Basic Boiled Lobster Recipe

Boiled lobster in pot
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  • 35 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings
Ratings (34)

If boiling lobster is a mystery to you, here is a simple method for cooking it.

The one deviation from standard practice here is that a big piece of seaweed is added to the boiling pot for flavor. It's optional, but seaweed adds a nice, briny flavor to the lobster meat.

What You'll Need

  • 2 lobsters (live, 1 per person)
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: 1 large piece of dried seaweed

How to Make It

  1. Fill your largest pot three-quarters of the way full with water. Use clean seawater if you are near the ocean or tap water with enough salt in it to make it taste like seawater.
  2. Bring it to a rolling boil and add the seaweed, if desired.
  3. Put the live lobsters (lobsters must always be alive when you buy them) one at a time into the pot. You may have to either do this in batches or have several pots going at once, depending on how many you are cooking. A standard stockpot holds two lobsters.
  1. The best way to quickly kill your lobsters is to put them in the water upside down and head first. They will be disoriented that way and will die without thrashing about.
  2. It is not recommended to kill the lobsters before immersing them in hot water: Cutting their shells to kill them releases a lot of coagulated proteins into the boiling water and can ruin the bright red coral, or roe. This roe is absolutely delicious and should be treated as the precious gift it is.
  3. Once the lobsters are in the pot, quickly cover it and wait for the water to return to a boil. When it does, count off 15 or 20 minutes, depending on their size. A normal 1.5-pound lobster takes 15 minutes to cook once the pot returns to a boil.
  4. If you are worried about them not being fully cooked, let them boil a bit longer. Undercooked lobster is nasty. Overcooked lobster can get rubbery but you really have to boil the heck out of lobster to get there.
  5. Remove the cooked lobsters and place them on a plate to cool and drain. Water will drain out of them, so make sure the plate has a lip to catch it.
  6. You are now ready to pick apart your crustacean. You can either eat it on the spot or pick the meat for future meals.
  7. If you serve it on the spot, do so with clarified butter, olive oil, mayo, or a squeeze of lemon.

What to Drink With Lobster

A cold pilsner or lager beer is good, but if you prefer wine, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Spanish Albarino, or Portuguese vinho verde all make good pairings.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 129
Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Unsaturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 212 mg
Sodium 854 mg
Carbohydrates 0 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 28 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)