Bacon Wrapped Scallops are the perfect appetizer for any occasion, whether it’s fancy, romantic, or casual. There is a wonderful flavor combination between the salty bacon, the sweet and savory seasoning on the scallops, and slightly sweet natural flavor of scallops. These easy scallops are always a crowd pleaser!
If you love scallops, try them for dinner in my Scallops with Cream Sauce recipe!
Table of Contents
Perfectly cooked scallops are always so impressive to guests and family but they are really quite simple to work with. They can be a bit tricky to master at first because they are so easy to over cook, but with this simple recipe, you’ll master them in no time! Even a beginning home chef can gain confidence by making a batch of these bacon wrapped scallops.
These make a great appetizers to serve at parties because they are pretty easy and require a handful or ingredients. As long as you get some good sea scallops, it will be a breeze. Biting into the salty, crispy bacon wrapped around the tender, delicately sweet sea scallop is truly a remarkable experience.
The main thing to remember is to get good sea scallops and treat them well. Scallops are easy to overcook, so keep an eye on them and don’t leave them alone. While they do require a bit of attention while broiling, it is pretty quick and we get the perfect scallops, every time.
Sea Scallops – It’s best to buy sea scallops because they are bigger and make sure they are “dry.” Read more information about buying scallops below and remember, you can also use them in my seared scallops recipe.
Bacon – For the best results, use thin sliced bacon, not thick cut. While thick cut bacon wrapped around a scallop may sounds good, but in practice, it won’t come out as well.
Brown Sugar – The brown sugar both enhances the natural hint of sweetness in the sea scallops, and balances wonderfully with the salty bacon. Light or dark brown sugar will both do the trick.
Toothpicks – You can’t make these scallops without toothpicks! They are what hold the bacon perfectly in place. I definitely recommend using long toothpicks if you can find them, as they’re big enough to reach all the way through the scallops.
Types of Scallops
Dry scallops have not been soaked in any chemical solution and therefore are slightly darker in color. They will have the best natural taste through, no excess liquid, and cook beautifully. They’re the best scallops for searing because no excess liquid will come out to hinder the sear. (Note that there will be some natural liquids coming out, just not in excess.)
These scallops are the ones that were soaked in a phosphate solution that whitens them. It makes them absorb more liquid and therefore, weigh more. So when you buy these scallops, you are paying more money for water. They also do not sear as well and give out a lot of liquid when bake. Try your best to stay away from “wet scallops” and look for “dry-packed” or “chemical free” labels.
These are the big scallops and sometimes they are called “jumbo.” These big boys can be as big as 2 inches in diameter and as small as 1 inch. They are perfect for seared scallops or baked scallops.
These are smaller scallops that are found in shallow waters. These scallops can be as small as 1/2 inch in diameter and don’t get bigger than 3/4 inch. Because of the small size, they are not suited for searing because they cook fast and can easily be overcooked and turned rubbery.
These can range in size but are more expensive. Most scallops are picked but a boat that is dragging a net along the ocean floor but diver scallops are picked by hand. Divers usually hand-pick the biggest, fully grown scallops so that will affect the price.
How to Make Bacon Wrapped Scallops
The secret to juicy and tender scallops with crispy bacon wrapped around is to pre-bake the bacon (1). Bacon takes a lot longer to cook than scallops so trying to cook them at the same time, will leave you with dry and rubbery scallops.
To pre-bake the bacon, bake it at 400°F on a prepared baking sheet for about 7-10 minutes, depending on the bacon. Bake the bacon until it’s a little more than halfway done, but not quite crispy (1).
Allow the bacon to cool until you can be handle it without burning your hands.
Once the bacon is cooled, it’s time to prepare the scallops! Start by gently patting the scallops dry with a paper towel. Then, season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and brown sugar all over (2).
Wrap a slice of the half-cooked bacon around each scallop. Once wrapped, secure the bacon in place with a toothpick (3).
PRO-TIP: If there is a piece of bacon that is too long, simply cut off the excess length. (You can dice and sear the leftover bacon pieces and use it elsewhere as a garnish…or simply snack on it.)
Broiling the scallops:
Turn on your broiler and make sure the rack is about 6 inches away from the top of the oven. I recommend using the low broil setting if you have one, especially if your scallops are large. This will help them cook through more evenly.
Cook the scallops for 6-8 minutes, flipping them with tongs halfway through cooking. You’ll know the scallops done when the bacon is crispy and the scallops are opaque all the way through.
While I so recommend buying fresh seafood, and that includes scallops, it is not always available. If you have to use frozen, see if you can find ones that have been flash-frozen as soon after harvesting as possible. That option is quite fresh since the seafood was flash-frozen at the freshest stage.
To use frozen scallops: Thaw scallops in the refrigerator overnight. (Do not try to speed up the thawing process.) Then, pat them dry as you would with fresh scallops. The main difference is that the frozen scallops will contain more liquid. Once thoroughly dried, follow the rest of the recipe accordingly.
If you plan on serving these appetizers at a party, you should make them fresh and serve them within an hour of making. However, if you have any leftovers you’d like to enjoy the next day, you can certainly reheat them! They won’t be quite as good as they were when you first made them, but they’ll still be tasty.
To reheat the scallops, sear them in a preheated skillet, over medium heat, for about a minute on each side until warmed through. I’ve found this to be the most effective way of reheating the scallops, as sometimes putting them back into the oven has lead to them drying out.
The best way to prevent your scallops from being rubbery, is not not overcook them. Scallops are done when they just turn opaque throughout. It’s much easier to tell if the scallops are done when you’re searing them or grilling them because you can see the whole scallop in front of you. It’s a little bit harder when you’re baking, especially those wrapped in bacon.
The good news is that bacon does protect the scallops from direct heat and therefore it will take longer to overcook. So by protecting them, you will have less chances that they will overcook. Just don’t broil them for too long. (Sauce in baked scallops gives them a little more protection as well.)
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE leave a 🌟 star rating! Let me know how you liked it by leaving the 📝 comment below or share and tag me on social media @willcookforsmiles. DON’T FORGET to subscribe to my newsletter!
Bacon Wrapped Scallops Recipe
- 1.5 lb sea scallops
- 1 lb thin sliced bacon not thick cut
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- wooden toothpicks
- Note: depending on the size and type of bacon you choose and the size of scallops, it would take 1/2-1 slice of bacon per sea scallop. It's impossible to tell exactly how much you will need because sizes of each scallop varies as well and bacon. It's best to err of the side of having some bacon leftover that you can use somewhere else than not have enough.
- Preheat the oven to 400°, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up, and fit a wire rack inside the baking sheet.
- Lightly grease the wire rack and place slices of bacon on it side by side.
- Bake bacon until more than half way done but not crispy. Depending on the bacon, it will take 7-10 minutes.
- Take the bacon out and let it cool a little until easy to handle.
- Pat scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder all over. Sprinkle each scallop with brown sugar on all the sides as well.
- Wrap a slice of bacon around each scallop around the side and stick a toothpick through bacon and scallop to secure it. If there is a pretty long piece of bacon left sticking out, you can cut it off. (You can dice and sear cutoff pieces of bacon and use it as a garnish somewhere.)
- Turn on the broiler and make sure that the rack is about 6 inches away from the top. If you have an option for high broil or low broil, it's best to use low if the scallops are large.
- Place wrapped scallops onto the wire rack and cook them under the broiler for 6-8 minutes, flipping them half way through. You want the bacon to crisp up and scallops to be opaque throughout.
- To reheat the scallops, sear them in a preheated skillet, over medium heat, for about a minute on each side until warmed through. I’ve found this to be the most effective way of reheating the scallops, as sometimes putting them back into the oven has lead to them drying out.
- How to tell is scallops are done? The best way to prevent your scallops from being rubbery, is not not overcook them. Scallops are done when they just turn opaque throughout. The good news is that bacon does protect the scallops from direct heat and therefore it will take longer to overcook. So by protecting them, you will have less chances that they will overcook. Just don’t broil them for too long.