Basic Boiled Lobster Recipe

Basic boiled lobster

​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
179 Calories
2g Fat
3g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 179
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 172mg 57%
Sodium 1092mg 47%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 117mg 9%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 327mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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; it's optional, but seaweed adds a nice, briny flavor to the lobster meat.


  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 large sheet dried seaweed, optional

  • 2 live lobsters, (1 per person)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lobster
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  2. 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.

    Fill pot
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  3. Bring it to a rolling boil and add the seaweed, if desired.

    Bring to boil
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  4. 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. 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.

    Put lobsters into pot
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  5. Once the lobsters are in the pot, quickly cover it and wait for the water to return to a boil.

    Cover it
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  6. When it does return to a boil, count off 15 or 20 minutes, depending on their size. A normal 1 1/2-pound lobster takes 15 minutes to cook once the pot returns to a boil. If you are worried about them not being fully cooked, let them boil a bit longer. Undercooked lobster is not good. Overcooked lobster can get rubbery, but you have to boil the heck out of lobster to get there.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  7. 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.

    Remove cooked lobsters
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  8. You are now ready to pick apart your crustacean. You can either eat it on the spot or pick the meat for future meals. If you serve it on the spot, do so with clarified butter, olive oil, mayo, or a squeeze of lemon.

    Add oil
    ​The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  9. Serve and enjoy!


  • 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.
  • 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.