How to Cook Lobster Tails

Rock lobster tails are full of firm, luscious meat and ready to cook with little effort. Boil them and chill for salads, or serve warm with butter or a simple sauce. See our easy tips for how to cook lobster tails, plus some recipes that work great for this gourmet dinner.

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Step 1: Shopping for Lobster Tails

While it's hard to beat cooking and serving whole lobsters, it's less expensive and simpler to choose lobster tails, instead. Most lobster tails you'll find are from spiny lobsters, which have no claws and meatier tails than Maine lobsters. They are generally marketed as rock lobster tails and come fresh or frozen. Plan on one (about 8-ounce) tail per person.

Here's how to cook a whole lobster (not just the tail).

Step 2: Prepping and Cooking Lobster Tails

If the lobster tails are frozen, thaw them in the refrigerator. Be sure to plan ahead, as this takes 8 to 10 hours. Uncooked tails have a mottled appearance with a green-blue-brown cast. To cook four 8-ounce tails, bring 6 cups salted water to boiling in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the lobster tails. Simmer, uncovered, for 8 to 12 minutes or until shells turn bright red and the meat is tender when poked with a fork. For larger or smaller tails, adjust the cooking time as needed. Drain in a colander.

Step 3: Enjoying your Lobster Tails

To serve, place one lobster tail, shell side down, on each plate. If desired, use kitchen scissors to cut each tail lengthwise through the meat for easier eating. Serve with Clarified Butter for dipping.

See our step-by-step guide on how to eat a lobster.

Lobster Tail Recipes

Start with these recipes to help you cook delicious lobster tails:

Broiled Lobsters with Garlic-Chili Butter
Grilled Lobsters with Chive Butter

Rock Lobster Tails

Lobster with Curried Dressing

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