How to Steam Lobster Tails

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

When it comes to preparing lobster tails, steaming offers a fantastic way to achieve tender, succulent results. This method not only preserves the delicate flavor of the lobster but also allows for a more controlled cooking process.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of steaming lobster tails and provide essential tips for achieving a delectable dish.

How to Steam Lobsters


Before you start, gather the following equipment and ingredients:

  • Large bowl
  • Large pot with steamer basket + lid
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Maine Lobster Tails
  • Butter (salted or unsalted)
  • Seasonings of choice (such as garlic powder, paprika, Old Bay Seasoning, fresh lemon juice, or herbs)

Directions: How To Prepare Lobster Tail for Steaming

  1. Defrost the Lobster Tails: If you have frozen lobster tails, defrost them by placing them in a bowl of cool water for about 30 minutes. Make sure they are fully defrosted before continuing.
  2. Shell Preparation: Carefully cut the shell of each lobster tail lengthwise from top to bottom using a knife or kitchen scissors.
  3. Expose the Meat: Gently pull back the shell to expose the lobster meat. This allows for even cooking and easier removal of the meat once it’s ready to eat.

Do You Butterfly Lobster Tail Before Steaming?

Grill Lobster Tails

Yes, butterflying a lobster tail by cutting the shell and exposing the meat is recommended before steaming. This technique ensures uniform cooking and enhances the lobster’s presentation.

How Long to Steam Lobster Tail (By Oz.)

The steaming time for lobster tails depends on their size. Make sure to use the weight of your individual lobsters—not the total weight of all lobsters being cooked. Start your timer when the steaming water returns to a boil.

Lobster Tail Steaming Time Chart 

Lobster WeightCooking Time
1 1/4 lbs.7-8 minutes
1 1/2 lbs.8-10 minutes
2 lbs.11-12 minutes
2 1/2-3 lbs.12-14 minutes
5 lbs.20-22 minutes

How to Tell If Your Lobster Is Cooked

To ensure your lobster tails are perfectly cooked, follow these methods:

  • Visual Indicators: Look for a bright red shell and opaque white lobster meat. This visual cue suggests the lobster is ready.
  • Temperature Check: Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the lobster tail. The temperature should read between 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit (60-63 degrees Celsius).

How Do You Steam Multiple Lobsters?

If you’re steaming multiple lobsters, use a larger pot or steam them in batches. Ensure the lid fits tightly to maintain steam and a consistent temperature. Avoid overcrowding the pot, as it can affect the cooking process.

Best Way to Serve Steamed Lobster Tails

Lobster Rolls at home

Steamed lobster tails can be served hot alongside a flavorful butter sauce. Alternatively, you can cool the lobster meat and use it in classic dishes like lobster rolls, salads, or lobster mac and cheese.

Is It Better to Steam or Boil Lobster Tails?  

While both grilling and boiling are viable methods, steaming is often preferred for lobster tails. Steaming results in a more tender lobster, as it preserves the lobster’s natural flavor and prevents it from absorbing excess water. Additionally, steaming allows for precise timing and avoids overcooking.

In conclusion, steaming lobster tails is a straightforward and rewarding cooking method. With the right equipment and attention to detail, you can enjoy the delicate, flavorful meat of lobster tails in the comfort of your own home.

Whether you’re serving them hot with butter or incorporating them into your favorite lobster recipes, steamed lobster tails are a delightful treat for seafood enthusiasts.

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