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What Do Scallops Taste Like?: Everything You Need To Know

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Scallops are a very popular type of seafood that is commonly served in restaurants. They are often seen as a fancy option and this is mainly because they tend to come with a high price tag.

What Do Scallops Taste Like?: Everything You Need to Know

So, if you fancy treating yourself the next time you go out for food, you might decide to order scallops. 

But if you’ve never tried scallops before, you might be a bit uncertain about whether, or not, you’ll actually like these sea creatures.

Scallops have a unique flavor that is hard to explain. That is why most people will only really decide if they like scallops after they give them a taste for the first time. 

Generally, scallops have a slightly sweet and buttery flavor that is utterly delicious. In this guide, we’ll be taking a deeper look at what scallops taste like as we tell you everything you need to know about scallops.

Read on to find out more! 

What Are Scallops?

First things first, let’s take a look at what scallops are. Scallops, also known as escallops are a type of shellfish that are widely enjoyed across the globe in a variety of different types of cuisine. 

As they are a type of seafood, scallops are found in the sea. They generally reside in coastal waters and are harvested from these areas.

Harvesting scallops isn’t as easy as harvesting some other types of shellfish, which is why these creatures are generally considered to be a fancier option. 

Scallops can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways. Some people choose to eat their scallops raw, but the majority of people will choose to cook their scallops before eating them.

Often, they are used as ingredients in a wider dish, so you may have tasted scallops previously without even realizing it. 

The interesting thing about scallops is that they are part of the mollusk family. This means that they are closely related to clams, oysters, and mussels – all of which are generally considered to be more expensive styles of food.

While they are not served in a shell, scallops are harvested in a fan-shaped shell, and they range in size up to around 4 inches in width. 

There are lots of different types of scallops out there, but the most commonly used are sea scallops. We’ll take a little look at some of the other types of sea scallop a little later on. 

The Origin Of Scallops

Now that we’ve taken a look at what scallops are, let’s take a deeper look at the origin of scallops. Scallops are now well-known for being used as food, but prior to this, they have been used for centuries for their pearls. 

Scallops are filter feeders, and this essentially means that their shells are specially designed to help them capture food from the water that they take in. A key part of this filter-feeding ability comes from the inside of the scallop shell.

The inside of the shell is lined with a colorful material known as “mother of pearl”, and this is originally what scallops were harvested for.

The mother of pearl inside a scallop’s shell can be used to create a variety of different jewelry and ornamental pieces. It is also sometimes used for engraving and painting. Even now when scallops are mainly used to be eaten, the inside of their shells is still used.

Scallops are an important part of the sea’s ecosystem, and they can be enjoyed in lots of different ways. As we have said, scallops can easily be served raw as sushi or sashimi. They can also be pan-fried, grilled, baked, and even boiled. 

No matter how they are cooked they are generally a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are a healthy option, and this is another thing that makes these shellfish so popular. But what do they taste like? Let’s find out! 

What Do Scallops Taste Of?

What Do Scallops Taste Of?

We’ve taken a good look at what scallops are, and what they taste like, so let’s answer the question you’ve been wondering and take a look at what they taste of.

Scallops have a unique flavor, and this is the main thing that makes them so delicious. Despite being very similar to other mollusks, there is no other shellfish that tastes quite as special as scallops.

Scallops have a flavor that is very delicate yet distinct. Most people report that scallops taste buttery and sweet which isn’t what you would expect from shellfish. This flavor comes from the glycogen found in the scallops which is converted to glucose upon cooking. 

If you were to compare the flavor of scallops to the flavor of something else, then the closest comparison is probably shrimp or lobster.

However, it is worth noting that neither of these tastes the same as scallops. That is mainly because scallops also have an oceanic flavor that is often found across seafood.

However, scallops can taste oceanic without tasting fishy. This is what makes them so special. 

It is worth noting that the flavor of your scallops will differ depending on how you cook your scallops. The style of cooking will have a huge impact on the flavor of the scallops and can make a big difference to whether, or not, you enjoy the scallops.

Likewise, if you add any seasoning to the scallops this will also alter the taste. 

Something else that will have an impact on the flavor of the scallops is the type of scallop that you buy. So, let’s take a look at what the different types of scallops are. 

Different Types Of Scallops

Different Types Of Scallops

There are several different types of scallops, but the three below are the most common types that you are likely to encounter. 

Bay Scallops

Bay scallops are one of the most common types of scallops. They are the sweetest and most delicate type of scallops with a light and flaky consistency.

Generally, these types of scallops are found in the Gulf of Mexico, so if you are in any area near Mexico, these might be the style of scallops that you will be served. 

Sea Scallops

Sea scallops tend to be considerably larger than sea scallops. They have a firmer consistency and are pretty large.

These scallops can be found in deep water across the Atlantic coast, and they tend to get harvested in large amounts. That is why they are one of the most commonly used types of scallops.

Calico Scallops

Finally, calico scallops are also very common. These scallops are very small and tender, with a very delicate flavor to match. They are mild in taste and commonly found in Southern Coastal waters. 

Fresh Vs. Frozen Scallops

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular types of scallops, let’s take a look at the difference between fresh and frozen scallops. When you buy scallops, they will either come fresh or frozen, but what is the difference?

Well, the key difference between fresh and frozen scallops is simply whether, or not, the scallops have been frozen at any point in time.

Fresh scallops are scallops that have been freshly harvested and delivered to your door (or wherever you purchased them). They are fresh out of the ocean and haven’t been frozen in order to preserve them. 

In contrast, frozen scallops are scallops that have been frozen in order to preserve the flavor, consistency, and lifespan of these mollusks.

Most of the time, they will not be frozen in the same way that frozen fries are. Instead, they will be flash-frozen to preserve them. 

The general consensus among those who regularly eat scallops is that fresh scallops are considerably more delicious and enjoyable than frozen ones. However, they also tend to be a lot more expensive and will need to be cooked pretty soon after purchasing them.

So before you purchase any scallops, you need to consider when you want to eat the scallops, how much you are willing to spend, and what is most important to you. That allows you to purchase the right type of scallops for you. 

How To Buy The Best Scallops

How To Buy The Best Scallops

If you are looking to purchase the best scallops that money can buy, then you must buy fresh scallops. Frozen scallops will do the job, but fresh scallops are on a whole different level. The fresher the scallop, the better the flavor. 

When purchasing fresh scallops, you want to take a good look at the scallops you are considering buying. The plumper the scallop, the better, and the creamier the color, the better it will taste. 

Sniffing your potential scallops is also a great way to see if the scallops you are purchasing are good. Healthy scallops should have a mild and oceanic smell, but they shouldn’t smell fishy. If they smell fishy, then that’s a sign that you shouldn’t buy the scallops.

Finally, before you purchase your scallops, you should give them a feel. Scallops shouldn’t be firm to the touch. They should be slightly hard, but not totally solid. If they are completely solid, then you shouldn’t purchase the scallops. 

Once you have done all these checks, the last thing to do is check the use-by date. Then you will be able to purchase the scallops knowing you have bought the right ones for you. 

How To Store Your Scallops

Generally, fresh scallops will be safe to eat for 2 days after purchase. However, this is only true if you store them correctly. So, how should you store your scallops?

Well, to ensure that your scallops remain safe to eat, you should store them in the refrigerator, either in their original packaging or a sealed container. Then all you need to do is eat them within a day or two. 

If you won’t eat your scallops within two days, you should freeze them. However, we would only recommend buying fresh scallops if you plan on eating them within two days.

Otherwise, you would be better off purchasing frozen scallops and keeping them in your freezer instead. 


In short, scallops are a delicious type of seafood that are popular for their sweet and buttery flavor. Scallops are unique as they taste like they come from the sea, but they don’t taste like fish which is common for most seafood. 

In this guide, we’ve taken a look at absolutely everything you need to know about scallops before you taste them for the first time.

We hope this information has been helpful – thank you for reading! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Scallops Taste Fishy?

Scallops have a very interesting flavor. Like a lot of sea creatures that you eat, they taste like they come to the sea.

But they do not actually taste that fishy. Somehow, these sea creatures manage to taste like seafood without having the fishy flavor typically associated with this style of food. So they are perfect for anyone who likes seafood, but not the taste of fish.

Why Are Scallops So Expensive?

Scallops are generally seen as a fancy meal option, and that is because these fish tend to be quite expensive to buy.

Scallops are generally sold at higher prices because they are expensive to buy and difficult to catch. Divers have to put immense effort into catching scallops, so these creatures tend to be more expensive to reflect the effort put into harvesting them by divers. 

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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