This easy Grilled Scallops recipe makes tender scallops with a sweet-spicy kick in just a couple minutes grilling time. Scallop skewers cook easily on the outdoor grill with beautiful grill marks!
We are bypassing classic white wine sauce often used with juicy scallops and going for an exciting raspberry-chili pepper marinade for these grilling scallops. Threaded onto metal skewers these scallops cook with a good sear on a hot grill in less than 5 minutes.
The end result are rich scallops with a nice char for a healthy dinner or main dish for special occasions. The caramelization on the cooked fresh scallops makes them irresistibly good with a buttery texture. It’s a perfect way to make scallops with just a few basic steps.
Serve this delicious recipe with some rice and a salad. Even with such simple ingredients they make a meal feel like a fancy dinner.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Scallops. You’ll need one pound of sea scallops. Choose freshly caught scallops if possible and scallops that are similar in size (so they’ll all grill in the same amount of time). Previously frozen scallops will also work; be sure they are completely thawed before grilling. If the scallops still include the muscle remove it before marinating (see instructions in Expert Tips).
Raspberry preserves or jam. This adds a touch of raspberry flavor and sweetness to the scallops that is delicious. You can use regular or seedless preserves. If using preserves with seeds you won’t notice them when the scallops are cooked. You’ll need 2 tablespoons.
Crushed red pepper flakes. These add just a hint of spicy heat to the marinade and sauce. They are a perfect flavor combination with the raspberry preserves.
Basil. Use fresh basil, minced.
How to grill Perfect Scallops
Scallops are so versatile and easy to cook, they’re also one of the most intimidating, but they don’t have to be! With a few simple tricks, you can grill scallops with confidence.
Clean and oil your grill when it’s hot. Scallops are delicate and can stick easily to your grill. Always preheat the grill to temperature before cleaning with a wire grill brush and oiling the grates. Don’t flip scallops until they’re ready; they should easily release from the grill when it’s time to flip if you’re cooking on a clean, oiled grates.
Use medium heat. We recommend heating your grill to 375℉ for best results. If the grill is too hot it risks cooking scallops too quickly (they can become rubbery instead of tender) or burning them. This grilling temperature allows them to still cook quickly and develop caramelization without burning.
Marinate for at least 10-15 minutes. Scallops soak up whatever liquid quickly so a quick marinate is all they need.
Choose fresh-caught scallops if possible. If you have access to freshly caught scallops, get them. They’re the best and won’t contain any extra salt or preservatives, unlike some frozen scallops.
How to make Grilled Scallops
STEP 1. Make the marinade
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, raspberry jam, garlic, basil, salt, oregano, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reserve a tablespoon or two of the marinade/ dressing for drizzling after grilling.
Place scallops into the marinade and stir to coat (photos 1-2). Cover and place into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
STEP 2. Preheat and prepare the grill
Preheat grill to 375℉. Brush grill with wire grill brush to clean and oil the grates.
STEP 3. Grill
Thread your scallops onto skewers, make sure they’re not touching (photo 3). Discard the marinade from the bowl.
Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side (grill then flip to second side) (photos 4-5). The scallops will turn opaque when cooked. Do not overcook as this will cause the scallops to become rubbery.
STEP 4. Serve immediately
Remove them from the grill and drizzle with the reserved marinade/dressing (photo 6) Serve immediately.
Use a different preserve/jam. Blackberry jam will have a similar flavor profile and can be swapped in for the raspberry jam. Strawberry jam is also delicious and great paired with a summery strawberry salad.
Don’t like any spicy heat? Leave out the red pepper flakes. If you’re not a fan of spice or you’re serving this dish to children, leave the red pepper flakes out. Although there are not many red pepper flakes, scallops soak up whatever they’re marinating in, so there will be a noticeable kick.
How to remove the muscle. Most scallops have been prepared at the store and will have the muscle removed. Should you purchase scallops with the muscle still intact, here is how to remove it before beginning the recipe: to remove the side muscle, feel for a dense knot at the edge of the scallop and gently pull it away from the rest of the body. Discard it.
Using skewers. Skewers ensure the little scallops do not fall between the grill grates and are cooked evenly through rotating the skewers. Metal or bamboo skewers (wooden skewers) both work. We prefer flat skewers which lessen rotation of the scallops and more even cooking. If using bamboo soaking is not necessary. Place a folded piece of foil underneath the exposed bamboo to eliminate burning of the skewer
Frequently Asked Questions
Place them in a colander suspended over a bowl or pot with plenty of room for excess water to drain below. Place them in the refrigerator. They should not thaw in a bowl directly as they’ll soak up whatever liquid they’re sitting in.
They cook very quickly because they are so small. Visually you’ll see they become opaque and white (or off white). The internal doneness temperature for scallops is 125-130 degrees F. Because they will continue to cook after being removed from the grill you can remove them when the internal temperature is around 115 degrees. They should rise to 125-130 after being removed from the grill.
How to Store
This recipe is best fresh but you can store cooked scallops in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How to reheat scallops
You can reheat these three ways:
Microwave. Not our preferred method, but add a splash of water to a bowl and cover, microwave for about 60 seconds or until warmed through. The scallops can over cook and become rubbery with this method so keep a close eye on them.
Stove top. Melt a few tablespoons of butter or oil over medium heat and add the scallops, toss in the butter or oil until warmed throughout.
Grill. Preheat your grill to medium heat and cook on each side for 30-60 seconds, or until warmed throughout.
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Grilled Scallops with Raspberry-Chili sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons raspberry preserves/jam
- 1 garlic clove peeled & minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound sea scallops side muscle removed*
- In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, raspberry jam, garlic, basil, salt, oregano, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reserve a tablespoon or two of the marinade/ dressing for drizzling on the scallops after grilling.
- Add the scallops to the bowl with marinade and toss to coat. Cover and place into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Preheat grill to 375℉. Brush with a wire grill brush to clean the grates and oil the grates well.
- Thread scallops onto skewers leaving a small space between each one. Discard the marinade in the bowl.
- Place directly on the prepared grill grates for 2-3 minutes on each side (first side, flip over and second side). Total grill time around 5 minutes depending on the size of the scallops.When done the scallops will become opaque. Do not overcook.
- Remove them from the grill and drizzle with the reserved marinade/dressing. Serve immediately.