How To Cook Lobster Tails

Here's a fun fact: 50% of lobster purchasers actually don't know how to cook lobster tails. Ever since Maine Lobster Now™ first opened its doors, our customers have been asking us how to perfectly boil, broil, bake, steam, or grill their lobster tails.

Cooking lobster tails at home is part of the fun! We recommend that you start by searching for the perfect lobster tail within our huge inventory of regular or jumbo lobster tails, as well as our mouth-watering lobster dinner side dishes!
Cook times for lobster tails range from 3 minutes to 30 minutes. This will vary based on the method of cooking you choose and the size of the lobster tails you’re cooking. Boiling and steaming are faster processes, whereas baking and grilling take a bit longer. More detailed instructions can be found on the specific cooking method pages linked to above and at the bottom of this page. Start with the low range of these recommendations. Overcooking your lobster tails will leave them dry.

Some Lobster Products You May Love

Already got lobster tails from us? Want to use our service next time? Take a look at our large selection of lobster tails

Before You Being Cooking Your Lobster Tails - What To Do First

The first step to making Maine lobster tails at home is finding the perfect size. Our best sellers range from 8-10oz, but we ship lobster tails ranging from 3oz to 36oz. We also offer an array of options for side dishes, as well as the supplies you may need. All of this can be shipped overnight so you can enjoy your lobster tails by dinnertime tomorrow! Once your tails arrive, you can follow our instructions to cook them like a pro! Don't worry, for most people, cooking lobster tails is a new experience. When your lobster tails arrive, they will be brown in color and the inside of the tail will be a gray color. This is a lobster's natural color and lobster tails do not turn red until they are fully cooked!

Store Your Lobster Tails Properly Until You Are Ready To Use

Your lobster tails are shipped frozen in dry ice unless they are ordered with a fresh or live product. If you order was shipped with dry ice, don't worry, the gas in dry ice is as harmless as the carbon dioxide you exhale(but please don't breath it in). We would never ship your product with dangerous material, however, we do not recommend handling the dry ice without gloves. If you order was shipped with gel packs, your tails may begin to "sweat" or have water beads on the outside of the tail. Although the outer rim of the shell may be beginning to defrost, your tail meat is totally safe and can be stored properly. Once your tails are thawed, do not refreeze your lobster tails at home, the slow freezing process in a conventional freezer will actually break down the cell wall of the raw lobster meat and ruin the texture of your cooked lobster tails. Place your lobster tails in the freezer right away until 24 hours prior to use. Do not store for more than 3 months or your tails may begin to dry out.

Thaw Your Tails Thoroughly To Avoid Meat Sticking to the Shell

If you want to avoid your tails sticking to the shell, thaw your tails 24 hours prior to cooking in a refrigerator inside a leak-proof container. Your tails are defrosting so they will leak fluid. If your tails are frozen and you are planning on cooking them today, that is not a problem. Put your lobster tails in a sealed bag and soak them in cold water for at least 30-60 minutes. Larger lobster tails will take longer to thaw. If you want to butterfly a lobster tail, thawing your tails will be critical because you will have to cut the meat, and you won't be able to do so if the tails are not thawed all the way.

Common Misconceptions

It is common to have tomalley in the center of the tail. It appears black and sometimes green and sometimes will startle customers. Do not worry. This is a natural part of the lobster tail. It is actually the liver and is totally edible and is considered a delicacy. If you do not desire to eat this it can be rinsed off with water once the lobster is fully cooked.

The most lobster tail meat is white but it is also common to have a slight pink tint to the meat for lobsters that are preparing to shed. Once again, this is a totally natural process and is totally edible. If you want to remove the pink tint, you can rinse most of it off with warm water after you have cooked your tail.

With our easy-to-use lobster tail boiling, grilling and broiling guides below, you’ll find that cooking lobster tails is a rewarding experience the whole family will want to experience again and again. Check out our lobster tail recipes section to find out better techniques on how to butterfly a lobster tail! We intentionally only stock cold-water lobster tails, if you are interested in learning the difference between cold-water and warm-water lobster tails check out our blog for more information.

If you aren't sure which method to use, we strongly recommend boiling frozen lobster tails after they are completely thawed because this is your best bet to avoid your tails sticking to the shell. Please read our following section to make sure your lobster tails are stored and thawed properly to ensure the best results.

Boiling - The Easiest Way To Cook Lobster Tails

Boiling lobster tails is a great choice because if stored and thawed your lobster tails properly, this is the cooking technique we recommend to minimize your tails sticking to the shell! Boiling is always a safe bet and if you are a first-timer or old-timer, this is the technique you can count on. Keep in mind larger lobster tails take longer to cook. And just another reminder, it's always better to under-cook your lobster tails than to over-cook them. You can always drop them back in the boiling water if they aren't done. We also recommend adding some Maine sea salt to the water before boiling so you can add more of that signature lobster flavor you love. This will actually reproduce the same consistency as ocean water!

The Best Way To Boil Lobster Tails At Home

1. Thaw your lobster tails, then put a skewer through them to keep them from curling.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to a soft boil and add Maine sea salt.

4. Drop tails in one at a time and set your kitchen timer for the times listed below. The times are the same for larger quantities.

5. Cool the cooked lobster tails right away with cold water or ice to keep them from overcooking.

6. Serve and enjoy your boiled lobster tails!

How Long To Boil Lobster Tails

Thawed lobster tails will typically take 3-13 minutes to cook when boiled. This varies based on the tail size and quantity. See our chart below.

How To Boil Lobster Tails Video Walk Through

A video walk through hosted by Vanessa Seeder showing you the proper cooking techniques to boiling lobster tails.

Tips For Preparing the Lobster Tails for Boiling

Preparation is the key to cooking delicious lobster tails. Luckily for you, preparation is simple! To prepare your lobster tails for boiling, thaw them out thoroughly. If you try to cook the lobster while it's still fully or partially frozen, it will dry out when cooking, rendering it rubbery. Thaw the lobster in a cold water bath or in the refrigerator overnight.

Another tip for preparing lobster tails is to use a metal or wooden skewer so the lobster tail stays straight while cooking. This isn't crucial to the recipe, but it will keep your tails from curling as they cook in the lobster pot.

The Best Way to Serve Boiled Lobster Tails

When you cook a lobster tail by boiling, there's only one real way to serve it — with melted butter! This traditional dipper is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. However, if you feel that melted butter lacks the zazz you're looking for, there are plenty of other ways you can add it.

One of these ways is by adding some minced garlic into your butter while it melts to add that good garlicky aroma. Or, you can add lemon juice to your melted butter to give it an extra citrusy kick, and then garnish it with some parsley for a better appearance. Better yet, add both to your butter!

If you want to add some seasoning when the lobster is done, have at it! Salt and pepper are time-tested and sure to please, but you can spice things up by using Old Bay or other creole seasonings.

Planning a Full Dinner? We Have You Covered

At Maine Lobster Now, we do a whole lot more than sell the freshest lobster. We would be happy to supply you with all the ingredients you need to make a complete meal reminiscent of placid Maine right there in your home.

A full lobster dinner wouldn't be complete without clams or mussels, or potatoes and corn! We have everything from sides to desserts so you can get a full meal right from Maine.

How to Steam Lobster Tails at Home

Steaming lobster tails is another a great option when deciding the best cooking option for you and your family. This cooking method is faster than boiling and is arguably the most traditional way. Since you are actually cooking at a higher temperature, it's even more critical not to overcook your tails.

PRO TIP - Keep your tails from curling in the lobster pot so the tails will lie flat on a plate when they are done; use a metal or wooden skewer so the lobster tail stays straight while cooking!

A Step By Step Guide On How To Steam Lobster Tails

  1. Choose a pot large enough to hold your lobster tails with a tight-fitting lid that is large enough to fit the lobster tails with enough room for the steam to circulate around them.
  2. Place a steamer basket or an upturned colander in the pot so lobster tails are not submerged in the water.
  3. Pour in cold water to a depth of about 2 inches.
  4. Cover your pot and bring water to a boil.
  5. Once the water is boiling, quickly add the lobster tails to the pot and cover.
  6. Steam the lobster tails using the lobster tails steaming times below.
  7. Once you have reached your approximate
    cooking time, remove the pot from heat and check one of the tails. The
    tails should be completely cooked in the center of the meat.
  8. Remove your lobster tails from the cooking pot using tongs or gloves so that your tails to not overcook.
  9. Serve with drawn butter and enjoy!

How To Steam Lobster Tails Video Walk Through

Learn how to steam lobster tails with our host, Vanessa Seeder, for a bulletproof demonstration on how to prepare your Maine lobster tails.

Best Way to Serve Steamed Lobster Tails

There are many, many ways to dress steamed lobster tails to your liking! Serving lobster tails with melted butter is probably the most recognized and traditional way to do it, but there are some good ways to mix things up a bit, too.

One way you can do this is by jazzing the clarified butter up a bit with a few more ingredients. A popular way to add a quick spin on melted butter is by adding fresh, minced garlic to make garlic butter. If you're shying away from garlic, you can make lemon butter instead by adding a squeeze of fresh lemon and a pinch of chopped parsley.

You can substitute a variety of spices for butter, too, if you're looking for a healthier way to serve steamed lobster tail. Salt and pepper is an undeniable duo for good reason and makes an excellent topper on your lobster. Using fresh sea salt is a great way to bring out the tender, natural flavor of the lobster. And if you want to spice the black pepper up (more than it already is), try toasting whole peppercorns and pulverizing them for smokier touch.

If you're looking to add even more spice, Old Bay and other blackened/cajun seasonings will offer a nice punch. Just be careful of the additional salt these seasonings contain.

Regardless of how you top your lobster, the most timeless way to present them is with a garnish of parsley and lemon wedges.

Steamed Lobster Tail Pairing Options

The beauty of lobster as the centerpiece of an entrée is the plethora of sides that can accompany it. For the sake of brevity, we'll stick to only three we would definitely pair with our steamed lobster tail recipe.

Let's start with another shellfish: steamed clams. Because of their size, they make a perfect appetizer or a side, and benefit greatly from a dunk in melted butter.

Why not a soup to pair as well? Consider this: the only way you can truly add to lobster — is with more lobster! A well-prepared lobster bisque will make the perfect seafood acquaintance for our steamed lobster recipe.

To round the dish off, you may want to add some greens to contrast the red. Touch up your steaming skills by making some fresh broccoli crowns with a dash of salt and pepper, or if you're feeling citrusy, some lemon pepper.

Getting Fancy With the Steaming Process

Using salt water isn't the only liquid you can use to steam lobster. As a matter of fact, using beer — usually a light beer — is becoming a more popular way to add flavor in the steaming process. Simply boil a 12-ounce can of beer below your lobster tails.

We still recommend using salt water as a way to replicate ocean water, but if you want to try something different, give it a shot! You may be pleasantly surprised by the result.

How to Bake Lobster Tails at Home

Great! You've decided to bake your lobster tails. This is fun because you can really get a mind-blowing presentation for your guests. You'll have to be careful not to overcook your lobster tails because the meat can dry out very quickly, so its critical to keep check your tails early just to be sure. We suggest putting these on the middle rack of your oven. Another great way to keep your tails moist is actually brushing butter on the meat along with parsley or other spices. Baking lobster tails is necessary for butterflying lobster tails like our lobster tails product photographs. This is a more advanced technique, but once you get it down, you will have your friends in disbelief.

How to Bake Lobster Tails - A Step-By-Step Guide

  1. If you haven't followed the Butterfly Lobster Tails Quick Reference Guide, then make sure your tails are completely thawed. This can be done by leaving your tails in the fridge the night before cooking them or by putting them in cold water.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Place prepared lobster tails on a baking pan. Don't forget to add a little water to the pan so your lobsters' tails don't dry out!
  4. Brush each lobster tail with Kate's Butter.
  5. Bake using the baking times below or until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Do not overcook.
  6. Remove from oven and serve with melted butter and lemon wedges!
  7. If you are have followed the butterfly technique, add butter and paprika(optional) and broil for 3 minutes.

How Long To Bake Lobster Tails

Lobster tails typically bake in 8 to 30 minutes depending on the size. They should be baked at 350 degrees F until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F.

Preparing the Lobster Tails for Baking

Preparing a lobster tail for baking is as simple as thoroughly thawing it out. This matters whether you bake the lobster whole or butterfly it first. If you thaw it out, it will bake as it should, instead of drying out as it bakes. You can make sure it's thawed by touch, or you can see if the lobster is flexible and bends easily. If it does, then it's ready to bake.

The Best Way to Serve Baked Lobster Tails

How do you serve baked lobster tails? Fresh out of the oven with some high-quality butter melted and ready for dipping, that's how! We like to use Kate's Butter, which is batch-churned and made right here in Maine. You can touch your butter up with some minced garlic or lemon juice to taste.

When you get the lobster out of the oven, feel free to add some salt and pepper and even paprika for a little spice. We would suggest serving it with a garnish of lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

Lobster Tails, Delicious Sides and More

Though we at Maine Lobster Now focus on gathering the freshest lobster Maine has to offer and getting it to your door, that's just a part of what we do. We can get you everything you need to have a dinner that you'd have in Maine, right there in your home.

We offer a variety of shellfish to complement your lobster dinner, such as clams, mussels and oysters. If you're feeling soupy, we have some quality New England bisques and chowders to choose from. And if you'd prefer some traditional sides, we can get corn, potatoes and Fresh Maine Fiddleheads, too.

Are your kids not particularly fond of seafood? We bring you the best of Maine outside its coast with classic Red Hot Dogs so you have something the whole family will crave. We have plenty for dessert, too, that we're sure you and the kids will enjoy.

Watch & Learn How To Butterfly & Bake Lobster Tails

Check out our host, Vanessa Seeder, walk through how to butterfly and bake lobster tails at home today!

Looking To Take a Deep Dive Into Butterflying Lobster Tails? - Check Out Our Blog!

Learn more about how to butterfly lobster tails and get all your questions answered!