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The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Lobster: Tail, Whole, and More

February 16, 2020

Close-up image of a perfectly cooked lobster with a bright red shell and juicy, white meat, set against a backdrop of fresh herbs and lemon, illustrating the delicious outcome of proper lobster cooking techniques

Cooking Lobster

Whether it's your first time cooking lobster or you're a seasoned chef, mastering the art of preparing this luxurious seafood is essential. From the classic whole lobster to the delicate lobster tail, this guide covers everything you need to know, including the best ways to cook lobster tail, how to cook live and frozen lobster, and essential tips for perfect results every time.

1. Preparing Lobster Tails

Learning how to cook lobster tail is a great starting point. Thaw frozen tails in the refrigerator before cooking. For a simple yet delicious method, try cooking lobster tail in the oven: brush with butter, season, and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes.

2. Boiling Lobster Tails and Whole Lobster

Boiling is a straightforward method for both whole lobsters and tails. For tails, boil for about 1 minute per ounce. For a whole lobster, cook for 12-15 minutes depending on size. The lobster cook temp is crucial; ensure the water is steadily boiling.

3. Steaming for Tenderness

Steaming is the best way to cook lobster if you seek tender meat. It's similar to boiling but gentler, requiring about 18-20 minutes for whole lobsters and slightly less for tails.

4. Grilling for Flavor

How to cook lobster tails on the grill? Split the tail, brush with butter, and grill for about 10 minutes. This method adds a smoky flavor that's hard to beat.

5. Cooking Live Lobster

When cooking live lobster, ensure it's fresh. Boiling and steaming are the most humane methods. Cook immediately after killing to maintain freshness.

6. Oven Cooking

How long to cook lobster tail in the oven? Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, depending on the size. This method is great for a buttery, evenly cooked tail.

7. Cooking Frozen Lobster

For frozen lobster, thaw it first. The best way to cook frozen lobster tails is by boiling or steaming to retain moisture.

8. Lobster Tail Cook Time and Temp

Lobster tail cook time varies, but a general rule is 1 minute per ounce when boiling. The lobster should reach an internal temperature of 140°F.

9. Serving Your Lobster

Serve with melted butter, lemon wedges, and enjoy the rich flavors. Remember, the key to a perfectly cooked lobster is not overcooking.


Cooking lobster doesn't have to be daunting. Whether it’s a whole lobster or just the tail, grilled or steamed, this guide ensures you'll have a delicious and luxurious seafood experience. Perfect for a special occasion or a gourmet treat, cooked lobster brings the essence of the ocean to your plate.

FAQs About Cooking Lobster

Q: How do you determine the perfect lobster cook temp? A: The ideal cooking temperature for lobster is a rolling boil for boiling, about 350°F for baking or roasting in the oven, and a medium-high heat (around 400°F) for grilling.

Q: What's the best way to cook lobster tail? A: The best method can vary based on personal preference. Boiling, steaming, grilling, and baking in the oven are all popular methods. Steaming is great for tenderness, while grilling adds a smoky flavor.

Q: How long should I cook a lobster tail? A: Lobster tail cook time depends on the size and method. Generally, boil or steam for about 1 minute per ounce of weight. In the oven, bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes.

Q: Can I cook a live lobster at home? A: Yes, you can cook a live lobster. The most humane methods are boiling or steaming, which should be done immediately after the lobster is killed.

Q: What is the best way to cook a whole lobster? A: Boiling and steaming are the most common and easiest methods for cooking whole lobster. They ensure even cooking and retain the lobster's natural flavors.

Q: How do I cook frozen lobster tails? A: Thaw frozen lobster tails in the refrigerator before cooking. You can then boil, steam, grill, or bake them. Boiling for about 1 minute per ounce is a simple and effective method.

Q: How do I know when my lobster is perfectly cooked? A: Lobster is done when its shell is bright red, and the meat is white and firm. An internal temperature of 140°F indicates that the lobster is perfectly cooked.

Q: Is there a recommended lobster tail cook time in the oven? A: Yes, for lobster tails in the oven, bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes. The exact time may vary slightly depending on the size of the tails.

Q: What are some tips for cooking live lobster? A: When cooking live lobster, keep it fresh and alive until you're ready to cook. Use a large pot to give the lobster enough space, and add salt to the boiling water to mimic ocean water.

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