A Chef-Worthy Lobster Thermidor With Béchamel Sauce

Lobster thermidor
Armand Sciberras / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1203 Calories
105g Fat
17g Carbs
36g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 1203
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 105g 134%
Saturated Fat 28g 139%
Cholesterol 391mg 130%
Sodium 897mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 306mg 24%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 700mg 15%
*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.)

In this classic seafood recipe, lobster is combined with a béchamel sauce flavored with wine, shallots, tarragon, and mustard. The mixture is placed back into the lobster shell and topped with Parmesan cheese.

There is controversy over just which chef invented Lobster Thermidor, but this recipe, credited to Tony Girod, the chef at the famed Cafe de Paris in Paris in the late 19th century, is regarded as a strong candidate.

This recipe is taken from James Beard's New Fish Cookery, printed with permission.


  • 1 (2-pound) fresh lobster

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2/3 cup olive oil

  • 2/3 cup white wine

  • 2/3 cup fish or meat stock

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon

  • 1 cup béchamel sauce

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Steps to Make It

  1. Split the live lobster in half.

  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brush with olive oil. 

  3. Bake it in a 425 F oven for about 18 minutes. Baste during the cooking with additional olive oil.

  4. When the lobster is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the body and claws, and dice it.

  5. Combine the wine, broth, shallots, and tarragon.

  6. Cook until the mixture is reduced to practically a glaze.

  7. Add this to the béchamel sauce. Whisk the heavy cream with the egg yolks and then add it to the sauce.

  8. Allow this to heat without boiling.

  9. Add the mustard and taste for seasoning. When the sauce is well thickened, add the lobster meat, and heat through.

  10. Fill the lobster shells with this mixture, and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.

  11. Brush with melted butter, and brown in the oven at 375 F.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.


  • Lobster Thermidor is a fancy dish worthy of New Year's Eve, the biggest and most glam party night of the year. Whether it's just you two or a few of your best friends along to bring in the new year, this dish would make a festive plan.
  • Along with some fancy starters of your choice, serve the lobster with cheesy potatoes or pasta accented with mushrooms, garlic, and green onions or shallots.
  • Crusty garlic toast and a green salad dressed with a mustard vinaigrette to harmonize with the lobster finish the menu.
  • End with chocolate mousse or napoleons. And of course, the wine of the night is champagne. Happy New Year!

Recipe Variation

  • The American version of this recipe omits the mustard and tarragon and adds sauteed mushrooms and a little sherry. Here is a quick version: Make a cream sauce, and flavor it with sherry and plenty of mustard. Arrange frozen lobster meat in an ovenproof dish, add the sauce, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, and brown in the oven.

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