How to Sous Vide Lobster – Recipes for Lobster Tails and Meat

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Times have changed and now you can sous vide – and LobsterAnywhere thinks you should too! Leave the lab coat to the scientists and stay in your comfy clothes when you choose to sous vide lobster. Sous vide lobster cooking can be more forgiving than traditional steaming and boiling methods. Learn the best way to sous vide lobster perfectly every time.

How to Sous Vide Lobster
Perfectly cooked poached lobster tail by Chris Sussman, , better known as the BBQ Buddha.

What is it?

What was once left to the intense masters of cooking, can now simply be done in your very own kitchen. Pronounced “sue-veed”, the French term quiet literally means, “under vacuum”. Traditionally referring to vacuumed sealed bags, sous vide utilizes precise temperature control and water circulation to allow you to get results and textures that other methods just can’t do. Benefits include taste, waste reduction (shrinkage), consistency and flexibility. How could this get any better? With modern times among us and everyone enjoying the art of cooking in their own homes, techniques have become sleeker and easier. Offering perfect results every time, sous vide takes out the guessing and replaces doubts with accurate precision.

Why Sous Vide Lobster?

Over-cooking lobster is an easy thing but using this cooking technique will give you confidence, all while infusing herbs and spices right into your food. Advancements have come in the form of time and temperature information linked right to your phone via an app. There’s no more standing over your food, fumbling around cluttered drawers or poking your food hoping it’s cooked right. Using a metal coil and a container or your choosing, this cooking device will heat the water bath to your exact temperature setting and allow low and slow cooking.

Sous Vide Lobster Tail Temperature

Seafood is less forgiving than denser cuts of meat. For sous vide lobster we suggest a temperature of 140 degrees farenheight or 60 degrees celcius with a cooking time of 45 minutes. This method is not fool proof as a few degrees off you can ruin the texture of the lobster meat. See cooking chart below for suggested temperature and time for different kinds of lobster meat.

Can You Sous Vide Whole Lobster with Shell?

With wild Maine lobster however, you will need to remove the meat from the shell or risk tearing the bags with the many projections from the shell. Even the smallest holes allow fats and coagulated proteins to gunk up your machine. In short, Lobsteranywhere suggests you break down whole lobster first before preparing to cook.

Retaining that sweetness and adding in endless possibilities of flavors is your next step.

What Types of Raw Lobster do you use?

Sous Vide Lobster Tail
Super tender lobster tail sous vid and dipped in butter by Chris Sussman.

What Equipment do you Need?

  • Sous Vide wand
  • Container or pot
  • Water
  • Vacuum sealer or food-grade zipper bags

How Long do you Sous Vide the Lobster?

  • If you’re looking for sashimi style lobster tails, sous vide your meat for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 120 degrees (49 degrees Celsius). This will bring the meat to a soft and translucent state that has barely set.
  • Cook your lobster tails for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 130 degrees (54 degrees Celsius) for a tender and soft texture. The succulent meat would be perfect in hot butter or a little mayo for lobster roll.
  • For good old fashioned style lobster that most New Englanders swear by, cook your lobster for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 140 degrees (60 degrees Celsius). The sous vide process will enhance the flavor of the lobster but the texture should be similar to boiling or steaming.
  • Besides lobster tails, claws and knuckles should always be cooked at 150 degrees (64 degrees Celsius)for 1 hour. You want these little heavenly bites to be firm yet meaty. Cooking them at a lower temperature will result in either too long of time turning them into mush or, leaving them sashimi style.
Sous Vide Lobster Temperature

Time and Temperature for Cooking Sous Vide Lobster

Lobster TextureCooking TimeTemperature Setting
Sashimi style lobster tails45 minutes to 1 hour120 degrees/49 degrees Celsius
Succulent meat for lobster rolls45 minutes to 1 hour130 degrees/54 degrees Celsius
New England style lobster45 minutes to 1 hour140 degrees/60 degrees Celsius
Claws and knuckles only1 hour150 degrees/64 degrees celcius
Lobster Sous Vide Cooking Time Chart
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Sous Vide Lobster Tail Recipe

How to Sous Vide Lobster Recipe

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Start off with fresh lobster shipped right to your door! Defrost the raw tail meat in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours prior. Nothing goes hand in hand like New England lobster and butter. You can also add in fresh herbs and aromatics to spice up your plate. The BBQ Buddah uses 2 Tbsp of butter and a few sprigs of fresh tarragon per 1lb package of raw lobster tails.

  • Total Time: 55
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • Lobster tail meat removed from the shell. Raw lobster tails for Sous Vide
  • 4 Frozen Lobster Tails (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter cut into small squares. 
  • Sea or kosher salt
  • Taragon or other fresh Herbs
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 4 lemon slices 
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle sea or kosher salt on the shucked tail meat. 
  2. Place all of your ingredients into a food-grade vacuum seal bag or plastic baggy. Arrange tails in a single layer with pieces of butter and herbs on top of each tail.  Recipe Ingredients Sous Vide Lobster
  3. Using either a vacuum sealing machine or doing it by hand, you’re going to want to remove as much air as possible from the bag(s). 
    Seal-Bag-Lobster-Sous-Vide
  4. Fill 7 quart circulater with water and preheat the water bath to 140 degrees.
  5. Once your water bath has been brought up to the correct temperature, gently lower sealed pouch with lobster tails, butter and herbs into prepared water bath until tails are fully submerged. Set your timer for 45 minutes. 
    Lobster Meat Sous Vide
  6. Remove bag and lobster tails from water bath.
    Remove Sous Vide Lobster
  7. Cut open and remove tails from the bag. Discard herb and butter leftover in the bag.
  8. Top off your lobster tails with clarified butter, pinch of salt, fresh lemon and herbs.

Notes

According to Cook’s Illustrated, most high-end, name-brand plastic bags, like Ziploc and Glad, are safe to sous vide in.

  • Author: Lobster Louie
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sous Vide
  • Cuisine: French
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 lobster tail
  • Calories: 450
  • Sugar: 0
  • Sodium: 201mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Protein: 10g.
  • Cholesterol: 9 g

Sous Vide Lobster FAQ

How are sous vide lobster results different?

Having a device to keep a precise temperature while cooking ensures that you will never undercook or overcook your food items. This also means that your food item will be uniformly cooked through. So if there is a thicker or thinner end, even doneness will be present throughout. Sous vide will also produce consistent results every time.

No vacuum sealer? Use zipper-top bags and water displacement.

If you don’t have a fancy smancy vacuum sealing device, don’t worry about it! That’s what is so nice about sous vide, it’s like having multiple kitchen equipment all wrapped into one. To use food-grade zipper top bags simply add your ingredients to bag and seal, leaving the last inch or so open. Then slowly lower your bag into the preheated water bath. As the bag begins to lower into the water bath, the water displacement will force the air from the bag. Right before the bag is fully submerged, seal the remainder of the bag and pull out of water bath. This will ensure an air tight seal before you begin your cooking process.

How can I keep the bag(s) from floating?

One of the most common problems with sous vide is a floating bag. What does this mean? This could mean that there is air trapped inside of your bag from a leaky or imperfect seal. Vapor can also form inside the bag throughout the cooking process or from air trapped inside the food product itself (when using longer cook times); causing air bubbles. Cooking with a less dense food item can also cause a bag to float during the sous vide process. Using a large binder clip to hold the bag in place, slip a heavy spoon into the mouth of the clip to keep the bag submerged, aiding in the problem as well.

Finish stew-like meals with heat

There is some back and fourth about this topic which ends with your own personal taste preference. So playing around in the kitchen is it! There are two options nonetheless; sear your meat and veggies, prepare your sauce, before you bag, or after you have finished the water bath cooking. Both options leave you with a perfectly cooked item, your just deciding how rich and dark you want your sauce to be.

What is the temperature danger zone?

Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. This range of temperatures is often called the “Danger Zone.” You want to keep this in mind while cooking but also while defrosting/cooling your food.

How to use the sous vide to infuse oils, extracts and spirits?

Use the sous vide cooking technique to infuse spirits to enhance your lobster bisque or sauce that intend on being cooked out. You can even make compound butters to infuse flavors further into you lobster or steak.

What is the downside to cooking sous vide?

Cook times take longer than usual methods and you will find yourself using a lot more epuipment.
Your also not going to get exactly the same sear on meats and proteins. Another nifty fact is that alcohol in a sauce needs to be cooked prior to infusing. This is bcuz it doesnt evaporate like normal cooking, unless you choose the method of simmering your sauce down after sous vide to thicken/concentrate your sauce.

Is it dangerous to sous vide with garlic?

Botulism is a real possibility when cooking with garlic at low temperatures but, as long as you keep away from the temperature danger zones, you can use as much fresh garlic as your heart desires. The other difference is that your fresh garlic won’t “cook” when placed in the bags raw. The infusion of flavor will be added to your food products but nonetheless, the garlic won’t be broken down and might even turn green. It won’t be spoiled if this happens, its just a reaction of certain amino acids within the foods compounds that creates the green coloring. It would of course have to be removed after the water bath. Furthermore, you could wait to heat your aromatics in oil/butter before adding your sauce from the bag for further reduction. You still get those beautiful flavors just without the extra stuff.

Can I use pre-cooked lobster meat?

It is always best to use raw lobster meat when cooking sous vide to produce a better finished product. Using cooked lobster, you run the chance of overworking the protein and losing the texture. Lobster can break down into mush if overworked too much. So unless you’d like to eat your lobster through a straw, we recommend using raw meat.

How are sous vide lobster results different?

Having a device to keep a precise temperature while cooking ensures that you will never undercook or overcook your food items. This also means that your food item will be uniformly cooked through. So if there is a thicker or thinner end, even doneness will be present throughout. Sous vide will also produce consistent results every time.

Can you Sous Vide a Whole Lobster?

It is recommended to remove the meat from the shell or risk tearing the bags with the many projections from the shell. Even the smallest holes allow fats and coagulated proteins to gunk up your machine. LobsterAnywhere does not recommend sous vide a whole lobster in the shell.

How long do you Sous Vide the Lobster?

If you’re looking for sashimi style lobster tails, sous vide your meat for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 120 degrees (49 degrees Celsius). This will bring the meat to a soft and translucent state that has barely set.

Sous Vide Surf and Turf

Sous vide your surf and turf at the same time! Usually your steak can take longer, so once that has reached its halfway mark (depending on how you like yout steak cooked), then you can add the bag with lobster and cook-away. This ensures that your food is done at the same time so you can enjoy everything together.

Too technical? Find an easier way to make lobster, check out other methods here.

Looking for More Ways to Cook Lobster at Home?

Checkout our recipe How to cook Lobster Tails; we have guides for different ways of cooking live lobsters as well. There are lots of ways to prepare live lobster at home. See our succinct overview of all the best ways to cook Maine lobster.

Citations:

  • Chen, S. (2020). Complete Sous Vide Cookbook . Rockridge Press, Emeryville, California.
  • Test Kitchen, A. (2018). Sous Vide for Everybody. America’s Test Kitchen.
  • Roberts , D. (2021). The Complete Sous Vide Cookbook for Beginners. Daniel Roberts.
  • Delany, A., & Leone, B. (2018, January 24). So, what is Sous Vide, anyway? Bon Appétit. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.bonappetit.com/story/what-is-sous-vide-cooking
  • Electronics, Inc, A. A. (2021, August 26). Anova precision cooker. Anova Culinary. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://anovaculinary.com/anova-precision-cooker/
  • López-Alt, J. K. (2020, March 6). How to cook sous vide lobster: The food lab. Serious Eats. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.seriouseats.com/food-lab-complete-guide-to-sous-vide-lobster

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