What Is the Difference Between Wet and Dry Scallops?  

Scallops are a type of seafood that is highly sought after for its delicate texture and sweet, slightly salty flavor. But when shopping for scallops, most people come across two different varieties: wet and dry. Although they look the same, there is a big difference between them. Read on to learn what that difference is and why it matters when it comes to buying and cooking scallops.

What Is a Scallop?  

Scallops are bivalve mollusks that are native to coastal regions of the northern Atlantic ocean. The most common type of scallop, called the Atlantic sea scallop, is the one most commonly found in restaurants and grocery stores.

Differences Between Wet and Dry Scallops  

Although they look the same, wet and dry scallops have some key differences.


The main difference between wet and dry scallops is in their appearance. Wet scallops are pale and glistening, similar to the finished product you’d find at a fish market. Dry scallops, on the other hand, are ivory in color and appear slightly dry.


The taste is another major difference between wet and dry scallops. Wet scallops are milder in flavor and have a softer, more buttery texture. Dry scallops, on the other hand, have a slightly firmer texture and a more intense flavor.


The texture of wet and dry scallops also differs significantly. Wet scallops are softer and more delicate, while dry scallops have a firmer and more chewy texture.


When it comes to cost, wet scallops tend to be more expensive than dry. This is due to the extra processing costs associated with wet scallops.

Nutritional Values of Wet and Dry Scallops  

The nutritional value of wet and dry scallops varies slightly. Here are the key differences:


Wet scallops tend to have slightly more calories than dry per 3-ounce serving, with a wet scallop containing about 80 calories and a dry scallop containing about 70.


Wet and dry scallops are an excellent source of protein. Each 3-ounce serving contains about 17 grams of protein.


Wet scallops contain significantly more fat than dry, with a 3-ounce serving of wet scallops containing about 4 grams of fat and a 3-ounce serving of dry scallops containing only trace amounts.


Both wet and dry scallops contain cholesterol, with a 3-ounce serving containing about 65 milligrams.


Sodium also varies slightly between wet and dry scallops, with a 3-ounce serving of wet scallops containing about 220 milligrams of sodium and a 3-ounce serving of dry scallops containing about 185 milligrams.

Which Is the Better Option?  

The answer to this question depends on your preference and how you plan to use the scallops. Wet scallops are a good option if you want something that is more tender and easier to cook, although they are more expensive. Dry scallops, on the other hand, are more affordable, have a firmer texture, and are generally easier to sear.

How to Cook Wet and Dry Scallops  

When it comes to cooking scallops, it’s important to keep in mind that wet scallops should never be cooked at high temperatures. Since they are more delicate, wet scallops should be cooked over low to medium heat and for a shorter period of time. Dry scallops can withstand high heat, and should be cooked over medium-high to high heat until they are lightly browned.

Tips for Buying and Storing Scallops  

When buying scallops, it’s important to make sure that they are fresh and that they smell like the ocean. To check for freshness, look for scallops that are bright in color and that have a slightly translucent appearance.

When storing scallops, it’s important to keep them cold. The best way to store scallops is in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Wet and dry scallops are different in many ways, from the way they look to the way they taste and how they should be cooked. Knowing the difference between the two types of scallops is key to making sure you get the best results when cooking them. Of course, the best way to ensure that you have the freshest and most flavorful scallops is to buy them directly from a trusted fishmonger or seafood market.