If you’ve ever had seared fresh scallops, you know how tender and succulent they can be on the inside. And how delicately crispy they are on the outside. But what if you have leftovers? Can you heat them up again? Here’s how to reheat scallops without sacrificing taste or texture.
Scallops may just be my favorite seafood (sorry shrimp). When they’re cooked properly, they’re pillowy soft, have a great crunchy sear, and melt in your mouth. And the dish possibilities are endless, from bacon-wrapped scallops to seafood pasta.
But can you recreate those tantalizing textures if you need to reheat scallops? The good news is that you absolutely can! And use you can use a few different methods. You just need to use the right equipment and follow a few simple steps.
Here are the 3 best ways.
Method 1: Reheating scallops on the stovetop
The best method to reheat leftover scallops is on the stovetop. It’s easy and takes just a few minutes. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1 – Remove the scallops from the fridge and let them rest for about 10 minutes. You want to let them warm up a bit so they can cook more easily and turn out more tender.
Step 2 – Add a bit of oil to a non-stick pan over low heat to medium heat and let the pan heat up (1-2 minutes).
Step 3 – Once you have a hot pan, add the scallops and some cold water and cover the pan. Let them cook for 2 minutes on each side. The water in the covered pan will convert to steam and help the scallops cook more evenly. You want to allow them to cook through, but not overly sear, so keep an eye on the heat level.
Step 4 – Once they reach a temperature of between 125°-135° Fahrenheit, transfer them to a paper towel to dry. The outside of the scallops should be crispy and the inside should be juicy and tender.
Method 2: Reheating scallops in the oven
Another great way to reheat leftover sea scallops is the oven method. It takes a bit longer than the other two, but it still results in delicious scallops.
Just use these step-by-step instructions:
Step 1 – Remove the scallops from the fridge and allow them to warm up for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Step 2– Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 275° Fahrenheit. Avoid high temperatures as the delicate scallops can burn easily.
Step 3 – Spread foil over a baking sheet or baking dish and spray it with cooking spray so the scallops don’t stick, then place the scallops on it in a single layer.
Step 4 – Add a small amount of water over the top of the scallops and then cover them with aluminum foil. The water will create steam when heated in the oven, helping the scallops cook throughout. The foil will help prevent the tops from burning.
Step 5 – Cook the scallops for 10-15 minutes, checking on them at the 10-minute mark. Use a meat thermometer to help determine if they’re done. Once the internal temperature of the scallops reads 125° F, remove them from the oven.
Step 6 – Let them rest for a few minutes, then they’re ready to eat.
Method 3: Reheating scallops in the air fryer
We love our air fryer. We use it at least twice a day in our house, and sometimes even more! While you can cook fresh meals in them, one of their best uses is heating up leftovers.
And the best thing is that can keep foods crispy, like the outside of pan-seared scallops.
To reheat scallops in the air fryer, just follow these steps:
Step 1 – Remove the leftover scallops from the fridge and let them warm up at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
Step 2 – Spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with cooking spray or olive oil.
Step 3 – Add the scallops, placing them in the basket in a single layer. Apply cooking spray to the tops of the scallops to help them crisp up.
Step 4 – Set the air fryer to 375° Fahrenheit and cook for 3-4 minutes total.
Step 5 – At the 2-minute mark, flip the scallops over and spray the other side with oil. Let cook for another 1-2 minutes, then check to see if their internal temperature is at least 125° F. If they’re not done, cook for another minute.
Note: Scallops are delicate, so you’ll want to check them to make they aren’t overcooking. If they do, then could end up dry and somewhat tough.
How to store leftover scallops
Now that we’ve looked at how to reheat leftover scallops, it’s a good idea to know how to properly store them in the first place!
In the refrigerator
If you plan on eating your leftover scallops within the next day or two, the best option is to store them is in the fridge.
Simply place them in an airtight container at the back, bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
The back is one of the coldest spots in the fridge. That’s because every time you open it, warm air gushes into the front, but cold air sinks. So items at the far back will remain the coldest.
If stored correctly, the scallops can keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
In the freezer
If you need to store your cooked scallops for longer than a few days, use the freezer.
Add the scallops to a heavy-duty freezer bag or another freezer-safe container. Remove any excess air from the plastic bag and place scallops inside in a single layer.
Seal it and date it. The scallops should keep for up to 3 months.
How to thaw out frozen scallops
Once you’re ready to warm your frozen scallops, you’ll want to do it slowly. That means you should avoid using a microwave oven to defrost them, as you could inadvertently start to cook them and they could become rubbery.
Also, cooking or heating up any sort of seafood can often result in a slightly unpleasant texture and taste. So skip the microwave if possible.
For best results, thaw out the frozen scallops in the fridge in the same container that you froze them.
So if you plan on having them for dinner, move them from the freezer to the fridge that morning. Or if you want to eat them for lunch, move them to the fridge the night before and let them thaw out overnight.
Don’t simply let them defrost at room temperature on a kitchen counter. After just 2 hours, harmful bacteria can start growing, which could lead to illness.
How do I know if my scallops have gone bad?
The best ways to determine whether your scallops may have spoiled are by smell, sight, and touch.
- Since scallops are seafood, they should smell mildly fishy. But if they have a sharp fish smell or one that is sour or pungent, that’s a sign they’re going bad.
- Also, check the texture. If it feels slimy or filmy, that could also mean they’re spoiled.
- And if you notice any discoloring, they may be past their shelf life.
In any of these cases, it’s best to simply discard the scallops.
A good way to tell if scallops are done cooking is to simply press down on them lightly with a thumb or finger. You want them to be slightly firm, but forgiving. If they’re too soft or mushy, they’re underdone. Too firm and they’re likely overcooked.
Reheating scallops in the microwave isn’t recommended, as they can become rubbery or unpleasantly soft. And you won’t retain that crispy outer texture that you would get from using the stovetop, oven, or air fryer.
What wine to pair with scallops
Scallops are luxurious and a little sweet, and they pair wonderfully with dry white wines like Chardonnay or a crisp Riesling, or even a Champagne or sparkling wine. Those wines will both complement the scallops and balance out the sweetness.
Just because you have some leftover scallops, doesn’t mean you need to throw them away. Heating them a second time and pairing them with a great wine can make for a delicious meal.
Whichever reheating method you use, just be sure to check them periodically so they don’t overcook and become tough.
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