Tips and tricks on how to cook a lobster perfectly each and every time! This lobster recipe produces tender and flavorful meat with minimal effort. Cooked lobster meat can be eaten on its own, or put in sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes.
I love to eat fresh seafood, especially coconut shrimp, crab legs and lobster. Cooking a whole live lobster may seem intimidating, but once you get the hand of it, it’s actually quite easy.
Lobster is typically thought of as a culinary indulgence, especially when you order it in a fancy restaurant. You can prepare your own fresh lobster at home for a fraction of the cost. This tutorial on how to cook a lobster makes it easy for even the novice cook!
Why do you have to cook a lobster alive?
You may wonder why it is that lobsters are typically cooked alive. Lobsters are most often cooked alive because they decay rapidly after they’ve died, which affects the flavor and texture of the meat. Another consideration is that bacteria can grow rapidly in a deceased lobster, which creates a possibility of food poisoning. Cooking a lobster when it’s alive solves all of these issues, and produces the best possible outcome.
How to cook a lobster (boiled)
There are two primary ways to cook a whole lobster; the lobsters can either be boiled or steamed. To boil a lobster, first place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, place whole, live lobsters head down in the water. Cook the lobsters according to the times listed below, which are based on the weight of the lobsters. After the lobsters have turned bright red and are cooked through, remove them from the boiling water. Let the lobsters cool slightly, then serve as-is or with a side of melted butter. Using the boiling method for cooking lobsters helps to ensure that the lobsters are cooked evenly, and it’s also one of the quickest ways to cook this crustacean.
How to cook a lobster (steamed)
To steam a lobster, heat 3-4 inches of water in a large pot until it’s boiling. Add the lobsters and cover the pot with a lid. Steam the lobsters according to the cooking times below. Carefully remove the lobsters from the pot. Let them cool slightly, then serve with butter or other sauces. Steamed lobster can be more tender than boiled lobster, but it does take a little longer to cook.
Tips for the perfect lobster
- Place your live lobsters in the freezer for about 20 minutes before you plan to cook them. This puts the lobsters to sleep, which makes them a lot easier to handle.
- I recommend leaving the bands on the claws until after the lobsters have cooked. It can be tricky to remove the bands when the lobster is alive.
- When choosing your live lobsters, select ones that are active and have nice long antennas that are not broken.
- A lobster does not actually scream when it is cooked, as these animals have no vocal chords. Any noise you hear is just steam that’s being released from the shell.
- Use a small knife to poke a few holes in the body and tail of a boiled lobster so that any excess water can drain out.
Lobster cooking times
The rate at which a lobster cooks depends on the size of the lobster. A boiled lobster will cook more quickly than a steamed lobster.
- 1 pound lobster: 6 minutes
- 1 -1/4 pound lobster: 8 minutes
- 1-1/2 pound lobster: 9 minutes
- 2 pound lobster: 11 minutes
- 3 pound lobster: 13 minutes
- 1 pound lobster: 8 minutes
- 1-1/4 pound lobster: 10 minutes
- 1-1/2 pound lobster: 11 minutes
- 2 pound lobster: 13 minutes
- 3 pound lobster: 15 minutes
How to remove meat from a lobster
The first step is to remove the tail from the body, which you can do by firmly grasping the tail and twisting it away, or you can use a knife. You can use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut through the shell of the tail to remove the meat in one piece. If you see a dark vein running down the top of the tail meat, remove it with a paring knife. The next step is to remove the claws, along with the knuckles attached to them. Use a lobster cracker to crack open the knuckles and claws so that you can easily remove the meat. You can also try to get meat out of the legs by cracking them, then using a skewer to pull out the pieces of meat.
How to cook a lobster tail
To cook a lobster tail, you’ll want to use kitchen shears to cut down the top of the tail. Gently pry the shell apart, and use your fingers to loosen the lobster meat from the shell. Place the lobster meat on top of the shell, then brush the lobster with butter. Broil the lobster tails for 8-10 minutes or until the meat is opaque and red. Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.
You now know all the secrets of how to cook a lobster; be prepared for the best lobster of your life!
Ways to use lobster meat
How to cook a lobster video
How to Cook a Lobster Recipe
- 4 live lobsters about 1 1/2 pounds each
- sea salt
- melted butter for serving
- lemon wedges and parsley sprigs for garnish
- Place the lobsters in the freezer for 20 minutes to put them to sleep.
For Boiled Lobster
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt per gallon of water.
- Place the lobsters head first into the boiling water. Cook the lobsters for 9 minutes or until shells are bright red and the meat is cooked through.
- Remove the lobsters from the boiling water. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then serve with melted butter on the side. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs as desired.
For Steamed Lobster
- Place 4 inches of water in a large pot; bring the water to a boil.
- Place the lobsters in the pot and cover the pot. Cook the lobsters for 11 minutes or until the shells are bright red and the meat is cooked through.
- Remove the lobsters from the pot. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then serve with melted butter on the side. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs as desired.
I’ve always been intimidated to cook a lobster but it looked so good I had to give it a shot. It was actually a lot easier than I thought and it came out perfectly! Definitely going to use this recipe again, thanks!
Thank you so much for these awesome tips! My new favorite way to cook a lobster!
Loved these tips! Super easy to follow, and I know we are going to cooking lobster more often.
This is such a great guide on cooking lobster! Thank you!
Great tips! Don’t forget to devein the lobster tail though!
This is such a great way to cook lobster perfectly! Thanks for sharing!
Seems to be so easy to cook a lobster with your tips! Thanks for sharing!
Simple detailed instructions, tastes amazing!
Such an amazing way to cook cook a lobster perfectly! Gonna try these tricks!
Thank you so much for sharing this was so easy to follow!
These are so helpful! I can’t wait to make lobster now!