How to Boil 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.

Step 1: Shopping for lobster tails

While it's hard to beat cooking and serving whole lobsters, it's less expensive and simpler to cook and eat lobster tails. 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.

Step 2: Prepping and cooking

If the 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 lobster 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 lobster tails, adjust the cooking time as needed. Drain in a colander.

Step 3: Enjoying your lobster

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