Lobster is without a doubt one of my very favorite foods.  It is something I don’t eat frequently, given that I live in Indiana and good quality lobster in these parts is a bit pricey.  Every once in a while, maybe once or twice a year, I make lobster tails at home for a special meal.  Since lobster is one of those foods that is frequently associated with Valentine’s Day, and consequently lots of stores will have sales on lobster this weekend, I thought I would share some tips on how to prepare it at home.  I’ll give the usual disclaimer that I am certainly no expert in this area, and as with many things, there are lots of different ways you can do this.  What I show here is my personal preference.

Of course the most important thing is to start with good quality lobster, something that was recently caught (and flown in, if you are landlocked like me).  The beauty of lobster, like so many good quality seafoods, is that a very simplistic preparation is often the best option to highlight the flavor of the meat.  Steaming lobster is another popular cooking method, but I like to broil it.  There is really no recipe required here because all you need is lobster tails, salted butter, and lemon for serving.

If you would like to serve your lobster with clarified butter (and I think that you should), making it couldn’t be easier.  Basically, you melt salted butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  When the butter is fully melted, there should be a layer of butterfat solids floating on top.  Skim that off with a spoon and discard.  And there you have it!  Clarified, or drawn, butter.  Once I have skimmed the solids, I like to leave the drawn butter over low heat to keep it warm until the lobster is ready to serve.

To prep and cook the lobster, first preheat the broiler.  Place an oven rack at the second highest position.

Cover a baking sheet with foil and place the lobster tails on the pan.

Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut a slit up the center of the shell, doing your best to cut the shell and not the meat (it’s not a big deal if you do cut the meat though.)

Carefully open the shells along the midline cut you made, taking care to avoid scratching yourself (the shells can be very sharp!)  When the opening is large enough, gently separate the lobster meat from the inside of the shell with your fingers.  When the whole segment of meat has been peeled away from the shell, lift it up and out of the opening so that it is sitting on top of the shell.  Brush the lobster meat lightly with melted butter.  Place under the broiler and cook until the meat is opaque and cooked through, 6-9 minutes (depending on the size of the lobster tail).  Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges and drawn butter.


  • Thanks for sharing this post! I love lobster tail but have never tried to cook it at home. I think I’ll save this for future reference.

  • Tembo from Oz

    Its 8pm at night here and Ive already eaten dinner and my mouth is watering sooooo very much!! Oh fresh Lobster… PERFECT for Valentines Day.Beautiful recipe Annie!

  • Although I don’t eat lobster myself (imagine!) I know my bf would DIE if I ever made this for him! Thanks for showing me how to do so. :)

  • I adore lobster, though I rarely eat it. Considering I live in Boston, I often ask myself why I don’t prepare it at home more often! This broiling method sounds so simple, but it produces such a gorgeous presentation. Do you buy your lobsters whole or do you purchase just the tails?

  • Lobster is also one of my favorite foods! I don’t get to enjoy it very often, but it’s always such a special treat. Thanks for the how-to!

  • Annie

    So far I have always just purchased the tails. I prefer the tail meat more than the other parts of the lobster, and haven’t had the urge to tackle that yet.

  • Yum! I love lobster, but the only time I’ve had it at home was during a bad experience that involved boiling the lobster and then using the microwave. Don’t ask.

  • iga

    this is making my mouth water!! have you ever tried this with frozen & thawed lobster tails?

  • Mmmm!

    I’m assuming you thaw the lobster tail first if it’s purchased frozen? I always wondered how they made the meat sit on top of the tail on cruise ships and in restaurants.

  • Tania

    Annie this looks delicious! Because the subject of broiling has come up here I’m wondering if your oven is gas or electric. Mine is electric and broiling doesn’t ever seem to go that well. Do you have any tips on broiling with an electric oven? Thanks!!

  • Annie

    It is electric and I use the broiler all the time without issue. I think it probably has more to do with the particular oven you have than whether it is gas or electric. The oven in our old house was also electric, and I was less fond of that broiler.

  • Annie

    No, I buy lobster that has been flown in fresh.

  • Annie

    I have done it rarely, but only when I intend to use it in other dishes. When eating lobster plain like this, I think fresh is the way to go.

  • Allison

    a little splash of Frank’s Red Hot in the butter is amazing!

  • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cut myself on that *&^% shell! Luckily, lobster is always worth it.

  • The lobster looks fantastic! I have never tried making them like this before, they look like they could have come out of the kitchen of a fancy four-star restaurant! The last time we had lobster, we cut it into chunks for fondue, but now I’m craving an entire tail to myself!

  • Ummmm…..YUM is right! That literally just made my mouth water. I haven’t had lobster in such a long time. You make it look so easy! :)

  • Wow! I would have never thought to even attempt to make lobster at home. You make it look so easy though. I’m adding this to my list of new things to try!

  • Oh my gosh, I didn’t know it was so simple! Thanks, Annie! Now I need to go start a lobster budget. :)

  • Thanks for sharing! I live in Indiana too, so I never really think about making lobster!

  • Ashley C

    do you get the lobsters shipped to your door? or do you buy them locally? If you get them shipped to your door, can you recommend where you order? I am planning on making them soon for my husbands bday.

  • Annie

    I buy them locally.

  • Looks and sounds amazing. I always thought lobster would be very difficult to make at home, you make it sound so easy. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Great post! I love lobster but never knew it was so simple to make! Yours looks delectable!

  • Ughhhh this looks amazing. I won’t have access to a kitchen this Valentine’s Day or else I would TOTALLY make this. I am definitely bookmarking this page for another time, though.

  • p2w

    This is almost exactly how we always do our lobster tails, only after we split the shell we don’t pull the meat out, just open the shell up. And we do ours on the grill. I never enjoyed lobster until we started having fresh lobsters this way!

  • Lobster is definitely one of my favorite foods too! It’s perfect just with some butter… yum!

  • I’ve never made lobster at home and it always seemed so daunting. Thanks for the post, you make it look so easy!

  • Hi ummm… cook for me? Like everyday? This looks amazing!

  • Hi Annie – I just wanted to let you know that I featured your lobster tails in my Valentine’s Day Favorites post today… Here’s the link: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2011/02/my-favorite-valentines-day-recipes.html. They look just incredible, and thanks for sharing them. Have a great weekend!

  • Oh, I am drooling. Unfortunately I am in the same bucket you are. I live near the Gulf Coast, so I can get cheap shrimp but lobster takes some major planning and pinching pennies.

  • Yup is right! I live in Florida and they are still very expensive!

  • lobster is the perfect dish for valentine’s day !! it as such a delicate taste & flesh !!

  • Beachgirlrunning

    Lovely! and perfect timing! Just bought a couple of tails during WF’s big friday sale and wasn’t sure how to cook them. THX!!!

  • arline

    Just came across your wonderful blog and have been enjoying it immensely. May I make one little correction? Your description of how to make clarified butter was almost correct, except that after removing the solids on the top, you only use the clear liquid just below that (the “clarified butter”) and pour out the add’l solids at the very bottom. Hope you don’t mind!

  • Erin

    First of all, congrats on the baby! Second, your butter dishes are so cute. Where did you get them?

  • Annie

    Crate & Barrel, I think. They have lots of cute little dishes like that.

  • Kristin

    Is that wilted spinach as a side dish? If so, would you mind sharing how you prepare it?