we get a mix of bay and sea scallops, though we do prefer the larger ones!

  • Bay ScallopsBecause they are smaller in diameter, approximately 1/2 an inch, they require less cooking time. I will boil bay scallops no long than 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Sea Scallops- I’ve seen sea scallops up to 2 inches in diameter. Because they are larger, they require a longer boiling time. But not too long! I’ll usually set aside 3 to 5 minutes for these!

Please note that the above refers to boiling fresh or already thawed out scallops.

Time to Boil Frozen Scallops

It isn’t necessary to fully thaw out frozen scallops prior to boiling them. I do, however, rinse the frozen scallops off with cold water, just to get the thin icy layer off. They will thaw on their own when you cook them.

When boiling frozen scallops, only add 1 minute of boil time. That’s all! I’ll boil my frozen bay scallops up to 3 minutes and sea scallops up to 6 minutes.

It really is that easy!

How to Boil Scallops: Step by Step Guide

I have two methods of boiling scallops that have served me well over the years! Below, I will give you a step-by-step guide on how to use both. Each will give you different end results, so just choose how you want your scallops!

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Method 1: Golden Brown, Firm Texture

I’m just going to go ahead and say it, This is my favorite method and the one I use most.

Step 1: Prepare the scallops. If they are frozen, gently rinse off the icy layer with cold water. Add any seasonings you’d like. I like squeezing the juice of a fresh lemon and sprinkling and herb and garlic seasoning on mine!

Step 2: Pour the liquid in a skillet. You don’t just have to use water. I use a white wine, mixed with lemon juice and butter. This part might take some adjusting, but you don’t want the scallops to be submerged in liquid in the skillet. Aim for enough liquid to cover half the scallop. Another liquid you can use is milk, It’s your choice!

Step 3: Bring to a boil. After the liquid begins boiling, add the scallops. As long as you can still see the top half of the scallops, you are doing it right!

Step 4: Boil for the approximate amount of time. For sea scallops, I have found that 2 1/2 minutes per side works really well. Or 3 minutes if they are frozen. With this method, it’s important to flip the scallops so each side gets equally cooked! For bay scallops, 1 minutes a side is sufficient, or 1 1/2 minutes if frozen. During this cooking process, the scallops take in the flavors of the liquid while turning brown on the outside for a crispy firm texture!

Step 5: Remove from heat, strain, and enjoy! Remove the skillet from the heat. Strain your scallops. They are ready to eat!

Method 2: White with a Soft Texture (No browning)

This method will not brown your scallops, but they will still be tasty and tender!

Step 1: Prepare your scallops. For this method, you will not season your scallops prior to boiling. Simply rinse with cold water to prepare.

Step 2: Bring a pot of water to a boil. In the water, you can mix any other liquids to add more flavor to the scallops. Add some milk, butter, white wine, or whatever you’d like! Bring the liquid to a boil.

Step 3: Add scallops. It’s important to add the scallops only after the water has come to a boil.

Step 4: Boil for appropriate times. For sea scallops, boil 3 to 5 minutes if fresh, up to 6 minutes if frozen. For bay scallops, boil 1 to 2 minutes if fresh, up to 3 minutes if frozen.

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Step 5: Remove from heat, strain, and enjoy! Scallops will turn an opaque white when ready. You can double check by cutting the scallop in half and checking the color and also the temperature. If it’s white and feels warm, it’s ready to eat!

Step 6: Season if needed! Now is the time to season if you want! Just sprinkle on your desired seasoning and enjoy!

Tips for Boiling the Best Tasting Scallops

Here are my best tips and trick for making sure you boil the best tasting scallop every time!

  • Do NOT put the scallops in the water until it’s boiling. Scallops are already full of moisture! I have found that soaking them in water longer than needed can cause the scallop to go from tender to mushy mess very quickly. Only add the scallops once the water has started boiling and do not keep them in the water after boiling.
  • Do NOT overboil the scallops. Overcooking scallops can do one of two things. If you are using the first method, overcooking will cause the scallop to become too chewy and possible inedible. If you are using the second method, the scallop can become too mushy.

As long as you follow the instructions and boiling times for scallops that we have listed above, your scallops will always turn out great!

Wrapping Up

See? Boiling scallops isn’t as hard as it seems. As long as you follow the boiling times we have discussed. And if you can’t remember the difference between bay and sea scallops, just remember the bigger the size the longer the boiling time.

So, which method are you going to try next for boiling your scallops? I want to know! If you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments below!