How To Cook Lobster Tail


Have you decided that you want to cook something eye-catching and classy? It doesn’t get more opulent than lobster tails. We’ll be honest, cooking lobster tails takes a bit of effort, and it isn’t the cheapest seafood around, so you will want to make sure that you get it right the first time. Don’t worry. We are here for you! Want to know how to cook lobster tail? Today we will show you 5 great ways to cook Lobster and answer some common questions that always crop up when we’ve got a crustacean on the cooker! Claws at the ready, let’s dive in!

lobster tail

What are the Different Ways I Can Cook Lobster Tail?

Today we are going to talk you through a total of 6 different ways to cook lobster tail. They are:- 

  • Boiling lobster
  • Steaming Lobster
  • Baking lobster tails
  • Broiling Lobster
  • Grilling Lobster
  • Barbecuing Lobster

Different strokes, for different folks, right?

We’ve covered all the methods we can think of, so you are bound to have the kitchen equipment needed. The method you choose will depend on many different things. 

Such as?

How much time you have and have much effort you want to go to. Also, how you serve your lobster tails may influence your decision. Some taste unbelievable but aren’t the most eye-catching. 

How Long Should Lobster Tail be Cooked?

This all depends on the method you choose. The good news is that regardless of which way you go. Lobsters cook pretty quickly. A small lobster weighing around 4-ounces will only take around five minutes to cook. If you’ve pushed the boat out and bought (or caught) an 8-ounce lobster, then even this will only take 10 minutes. 

Want a simple rule of thumb?

Start with the assumption that a one-pound lobster will take about 7 minutes to cook. From there on, add two minutes for every extra half pound. Perfect Lobster every time? Yes sir!

How do You Know When Lobster Tails are Done? | 3 Ways to Check

You might be surprised to learn that lobsters aren’t actually red when they live under the sea (SpongeBob got it wrong). Instead, they are grey.

Here’s your first clue.

When cooking Lobster, you’ll see that the shell begins to turn a bright and vivid red. This is a good indicator that you are almost there. If any white or grey patches are visible on the shell, it won’t be cooked.

Lobster tail flesh undergoes a transformation under heat too. There are a few methods you can use: –

1. Look at the Flesh

This one is great if you aren’t bothered about serving the lobster ‘as is’ with an intact shell. Cut the lobster shell where the tail joins the body (this is the thickest part). If the flesh is firm, creamy, and white, then the lobster tail is cooked. If it is clear or opaque, give it a little longer.

2. Use the Stab Test

This one is popular with fancy restaurant chefs as it leaves the shell relatively intact. Take a thin sharp knife and stick it into the middle of the lobster tail from the underside. Leave it for three seconds, then remove it and quickly ‘dab’ it on your top lip. If it is hot, the Lobster is cooked.

3. Check with a Food Thermometer

This is by far the most reliable method. Stick the thermometer probe into the lobster tail at the thickest part. You want a temperature reading of at least 136°F. This means that the Lobster is cooked to perfection.

What to Serve With Lobster Tail?

Wow, what a question. There are so many options for things you can serve with lobster tail. Here are some great ideas: –

  • A simple leafy salad
  • Pasta
  • A soft and floury bread bun
  • Corn on the cob
  • Clam Chowder
  • Creamy Coleslaw
  • Steamed Mussels
  • Melted garlic butter
  • Shrimp
  • Biscuits (perfect for mopping up juices)
  • Lemon pepper mayonnaise 
  • Cilantro lime rice
  • Mac n Cheese
  • Collard Greens
  • Brussel sprouts
  • And many more!

Because Lobster has a mild taste, it doesn’t overwhelm other aspects of any other dish. This makes it ideal for serving with practically any side. 

Our favorite?

It has to be a simple soft bread bun with a decent helping of thick butter. Cooking lobster tails is a bit of an effort, so we try and keep our sides super simple and let the goodness of the Lobster carry the dish.

Can I Boil Frozen Lobster Tails?

You could, but it is not recommended. For several reasons…

First, you’ll get uneven cooking. You might even find that the exterior flesh cooks, but the interior is still raw. Let us tell you… eating raw seafood is no laughing matter. In fact, it can be dangerous.

Second, If you cook any fish or meat frozen, you will get a real loss of quality. You’ll probably find that you need to cook it for longer to make sure it is cooked through. Do you know what happens when you cook Lobster for too long? It goes all rubbery. Yuck!

There is an answer, however, if you are stuck for time…

Place your frozen lobster tails in a large bowl or pan and fill them with cold water. Leave the pot in the sink, and every 10 minutes, change the water. The Lobster should thaw out in under an hour using this method.

5 Great Ways To Cook Lobster Tail

Alright, let’s get down to it, that Lobster isn’t going to cook itself.

1. Boiled Lobster Tail

boiled lobster tails in pot

Boiling lobster tails is really easy. Here’s how to do it: –

  1. Fill a large pan with fresh water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of salt
  3. Add your lobster tails and boil for 6-8 minutes for a small lobster or 10 minutes for a larger lobster tail
  4. Keep an eye for the shells turning red and the flesh becoming set
  5. Open the shell to get to the meat!

Boiling Lobster Tips 

  • Boiling Lobster is really easy, but the flavor can get washed out. Be sure to add salt, which preserves some of the ‘taste of the sea.’
  • Be sure to get the water up to a boil before adding your Lobster. Otherwise, it will cook slowly, making it tough
  • Allow your Lobster to steam dry for a few minutes once you have removed it from the water; otherwise, you’ll end up with a wet mess on the plate.

2. Steamed Lobster Tail

steaming lobster tails in pot

Steamed lobster tails are really quick and easy. It keeps the meat super moist and juicy. The only downside is it doesn’t carry flavor so well. This is a great method if you intend to use the lobster tail meat in another recipe. Here’s how to do it

  1. Weigh your Lobster. You’ll need to steam it for one minute per ounce
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and place a steaming basket over the top
  3. Add your lobster tails to the basket. Keep an eye on the shells. When they turn red, you are pretty much there

Steamed Lobster Tail Tips 

  • This is a great method to use if you are stuck for time. Steaming also makes it much easier to remove the flesh
  • Be careful when handling the Lobster. Steam can actually go much hotter than boiling water, and it can be easy to burn yourself.
  • Try adding lemon juice and some garlic cloves to the water. This will infuse your Lobster with just a hint of lemon and garlic.

3. Baked Lobster Tail

baked lobster tails

If you are after a beautiful presentation, then this is a really great idea. It’s also relatively easy. The oven does all the hard work and allows you to impart loads of flavor to your lobster tail. Here’s how to do it…

  1. Preheat your oven to 410°F
  2. In a baking dish, add a glass of white wine, a crushed garlic clove, and a large knob of butter
  3. Weigh your Lobster. You’ll need to bake it for 2 minutes for every ounce
  4. Split your Lobster in half and place, shell side down on the baking tray.
  5. Remove and serve with the cooking juices spooned over the top.

Baked Lobster Tail Tips

  • While we suggest white wine and garlic, you could try other flavors. We’ve also tried chili and olive oil, butter and parsley, and even Chinese five spice!
  • Timing is key to this method. Be sure to weigh your Lobster so you don’t overcook it.
  • Cover your oven tray with a tin foil tent if you are worried about your Lobster drying out. This seals in the moisture and gently steams the Lobster too

4. Broiled Lobster Tail

broiled lobster tails

This is one of the quickest ways to cook Lobster. The high heat of the broiler cooks it in next to no time!

  1. Weigh your Lobster. Unlike baking lobster, this only takes 1 minute per ounce.
  2. Split your lobster tails and give them a brush with some melted butter. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, black pepper, and some crushed garlic
  3. Place under a hot broiler. Once the meat turns slightly browned and begins to sizzle, it is ready

Broiled Lobster Tail Tips

  • This is a great recipe for dinner parties. It looks fancy (but is really quick and simple)
  • Don’t forget the butter. As it melts, it soaks down through the flesh keeping your lobster tail nice and moist
  • Keep a good eye on your broiler. It’s really easy to overcook your lobster tail with this method.

5. Grilled Lobster Tail

grilled lobster tails

Nothing says summer like a nice lobster grill! This is similar to the broiling method, except the heat comes from below instead of above.

  1. Preheat the grill until it is around 380°F
  2. Split your lobster tails and add a knob of butter to each half along with a squeeze of lemon, some chopped parsley, and perhaps a little crushed garlic.
  3. Place the Lobster on the grill for 4 minutes. Once the shells turn red, flip the Lobster and cook for a further minute on the open side.

Grilled lobster Tail Tips

The key here is to cook hard and fast. Get your grill really hot. That way, you’ll get delicious stripes on your Lobster after you flip it.

Don’t’ worry about the lemon and garlic spilling out. By the time it is flipped, it has already soaked into the flesh.

You may find that under high heat, your lobster tails curl. The easiest way to prevent this is to stick a metal skewer through each Lobster’s tail before grilling.


Got questions? Don’t worry, here’s what we get asked all the time….

  1. Why is My Lobster Tail Tough?

    In 99.9% of cases, lobster tails turn tough because they are overcooked. This is normally the case when they are baked, broiled, or grilled. You’ll find that boiling and steaming the lobster tails are permanently kept juicy, so if you are struggling, these methods should be your go-to option.

  2. Are Lobster Tails Better Baked or Broiled?

    baked lobster tails

    We prefer to bake lobster tails. The tent method described allows the tails to gently poach and steam in the delicious wine and garlic sauce. Broiling is quicker, but it is very easy to overcook your tails. It can also be hard to stop them drying out too!

  3. Do You Cut the Lobster Tails Before your Steam Them?

    We tend to be lazy and cut our lobster tails before steaming. Why? It’s easier to cut a cold lobster tail than a hot one! With regards to how well it cooks, it makes no difference.


Knowing how to cook lobster tails is a bit of an art form. You want to make sure it is cooked, but only just. That way, it keeps all of those tasty juices. Baking is our go-to method, but we also love a grilled lobster from time to time. How do you prefer to cook your lobster tails? Any suggestions? Let us know in the comments. 


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