Mastering the Art of Fixing Undercooked Scallops

How to fix undercooked scallops

Scallops, a popular seafood delicacy, can sometimes be undercooked, resulting in a less than desirable texture and flavor. In this article, we will examine how to fix undercooked scallops and provide tips on how to avoid undercooking them in the first place. We will also discuss the characteristics of scallops, different cooking methods, and signs of undercooked scallops. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Scallops

Scallops belong to a group of bivalves called Pectinidae. They are closely related to clams, oysters, and mussels. The most common type of scallop found in North America is the “tiny bay scallop,” which is readily available along the East Coast. Larger species of scallops are found in deep, cold waters, but are more expensive. Scallops are considered a prized mollusc because of their rarity and delicious flavor.
Scallops have a saucer-shaped shell with a fanned out, fluted pattern on the top and sides. The upper shell may be pinkish-reddish or various shades of brown, while the lower shell is creamy or white. The flesh of scallops is round and relatively large, with a firm and fresh texture. They have a salty, fishy flavor with a slightly sweet taste and a rich, buttery profile.

Cooking Scallops

The most common way to cook scallops is to pan-fry them on the stove. This quick cooking technique allows the scallops to retain their tender texture while ensuring they are safe to eat. However, there are other cooking methods worth exploring.
Oven-baked scallops are becoming increasingly popular, often seasoned or crumbed before being placed in the oven. This hands-free cooking technique takes longer but produces amazing results. Some people prefer to crumb-coat or wrap the scallop meat and deep-fry or pan-fry it. However, many chefs feel that these techniques can compromise the soft texture and naturally sweet, salty flavor of scallops. Scallops are sought after for their unique flavor, and overwhelming them with heavily seasoned liquids can diminish their appeal.

Signs of Undercooked Scallops

Regardless of the cooking method used, there are telltale signs of undercooked scallops. Knowing these signs can help prevent undercooking and guide you in correcting the problem.
One way to determine if scallops are undercooked is to test them with a fork or knife. Undercooked scallops will be difficult to pierce or cut, resulting in an extremely tough and rubbery texture when tasted. Another indicator is color. Undercooked scallops will appear white, milky, or grayish white. Properly cooked scallops should be golden brown on both sides and the inner flesh should be opaque.

How to fix undercooked scallops

If you find yourself with undercooked scallops, there is an easy fix. The key is to recook them a little longer, using the same cooking technique you used initially. This applies to both scenarios: recooking cooled scallops or continuing to cook undercooked scallops.
For pan-seared scallops, you can cook them for an additional minute on each side. Check for doneness and cook an additional minute on each side if necessary. If baking or roasting scallops in the oven, let them cook for an additional 2 minutes in a preheated oven. Monitor their progress and add more time if necessary. Exact cooking time will vary depending on the degree of undercooking.

What not to do

When fixing undercooked scallops, it is important to avoid certain practices that can further compromise their quality. Microwaving scallops to recook them is not recommended. Microwaving can alter the delicate, buttery flesh and result in rubbery, tough, dry or mushy scallops. It is also advisable not to change cooking methods mid-cooking, as different techniques produce different textural results. It is also important not to reheat or continue cooking undercooked scallops that have been in the refrigerator for more than a day, as they may no longer be safe to eat.

Perfect Pan-Fried Scallops

While it is possible to fix undercooked scallops, it is ideal to cook them perfectly the first time for the best flavor, texture, and appearance. Here is an easy recipe for pan-seared scallops:

  • Sea Scallops
  • Sea salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • Desired dried spices
  • Olive Oil
  • Unsalted Butter


  1. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel to ensure even cooking and reduce splatter.
  2. Season the dried scallops with salt, pepper, and any dried seasonings you like, such as paprika or garlic powder.
  3. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  4. When the oil is hot, carefully add the scallops to the skillet, making sure they are not overcrowded.
  5. Sear the scallops, without moving them, for about 2-3 minutes or until they develop a golden brown crust.
  6. Turn the scallops with tongs and add a knob of unsalted butter to the pan.
  7. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, brushing the scallops with the melted butter.
  8. Remove the scallops from the pan and let rest for 1 minute before serving.

Follow these steps for perfectly seared scallops with a crispy exterior and tender, juicy interior.


Undercooked scallops can be disappointing, but with the right techniques, you can fix them and enjoy a delicious meal. Remember to cook scallops properly from the start to avoid undercooking problems. Look for signs of undercooked scallops, such as a tough texture and pale color. If you encounter undercooked scallops, continue cooking them using the same method for a slightly longer time. Avoid microwaving or changing cooking methods mid-cooking. With practice and attention to detail, you can master the art of cooking scallops to perfection. So go ahead, enjoy the flavors of properly cooked scallops and impress your guests with your culinary skills.


How do I know if my scallops are undercooked?

Undercooked scallops are difficult to pierce or cut and appear white, milky, or grayish white in color.

Can I fix undercooked scallops?

Yes, undercooked scallops can be repaired. Simply continue cooking them using the same technique you used before, leaving them for an additional 1-2 minutes and checking their progress until they are fully cooked.

Can I microwave undercooked scallops to recook them?

It is not recommended to microwave undercooked scallops as this can alter their delicate texture and result in rubbery, chewy, dry or mushy scallops.

Should I change the cooking method if my scallops are undercooked?

It is advisable to stick to the same cooking method when fixing undercooked scallops, as different techniques may produce different texture results.

Can I reheat undercooked scallops that have been refrigerated?

It is best not to reheat or continue cooking undercooked scallops that have been in the refrigerator for more than one day, as they may no longer be safe to eat.