Sweet & Smokey Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

5 from 2 votes
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Sweet and smokey, bacon-wrapped scallops are seasoned with brown sugar and paprika and broiled in the oven for the perfect caramelized finish and juicy tender inside. It’s an easy scallop recipe that involves rubbing the bacon with a thin coating of brown sugar and paprika for extra sweetness and a pinch of spice. Plus, it only takes 25 minutes to pull together!

Perfect golden brown bacon-wrapped scallops with slight charred bacon edges.

Bacon-wrapped scallops are one of the most beloved apps for a crowd. However, you could also incorporate this recipe into a fancy, date-night meal for two. Serve these sweet and savory bacon-wrapped scallops served over parmesan risotto to make it a complete meal!

If you enjoyed this recipe, try my beer-steamed mussels with bacon, creamy ale clams with garlic and butter, and my mussels in red sauce. If you’re a shellfish lover, you must try my lemon butter scallops and my delicious baked lobster tails!

Why This Recipe Works

This recipe was designed to render caramelized bacon and perfectly cooked scallops. Bacon-wrapped scallops can be a challenge to cook because they need to be cooked long enough to fully cook the bacon without overcooking the scallops, rendering them rubbery.

Many recipes call for a low and slow method, which tends to really dry the scallops out. Broiling jumbo scallops on high for 10 minutes roughly 10 inches away from the heat source delivers perfectly cooked scallops with fully cooked bacon.

Ingredients

Raw ingredients for bacon wrapped scallops on a wooden cutting board.

Large/jumbo sea scallops: I prefer large or jumbo scallops because they won’t dry out in the oven. Smaller scallops will be far too small after cooking. 1.5 inches in diameter in an idea.
Regular-cut pork bacon: avoid thick-cut bacon as it will take longer to cook in the oven. Regular bacon is the perfect thickness and bacon-to-scallop ratio. Remember, one slice of bacon wraps two scallops.
Dark brown sugar: brown sugar adds a subtle touch of sweetness and color to the bacon. It’s a delicious combo that when used sparingly, adds an extra dimension of flavor and caramelization. Light brown sugar can be substituted.
Paprika: paprika adds color and a touch of smokey-enhanced flavor. This is an optional ingredient.

Salt: I always season scallops with coarse sea salt for extra flavor. This is critical for delicious-tasting scallops.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

Important Scallop Prep

Most scallops will have a chewy abductor muscle that resembles a rectangular tag of tissue on the side of the scallop. Remove the side muscle by simply pulling it off with your hands. Rinse the scallops under cool water and pat dry with a paper towel before seasoning with salt.

How to Make Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Step 1.

Preheat the oven broiler to high broil. If you don’t have a broil setting on your oven, turn it to 500-550°F.

Quick Tip

Broilers heat up fast so you may only need to turn the broiler on for 5 minutes before using it.

Step 2.

Find the small flap of the side muscle on the scallop (image 2a). Tear it off and discard it. Rinse the scallops under cool water and dry them with a paper towel. Season generously with salt and optional pepper (image 2b).

Hand holding a raw scallop with the side muscle coming off the body of the scallop.
Seasoned raw sea scallops with salt and pepper on a sheet of paper towel.

Step 3.

Combine brown sugar and paprika in a small bowl and mix until combined. If you want more smoke and heat, use 2 teaspoons of paprika. Rub each side of bacon with just enough brown sugar/paprika mix to lightly coat them. It should adhere nicely.

Half slices of raw bacon rubbed with brown sugar and paprika on a wooden cutting board.

Quick Tip

You can simply omit the brown sugar/paprika if you prefer the classic rendition of the recipe.

Step 4.

Wrap each scallop with a half slice of bacon and secure the two ends with a toothpick. You want the toothpick to pierce through both sides of the scallop where the bacon ends meet.

Raw scallops wrapped in uncooked bacon on a wooden cutting board.

Step 5.

Place scallops on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. Line the baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.

Raw scallops wrapped in uncooked bacon on a wire rack lined backing sheet.

Step 6.

Broil on high, 10 inches from the heat source for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Flipping ensures even cooking and also prevents one side from burning. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Fully cooked golden brown scallops wrapped in bacon on a wire rack stacked on a baking sheet.

Expert Tips

  • It’s really important to place the scallops 10 inches away from the heat source on high broil. Too close will quickly burn the scallops. Too far will extend the cooking time.
  • If you don’t have a wire rack, place the scallops directly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Large/jumbo scallops work the best because they won’t overcook in the oven. Small scallops will shrink too much.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to precook the bacon?

There is no need to precook the bacon for this recipe. The broiler will generate enough intense heat to fully cook the bacon.

How to tell if scallops are fully cooked?

Scallops cook very quickly. Scallops are done when they are opaque in the center. They should be firm but not difficult to cut or chew through, splitting apart easily.

More Seafood Recipes

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this recipe, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
5 from 2 votes

Sweet & Smokey Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Servings: 12 scallops
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
The ultimate savory app. Bacon-wrapped scallops coated with brown sugar and paprika. Broiled for a caramelized, smokey finish.

Ingredients 

  • 12 large/jumbo scallops, side muscle removed
  • 1 pound regular-cut bacon, halved (not thick or thin sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven broiler to high broil. If you don’t have a broil setting on your oven, turn it to 500-550°F. Note, broilers heat up fast so you may only need to turn the broiler on for 5 minutes before using it.
  • Find the small flap of the side muscle on the scallop. Tear it off and discard it. Rinse the scallops under cool water and dry them with a paper towel. Season generously with salt and optional pepper. Set aside.
  • Combine brown sugar and paprika in a small bowl and mix until combined. If you want more smoke and heat, use 2 teaspoons of paprika. Rub each side of bacon with just enough brown sugar/paprika mix to lightly coat them. It should adhere nicely.
  • Wrap each scallop with a half slice of bacon and secure the two ends with a toothpick. You want the toothpick to pierce through both sides of the scallop.
  • Place scallops on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. Line the baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
  • Broil on high, 10 inches from the heat source for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Flipping ensures even cooking and also prevents one side from burning. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Notes

There is no need to precook the bacon for this recipe. The broiler will generate enough intense heat to fully cook the scallops and also sear the bacon. The extra sugar will also render a quick candy coating that helps brown the bacon. If you’re looking for crunchy bacon, you will need to par-cook the bacon in a skillet to achieve the desired results.
It’s really important to place the scallops 10 inches away from the heat source on high broil. Too close will quickly burn the scallops. Too far will extend the cooking time.
If you don’t have a wire rack, place the scallops directly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Large/jumbo scallops work the best because they won’t overcook in the oven. Small scallops will shrink too much.

Nutrition

Serving: 2scallopsCalories: 276kcalCarbohydrates: 6.6gProtein: 24.2gFat: 16.4gSaturated Fat: 5.3gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 976mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 4.4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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