Can You Cook Frozen Scallops? (With And Without Thawing)

You can cook frozen scallops, but they need to be thawed first as it is not safe to use frozen scallops straight out of the freezer because they hold too much water.

All seafood is the same way; they are usually frozen with a high percentage of water within them. This can cause the seafood to be extremely mushy and soft when cooked because it will be trying to thaw while it cooks.

When thawing out your frozen scallops, you will want to limit them to an hour and a half at room temperature for every inch of thickness.

Scallops are fairly thin so they may only need thirty minutes. When you do this, you will be able to get them to the point where they are thawed but not so much that they start to cook.

Once thawed, whether it be from freezing or thawing at room temperature, it is best to use the scallops within a few hours.

If you let them sit longer than that, there is a chance of bacteria growing and making your dish unsafe. This is because these bacteria will be able to grow if exposed for too long.

frozen scallops with a question, can you cook frozen scallops

How do you thaw frozen scallops?

Here are the three ways explained in detail to thaw frozen scallops:

Method 1

Place frozen scallops in a colander and run cold water over them. If the package you have is too big, just rinse it under the faucet to thaw all the scallops at once.

This quick method should be enough time to defrost them which takes around 30 minutes; otherwise, do it for an additional 5 minutes at a time until they’re done.

Method 2

Place frozen scallops in a bowl and add cold water to cover. Place a heavy plate or lid on top of the bowl to keep scallops submerged. Change the water twice if ice starts to form.

It takes around 1 hour to defrost scallops when submerged underwater.

Method 3

The package that your scallops come in may have an instruction to defrost them in the refrigerator.

This is the most convenient way as you will not need any other equipment to help you out but it takes the longest time. However, in order to thaw scallops, it can take up to 6 hours in the fridge.

These are the three ways to thaw frozen scallops. Once, all the scallops are defrosted, clean, and shuck (If not already done) and then start the cooking process.

Can you cook frozen scallops without thawing?

Frozen scallops are difficult to sear, so it is best to thaw them first by placing them in the refrigerator overnight or by running water over them until they are completely thawed.

Once the scallops have been thawed, you can cook them or sear them. However, if you don’t have time to thaw the scallops, you can follow the below method.

Step 1

Add the frozen scallops directly to the skillet and don’t move them around too much like you would fresh ones. Frozen scallops are easier to break apart so make sure they are spread out evenly in the pan and not piled on top of one another.

Step 2

Use a small amount of oil. A small amount will help ensure your scallops don’t stick to the pan.

Step 3

Cook in batches if you need to so you can monitor the cooking process. Too much cooking time at too high a temperature may cause the scallop protein (or muscle) that surrounds the flesh to break down and it will look more like mush than the scallop.

Tip: Make sure your skillet is seasoned. A seasoned non-stick skillet will help the scallop tremendously.

If you want to do a quick sear on the scallops, preheat your pan over high heat. Once it’s hot, add the oil and scallops in a single layer.

Flip them once the sides facing up are brown and done. Get as much crispy “crust” as you can without letting the scallops fall apart.

Don’t be afraid to cook them a little longer than you would fresh scallops, the frozen ones will start to break apart easier than their fresh counterpart.

Please note that if you plan on marinating the scallops before cooking them, it is best to thaw the scallops completely and then marinate them for about an hour. If the scallops are still frozen, you will have a difficult time with the marinating process because the scallops will not absorb the marinade as well.

How do you tenderize frozen scallops?

Frozen scallops can be a frustrating thing to cook. The texture and flavor might seem less than desirable, or they could have turned into an unappetizing blob of goo. Luckily, you can make your frozen scallops taste great with just a few simple tricks.

First things first, make sure that you know the difference between bay scallops and sea scallops. The Bay is small and sweet while the sea is giant and meaty. Sea scallops are the ones to use for tenderizing.

Now, on to tenderizing. No one wants to eat a dry scallop, but using flour and cornstarch can result in a rubbery finish.

To avoid this, you need to use an acidic ingredient like citrus or vinegar. Lemon juice is a perfect choice here as it adds flavor at the same time that it breaks down some of the connective tissue that makes scallops tough.

Note: You can also add milk or buttermilk to the mixture. The fats in these ingredients will help to break down the scallop, resulting in a delicious, tender dish. Also, try adding a pinch of salt, pepper, and fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary.

For the best results, use deep-frying or pan-frying when cooking scallops so that they develop a crunchy caramelized outside and can absorb all of the flavors you are tenderizing them with inside.

Lastly, you want to make sure that the scallops are thoroughly cooked. You can use a meat thermometer to test for doneness, but we recommend boiling the scallops for three minutes. This will ensure that they’re cooked through and not still raw in the center.

Alright now let’s look at some best ways to cook frozen scallops.

How to cook frozen scallops wrapped in bacon?

scallops wrapped in bacon

Want to cook an incredibly tasty and crispy Bacon Wrapped Scallops but are too lazy to do something as cooking time consuming as frying? The air fryer is your best friend! To make this quick dinner, follow these steps.


  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1/8 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp pepper power
  • 6 bay scallops
  • 1 tbsp sea food seasoning
  • 2 tbsp of water

First pre-heat the air fryer with aluminum foil on the bottom. Then add pepper or maple syrup to bacon and place your bacon in there. Take bacon out when done cooking it, let cool for a few minutes .

Next prepare your thawed bay scallops by adding sea food seasoning to bay scallops, pepper power, garlic powder. Mix well and wrap the bacon around the scallops.
Place it back in the air fryer. Cook for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Note: If you want to make this meal a bit tender and not so crispy in texture, add 2 tbl of butter for every 1 cup of oil/butter mixture before combining with bacon pieces or any other ingredients you wish to cook with.

How to cook frozen sea scallops in air fryer?

fried scallops on a plate

Here is a quick and easy recipe for cooking frozen scallops in a skillet pan.


  • 1 lb sea scallops
  • 3 tsp butter
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat at 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and add the butter or oil. When it starts to foam, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds (or until fragrant).

Add the sea scallops and season them with salt and pepper. If they are large, you may need to sear them in batches; turn them every few minutes so that each side gets browned evenly.

After about 5 minutes when they are well browned on one side (and some have already opened), carefully flip them over using tongs or two spatulas. Cook for another minute, then transfer to a serving platter.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the scallops and garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!