How to Clean Scallops

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cleaning scallops in the sink
Photo by claire rowland licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Scallops, with their sweet and tender nature, are a seafood treat that stands out when handled with care. Cleaning scallops is an important step before cooking to bring out their pure flavor. Getting rid of things like the side muscle and any leftover bits not only improves their taste but also adds to the visual appeal of your dish. Follow these steps and tips to become a scallop-cleaning pro, taking your culinary creations to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Step-By-Step Guide to Cleaning Scallops

  1. Purchase Fresh Scallops: Look for scallops that are firm, moist, and have a fresh, oceanic scent.
  2. Remove the Side Muscle: Check each scallop for a small side muscle, a tougher flap on the side. Gently pinch and pull it away from the main body of the scallop.
  3. Rinse the Scallops: Place the scallops under cold, running water to rinse off any sand or grit. Pat them dry gently with paper towels.
  4. Use a Damp Cloth for Deeper Cleaning: For extra cleaning, use a damp cloth to wipe each scallop, removing any remaining impurities.

Tips for Cleaning Scallops

Chilling for Easy Handling: Placing the scallops in the refrigerator for around 15-30 minutes before cleaning firms them up, making them easier to handle and work with their delicate texture. This brief chill helps maintain their structure, especially when removing the side muscle or rinsing.

Timing Is Key: Cleaning scallops just before cooking is crucial. This timing preserves their inherent freshness and flavor, ensuring your dish embodies the true essence of these delectable seafood treasures.


Avoid Over-Soaking: Prolonged soaking can be detrimental to scallops. They’re incredibly absorbent, and excessive water can compromise their taste and texture. Keep rinsing briefly and pat them dry promptly.

Hygiene Matters: Maintaining a clean environment is essential. Ensure your hands, tools, and workspace are thoroughly clean to prevent contamination. Scallops are highly sensitive to external elements, so cleanliness is key to preserving their quality.

Final Words

Cleaning scallops is a simple yet crucial step in preparing a delicious seafood dish. Ensuring they are free of impurities enhances their natural flavor and quality, resulting in a delightful culinary experience.