How to Cook Live Lobster Like a Pro: A Step-by-Step Guide

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cutting up a cooked lobster with a knife on cutting board
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Are you ready to take your seafood game up a notch? Cooking live lobster is the ultimate way to enjoy this delicious crustacean. With just a few tips, you can quickly become an expert in cooking live lobster. From what equipment you need before getting started, how to cook it perfectly every time, serving suggestions, and even some great recipes using fresh-caught lobster – we’ve got all the information here so anyone can learn how to cook live lobster like an expert chef.

Table of Contents:

What You Need to Know Before Cooking Live Lobster

Cooking with live lobster can be a fulfilling experience, yet it is essential to observe certain safety precautions. When selecting your lobster, choose one that is alive and active. The best way to do this is by looking for lobsters with their claws tightly closed and making sure they move when prodded gently.

When it comes to types of lobster, the most common varieties include American Lobster (Homarus americanus), European Lobster (Homarus gammarus) and Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus). Choose the lobster variety that best complements your palate.

Preparing a live lobster for cooking requires some extra care as well. To ensure the safe handling of the animal, use kitchen tongs or gloves when removing it from its tank or container before cooking. Ensure all utensils used during preparation are clean and sharp enough not to damage the shell while cutting through it. Additionally, if you plan on boiling your lobster whole, make sure you puncture its head first using a knife tip or skewer so steam can escape properly during cooking without bursting open the shell prematurely.

It is important to understand the safety considerations, types of lobster, and preparation techniques before cooking live lobster. With this knowledge, you can now confidently learn how to cook live lobster using boiling, steaming, or grilling methods.

How to Cook Live Lobster

Cooking live lobster is a unique and delicious experience. With the right know-how, you can transform a live lobster into an unforgettable feast. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular methods for cooking live lobster: boiling, steaming, and grilling.

Boiling Method:

Boiling is one of the simplest ways to cook lobster. Bring a pot of salted water to the brink of boiling over high heat, then plunge your lobsters headfirst into it and cover, ensuring they are completely submerged. Cook them for 10-12 minutes (for 1-1 ½ pounders) or 15 minutes (for larger ones). When done correctly, their shells will turn bright red when cooked through. Remove them from the pot using tongs or a slotted spoon and let cool before serving.

Cooking live lobster can be a rewarding and delicious experience with the right preparation and cooking methods. With that in mind, let’s discuss serving and eating your freshly cooked lobster.

Key Takeaway: Cooking live lobster is a delectable and rewarding experience; simply bring salted water to a boil, submerge the lobsters headfirst into the pot, then let them cook for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, you can steam or grill your lobster – just make sure its shells turn bright red before removing it from the heat.

Serving and Eating Live Lobster

For a delicious treat, present boiled or steamed lobster with melted butter and lemon slices – or get creative and try grilling the crustacean accompanied by garlic butter. Lobster can also be served in salads, soups, tacos, sandwiches, and more.

Separate the claws from the lobster’s body before eating it. To crack open a claw or leg shell, use kitchen shears or nutcrackers if necessary. Once cracked open, remove any meat inside using your fingers or a small fork. Next, break off pieces of tail meat by gently twisting at each end until separated from its shell, then use your fingers to pull out all of the succulent tail meat. Finally, dip into melted butter before savoring every bite.

It is important to properly dispose of leftover seafood like lobsters to avoid foodborne illness caused by bacteria growth on decaying seafood material such as shells and other debris left behind after cooking them alive.

Enjoying a live lobster meal requires some caution for everyone’s safety. Now let’s explore some delicious recipes featuring fresh live lobster.

Recipes Using Live Lobster

Whether you’re making a classic lobster roll or trying something new, like spicy coconut curry, there are plenty of recipes that can help you make the most of your seafood feast. Here are some recipes you can use.

Creamy Lobster Roll Recipe

Combine cooked lobster meat, mayonnaise, celery, and salt to create a classic mix for buttered rolls. Spoon the mixture onto buttered rolls and serve warm for an easy summertime treat.

Grilled Lobster with Garlic Butter Sauce Recipe:

Grilling live lobsters brings out their natural sweetness while adding smoky flavors from the grill. To prepare this recipe, start by splitting two lobsters down the middle lengthwise, then brush them generously with melted garlic butter sauce on both sides before placing them directly on medium-high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown in color. Serve immediately over white rice or mashed potatoes for an unforgettable meal.

Spicy Coconut Curry Lobster

This lobster recipe combines sweet coconut milk and aromatic spices such as cumin, turmeric, and coriander to create an incredibly flavorful dish. Marinate the two split lobsters in the mixture for at least one hour before cooking over medium-high heat until tender (about 8 minutes). Finally, add some freshly chopped cilantro leaves before serving hot over steamed jasmine rice or quinoa for an amazing taste experience.

Key Takeaway: Adding a succulent lobster to your culinary creations is an easy way to impress your guests. Try classic recipes like the Lobster Roll or something more exotic such as Grilled Lobster with Garlic Butter Sauce or Spicy Coconut Curry, all of which are surefire crowd pleasers.

Cooking Live Lobster FAQs

What is the proper way to cook a live lobster?

To cook a live lobster, place it in a large pot of salted boiling water. Ensure the water covers the lobster fully. Boil the lobster for 10-12 minutes, depending on size, then remove it from the heat and let it cool before handling. When ready to serve, crack open the claws and tail as desired.

How long does it take to cook a live lobster?

Cooking a live lobster is relatively quick and easy. For lobsters of varying sizes, boiling them in water usually takes between 10-20 minutes. Ensure your pot is sufficiently large to completely submerge the lobsters, then heat it until you have a vigorous boil before putting them in. Once they are added, continue boiling until their shells turn bright red or orange – this will usually take around 8-10 minutes per pound of lobster. Finally, remove them from heat and allow them to cool slightly before serving.

Why do chefs cook lobsters alive?

Chefs cook lobsters alive for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that the lobster is fresh and not dead when cooked. Secondly, cooking a live lobster allows chefs to control the texture of the meat better, as they can adjust their cooking times based on how active or inactive the lobster is. Lastly, boiling a live lobster helps retain more flavor in its meat than if it were to be killed before being cooked.


Cooking live lobster can be a rewarding and delicious experience. To ensure success in cooking live lobster, one must possess the necessary tools, understanding, and techniques. With our tips on how to cook live lobster and recipes using this seafood delicacy, you will be able to enjoy its unique flavor with confidence.

Try cooking live lobster today – you won’t regret it. For those looking to cook live lobster, Maine Lobster House is the perfect solution. Our mail delivery company provides fresh seafood straight from our docks for a convenient and delicious culinary experience.