How to Bake Lobster: The Ultimate Sheet Pan Dinner

That box marked live lobster has arrived on your doorstep, and the anticipation is real. You open the box having visions of cracking claws and dipping them into butter, but then wonder, now what? When it comes to preparing your whole lobster, the possibilities are limitless.

Too hot in the kitchen or your oven on the blink? There are lots of other options for preparing lobster including grilling, sous vide lobster, butter poach, steaming and more.

For this article we’re going to break down the ease of how to bake lobster.

How to Bake Whole Lobsters
Split whole lobster baked and basted with garlic-basil butter by Jordan Morris

There’s nothing better than easy clean up. Unlike some methods of preparing lobster that will leave you with pots and dishes, baking your lobster only requires one sheet pan. Claws up to skipping the dish hands!

Baking or roasting a whole lobster is an easy, hands-off way to get the job done, and works especially well if you’d like to add a crust or stuffing (though we contend that exceptional lobster needs no stuffing!). 

Here’s one of our favorite baked lobster recipes: Baked Lobster with Garlic and Herbs.

Why Bake Lobster?

Unlike some methods of preparing lobster, such as steaming, that require special equipment, baking lobster doesn’t require anything additional. Depending on the size of your whole lobster, a spectacular dinner that will wow your guests can be ready and on the table in less than 30 minutes.

While your lobster basks away in the oven, your kitchen is freed up to prepare your sides. Unlike boiling lobster, baking lobster doesn’t dilute any of the flavors, allowing the natural sweetness of the meat to concentrate as it bakes. It also creates an even surface area for a more even cook.

In addition to easy cleanup and no special equipment, this is also a great way to introduce additional flavors to your lobster. Have fun with compound butters and seasonings. You can keep it classic with a garlic butter and pop of fresh parsley, or pull out all of the stops with elaborate stuffings.

Baked Lobster Recipe
Baked Whole Lobster by Ilan Grossman of Ribtip BBQ

A Pan and a Plan

All successful dishes start with a game plan. With just a few ingredients and steps, you will have a whole baked lobster from the oven to the table.

  1. Whole live lobster, humanly dispatched
  2. Heavy duty sheet pan or baking sheet
    • You want to make sure your sheet pan is large enough for the lobster to spread out with enough of an edge that any juices won’t over flow.
    • For additional easy clean up you can line the pan with foil.
  3. Butter or olive oil
    • This is where you can have fun with your flavor profile. Brushing melted butter or olive oil onto the exposed flesh of the lobster will not only keep it moist but also allow any seasonings you add to adhere better.
  4. Seasonings
    • From just a sprinkle of fine sea salt and pepper, to your classic seafood seasoning, the sea is the limit!
  5. Instant read thermometer
    • An instant read thermometer is a great way to ensure you reach that target temperature of 140 degrees. When in doubt, temp check!
    • Always check from the thickest part of the flesh. You want to make sure your thermometer doesn’t hit the shell, giving a higher temperature.
  6. Melted butter and lemon wedges for serving

Lobster Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the lobster on its back and make a deep, sharp cut through the entire length of the body and tail. Remove the roe and stomach. Alternatively you can cut lobsters vertically in half into two pieces. This makes it easy to marinade or add seasoning to infuse more flavors. 
  3. Lay the lobster shell side down, flesh side up on a roasting pan.
  4. Brush butter or oil over the exposed lobster meat.
  5. Add any seasonings you desire.
  6. To create a little steam you can add a splash of water if desired.
  7. Bake the lobster in the preheated oven for 22 to 27 minutes, checking halfway through. You can brush on additional flavored butter at this time if you desire.
  8. Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges if desired.

Baked Lobster Cooking Times

Lobster SizeCooking Times
1 pound22 minutes
1 ½ pound25 minutes
2+ pound27 minutes

Time is for all lobsters.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Bake Lobster

  1. How long to bake a whole lobster in the oven?

    The amount of time required to bake a whole lobster depends on the size. It averages 20-27 minutes.

  2. Can I bake lobster in the oven?

    Yes! We love to bake lobster because it doesn't require any special utensils and most people have an oven. There are a few steps to take before putting your Lobster in the oven, but it's pretty simple!

  3. What temperature do I bake a whole lobster at?

    We recommend baking your whole lobster in an oven preheat to 400 degrees.

  4. What temperature do I bake my whole lobster to?

    Because of carry over cooking we recommend that you cook your lobster to 140 degrees. Always check with an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, careful not to touch the shell.

  5. What should I bake my lobster in?

    A sheet pan is the ideal vessel for baking lobster. You can also use a roasting pan or baking dish. Just make sure it's large enough to accommodate a whole lobster without crowding it.

  6. Why should I bake lobster?

    Baking lobster concentrates the natural flavor of lobster and allows you to easily add flavorings like butter, herbs, and stuffing. In addition, it also makes for easy cleanup.

A Tall Tail

A date with the oven isn’t just for baking whole lobsters. This is also a popular and stress-free way to prepare your hard-shell, cold water Maine Lobster tails. If you’re looking for the complete guide on how to prepare your tasty tails in the oven, make sure you check out our article on How to Cook Lobster Tails.

More Lobster Cooking Options

Learn about more cooking techniques for live lobster and for a quick review see our succinct overview of all the best ways to cook Maine lobster.

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