Creamy Coquilles St. Jacques (scallops) en Gratin

A delicious starter, this recipe for Coquilles St Jacques (scallops) gratin is filled with cream and cheese. With accompaniments, tips, and more.
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This Recipe includes

Main ingredients:

scallops Scallops
shallots Shallots
cheese Gruyère cheese
breadcrumbs Breadcrumbs
butter Butter

Spices, herbs and flavoring ingredients:

parsley Parsley
cream Crème fraiche (heavy cream)
white wine White wine
salt and pepper Salt and pepper

Why we love it

It is not often that you cross someone who doesn’t like Coquilles St. Jacques en gratin. Served usually as a starter in France, the recipe calls to the coquilles st. jacques (scallops gratin in English) to be cooked in a creamy sauce, drenched in cheese, and topped with breadcrumbs.

It is light but satisfying, as well as being easy to make. And best of all it looks impressive with minimal effort. With plenty of flavor, your friends and family will be begging for seconds!

Winter Tradition

Fresh scallops in France are a winter tradition, and the creamy coquilles st. jacques is in the same vein as other French winter recipes like au gratin potatoes which have generous helpings of cream and cheese. You can also prepare it with a béchamel sauce, if you like.

If you prefer a lighter version of scallops, try my recipe for coquilles st. jacques in pesto. You can also cook the scallops as a main dish with pasta.

In France, the fishing season for scallops starts in October, so they are peak freshness in December, right on time for Christmas. The tradition goes back to the pilgrims of Saint Jacques de Compostela (hence the name) who crisscrossed France and Spain with the shells around their neck.

Scallops are so ingrained in French winter tradition, that there is usually at least one seafood item on the Christmas meal menu, such as scallops, smoked salmon or lobster.

Optional ingredients

Beyond making the dish with pesto instead of a cream sauce, you can also add additional ingredients into the recipe to make it heartier. For example:

  • mushrooms
  • potatoes
  • leeks
  • spinach

You can also add different types of fish to the recipe such as salmon or tuna. The creamy sauce goes with nearly everything, so don’t be afraid to add to the recipe and serve it as a main.

What to serve with it?

In terms of meals, Coquilles St Jacques is usually served as a starter. For the main, consider a mushroom risotto or a quiche to complement the scallops gratin.

If you are making a heartier coquilles st. jacques with potatoes, etc. you can opt for a lighter main such a salade niçoise. And for dessert, perhaps a tarte tatin?


What drinks to serve it?

Scallops gratin goes very well with a light white such as a Pouilly fumé from France’s Val de Loire or a Reisling from Alsace. You could also try a Chablis from Burgundy. You can read more about French wines here.

coquilles st Jacques au gratin

Recipe for Coquilles St Jacques en gratin

Nassie Angadi
An easy starter, with scallops as the star.
This recipe for Coquilles St Jacques en gratin that will please both kids and grownups alike.
4.37 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizers and Starters
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories 196 kcal


  • 4 Coquilles Saint Jacques (4 scallops drained and patted dry in open shell)
  • 1 tablespoon of grated shallots
  • 1/2 cup of crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup of grated gruyere cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh parsley


  • Soften the butter and mix in the grated shallots in a saucepan at low temperature.
  • Add the cream, white wine, salt and pepper to the mixture.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes while mixing.
  • Add the gruyere to the sauce, and whisk in to let it melt.
  • Place the scallops on the shells and add prepared sauce on top.
  • Sprinkle some breadcrumbs and a small amount of parsley on top of the sauce and the scallops.
  • Bake the scallops in the oven for 15 minutes at 200C (400F°) until it turns golden brown. (If scallops were frozen, cook for an additional 10 minutes.)
  • Place on seashell plate and serve while warm.
  • Bon appétit!


The above quantities are for 1 serving of coquilles st. jacques per person. Adjust quantities if you wish to serve more.


Serving: 1gCalories: 196kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 8gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 256mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1g
Keyword Coquilles St Jacques, French Starter, gratin, Scallops
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

So whether you are making some scallops gratin for Christmas, or just because, go ahead and dive in!

If you enjoyed that article, you may enjoy reading about more classic French appetizers and starter recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt!

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