Cooking Lobster Tails – Learn How to Boil, Bake, Broil, or Grill Frozen Lobster Tails

What’s the best way to cook lobster tails? Here we provide the basics for boiling, steaming, baking and grilling frozen lobster tails. Learn how to cook lobster tails at home with just a pot of water (boiling or steaming), with your oven (baking), or a grill.

How Do You Cook Frozen Lobster Tails?

Lobster tail is the sweetest part of the lobster with the biggest portion of meat. There is only one way to ruin a good lobster tail and that’s by overcooking it!

Pro Tip: Your tails may be covered in ice or frost. Don’t worry your tails are NOT freezer burned. The light glazing helps protect and preserve the tails. Once thawed, be sure to give your tails a good rinse before cooking.

Pro Tip: Is your tail red or pinkish in color? There is no difference in the taste or quality of the meat. It is simply a tail from a female lobster.

How to Thaw Frozen Lobster Tails

After taking your frozen lobster tails out of the freezer it is best to defrost them fully before getting started.

  • Slow-thaw your frozen lobster tails before you plan to cook them.
  • Take your lobster tails out of the freezer the night before and place them in a covered plate in your refrigerator.
  • For quicker results defrost tails in a zip lock bag under cold water (never hot water) in the sink. DO NOT thaw lobster tails in the microwave!
How to Cook Lobster Tails
Two Colossal Lobster Tails available for delivery direct to your door.

How can You Tell Lobster Tails are Cooked?

You can tell if your tails are done if the color of the meat turns from translucent to white or opaque color. (Internal temperature of about 14o°F).

  • To test one tail to see if it is done, use a knife to cut through the soft underside of the shell into the thickest part of the tail meat.
  • If it appears completely white with no translucent (grayish) color, then they are ready to serve.
  • If there is still some translucency, cook the the tails for one-minute increments until done.

Keep in mind tails will continue to cook after you remove them from the heat source. To stop the cooking process place tails in a bath of ice cubes. Cooked lobster meat should be pure white, opaque and elastic. See if you can pull the tail meat out of the shell in one large piece!

Boil Lobster Tails

One of the easiest ways to cook lobster tails is to boil them. For a simple boil cook, place them in boiling water – ensuring that the whole tail is covered – and then wait until the meat is bright white and shells turn red. For big tails boiling will cook the meat more evenly. For other applications, you can also par-boil or blanch tails (boil for about 2 minutes) and finish cooking on the grill or in the oven.

  1. Bring a medium to large pot (enough room for the water to circulate) of water to a boil.
  2. Drop tails in boiling water, when water reboils, lower and cook for the approximate times below.
  3. After cooking, the meat can be removed from the shell with kitchen shears or split to expose lobster meat.
  4. Serve with our amazing recipe for lemon butter.

Approximate Lobster Tail Boiling Times

L 6-7 oz.: 5-6 minutes.
XL 8-10 oz.: 6-8 minutes
XL 16-20 oz.:10 minutes
XXL:20-24 oz:10-12

Steam Lobster Tails

  1. Add 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, add tails, and cover lid tightly. Optional you can can use a steaming rack.
  3. Bring water to a re-boil and steam for the approximate times below.
  4. Serve with lemon quarters and clarified or melted butter.

Approximate Lobster Tails Steaming Times

L: 6-7: 6-8 minutes.
XL:8-10: 8-10 minutes
XXL:16-20:: 10-12 minutes
XXXL: 20-24: 10-12

Grill Lobster Tails

It’s OK to char the shell side of the lobster tail, but be extra careful not to char the flesh side. The tail is done when the translucent raw meat turns opaque and the shell turns red.

  1. Cut or split tails down the middle with kitchen shears or a sharp knife.
  2. Rinse tails and remove intestinal vein and lobster’s tomalley.
  3. Brush flesh side of tails with butter or olive oil or your favorite marinade and place on a well greased grill or rack.
  4. Cook tails on medium heat (not too hot) with the shell side.  Optionally you can flip tail and grill on flesh side for just a couple of minutes.  Baste again, and finish grilling shell side down.
  5. Grill tails until just opaque in thickest portion of the tail. Be care to not overcook or tails will dry out and become rubbery.

Grilled Lobster Tails Recipes

Lobster Tail Marinades and Butters: Looking for ideas for what kind of marinate or butter sauce to use with lobster tails? See our tips for lobster tail sauces.

Approximate Lobster Tail Grilling Times

L: 6-7: 6-8 minutes.
XL:8-10: 8-10 minutes
XXL:16-20:: 10-12 minutes
XXXL: 20-24: 10-12

Want to learn how to barbecue a whole lobster? See our recipe cooking live lobster on the grill.

Broil Lobster Tails

Be careful when broiling lobster tails. The high heat of the broiler can dry out your tails in no time. Another option is to bake tails (see below) and finish them in the broiler for just a couple minutes to get a golden brown finish.

  1. Pre-heat the broiler while prepping the tails.
  2. Split or piggy back tails and place on a cookie sheet or broiler pan with the shell side down.
  3. Brush meat with butter or olive oil, salt and pepper or your favorite marinade.
  4. Broil 4-5 inches from heat for a little less than a minute per ounce (ie: a 8 oz tail would take about 7-8 minutes). Baste tails half way through cooking. If your broiling large tails, broil farther away from the heat source by lowering the oven rack. Keep an eye on them!
  5. Garnish with Ritz crackers and add parsley and a dash of paprica for color.

Broiled Lobster Tails Recipes

Bake Lobster Tails

  1. Piggyback Lobster Tail: Cut the upper shell down the center of the back with scissors leaving tail fan intact. Give the tail a good rinse and remove any intestinal vein and goop. Do not remove under-shell. Run finger between the meat and the shell to loosen from each other. Lift uncooked tail through the slit to rest on top of the shell (you can put a little butter under tail too!)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place prepared lobster tails on a baking sheet, brush each lobster tail with melted butter (Casco Bay Sea Salt Butter) and bake approximately 15 to 18 minutes (depending on tail weight) or until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Do not overcook.
  3. Remove from oven and serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

L: 6-7: 10-12  minutes.
XL:8-10: 12-15 minutes
XXL:16-20:: 15-18 minutes
XXXL: 20-24: 18-20 minutes

Poached Lobster Tails

  1. To poach lobster tails you first parboil or blanch tails (about 2-3 minutes, depending on size) just enough so that the meat can be removed from the shell.
  2. Using kitchen sheers or a chefs knife cut along the top shell of the tail, open remove the tail in one piece. Remove the digestive tract (black vein) and rinse out any green stuff (tomally).
  3. Next gently poach the lobster meat in melted butter. This should be done at a gently simmer and never a boil.

See our recipe for butter poached lobster tails.

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