Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

bacon wrapped sea scallops on a white plate with sriracha aioli and topped with fresh chives
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Yes, these ARE your Grandma’s bacon-wrapped scallops, because those things were AWESOME.

It’s Food-on-Toothpicks Season—YAY!   

When every magnet on your fridge holds an invitation, and every date on the calendar has an event (or two, or three) scribbled into it, you know the holidays are here. Also known as (at least around here) cocktail party season! The cocktail party seems to be largely a lost art, except around the holidays. This time of year, everyone seems to remember how GREAT cocktail parties are. They’re easy to host—no table to set, just put out some drinks, some nibbles and you’re good to go—and they’re easy to attend! You can only stay for 30 minutes? No big deal! Want to hang out for two hours? Great! 

Holiday cocktail parties don’t need much help to be festive—between the glow of the tree and “Silver Bells” on the stereo, the spirit of the season seems to materialize without having to be summoned. That said, we love to mix in a few indulgent, homemade appetizers in with store-bought stuff to take the festive factor even a bit higher. Scallops with bacon—marinated in an Asian-inspired soy sauce-and-orange juice marinade and then broiled until crisp and juicy—are the perfect throw-back holiday appetizer.

bacon wrapped scallops on a white plate topped with sriracha aioli and fresh chives

What Are Scallops?

You know what a scallop looks like, sure. But what exactly IS a scallop? Scallops are a type of shellfish known as a bivalve mollusk, meaning they have a singular muscle that’s surrounded by two shells. Other bivalve mollusks you’re probably familiar with include clams, oysters and mussels. The part of the scallop that we eat—the little cylindrical white part—is actually the muscle that serves to open and close the scallop shell. Typically, scallops are available in two sizes: 

  • Bay scallops: small scallops that are usually harvested (as the name suggests) in shallow water—bays and estuaries—and mostly on the East Coast. 
  • Sea scallops: sea scallops are much bigger and are harvested from much deeper ocean waters. They’re the kind of scallop you want to use for our bacon-wrapped scallop recipe and they’re (conveniently) in season in the fall and winter, so they should be easy to find around the holidays. However, you can use either fresh or frozen scallops for this recipe.

Everything You’ll Need to Make The Best Bacon-Wrapped Scallops Ever. 

Other than the scallops, the ingredients for this recipe don’t stray far from what you’ve usually got in your fridge and pantry. You might even already have all of the ingredients on-hand! Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • For the scallop marinade: soy sauce or tamari, orange juice and brown sugar.  
  • Sea scallops 
  • Canned, sliced water chestnuts.  
  • Bacon. 

How to Cook Scallops Wrapped in Bacon

It seems like an oxymoron—a make-ahead, hot appetizer. But it’s actually totally doable.Here’s how to make :  

  1. Marinate! Soy sauce, brown sugar and orange juice—just trust us on this one, OK? The sea scallops will be ready to go after 30 minutes, but if you want to get this done a day ahead, they can also marinate overnight. 
  2. Wrap. Hunt down that box of toothpicks, and get wrapping! Bacon, water chestnut, scallop, repeat! 
  3. Bake! Cooking scallops in the oven isn’t something most people are super confident about, but they’re not as hard as you might fear. Baking scallops with high heat—particularly if they’re wrapped in bacon—are a pretty simple thing to nail. Both the marinade and the fat from the bacon will keep the scallops juicy. Just keep an eye on them in the oven, and taste for doneness as soon as you suspect the bacon is crispy and cooked. We like to pop the tray into the oven right as guests arrive. Then, 12-15 minutes later and with great flair, we pull them out all hot and sizzling just as everyone finally has a cocktail in-hand. 
bacon wrapped scallop recipe on a white plate with sriracha aioli and fresh chives

Let’s Talk About This “Optional” Sriracha Mayo

You’ve got a lot on your plate, and making hot appetizers for your guests is a really nice thing to do in and of itself. You don’t need to make a dipping sauce for the bacon-wrapped scallops. It’s just that you might want to make a bacon-wrapped scallops sauce! Our sriracha mayo sauce is so, so easy—all you do is stir together: 

  • Mayonnaise. 
  • Sriracha. 
  • Fresh lime juice. 
bacon wrapped sea scallops on a plate topped with fresh chives

Tools You’ll Need: 

4 More Festive Appetizer Recipes: 

Whether you need a Thanksgiving appetizer to appease to starving hoards while the turkey rests, or just something to soak up all that Champagne on New Years Eve, these four indulgent appetizer recipes are sure to fit the bill: 

Is This the Best Scallop Recipe on Earth?

Clearly we think so. And we bet your family / friends / assorted holiday party guests will, too. All nestled inside a ring of crispy bacon, these baked scallops are sure to be a hit. Snap a photo of your bacon-wrapped scallops and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproperand #themodernproper so we can see! Happy eating!

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1.5 lbs large sea scallops
1 8 oz can sliced water chesnuts
1/2 lb thin bacon, cut into 3" pieces
toothpicks

Sriracha Aioli Dipping Sauce

3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp lime juice

Method

In a small bowl combine soy sauce, brown sugar and orange juice. Add scallops to soy sauce mixture, toss to combine and allow refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.

In a small bowl combine mayo along with sriracha and lime juice until smooth. Sriracha mayo can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Working with one scallop at a time, lay bacon piece flat add a slice of water chestnut to the center of the bacon followed by a marinated sea scallop. Tightly wrap the bacon around the scallop and pierce with a toothpick to hold the bacon in place. Place on baking sheet lined with a cooling rack and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until bacon is crispy. (For extra crispy bacon, broil for the last 2-3 minutes, just keep on eye on them!) Serve warm along with sriracha mayo.