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Cast Iron Scallops on the Grill

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Make these cast iron scallops on the grill for your next cookout! This amazing dish will quickly become your new seafood favorite. These seared scallops are bathed in a butter lemon sauce. Serve them as an appetizer or main course. Either way, it will be a delicious treat for you and your guests. 

Cast Iron Scallops on the Grill

Few dishes are as delicious and impressive as grilled scallops. This succulent shellfish have a perfectly seared exterior and a juicy, tender center. We recommend using a cast iron skillet to achieve the perfect sear infusing these scallops with a smoky, caramelized flavor. The best part about is that they cook quickly, and these beauties will go from your grill to serving your guests in less than 10 minutes. You can also prepare these scallops on your stovetop or in your oven. So, whether you’re grilling for a special occasion or just want to enjoy a restaurant style meal at home, these cast iron scallops are sure to impress. Follow along for important tips and tricks to help you make the most of your seafood experience.

What are scallops?

Scallops are a variety of shellfish widely enjoyed as a delicacy in many cuisines worldwide. They are bivalve mollusks with a hinged, two-part shell with a sweet and slightly salty, meat-filled interior. Scallops can be prepared in various ways, including grilling, pan-searing, baking, or served raw in dishes like sushi or ceviche.

What are the best ways to choose fresh scallops?

Raw Scallops

Choosing fresh scallops is key to ensuring that you get the best flavor and texture in your dish. It also helps you avoid mishaps like potential food-borne illnesses. Below are some suggestions for finding fresh, healthy, flavorful scallops.

  • Avoid pre-treated: Scallops soaked in water or preservatives can have a mushy or rubbery texture.
  • Smell them: Fresh scallops should smell like the ocean, with a brined scent. Avoid fishy smelling ones.
  • Color: Scallops should have a creamy, off-white, or beige color: A yellow or brown tint indicates that they are no longer fresh.
  • Check the texture: Fresh scallops should feel firm to the touch and never slimy or mushy.
  • Size: Large scallops are sweet and tender, while small varieties are tough and rubbery once cooked.
  • Source mindfully: We recommend purchasing scallops from a reputable seafood purveyor known for their fresh quality products. 

Ingredients:

  • Large scallops: You’ll need 8-10 large scallops. This should be enough for 2-3 people—average, 3-4 scallops per person. However, if you serve this dish as an appetizer, average 1-2 scallops per person.
  • Fats like olive oil, ghee, or butter: This recipe gives you the option to use any of items. If you do not have ghee on hand, you can use either olive oil or butter for the sauce.
  • Garlic
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Onion powder
  • Red Pepper flakes: Add if you’d like a subtle hit of heat.
  • Italian Parsley: This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley for garnish, but you can substitute with chopped fresh basil, oregano, chives, or green onions.
  • Cast-iron pan: Use a 12″ pan for 10 or more large scallops. Cast-iron is the best type of pan you can use for searing seafood. These pans retain their heat and will give these scallops a nice flavorful, golden-brown crust.

How to make cast-iron scallops on the grill:

  • Preheat your grill for high heat, or 500 degrees F. Set the empty pan on the grill and get it good and hot.
  • Add the olive oil and let it heat up.
  • Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and place them into a hot cast-iron pan. Sear each side for 2 minutes. 
  • Remove and place them onto a clean plate.
  • Add butter, oil, or ghee to the pan, along with the minced garlic. Saute for a few seconds, and add all remaining ingredients except for the parsley.
  • Place your scallops back into the pan and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until golden brown. Spoon sauce over them and remove from the heat. 
  • Do not overcook! Scallops can go from tender to rubbery in a matter of seconds! 
  • Doneness temperature for scallops is an internal temperature between 125-130 degrees F.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley (or fresh herb of choice) and serve immediately, with potatoes, rice, or salad.

Alternative recipe ideas

Customize your cast iron scallops by swapping out the flavor profile. While the traditional lemon, garlic, and butter combination is a reliable option, different ingredients will add a new twist to your scallops. 

  • Cajun style: Create a spicy kick by sprinkling the scallops with our voodoo seasoning
  • Herb butter: For a decadent twist, use our steak herb butter to baste your scallops while they’re cooking.
  • Teriyaki-style: Marinate your scallops in teriyaki marinade for an Asian-inspired flavor before cooking them in a cast iron skillet. Make a little extra sauce to drizzle on top right before serving. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish. 
Cast Iron Scallops on the Grill

Cast Iron Scallops on the Grill

The best part about these cast iron scallops is that they can be cooked on your grill, oven, or stovetop. These succulent scallops are seared first then bathed in a buttery lemon-pepper sauce. Serve them as an appetizer or main course. Either way, it will be a fancy treat for you and your guests.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cast iron scallops, grilled seafood
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 164kcal

Ingredients

  • 8-10 large sea scallops
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon medium ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons butter or ghee (or olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Pinch of dry pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat grill for high heat (400 degrees F). Set the pan on the grill and get it good and hot.
  • Add oil and let it heat up. Once there is a wisp of smoke, it's ready.
  • Season scallops with salt and pepper and place into the hot pan. Sear each side for 1 minute. Remove scallops and place into a clean plate and set aside.
  • Add butter, oil, or ghee to the pan, along with the garlic. Saute for a 10-15 seconds, and add all remaining ingredients except parsley.
  • Place scallops back into the pan and cook for an additional minute or two. Baste with sauce and remove from heat. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Notes

Alternative flavors:
  • Cajun style: Create a spicy kick by sprinkling the scallops with our voodoo seasoning
  • Herb butter: For a decadent twist, use our steak herb butter to baste your scallops while they’re cooking.
  • Teriyaki-style: Marinate your scallops in teriyaki marinade for an Asian-inspired flavor before cooking them in a cast iron skillet. Make a little extra sauce to drizzle on top right before serving. Sprinkle with

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 86IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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2 responses to “Cast Iron Scallops on the Grill”

  1. 5 stars
    Hello Derrick, Are you using a gas grill here? After the scallops are placed in the preheated cast iron pan, do you close the lid or leave it open? Thank you for the internal temp, that’s very helpful, I have an accurate instant read.

    • Den, Scallops cook very fast so you don’t need to close the lid on your grill (unless it is very cold outside or there is a strong wind). Hope you give this a try and that you love it. We do!

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