3 Ways to Thaw Scallops

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3 Ways to Thaw Scallops
3 Ways to Thaw Scallops

Frozen scallops need to be thawed correctly so as not to alter the delicate natural texture of this seafood, which can become hard and rubbery if not handled well. The best method is to let the scallops thaw on their own in the fridge. However, if you're in a hurry, you can rinse them in cold water or even microwave them to speed up the process.


Method 1 of 3: Thaw in refrigerator

Defrost Scallops Step 1

Step 1. Thaw the scallops in the refrigerator for best results

Even if it takes a long time for them to completely thaw in the fridge, it will yield the best flavor. And since the frozen scallops will gradually thaw, the chances of them getting damaged or contaminated during the process are slim to none.

Since scallops take a full day to thaw in the fridge, plan for them to have time to thaw before you want to use them

Defrost Scallops Step 2

Step 2. Adjust your refrigerator temperature to 3°C

The refrigerator temperature is the most important part of allowing the scallops to thaw properly. The best temperature is 3°C, so adjust your refrigerator to fit it.


most refrigerators are set at 2°C. Make sure you don't have any food that will spoil at 3°C. If so, leave them in another suitable place while the scallops defrost.

Defrost Scallops Step 3

Step 3. Unpack the scallops and place them in a large bowl

The bowl should be big enough to hold all the scallops. It also needs to have enough space for the water that will form when the ice in them melts. Unwrap the scallops and arrange them in the bowl so that it is filled to ¾ of its capacity.

Use another bowl if you have too many scallops for one

Step 4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap

Since they are slowly defrosting, they run the risk of becoming contaminated and spoiling. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap tightly so that the scallops do not come into contact with any other food particles inside the refrigerator.

If the bowl has a lid, use it to cover the scallops

Step 5. Place the scallop bowl on a shelf at the bottom of the refrigerator

Once you've covered the bowl with plastic wrap, make room in the refrigerator and place the scallops on a lower shelf to prevent them from coming into contact with other foods.

Do not place the bowl in a temperature-controlled drawer unless it is set to 3°C

Step 6. Let the scallops thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator

Place the bowl in the fridge and let it sit for a whole day without stirring before looking at how it is. Take the bowl out after 24 hours to see if the scallops have defrosted. Tap the middle of them with one finger to test. They should be cold but not frozen.

  • Frozen scallops can have a rubbery texture if cooked before they are completely thawed.
  • If they have not completely thawed after 24 hours, cover them with the plastic wrap again and refrigerate for another six hours.

Method 2 of 3: Use cold water to thaw

Defrost Scallops Step 7

Step 1. Use cold water to thaw the scallops faster

You can speed up the defrosting process of scallops using cold water if you don't have time to wait for them to thaw in the fridge. This method is also risk free.

Frozen scallops will thaw faster, but can get tougher after they're cooked

Step 2. Place the scallops in a resealable plastic bag

It is important not to let them come into direct contact with water to avoid possible contamination. Unpack the scallops, place them in the plastic bag and seal.

Make sure the plastic bag is tightly closed so that the scallops are not soaked through


get as much air as you can from the plastic bag so it doesn't float on the water.

Step 3. Place the plastic bag with the frozen scallops into a large bowl

The bowl needs to be big enough to hold the plastic bag and enough water to surround it completely. Make sure the bowl is clean before putting the seafood in so you don't risk contamination.

Defrost Scallops Step 10

Step 4. Place bowl in sink and fill with cold tap water

Stir the plastic bag with the scallops a little while the bowl fills with water so it doesn't stick to one side. The water should be around 10°C to thaw the scallops without cooking them or changing the texture. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the plastic bag.

Keep the bowl in the sink in case it overflows

Step 5. Change the water every 10 minutes for half an hour

Turn off the faucet when the bowl is full and let the plastic bag rest well and stir. After 10 minutes, remove the water from the bowl and refill it with cold water. When another 10 minutes has passed, remove the water and see if the scallops have defrosted by touching them with a finger. They should be cool but soft and free from frozen parts.

  • It takes a total of 30 minutes to thaw the scallops, but larger ones may take longer.
  • Tightly close the plastic bag after seeing if they have defrosted.
  • Do not freeze scallops again after defrosting.

Method 3 of 3: Defrost in the microwave

Defrost Scallops Step 12

Step 1. Use a microwave oven to thaw the scallops if you're in a hurry

You need to use a microwave that has a defrost function, because scallops are quite fragile and will start cooking if you use the default temperature to defrost them. Take a look at the microwave to see if it has a defrost function.

Scallops thawed in the microwave can become harder and chewy after cooking

Step 2. Place the frozen scallops in a microwave-safe bowl

Porcelain or glass containers with high sides are good for containing the ice water that will melt around the scallops. Take them out of the wrapper and put them in the bowl.

Use a bowl that holds all the scallops

Step 3. Cover the bowl with paper towels

Use a thick paper towel to cover the bowl and reduce the risk of cooking the scallops while defrosting them in the microwave. The paper towel helps to absorb any vapor or moisture that would change the texture of the scallops.

If the paper towel is thin, it can become soggy and dissolve when it comes in contact with the scallops as they thaw. Use thick, triple-ply paper

Step 4. Microwave the scallops for 30 seconds twice on the defrost function

There's no going back after cooking the scallops, so microwave them at short 30-second intervals to get them to thaw. Once the 30 seconds are up, take out the bowl and see if the scallops are completely defrosted by touching them with a finger. There should be no frozen parts left.

  • If they do not thaw after 30 seconds, repeat the process until they thaw completely.
  • Do not microwave them for more than 30 seconds at a time or the meat will start to cook and have a changed texture.


tap the middle of the thickest scallop with one finger to confirm that all the scallops are thawed.


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