How to cook and serve lobster
Read our expert guide to cooking lobster, plus find recipe ideas for how to serve this luxurious shellfish, including thermidor and lobster rolls
There’s something about lobsters that places them in the higher strata of the fish world, whether it’s their colour-changing shells or succulent flesh. Once the reserve of fancy restaurants, lobsters are now available at local fishmongers and supermarkets.
A frozen lobster comes conveniently prepped. If you choose one that has been pre-cooked, you can get straight to work on removing the flesh without having to bother with finding a huge cooking pot to boil it in. Read on to discover our food team's tips on cooking lobster.
How to cook lobster
Once your lobster is ready for cooking, place it in a large pan of cold, salted water and slowly bring it up to boil. At boiling point, lower the heat and simmer the lobster for 15 minutes for the first 450g. Simmer for a further 10 minutes for each 450g thereafter to a maximum of 40 minutes.
How to grill lobster
Prepare your lobster for grilling by slicing it on a sturdy board, cutting it in half lengthways and opening it up. Remove the stomach sac and soft brown meat if you like, then crack the claws with the back of a knife so the heat can penetrate to the meat inside. Finally, season with a thermidor butter sauce and lemon juice, then pop under the grill.
Watch our video on how to prepare your lobster for grilling:
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How to extract the meat from a lobster shell
Lay the cooked lobster on a board and twist off the claws. Break them into sections using specialist lobster crackers or a good, solid nutcracker, then pull out the meat – the skill is in keeping the tail meat in one piece.
Twist off the legs, flatten them with the back of a knife then get to work on digging out the flesh using a pick or the end of a teaspoon. To deal with the body, split the lobster in half along its length and separate the two halves. Remove and discard the stomach sac, gills and intestinal thread, although you may want to keep the liver – known as tomalley, it's considered by some to be a delicacy. Any coral-coloured roe can be put aside to use in a concentrated lobster butter. The empty shells can be used to make stock, too, which is ideal to use as a base for bisque or bouillabaisse.
How to serve lobster
1. Lobster with thermidor butter
Sweet lobster meat and creamy, buttery sauces work together a treat. Serve the lobster hot with melted butter – classic lobster with thermidor butter is served with a herby, slightly piquant butter made with shallot, tarragon, parsley and spices.
2. Grilled lobster tails with lemon & herb butter
For a more modern way to serve lobster, these delicious grilled lobster tails with lemon & herb butter are bound to impress your dinner party guests – it's served with a more simple butter, which really enhances the natural flavours.
Learn how to grill lobster with our video.
3. Warm lobster & potato salad with truffled mayonnaise
Alternatively, serve the lobster cold with homemade mayonnaise, béarnaise or hollandaise for dipping. Try flavouring your sauces too – this lobster salad with warm potatoes comes dressed with a truffle mayo.
4. Lobster rolls
For a real luxe take on the street-food scene, try New England-style lobster rolls with spiced mayonnaise, celery, gherkins and – if you really want to keep things real – a pile of crisps on the side.
5. Barbecued surf & turf
If you want to put your barbecue to good use this summer, try an indulgent barbecued surf & turf with seasonal lobster and T-bone steak. This quick cooking method really lends itself to the delicate flavour of the meat.
Discover more lobster guides
Are you a fan of lobster? We’d love to hear your experiences and serving suggestions. We have plenty more fish recipe inspiration to explore, too.