How to Cook the Perfect Lobster Tails Each Time

If you are new to cooking lobster like me, I recommend that you start with cooking lobster tails first. Cooking a whole lobster can be complicated, technical and its a serious commitment. And don’t worry, I am here to guide you how to cook the perfect lobster tails each time.

Where Can I Get Lobster Tails?

sYou can get lobster tails in any major grocery store like Wholefood, Ralphs, Vons, Albertson etc.

If you are feeding more than two people, I recommend that you check out Sam’s Club or Costco for a better deal. Because when you buy items in bulk, you get a discount.

And not shockingly, you can order lobster tails from Amazon!

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How to Clean Lobster Tails?

Regardless if you purchased a frozen or fresh lobster tails, you should first rinse off the exterior of the tails. To ensure the lobsters are clean, scrub the shell only, not the exposed meat. And DO NOT submerge the tails in water as the meat can absorb the liquid, creating a watery tasting lobster.

Depends on where you purchased your lobster tails, it may or may not be deveined. The vein running through the center of the tails. To remove the vein from a whole, uncut lobster, grab the exposed vein at the fleshy end of the tails and pull. It comes out in one long piece.

You can also devein a lobster tails by cutting the tails open. Butterfly the tails by cutting it lengthwise, through the center of the tails, on the rounded side of the tails. Use kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife, and remove the exposed vein with your hands.

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How to Cook Lobster Tails?

You can cook lobster tails in many different ways: boil, steam, bake, pan fry, broil or grill.

I typically like baking it because then I don’t have to worry about the lobster tails being not cooked even or burned.

  • Boil

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a soft boil. Add salt if you desire.
  3. Drop tails in one at a time and set your kitchen timer for the time listed below.
  4. Don’t forget you’ll need metal tongs, gloves, or a strainer to get the hot tails out of the boiling water when it’s done.
  5. Cool the cooked lobster tails right away with fresh water to keep them from overcooking.
Lobster Tails Boiling Times
Tail Quantity Tail Size Cooking Time
2-6 3oz-6oz 3-5 Minutes
2-6 6oz-7oz 5-6 Minutes
2-6 8oz-10oz 6-8 Minutes
2-6 10oz-16oz 8-10 Minutes
2-6 16oz-20oz 10 Minutes
2-6 20oz-28oz 10-13 Minutes
  • Steam

  1. Choose a pot large enough to hold your lobster tails with a tight-fitting lid.
  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 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 you lobster tails from the cooking pot using tongs or gloves so that your tails to not overcook.
Lobster Tails Steaming Times
Tail Quantity Tail Size Cooking Time
2-6 3oz-6oz 4-6 Minutes
2-6 6oz-7oz 6-8 Minutes
2-6 8oz-10oz 8-10 Minutes
2-6 10oz-16oz 9-11 Minutes
2-6 16oz-20oz 10-12 Minutes
2-6 20oz-28oz 10-13 Minutes
  • Bake

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Split lobster tails in half lengthwise. With cut side up and using scissors, cut along the edge of shell to loosen the cartilage covering the tails meat from the shell; remove and discard cartilage.
  3. Brush some cooking oil (coconut, ghee, butter, your choice)
  4. Place entire tails on a baking sheet and bake time below. Test for firmness but do not overcook.
Lobster Tail Baking Times
Tail Size Baking Time
3oz-6oz 8-11 Minutes
6oz-8oz 10-12 Minutes
8oz-12oz 12-15 Minutes
12oz-20oz 15-18 Minutes
20oz-32oz 18-20 Minutes
  • Grill

  1. Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire.
  2. Brush oil on cut sides of the lobster tails and set them bottom side down on the cooking grates.
  3. Grill until the shells are bright red and the protein in the juices that seep from the shells turns white and coagulates.
  4. A thawed lobster tail will take about 8 minutes to grill.
  5. Remove the lobster tails from the grill and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Broil

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Place lobster tails on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, carefully cut top side of lobster shells lengthwise. 
  3. Broil lobster tails until lightly browned and lobster meat is opaque about 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure it is not burned!

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  • Pan Fry

  1. Cut through the center of the underside of the tail and remove the meat.
  2. Heat the oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Season the lobster with salt and pepper. Sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes, turning a couple times to cook evenly.


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What is the White Foam?

When you are cooking lobster tails, you often get this white foam around the cooking area. Don’t panic, this white foam is “lobster fat” or “lobster protein” and is normal.

Why is my Lobster Tails Mushy?

Unfortunately, the lobster’s sweet flesh sometimes comes out of the shell with a soft, almost mushy texture. It’s a natural and not uncommon phenomenon, though still disappointing at the table.

Every living thing breaks down once it’s dead, and in the case of fish, that process is hastened by natural enzymes that begin to digest and soften the flesh soon after death. Some varieties of fish and shellfish, including lobsters, contain higher levels of those protein-digesting enzymes. While they’re alive, this enzyme helps convert muscle into energy. Unfortunately for us the cook, this is purely an inconvenience.

If you have the misfortune to cook a mushy lobster or lobster tails, there’s little you can do to improve its texture. However, its flavor should still be good. Set it aside for another meal, stirring the cooked meat into a risotto or turn into a lobster bisques.


How to Store Lobster Tails:

  • Keep refrigerated in a tightly covered container for 1-2 days.
  • If you decided to freeze lobster for later, you should be kept frozen until its ready to be used. And don’t refreeze lobster once it has been defrosted. To freeze, place lobster tails in heavy-duty freezer bags or place in airtight containers.
  • The ideal temperature to kept lobster is between -26 to -30 degrees Celcius or -15 to -20 degrees F
  • Frozen lobster can be stored for up to 6 months without losing the quality
  • Don’t store the frozen lobster near the frozen wall and floor in order to get good air circulation and it should be separated from other seafood

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