Can You Eat Scallops Raw?

What would be better than walking around your fresh fish market, looking for those perfect little tasty sea treasures to take home and enjoy with a glass of your best white wine?

Scallops are marine bivalve mollusks that are edible both raw and cooked. They contain low levels of mercury, making them safe for a pregnant woman to eat when cooked. Raw, they retain all their wholesome nutrients and should be firm, shiny, and have a fresh ocean smell with a faint seaweed aroma.

So you have tasted scallops cooked and love their sweet, nutty flavors, but know it’s time to take it to the next level and find out if it’s safe to eat them raw. Well, you’ve come to the right place. We delve into why and how these little medallions are delicious raw.

Can You Eat Scallops Raw?

Although this question may come with contradicting answers as to whether or not you can eat scallops raw, they are, in fact, delicious raw and can most definitely be eaten raw if that’s what you enjoy. 

They are seen as a delicious delicacy by those who enjoy raw fish’s texture and taste. Although, it is also a much healthier alternative to eating cooked scallops, as they retain all their nutrients and sweet flavors.

Although you can eat raw scallops, it is important to keep in mind that the fresher the scallop is, the better they taste, and some terminology that is important to remember is dry and day boat. 

Dry means that they have not been submerged in water or washed off with chemical water. So they have not soaked up water, making them taste bland and sometimes mushy.

Day boat means that they are caught on boats that only harvest on a daily basis. So each day, the boat brings in the catch of scallops to be sold fresh at the fish markets. This means you get to buy scallops as fresh as if you caught them yourself.

What Color Should Raw Scallops Be?

Scallops range from white to rosy pink. Some people may describe the color as pale beige. They range in color because the scallops are adductor muscles that lay next to the reproductive organ of the scallops.

Male scallops will look greyish white in color, while the female scallops might be a pale rosy pink color if they are spawning. This is when the reproductive gland fills with bright coral roe(fish eggs) and tints the scallop.

How Do You Know If Scallops Are Bad?

When shopping for scallops, fresh or frozen, you should look at the color, smell, and texture.

Color should vary from white, beige, and pale pink. If your scallop is dull or has any brown spots or turned brown, and should then be discarded.

Smell, fresh scallops should have an ocean smell of fresh seaweed. They should be discarded if they have a strong fishy smell, sour smell, or ammonia smell.

The scallop texture should be firm with a slight shine to it. In frozen scallops, avoid packaging with a lot of frosts. This could signify that the scallops have not been fresh when frozen. If they are slimy, mushy, or soft, they should be discarded.

What Do Raw Scallops Taste Like?

Raw scallops have a taste similar to other shellfish like crab and lobster. Fresh, they have a slight ocean seaweed aroma with a somewhat sweet taste.

Cooked scallops easily absorb and take on the flavors of the spices and butter that you cook them in and give off a faintly nutty taste.

Can You Eat Frozen Scallops Raw?

The answer is yes, and you can eat frozen raw scallops. The question is would you want to?

Frozen scallops have gone through a process of chemicals and washing to preserve them for longer and have been harvested on boats that stay out at sea for at least two weeks before offloading their treasures.

Frozen scallops will never taste as delicious as a fresh scallop. They will, more often than not, taste like briny waterlogged sponges and would be better suited for your pot and pan.

I would rather visit your fishmonger and find out if they have fresh deliveries of scallops for fresh-tasting flavors.

Can You Eat Raw Scallops When Pregnant?

If you’re a sushi fanatic and love your raw fish, I have some disappointing news. At the same time, fish is a great addition to your diet, but while pregnant, raw fish is not healthy and can be dangerous to you and your baby.

Eating fish while pregnant is advisable as the omega -3 fatty acids can promote your baby’s brain and eye development. But make sure it’s fully cooked.

Too much mercury can harm your baby’s developing nervous system, but cooked scallops are a great way to supplement fish to your diet as they contain low levels of mercury and are a safe and healthy addition to eat while pregnant, as long as they are fully cooked.

Can You Get Sick From Raw Scallops?

As with most other foods, if you eat scallops that have passed their freshness, you can most definitely get sick.

Even fresh from the sea, scallops can make you sick if they have been contaminated with red tide or bacteria.

When buying fresh scallops still in the shell, make sure that they are firmly shut. If they gape or yawn, they should clamp shut if you tap on the shell. Anything else is dodgy and should be avoided if you don’t want to get sick.

How Long Are Raw Scallops Good In The Fridge?

When buying fresh scallops, it is recommended that you use them within one day after purchase, but they can last two days in your refrigerator in temperatures of between 32°F and 40°F.

If you do not plan on using your fresh scallops within two days of purchasing them, you can easily and safely freeze them for up to three months in plastic bags with as much of the air removed to prevent freezer burn. Please place them in the coldest part of your freezer, away from the door.

If you can vacuum pack your packets of scallops, they will have a much longer shelf life in your freezer.

How To Prepare Raw Scallops?

There are several ways to prepare scallops, and each way is as tasty as the last.

Raw- straight from the sea with some light seasoning to enhance the perfect sea aroma, perhaps included in your favorite sushi and sashimi.

Poached- is a great way to add some seafood flavors to your salad.

Seared- is a great option to allow your scallops to absorb the aromatic flavors of the olive oil and spices.

Baked- in a creamy cheese sauce grilled in the oven is a great way to experiment with flavors.

Marinated- is an alternative to eating it raw. Adding vinegar, onions, herbs, and spices gives you a bit of a pickled fresh raw scallop. If they are “dry,” they will soak up all those delicious flavors that will infuse each morsel for a burst in your mouth flavors.


Summing it up, scallops are not only delicious little treats from the ocean that is safe to eat cooked when pregnant, but they are delicious delicacies that have a fresh ocean flavor when eaten raw, not to mention that they pack more wholesome nutrition when consumed raw and straight from the sea.