How to Butter Poach Lobster Tails

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Why Butter Poach Your Lobster?

In New England boiling and steaming are the traditional ways to cook lobsters, but there’s another way. It’s called butter poaching where the lobster meat is cooked to a sweet, tender buttery perfection. Learn how to butter poach lobster at home.

Butter poached lobster is done by removing the meat from the lobster and gently cooking in melted butter at a gentle simmer and never a boil. Butter poach lobster cooks the lobster meat slowly and gently so as not to make the meat tough. Poaching lobster is best prepared à la minute, that is the butter is prepared in the same sauce the lobster will be poached in. See our tips for cooking frozen shell-on lobster tails.

Lobster meat can be either par-boiled or raw, uncooked. If you buy live, fresh lobsters, your best bet is to boil for 2 -3 minutes and then extract the meat. Another great option is to go with tail meat direct from LobsterAnywhere. Hint, Hint!

What You Need for Butter Poached Lobster

  •  2-3 tbsp. water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter cut into 1 tbsp. pieces
  • (6) 3 oz. shucked lobster tails
  • Small shallow pot or a saucepan.
  • Instant Read thermometer (optional)
Poached Lobster Ingredients
Ingredients: Two sticks of butter, sliced, 6 raw lobster tails, 2 tablespoons of water.
Pan to poach lobster.
Add 2-3 tbs. of water to a large pan and bring to a simmer.
Poaching Lobster in Butter
Slowly add slices of butter to the simmering water and whisk to ensure it stays liquid.
Poached Lobster in Butter
Plenty of butter and a little water to gently poach lobster at medium heat and NEVER to a boil.
Poached Lobster Recipe
Serve poached lobster tails right from the pan with fresh sliced lemons.


  1. In a saucepan, bring 2-3 tbs. of water to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in 1 tbs. butter, when butter melts add another piece. Continuing adding butter pieces — 1 cup (two sticks total.) Do not let the butter come to a boil or the butter will separate. Try to keep the butter between 160 and 175 degrees F. Use an instant read thermometer to to keep it under 180 F.
  3. Add defrosted, raw tails. Cook for 6-8 minutes and turn tails in butter mixture. Again, make sure the butter does not come to a boil, reduce the heat if necessary. Be careful not to overcook lobster. Poached lobster tails should have an an internal temperature of about 140-145°

What are good sides with Butter Poached Lobster?

If you’re butter poaching some lobster tails for the family, you will want to have some delicious sides to tag on.

Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are a classic addition to a lobster meal, and you can even use some of that poaching butter directly on your potatoes; doesn’t that sound amazing?

Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is one of the heavier sides to choose for a butter poached tail, but its always a hit with the kids and probably Dad too.

Green Veggies

If you want to keep it on the healthier side, you can never go wrong with Green beans or Broccoli. A simple steam with some salt and pepper, and be sure to add some of that butter on top!