If you don't know how to cook lobster tails, I'm going to show you the easiest, best way to cook lobster tails today!
Cooking lobster tails can be super intimidating. They are expensive, they are in strong shells, and they overcook quickly. I avoided making them at home for years due to all of these barriers to entry.
Then, out of desperation when a friend requested lobster for a special meal, I decided to give boiling a try. I'd assumed boiling lobster tail would leave it rubbery and flavorless, but I was wrong. Now it is the only lobster tail recipe I use!
Before you cook lobster tails, you need to do a small amount of prep by cutting the tail shell.
how to cut lobster tail
Simply cut along the top part of the shell, down to the fans of the tail. Watch for sharp edges and use heavy duty kitchen shears to make this as simple and safe task as possible.
how to boil lobster tails
Boiling lobster tails couldn't be simpler: add the tails to a pot of salted boiling water, and remove after they have turned red and the meat is cooked through.
Scroll down to see a complete list of cooking times for the size of your lobster.
Lobster Tail Boil Time
This chart tells you how long to boil lobster tails based on the number of ounces of the individual tail.
Essentially you want to boil a lobster tail for one minute per ounce of tail. Here's how that shakes out, in case math isn't your thing.
- 3 ounce tail -> Boil for 3 minutes
- 3.5 ounce tail -> Boil for 3 minutes 30 seconds
- 4 ounce tail -> Boil for 4 minutes
- 5 ounce tail -> Boil for 5 minutes
- 6 ounce tail -> Boil for 6 minutes
You get the idea!
Other easy seafood recipes you might love:
How to Boil Lobster Tails
For the Lobster Tails:
- 4 lobster tails
- 8 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
Lemon Garlic Butter Dipping sauce:
- 1 stick salted butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons finely minced parsley
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
To make the lobster tails:
- In a large pot, bring the 8 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil.
- Cut the lobster tails along the top of the shell, from the edge of the tail straight down the middle lengthwise to the bottom of the tail.
- Carefully place the lobster tails in the boiling water, and boil for 1 minute per ounce of tail. For 4 ounce tails, boil for 4 minutes.
To make the lemon garlic butter dipping sauce:
- In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium to medium low heat. Stir in the garlic and black pepper and cook for about 2 minutes. Be careful to not let the butter brown ( turn down the heat if necessary).
- Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and lemon juice, and serve.
Made this for the 1st time (3oz. tails, shell cut, boiled for 3 minutes) all went well except the lobster tail didn’t open up like in the pix. I ended up cutting the tails in half along the cut to remove the meat. What did I miss?
Same here, they didn't pop out the top like in the picture.
Carol Champion says
Marcy Casterline says
I had 4 four oz lobster tails that I had thawed overnight. My oven was out of commission, so boiling was my only option. I was so worried boiling would ruin them. But I did just as Marianne suggested, boiled for 4 minutes. The lobster tails came out perfectly, as good and maybe better than I'd ever had at any restaurant. FABULOUS!!!! I am now a fan of basilandbubbly.com. This lady knows her stuff.
I find that baking them dries them out & makes them tough. I like to steam mine rather than boiling..but to each his own.. for me, mine seem to lose some flavor boiling.. so I just steam them 🙂
Boda kato says
For how long do you steam them?
I have not seen a recipe yet that states if the lobster tail is frozen or thawed. Which is it?
j l says
Frozen will risk drying them out and make them rubbery... thawed is the correct method