How to Prepare and Cook Lobster at Home

Cooking lobster at home isn’t as challenging as it looks in the movie “Annie Hall.” The hardest part is deciding which method you prefer.

Lobster aficionados agree that lobster should be fresh, ideally just hauled from the ocean. They will also tell you that the best lobsters aren’t necessarily the biggest. Size doesn’t matter, but feistiness does—make sure that your lobster has lots of spunk.

Below are three ways to enjoy one of the oldest creatures in the sea:


For optimal flavor, use sea water or thoroughly salted water. Your lobster was probably packed in rockweed; toss it in as well to add flavor. Cover the pot if you like, but prevent it from boiling over. One-pound lobsters cook for about eight minutes. When they’re flaming red, they’re done.

To get to the meat, you’ll need a cracker, the kind used for crab claws or nuts. Most chefs recommend this method:

• Twist off the claws. Work your way along their length with the cracker. Use a fork to pull the tender meat from inside.

• Flip the lobster onto its back. Grasp the body in one hand and the tail in the other. Give a good twist to snap them apart. Serve the tail meat in the shell or, using a fork, loosen and remove it in one piece.

• There is also meat in the body cavity. Snap off the legs and probe the pockets lining the belly with a fork. The pasty, green substance you’ll find is called the tomalley, which functions as a liver. To many lobster enthusiasts, it’s a delicacy.

From there, keep it simple. Melted butter for dipping and a lemon squeeze are all you need.


Steaming takes a little longer, but it usually results in more tender meat and natural flavor.

Cover the bottom of a deep pot with an inch of sea water or salted water. Place an 8-inch bed of rockweed over it. Cover the pot, and boil the water at high heat. Use tongs to carefully add the lobster. Replace the lid, and cook for 10-18 minutes depending on size.


Allow a coal fire to burn hot for 15-20 minutes while you split and clean the lobster. If you’re unsure how to approach this task, watching an online video is recommended.

Brush the exposed meat and claws with butter or olive oil, and place them over the fire. Cook them under an inverted skillet, undisturbed, for 8-10 minutes.

You may even broil lobster if you watch it carefully, and there are delicious recipes out there for stuffed lobster tail and lobster ravioli.

In case you’ve wondered, there is no truth to the rumor that lobsters scream when they’re thrown into the pot. That high-pitched hissing is due to expansion of the air trapped in the shell.