How Do You Know Scallops Are Bad?

Scallops are a popular and delicious seafood dish. They are extremely versatile, pairing well with lots of different pastas or salads, or just on their own as the main course. Scallops are bright, tangy, buttery and a very mild seafood, making them a great seafood option for anyone! 

Scallops can go bad rather quickly if not cooked right away. There are some key things to look out for when deciding if they are bad. Their color, their smell, their texture, and the taste will all be very off. 

How To Know When Scallops Are Bad


Naturally, scallops are a pale pinkish or beige color. This is the color they are when they are bought fresh and will remain that color until they start to go bad. This is the easiest way to tell if they are going bad, and is usually one of the first things that will start to change. Their naturally beige color will start to look very dull and gray when they are bad. 


Another easy way to tell if scallops are bad is by their smell. Naturally, scallops don’t have much of an odor. Especially fresh caught scallops are almost odorless besides a slight salty smell that resembles seaweed. Bad scallops will start to smell extremely fishy and you will know right away that that means they are not good anymore.


Apart from color and smell, they will also start to get extremely slimy and almost look like they are oozing with a slimy substance. They are not normally supposed to do this unless they are bad.

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If for some reason, all the other signs weren’t there and you’ve cooked bad scallops, you will know immediately. Bad scallops, when cooked, give off a very toxic metallic taste that may also taste like ammonia. They will also be extremely fishy and the texture will be completely off. Bad scallops, if eaten, can most definitely get you sick so try to find other symptoms of bad scallops before eating them. 

How to Store Scallops

Scallops can only last in the fridge for 1-2 days maximum before they begin to go bad. So if you are planning to cook them right away, they can be stored in the fridge until use. Never leave scallops out of the fridge, they will go bad almost immediately. 

If you do not plan on eating the scallops in the next 2 days, you can freeze them for up to three months. Simply wrap them in plastic and store them in the freezer. After three months, bacteria can begin to build up. This only goes for fresh scallops, cooked scallops can remain in the freezer for much longer. Frozen scallops can be thawed very quickly, so oftentimes people will just put them in the freezer right away just in case. 

Scallops are a delicious seafood treat! Learning the symptoms of bad scallops is extremely important to save yourself from getting very sick. It’s always easy to just toss them in the freezer if they won’t  be eaten, don’t waste them!