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How to cook lobster tail

How to cook lobster tail

So, you’ve got a lobster and you’re determined to make this the best tasting lobster tail you’ve ever had.

I wouldn’t blame you either—this exquisite tasting seafood delicacy is expensive, and the last thing you want is to mess it up.

When trying to figure out how to cook lobster tail, you might start doubting your abilities and wonder if you’re well equipped.

Don’t worry—I used to feel the same.

I used to think you have to be a professional chef in order to get this right, because it does look difficult.

However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized cooking lobster doesn’t have to be complicated just because it’s pricey.

So, here are some fairly simple methods to cook lobster at home.

How To Cook Lobster Tail

There are four main ways of cooking lobster. You can steam, boil, bake or grill them, and they’ll taste amazing no matter which method you choose.

Most people prefer leaving the lobster in the tail and then taking out the meat once it’s done cooking.

Before any method, use kitchen shears to cut the shells and take out the vein that runs down the middle. Don’t cut the meat or the fan of the tail, just the outer shell all the way to the fin.

To get the vein out, you might need to pry open the shell with your hands after cutting it with the shears.

Method 1: Steaming

What You’ll Need:

  • Steamer basket or a metal colander
  • A large pot
  • Kitchen shears
  • Tongs


  1. Place the steamer basket inside the pot, but make sure that they’re big enough to fit the tails in. You can even use a metal colander if you don’t have a steamer—the aim us to stop the tails from being fully under the water in the pot.
  2. Fill about 2 inches of the pot with cold water and wait for it to boil on high heat. Make sure the steamer is just above the water. Remove the veins from the tails.
  3. Once the water has boiled, put the tails in the steamer and leave them in for around 12 minutes, depending on their size. Once they’re done, you can take them out with tongs. To check that they’re cooked properly, make sure the meat is white, or opaque. Serve however you want!

Method 2: Boiling

What You’ll Need:

  • Stockpot
  • Strainer or tongs
  • Kitchen shears
  • Salt


  1. This is the most popular way of cooking lobster. Pour salted water in a stockpot and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat so that the water continues to boil slightly above a simmer. Remove the veins in the tails.
  2. Now, place the lobster tails in the boiling water and wait until the shell is a bright red. Check to make sure the meat is white or opaque and soft to touch. One way to measure how long it’ll take to be ready is to remember each ounce takes around a minute to cook.
  3. Take the tails out with tongs and serve!

Method 3: Baking

What You’ll Need:

  • Butter
  • Saucepan or heat-safe dish
  • Kitchen shears
  • Baking sheet
  • Pastry brush
  • Instead-read thermometer


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177 °C). Place a stick of butter in a saucepan or dish and melt it in a microwave or on the stove. There should be enough to put 2 tablespoons of butter on each tail. Remove the veins from the tails.
  2. Place the tails on the baking sheet and brush them with butter. Keep them far enough apart that they don’t touch each other on the sheet. You might even need to do two rounds of baking if you have more lobster tails.
  3. They’ll take around 15 minutes to bake. Using the thermometer, check to make sure each tail is around 145°F (63 °C) at their center, which indicates that they’re cooked. Take them out of the oven, pour more butter on them flavor—and serve.

Method 4: Grilling

What You’ll Need:

  • Skewers
  • Kitchen shears
  • Pastry brush
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Butter


  1. Preheat the grill on medium heat. Put the skewer through the lobster across the length of it, so it doesn’t curl into itself while grilling. Next, use the brush to brush olive oil over the lobster and use salt and pepper to season it.
  2. Put it on the grill and wait around 6 minutes if you have an 8-ounce lobster tail. You can adjust the timings according to the size of the tail. Turn it over to the other side and brush butter onto it. Continue grilling for another 5 minutes, or until you see that the lobster has cooker all the way through. Your lobster is ready!

How to Pick Out Lobster Tails

The most commonly consumed lobster tails are from spiny lobsters. They’re better because they have more meat than Maine lobsters.

They’re generally referred to as rock lobster tails and can be bought frozen or fresh. Pick out one 8-ounce tail for every person you’re planning to serve.

Don’t get confused by the bluish, green or brown hue of the tails, or the spots on the shells.

The bright red color you’re accustomed to seeing only appears once the lobster is cooked.

How To Season Lobster Tail

Because lobster tastes pretty great on its own, the most I do when it comes to seasoning is a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

I also like squeezing some lemon on the tails once they’re cooked. As always, brushing on some butter is an easy way to spruce up the flavor, and you can almost never go wrong with it.

Can You Overcook Lobster?

It’s very difficult to overcook lobster, because it gives off a clear warning when it has been properly cooked.

The shell will turn bright red, indicating that it’s ready to be taken off the stove or out of the oven.

Just make sure the meat has turned white or opaque and is tender to touch. If you’ve undercooked it, the meat might still be mushy.

How to Serve Lobster

Most people prefer serving lobster brushed with melted butter and a few squeezes of lemon. You can also throw in some parsley.

Because of the unique flavor of lobster, it tastes amazing on its own as well.

How To Store Lobster Tail

You can store raw, fresh lobster tail in the fridge for a maximum of 4 days, with 2 days as a safer estimate.

Just keep it in a Ziploc bag or container and throw some ice in with it as well. Then, place it in the coldest part of your fridge, which is usually the back.

Tips and Tricks

  • One easy way to thaw a lobster tail is to throw it into a tub of cold water for around half an hour to make sure the meat doesn’t stick to the shell
  • When removing the tail, make sure you don’t end up cutting through the wider end of the tail

Final Words

Hopefully, these methods will make it easier for you to decide how you want to go about cooking your lobster tail.

Remember—this delicacy is known for its flavor, so it’s hard to go wrong if you’re making this to impress your family and friends!