No-Fail Guide to Freezing and Thawing Lobsters

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thawed lobster
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There may be times when you need to freeze a full lobster or two, like if you purchased on-sale lobsters in bulk and have more than you need right now, or if a couple of dinner guests had to cancel. We know you’d rather hang on to those extra lobsters, but once you buy live lobster, you only have a small window of time to cook them.

Knowing how to freeze lobster correctly can come in handy. Of course, you’ll also need to know how to thaw them safely to prevent contamination. Our helpful guide will explain how to complete both processes, so you’ll never need to worry about wasting Maine lobster.

The most common freezing method for lobster is freezing cooked meat. Probably the quickest, no-fuss way to cook lobster is to steam them.

Steaming Lobster Before Freezing

Use a large pot that will hold all the lobsters you’re cooking comfortably without overcrowding them. Add about 2 to 3 inches of salted water to the bottom of the pot and then place a steaming rack in the pot. Turn the heat up high and allow the water to come to a rolling boil.

Use long tongs to place lobsters on the rack, one at a time. Once you have them all in the pot, cover the pot with a lid. Lobsters will typically need between 10 to 20 minutes of steaming until they’re cooked thoroughly, depending on how many pounds you have in the pot. You can always check the meat from a lobster by cracking it open; it will change to white instead of translucent if it’s cooked all the way.

Freezing Cooked Lobster

Once your lobsters are cooked thoroughly, you’ll need to remove the meat (we have a detailed guide about de-shelling lobster, just in case you need it!). Allow the lobster meat to cool completely and then place it in an air-tight freezer back or container. Vacuum bags are the best option if you have them.

Don’t add too much meat to one bag. Use several bags, if necessary. The meat should be able to lay in a single layer in the freezer.

Write today’s date on the bags and place them in the freezer so that air can circulate around them (in other words, don’t crowd them together or near other frozen items). Keep your freezer at 0 degrees F or colder. Lobsters can typically stay in the freezer for up to 12 months.

Can I Freeze Live Lobster?

Yes and no. You can take live lobsters and prep them for freezing, but you shouldn’t stick your lobsters right in the fridge. If you don’t want to remove the meat before freezing, here’s what you can do instead:

  1. Blanch lobsters in rapidly boiling, salted water for one full minute.
  2. Chill lobsters in an ice bath for at least 15 minutes, and then pat them dry and remove excess water.
  3. Place lobsters in freezer bags, removing as much air as you can, or use vacuum-sealed bags.
  4. Place bags in the freezer with plenty of room around them for air circulation. Ensure that your freezer is at 0 degrees F or below.

How to Thaw Lobster

You’ll need to thaw lobster meat for about 24 hours in the refrigerator, so plan ahead before you’re ready to use it.

Place the bags on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator on a towel or plate, away from any other meats or anything that could contaminate them. Keep the bags flat.

If you need to thaw lobsters quicker, you can, in a pinch, thaw them under cold, running water. It should take between 30 minutes to an hour for the meat to thaw completely.

Once thawed, you can warm the meat in the oven for a few minutes.

To thaw full lobsters, allow them 24 hours in the refrigerator before placing them in a pot of salted, boiling water for about 15 minutes to finish cooking them thoroughly.

Freezing and Thawing Lobster the Right Way

Whether you want to freeze extra lobster meat to make lobster rolls or you just bought too many live lobsters, there’s no reason to waste what you don’t need right now. Keep this guide handy for future reference and be sure to check out our other helpful articles about preparing, cooking, and enjoying your lobster from Maine Lobster House!