Coquilles Saint Jacques Recipe

Learn how to make Scallops Gratin, otherwise known in French as Coquilles Saint Jacques. It’s a delicious French recipe that makes for a wonderful holiday starter!

Or you can also serve them with rice and serve as the main course. Looking for more festive holiday seafood dishes? Try my Salmon with Buerre Blanc Sauce or my Bouche a la Reine with Lobster.

Coquilles St Jacques Scallop Gratin served in scallop shells on a wood surface

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What is Coquilles Saint Jacques?

  • Coquilles Saint Jacques is a French dish typically served as a first course.
  • It’s a combination of scallops, wine and cream, and often times mushrooms.
  • The steps are easy but the results look and taste so fancy! 

shells used for serving Coquilles St Jacques Scallop Gratin

Step#1: Saute the Vegetables

  • You’ll begin by sauteing the leeks and shallots in butter in a large skillet.
  • Once they are fragrant and soft you’ll add the mushrooms.
  • You could do this step the day before, and cover and refrigerate the vegetables until ready to use. 

sautéing leeks and shallots in a skillet

Step#2: Create the Poaching Liquid

  • You’ll cook the scallops by poaching them in a flavorful poaching liquid.
  • I like to use white wine as the base and then add lemon juice, and herbs.
  • But if you don’t drink you could also use water or fish stock for the poaching base. 

adding scallops to the poaching liquid

Do Not Overcook the Scallops

  • Scallops only take a minute or two when cut small to cook through. You do not want to overcook them, because they will become too rubbery.
  • They will cook a little further once you pop the shells under the broiler to melt the cheese.
  • So just take them to where they just become opaque. Then transfer them to a bowl. 
  • Then reserve at least 1-cup of the poaching liquid for the cream sauce, you can discard the rest. 

adding heavy cream to poaching liquid

Step#3: Create the Cream Sauce

  • This flavorful cream sauce is what makes Coquilles Saint Jacques so delicious!
  • You’ll begin by making a roux with butter and flour, then whisking in the reserved poaching liquid, and then add the cream.
  • Then it’s all downhill from here! Add back in the veggies, and the scallops, and then it’s time to fill the scallop shells.

placing parsley on scallop shells on a baking sheet

How To Serve Coquille Saint Jacques:

close up of Coquilles St Jacques Scallop Gratin
The best way to serve Coquilles Saint Jacques is in scallop shells. You can purchase them online

Can you make Coquille Saint Jacques ahead of time?

Yes! That’s why I love this recipe for holiday entertaining because you can make them in advance. Just portion them out in the shells, top with the bread crumbs and cheese, and place them in your fridge on a baking sheet. Then just pop in the oven to bake when ready to serve!

cheese sprinkled on top of Coquilles St Jacques Scallop Gratin

Step#4: Add the Bread Crumbs and Cheese

  • The bread crumbs will add a nice crunchy texture to the top of this dish. For extra crispiness spray the crumbs with a light dusting of olive oil spray
  • Then add the cheese. For the best flavor use grated Gruyere cheese. It will create a nice “gratin” on top!
  • Serve these as a wonderful starter to a meal, or serve as larger portions, 2 shells per person, with some buttered white rice and parsley for a main course

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Coquilles St Jacques Scallop Gratin served in scallop shells on a wood surface

Coquilles St. Jacques (Scallop Gratin)

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

A delicious French recipe for a first course for holiday entertaining, Scallops Gratin is otherwise known as Coquilles Saint Jacques looks as festive as it is delicious.


  • 1 pound of scallops (453 g) , cut into quarters
  • 5 tbsp (75 g) butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 leek, white parts only sliced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) butter
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 ½ (350 ml) cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ (2.5 g) tsp fresh thyme
  • ½ (2.5 g) tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp flour (15 g)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of heavy cream
  • 1 cup (150 g) bread crumbs
  • ½ cup (45 g) grated gruyere cheese
  • 2 tbsp (11 g) freshly chopped parsley


  1. Melt 2 tbsp (30 g) of butter in a pan. Add shallots and leeks and cook until soft. Add mushrooms. Cook until they release their juices. Set aside
  2. In a large sauté pan, add wine, bay leaf, thyme, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add scallops. Cook for 4-5 minutes until scallops are slightly firm (do not overcook). Drain all liquid except about 1 cup (240 ml). Set aside.
  3. Melt the remaining 3 tbsp (45 g) of butter, add flour, and cook for 1 minute. Add the scallop liquid and cream. Cook until reduced slightly, and the mixture has thickened.
  4. Add vegetable and scallops back into the pan, stir until combined. Then portion out into scallop shells or ramekins.
  5. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Spray a light dusting of olive oil spray over the breadcrumbs for extra crispiness. Then top with the cheese.
  6. Bake at 400 F/200 C degrees until bread crumbs crisp and cheese melts. If re-warming from the fridge, bake for 20 mins covered with foil until warmed through, then a few mins under the broiler to allow the cheese to crisp up.


If you can find the scallop shells you can also bake these in 6 oz ramekins or make a large one in a shallow baking dish and serve family style.

You could also use the smaller bay scallops for this recipe and not have to quarter the scallops

To make ahead of time assemble the mixture into the scallop dishes, top with the bread crumbs and chhese, cover and refrigerate. Then bake before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 793mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 20g
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  1. Hi Beth,
    I would love to make this dish gluten free as there are wheat allergies in the family. Do you think I would get similar results if I thickened the sauce with corn starch and how much should I use? And use GF bread crumbs or GF Panko? Thank you!

    1. Yes of course you could do that! I would thicken the sauce with 2 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp very cold water this will create a “slurry” then once the sauce is simmering and bubbling, add the slurry slowly, whisking all the while, and stop once you achieved the desired consistency. You may not need all of the slurry :). And yes GF Breadcrumbs or Panko (or a mix of both!) would be great! Hope you enjoy!

  2. I prepared this recipe for a special lunch. It turned out DELICIOUS! One slight change that I made to the recipe was to use half wine and half bottled clam juice for the poaching. There are many recipes online for this, but this is a classic, straightforward, and fabulous option! Thank you, Beth!