How To Cook Lobster

Lobster has long been considered a delicacy, with its rich, buttery flavor and tender meat. But for many home cooks, preparing lobster can seem daunting. From cooking live lobsters to extracting the meat, there are several steps involved. However, with a little patience and the right technique, you can easily prepare a delicious lobster meal at home.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cook lobster:

1. Purchase your lobster: Before you start cooking, you’ll need to select your lobster. Fresh, live lobsters provide the best flavor, texture, and overall experience. Look for ones that are active and have a hard shell, indicating that it’s a healthy lobster. Purchase lobsters that weigh about 1 to 2 pounds each, as smaller or larger lobsters may not cook as evenly.

2. Preparing the lobster: Before cooking, it’s important to clean the lobster. Rinse it thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. If you wish, you can remove the bands that may be binding the claws and tail, although this is not necessary.

3. Boil the lobster: Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the lobsters. Add 1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Carefully place the lobster in the pot, headfirst, and cover the pot with a lid. Boil the lobster for approximately 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the size. To determine if the lobster is cooked, pull on one of the antennae – if it comes off easily, the lobster is ready. Remove the lobster from the pot using tongs and allow it to cool slightly.

4. Extract the meat: Once the lobster has cooled, you can extract the meat. There are a few different methods to extract the meat from the lobster, depending on which part you’re after.

– Tail: Twist and remove the tail from the body. Using scissors or a knife, cut the underside of the tail shell and remove the meat.

– Claws: Using a lobster cracker or a pair of pliers, crack the claws and remove the meat.

– Legs: Using a pair of scissors, snip along the length of the legs and extract the meat. This can be a tedious process, but is worth it for the delicious meat inside.

5. Serve your lobster: Lobster can be enjoyed plain, with a little drawn butter, or as part of a larger dish, such as lobster bisque or lobster rolls. Pair your lobster with your favorite sides – steamed vegetables, garlic bread, or mashed potatoes all work well.


1. How long do I need to boil the lobster for?
The cooking time depends on the size of the lobster. A 1-pound lobster should be cooked for approximately 8 minutes, while a 2-pound lobster should be cooked for 12 to 15 minutes. To determine if the lobster is cooked, pull on one of the antennae – if it comes off easily, it’s ready.

2. Can I cook dead lobster?
It is not recommended to cook dead lobsters, as the bacteria in the meat can multiply rapidly and make it unsafe to eat. Always purchase live lobsters and cook them as soon as possible.

3. Do I need to remove the band from the claws before boiling the lobster?
The bands are used to keep the claws of the lobster closed during transit, but they are not necessary to remove before cooking. The heat of the water will make the bands come off on their own, and they can be removed once the lobster has cooled.

4. How should I store leftover lobster meat?
Leftover lobster can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months. When reheating, be sure to do so gently, as overcooking can cause the meat to become tough and chewy.

5. Can I cook lobster in the oven?
While boiling is the most traditional method for cooking lobster, you can also cook it in the oven. To do so, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the live lobster on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, until the shell turns bright red. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and extract the meat.

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