How Many Scallops Per Person Do You Need? A Quantities Guide

Do you know how many scallops per person are needed? Today, I will dive deep into the many scenarios requiring various amounts per portion.

To give you a quick answer, if you are making a single-course entree, you can use 4-6 sea scallops per person. You can go with 2-3 scallops per person for starters or appetizers.

This guide will help you buy exactly how much you need for the best flavor and texture.

Scallops from above made with garlic sauce.

If you want to discover a new recipe, look at Creamy Potato Soup or Chicken Chimichangas.

What Are Scallops?

Scallops are one of those seafood items that many people have heard about, but they remain a mystery to most, not having or being limited to a tasting experience! It’s safe to say I expected as much. In the past, finding delicacies like these in areas where sea they are uncommon was challenging and can be extremely expensive.

However, thanks to the ever-growing import-export industry, you can now find these sweet, tender shellfish wherever you are.

Scallops are a broad bivalve category (a shell with two hinged valves to open) mollusks. Many species of these bivalve shellfish exist, such as clams and oysters.

They aren’t extremely big, are light pink or beige, and have an uber-soft, tender texture. They also have a mild flavor with slightly sweet, nutty undertones and a hint of natural saltiness, as most seafood do, but without the fishy flavor.

plate of seafood

How Are They Served?

Scallops are extremely versatile ingredients. They can be served raw, pan-fried, deep-fried, roasted, or in soups, stews, and casseroles. This all depends on your taste, and keep in mind that they cook quickly.

The best way to serve these salty-sweet tender treats whole. I prefer serving them pan-fried in a delicious butter-garlic sauce. This technique helps elevate their natural flavor without overcooking the them.

For more seafood recipes, check out Ensalada De Coditos Con, Octopus Salad, and Boiling Crab’s Whole ShaBang Sauce.

Scallops Per Person Quantities Guide (1)

What Will Affect How Many Scallops Per Person?

Before calculating the exact amount you need to prepare for dinner or an event, consider some, if not all, of these factors.

What Are You Serving?

If you are serving fresh scallops as appetizers at an event (with nothing else), you will likely need to serve more than, for example, for a 5-course dinner.

It would help to look at what you are serving with them (other appetizers, courses, or various side dishes). This will affect how many you should serve per portion.

If you serve a 5-course meal, you will likely only use two scallops per person. However, if you only make a simple meal at home for two people, you can serve up to 5 per person!

So, first and foremost, consider the occasion and other dishes.

Size Portion

If you serve small ones, you will likely serve more of them. Each of these only weighs about 0.40 ounces (11 grams).

But, if you serve giant scallops that weigh about an ounce each (28 grams), you may only want to serve one or two per person.

Again, factor in what you use them for and how many other dishes and courses there are.

How Many Scallops Are In A Pound?

These shellfish are often sold per pound. This is great because it usually means you get more bang for your buck. But the downside is that you have to use 1 pound of scallops.

You can keep them frozen or freeze a batch of fresh ones you just bought. However, these shellfish should be eaten as soon as possible for the best results.

So, you can cook the entire pound or buy a smaller quantity (if possible).

Now, the exact number depends on the type and size of the shellfish. But, for regular bay scallops (the most common types), you can expect 30-40 scallops per box.

For sea scallops, you can roughly expect between 20-30 scallops per pound.

How Many Scallops Per Person?

So, getting down to brass tax: how many scallops per person should you estimate?

As Appetizers

If you are serving them as an appetizer (alongside three other appetizers), I would work on an average of 3 sea or bay scallops per person.

To save costs, you can serve two scallops for each appetizer per person with garnishes or over a simple salad.

seafood appetizer

As Starters

If you are serving them as part of a 2-course meal in a starter dish, you can use about 3-4 scallops.

If the starter forms part of a 3-course meal, only use 2-3 scallops per serving.

But, if you are serving them as part of a much larger set menu (4 courses and more), I would only use 1-2 scallops per starter (per person).

Scallops Per Person Quantities Guide (2)

As A Main Dish

The main dishes are tricky to portion regarding how many scallops per person.

When you use them in a stew or soup, you will likely use more than when serving pan-fried scallops with a side unless you have other shellfish in your stew.

If you are only making the main dish (for lunch or dinner), I would serve 4-6 scallops per person, depending on their size.

As with the starters, the more courses in the sitting, the smaller your portion sizes will become. This will ultimately mean that the number of scallops you need per person will decrease as well.



Without a doubt, determining the appropriate quantity of scallops per person depends on several factors. Serving 4-6 sea per person for a main course is standard, while 2-3 per person is sufficient in appetizers or starter courses.

Scallops are now accessible thanks to the import-export industry. For that purpose, you can prepare your them in various ways.

In short, consider the meal type, size, and quantity per pound when deciding how many to serve for a delightful dining experience. Have fun with your scallops, and enjoy!

Scallops cooked


What Can You Serve With Scallops?

As I’ve mentioned, scallops are pretty versatile in how you serve them. Personally, I love them with this  Onion Cucumber Salad or plain Roasted Potatoes. You can also check out my site for inspiration on rice dishes, vegetable sides, and even fresh salads you can incorporate pan-fried scallops.

How Many Scallops Should You Buy?

This depends on the serving size of the shellfish and amount of people you are making food for. But buy as close to the number as you need. For catering events, I like to purchase 5% more than I need, just in case something goes wrong.

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