How to Clean Scallops

Cleaning scallops is an important part of their preparation for meals. Appropriate scallop cleaning techniques can ensure the scallops are healthy and delicious before you eat them. Read the following tips to learn how to clean fresh scallops.


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    Turn the specimen so that the darkest side of the shelled scallop is facing upwards.
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    Take a paring knife or sharpened spoon and insert it between the top and bottom halves of the shell.
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    Pry the shell open. Find where the scallop's muscle meets the top half of the shell and disengage the 2 from each other.
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    Throw the top half of the shell away once you have cut away the attachment.
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    Clean the inside of the scallop shell of everything but the muscle. Concentrate on the dark parts of scallop, while leaving the white muscle inside the shell.
    • When doing this, you should scrape the innards off of the muscle using your paring knife or sharpened spoon. This can be done easily and in one swipe if you begin scraping at the hinge and follow along the muscle in one clean movement. It's important to concentrate on the innards and to leave the muscle attached to the shell.
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    Detach the muscle from the shell once you have removed the innards from the inside of the shell.
    • You can do this by inserting a paring knife or sharpened spoon underneath the scallop's muscle and dislodging the muscle from the shell. You should have no trouble removing the muscle.
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    Run the scallop under cold water.
    • Putting your scallops under water will wash away impurities and get rid of sand and other grit.
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    Rub the scallop with your fingers to make sure that all impurities have been removed from the scallop.
    • Sometimes, sand or grit will remain on the scallop but be invisible to the eye. Rubbing the scallop ensures that you are getting all the impurities that might not be visible to you.
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    Remove any remaining side muscle that you may find while you are washing the scallop.
    • Remaining side muscle can be inconspicuous. To determine if what you're touching is side muscle, examine the scallop and feel for tougher pieces of muscle on the side of the scallop. If these tough pieces also have fibers that run against the grain of the scallop's muscle, then these are side muscles and can be removed.
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    Rinse the scallop again after removing remaining side muscles.


  • Some side muscles can be removed by simply clasping them between your fingers and pulling them away.
  • When dealing with fresh scallops, consider putting them on ice to help them loosen and open up.
  • Store-bought scallops may require less cleaning measures than fresh scallops; some only need to be run under water. However, when picking out scallops at a store, look for scallops that are pearly white and slightly moist. Scallops that are too dry or wet can be indicative of problems with freshness, handling, or packaging.


  • While scallops bought at a store may be cleaner than fresh scallops, they still require some sort of cleaning process. You should never eat scallops without properly inspecting and cleaning them first.

Things You'll Need

  • Paring knife or sharpened spoon

Article Info

Categories: Cleaning Food