How To Cut A Lobster Tail (Beginners Guide)

Lobster tails are a culinary delicacy, treasured for their rich flavor and tender texture. Mastering how to cut a lobster tail is a valuable skill that enhances the dining experience. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refine your technique, this guide will walk you through the steps of how to cut lobster tail, ensuring that you can prepare lobster tails with confidence.

If you are looking for the best way to cook lobster tails much depends on what you have for tools and how you plan to entertain. For example, are you serving your lobster tails for an inside dinner or do you plan to host a cookout and grill tails? Learn the best way to cut and prepare lobster tails for baking, grilling, and broiling.

Why Cut Lobster Tails?

Hand cutting lobster with a knife

Before delving into how to cut lobster tails, it’s essential to understand why this process is crucial. Cutting lobster tails correctly is not just about presentation; it significantly impacts the cooking process and final taste.

Cutting lobster tails is not only beneficial for aesthetic reasons but also impacts the cooking and flavor of the seafood. Here are four key reasons:

  1. Ensures Even Cooking: Properly cut lobster tails allow heat to penetrate uniformly, preventing the outer part of the meat from becoming tough while the inside remains undercooked.
  2. Enhances Versatility in Cooking: Cutting lobster tails provides flexibility in cooking methods. Whether you’re grilling, baking, or broiling, a well-cut tail ensures optimal heat distribution and texture.
  3. Improves Flavor Absorption: A cut lobster tail allows for better absorption of seasonings and marinades, leading to a more flavorful and delicious dish.
  4. Eases Stuffing and Filling: If you plan to stuff your lobster tail, a good cut provides the perfect pocket for holding flavorful fillings, enhancing the overall dining experience.

How to Cut a Lobster Tail: Step-by-Step Guide

"Can you eat raw lobster?" - Man grilling lobster on bbq

Time needed: 10 minutes

Simply splitting a tail in two is the easiest method. It is perfect for larger lobster tails.

  1. Thaw Lobster Tails

    If buying from LobsterAnywhere, all cold-water tails ship in the shell, fresh frozen and uncooked. Make sure they are fully defrosted before getting started. To make sure they’re ready, take the lobster tails out of the freezer the night before cooking. Place tails on a covered plate in the refrigerator. If looking for a quicker method of defrosting, place the lobsters in a ziplock bag, seal, and let them sit under running cold water, NEVER hot water.

  2. Clean Lobster Tails

    Rinse the tails under cold water to remove any salt brine or debris. Before preparing lobster tails, always make sure you pat dry to ensure easy handling.

  3. Cut Top of Shell with Kitchen Sheers

    Position the lobster tail with the shell facing up. Use kitchen shears for lobster tail cutting, as they offer more control and safety than a knife.

  4. Cut through Shell with a Chef Knife

    Start at the open end of the tail and cut through the top shell towards the tail fins, stopping just before you reach them. Continue to cut through the meat to fully split the tail.

  5. Rinse and Pat Dry

    Rinse the prepared tail. You may find smoe green gunk from the intestinal track. Simply clean out. Pat dry the tail with paper towels before seasoning.

Advanced Lobster Tail Cutting Techniques

How to Butterfly a Lobster Tail

Butterflying a lobster tail involves a deeper cut into the meat to ensure it spreads out effectively for an elegant presentation. After separating the meat from the shell, lay it on top of the shell. This technique is perfect for those wondering how to cut open a lobster tail for a more sophisticated look. The key is to make a deep incision down the center of the tail, being careful not to cut through the bottom shell. Gently fan out the meat and place it on top of the shell, achieving the classic piggyback appearance that’s perfect for grilling or baking.

How to Piggyback Lobster Tails

Lobster tail piggyback and asparagus

Piggybacking lobster tails is a culinary technique that not only enhances the presentation but also aids in even cooking. This method involves partially separating the meat from the shell and then resting it on top of the shell, resembling a piggyback ride. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start with a Clean Cut: Using kitchen shears, make a lengthwise cut along the top shell of the lobster tail, but be careful not to cut all the way through the bottom shell.
  2. Gently Separate the Meat: Carefully lift the meat from the shell, starting from the cut you’ve made. Work slowly to avoid tearing the meat, but ensure it remains attached at the tail end.
  3. Rest the Meat on the Shell: Once the meat is lifted, gently rest it on top of the shell. The idea is to have the meat sitting above and on top of the shell, exposed to direct heat when cooking.
  4. Season and Cook: Season the lobster meat as desired. Cooking it in the piggyback style allows for more even exposure to heat, leading to a perfectly cooked, juicy lobster tail.

How to Cut a Lobster Tail for Different Dishes

When preparing lobster tails for various dishes, the cutting technique can vary. For grilling, make a cut through the shell but leave the meat intact within it. This method allows the tail to cook evenly while retaining its natural juices and flavor.

In contrast, for stews or soups, the lobster meat should be removed from the shell and cut into smaller chunks. This ensures that the meat cooks thoroughly and integrates well with the other ingredients in the dish, offering a delightful taste and texture in every spoonful. For More Learn How to Cook Lobster Tails with easy and simple ways!


Mastering how to cut a lobster tail is an essential skill for any seafood lover. By following this guide, you can prepare lobster tails like a professional, ensuring that they cook evenly and present beautifully.

Whether you’re learning how to split a lobster tail for grilling or how to cut a lobster tail in half for a sophisticated presentation, these techniques will elevate your culinary creations, making every seafood feast a memorable experience.

Ready to indulge? Order fresh Maine lobster to your doorstep with overnight free shipping in the US.

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