Emeril's Homemade Lobster Sauce

Emilie Duchesne / Getty Images
  • Total: 100 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Servings: 12 servings
  • Yields: 3 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
221 Calories
15g Fat
9g Carbs
14g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 221
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 118mg 39%
Sodium 673mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 14g
Calcium 110mg 8%
*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.)

When making a lobster dish, do not toss those shells. Make this delicious sauce from lobster shells and vegetables. The same method may be used with crab or shrimp shells. This recipe is taken from Prime Time Emeril by Emeril Lagasse and the sauce can be made up to two days in advance.

Lobster, crab, crawfish, and shrimp are crustaceans. Interestingly enough, they are characterized by a segmented body and an exoskeleton, and technically do not have shells. What is called the shell on these types of seafood is actually a carapace, but for simplicity and common usage, they are called shells. 

This sauce can be used to top seafood pasta, risotto, fish fillets, or steak for a surf and turf dish. It's sure to add rich, savory flavor to any dish.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup celery (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup carrots (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (bleached, all-purpose)
  • 1/4 cup cognac (or other brandy)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pound lobster shells
  • 4 cups shrimp stock (or canned low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the butter and oil to a medium, heavy stockpot over medium-high heat.

  3. Once the butter has melted, add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.

  4. Stir in the flour and continue to stir until the mixture is a light blond color, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add the cognac or brandy and stir for 30 seconds, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release browned bits.

  6. Add the lobster shells, then stir in the shrimp stock. Bring to a boil over high heat.

  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomato paste, salt, paprika, and cayenne. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 hour.

  8. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan.

  9. Add the cream and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer briskly until reduced to about 3 cups, about 15 minutes.

  10. Use warm with seafood or as a finishing sauce.


  • Save shells from your lobster dinner for an economical and delicious sauce. Lobster shells can be stored in the fridge for up to a day after they are cooked.
  • The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
  • Lobster shells are rich in flavor and can be used in all kinds of dishes. Make a lobster stock and use in soup, chowder, or risotto. Make a bisque by adding cream and cooked lobster meat.