Do you know how many scallops per person are needed? Today, I will dive deep into the many different scenarios that require various amounts of scallops per portion.
To give you a quick answer, if you are making a single-course main dish, you can use 4-6 per person. For starters or appetizer, you can go with 2-3 scallops per person.
This guide will help you buy exactly how much you need for the best flavor and texture.
What Are Scallops?
Scallops are one of those seafood items that many people have heard about, but not many people know what it is or have even had it before! And I cannot say I am surprised. In the past, finding delicacies like these in areas that don’t grow was extremely difficult or extremely expensive.
However, thanks to the ever-growing import-export industry, you will now be able to find these sweet, tender shellfish wherever you are.
Scallops are a broad category of bivalve mollusks. There are many different species, but they are all related to other shellfish like clams and oysters.
They aren’t extremely big in size, are light pink or beige in color, and have an uber-soft, tender texture. Then, they also have a mild flavor with slightly sweet, nutty undertones. They are naturally salty, as most seafood is, but don’t have a fishy flavor.
How Are They Served?
Scallops are extremely versatile ingredients. They can be served as-is (pan-fried, deep-fried, roasted, etc.) or in soups, stews, and casseroles.
The best way to serve these salty-sweet tender treats is as-is. And personally, I prefer serving them pan-fried in a delicious butter-garlic sauce. This technique helps elevate their natural flavor.
These sweet shellfish make great appetizers, starters, or mains.
As appetizers, they can be wrapped in various cured types of meat (especially bacon), served on a rice cracker with salsa and guacamole, or turned into a bite-sized salad. Here are some more ideas.
As a main, they are usually served with a side of salad, vegetables, or even crusty slices of bread. Even soup makes a fantastic accompaniment!
Now, why are we discussing different ways they are served? Well, because ultimately, how you serve them will affect how many scallops per person you need to prepare.
What Will Affect How Many Scallops Per Person?
Before calculating the exact amount of scallops you need to prepare for dinner or an event, first take into consideration some, if not all, of these factors.
What Are You Serving?
If you are serving them as appetizers at an event (with nothing else) you will likely need to serve more than, for example, for a 5-course dinner.
You have to look at what you are serving with the scallops (other appetizers, other courses, or various side dishes). This will obviously affect how many scallops you should serve per portion.
If you are serving a 5-course meal, you will likely only use 2 per portion (per person). But if you are only making a 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 Of The Scallops
If you are serving a small scallop, you will likely serve more of them. Each of these only weighs about 0.40 ounces (11 grams).
But, if you serve giant ones that weigh about an ounce each (28 grams), you may only want to serve one or two per person.
Again, factor in what you are using the scallops 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.
Sure, you can keep them frozen or freeze a batch of fresh ones you just bought. However, for the best results, these shellfish should be eaten as soon as they possibly can.
So, you can either cook the entire pound of scallops 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 anywhere between 30-40 per box.
For sea scallops, you can roughly expect between 20-30 per pound.
How Many Scallops Per Person?
So, getting down to brass tax: how many scallops per person should you estimate for?
If you are serving them as appetizers (alongside 3 other appetizers), I would work on an average of 3 sea or bay scallops per person.
To save costs, you can serve 2 scallop appetizers per person and an additional cheaper option.
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).
As A Main
Main dishes are tricky to portion when it comes to 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.
If you are only making the main dish (for lunch or dinner), I would serve between 4-6 scallops per person, depending on their size.
As with the starters, the more courses in the sitting, the small your portion sizes will become. This will ultimately mean that the number of scallops you need per person will decrease as well.
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 into.
How many scallops should you buy?
This obviously 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 what I need, just in case something goes wrong.