How to Make Lobster Rolls: The Official Summer Sandwich

Lobster rolls are a special summer sandwich. The best one’s are found along seaside clam shacks in Maine, Massachusetts, or on the Cape. The lobster roll, like chili, is one of the most contentious foods out there; everyone’s got a favorite way to do it. The sandwich goes back to when lobster was plentiful and cheap as a means to use up less-than-perfect lobsters that wouldn’t fetch that high a price on the market.

How to Make Lobster Rolls

How to Make Lobster Rolls:  Variations & Impostors

In New England, you’ll find two different schools of how to make lobster rolls: chilled with mayo (our recipe) or served hot with butter. The latter, also know as the Connecticut-style or naked lobster roll is just fresh chunks of lobster on top of a grilled hot dog bun drizzled with warm butter. Some serve lobster rolls with both mayo and butter on the side. You can’t go wrong with these New England lobster roll recipes since they focus on the sweet taste of lobster. On the other hand, some people (we won’t name names), like to cover up the fresh briny succulence of the lobster meat with fancy ingredients like aioli, tarragon, Old Bay seasoning and so on…

A lobster roll is not called a lobster roll for nothing. We’ve found “lobster rolls” made with some interesting bread choices, including croissants, baguettes, sub rolls and even hamburger buns! There’s nothing like a properly made lobster roll. It all starts with fresh, succulent lobster meat, and lots of it.

It takes two live lobsters to make 8 ounces of lobster meat. Unless there’s filler, a good lobster sandwich is not cheap.

1. Rule #1: Never Skimp on the Maine Ingredient!

The best lobster is made simply: Chunks of lobster on top of a grilled hot dog bun with just a little mayo. Always use big chunks of lobster meat, not shredded or minced lobster. We’re not making lobster salad here. Now let’s make some lobster rolls!

2.The Lobster Makes the Sandwich

Cook a bunch of lobsters and shuck the lobster meat out of the shell. Do not overlook the knuckle meat. True lobster aficionados know it’s the sweetest meat of the lobster! Now mix your lobster meat with a touch of mayonnaise. We like to use Cains since it’s all-natural and local. Use just enough mayonnaise to hold the lobster meat together. Again, purists prefer just a little mayo, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Optionally, you can add a little chopped celery to give it a little crunch. Nothing else. Chill your lobster meat in a covered bowl for 30 minutes.

3. Grab Some Top Split Lobster Rolls

Find some top-split hot dog rolls or New England style hot dog buns.  If you live outside the six New England States they can be hard to find. It’s the kind with flat, white sides, because it absorbs the most butter when toasted in a pan.  What’s nice about the east coast style roll is that when the outside is grilled, the inside stays soft. What’s more, the rolls will stand upright with lobster meat loaded and ready to enjoy.

top split lobster rolls

Our favorite store bought roll is made by Pepperidge Farms, founded by Margaret Rudkin in 1937 in New Haven, Connecticut. It was named after her family farm. She started making preservative and artificial free bread for her son who was allergic to commercial breads.

Iconic Maine bread maker, JJ Nisan is best known for its endorsement by Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams in the late 1980’s.  The Nisan bread company survived the Great Depression and both the First and Second World Wars.

Country Kitchen Rolls is another local favorite baked by Lepage Bakeries (LEWISTON, Maine) a 109-year-old-company- purchased by Georgia based, Flower Foods in 2012.

If you can’t find a “top-loading” hot-dog bun, give a brioche roll a try or even a nice buttery croissant. Local, fresh baked breads is always a real real treat, but be sure your bread does not over weigh the meat. Remember the roll is merely the vessel to hold your luxurious lobster meat. Too much and you will sink your lobster roll!

4. Over-Stuff your Lobster Roll!

Next lightly butter both sides of each bun and grill for 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Open the top split and pile in your lobster meat until your lobster roll is overstuffed. Don’t forget to supply a fork to get every chunk of lobster meat that spills out.

5. A Secret Lobster Roll Ingredient

You never want to over-complicate the lobster roll, but here is one little secret topping that gives your roll a little sweet and salty taste. Pick up one box each of Lorna Dune cookies, Keebler Club Crackers, and Ritz Crackers.

Simple Lobster Roll Ingredient
  1. In a zip lock back add 4-5 of each and mash em up fine.
  2. Just before you serve your rolls sprinkle a little of this mixture on the top of your rolls.
  3.  Give each roll a squeeze of fresh lemon.

This crumb topping is great on both hot buttered and mayo rolls! Also, try it on grilled or baked lobster tails.

What to Serve With Lobster Rolls?

Again, you want to keep your sea sweet sandwiches simple. Some sides can include: potato chips, potato salad, coleslaw french fries, onion rings or even a pickle or two. For starters, go for a nice cup of clam chowder with oyster crackers. And when in New England why not have some steamer clams or even fried clams with your rolls.

For a sweet side serve watermelon slices and for dessert bake up chocolate chip cookies, brownies, or whoopie pies—the official state treat of Maine.

Where to find the Perfect Lobster Roll?

Your itinerary to Maine would not be complete without a stop at a roadside stand for this New England, and now US favorite. A great little book documenting some of the best rolls in not just Maine, but in all of New England is Lobster Rolls of New England: Seeking Sweet Summer Delight, by the Lobster Gal, aka, Sally Lerman. 

New England Lobster Rolls

Can’t get to a lobster shack? Have authentic Lobster Rolls shipped direct to your door from LobsterAnywhere! Create a classic Maine dinner with two pounds of exquisite claw and knuckle lobster meat (that’s lots of lobster meat!), and eight traditional top split lobster rolls, express shipped. Plus, for fun we include a box of New England taffy. Get $10 off your first order of rolls. Enter code (ROLL10) at online checkout.


  1. Hot buttered toasted roll with hot buttered lobster meat…there is no better sandwich! Beer is great with it and the bubbly is also excellent for the adults.

  2. I just started eating lobster since my husband introduced me to eating it and its great with hot butter on a warm croissant along with a cold glass of beer or a cold glass of wine and a buttery hot baked potatoe yum yum yummy.

  3. I am a true lobster lover. I would love to travel to Maine to get the best, but in the meantime, I will be happy with lobster rolls, tails, salad–really just anyway I can enjoy the sweet taste of lobster!!!

  4. I’ve never had a true lobster roll…or even a variation. Every time I see one done in a cooking competition or featured on a blog I think oh how amazingly delicious that must be. I decided when I get my promotion at work I am buying this treat to celebrate so I can blog about it.

  5. I’ve never had a lobster roll, they sound delicious! I live in the Rocky Mountains and beef country. No lobster roundups around here for the wiley crustaceans… sadly. Would love to try it one day!!!

  6. I have ordered the Monster Lobster Tails many times, very yummy. I will order them with butter. I have wanted to try the Lobster Rolls, but have not had the chance as of yet.

  7. I thought I’d eaten lobster in any way possible, but have never had a lobster roll!
    I just ordered 24 lobsters from this place, and have eaten em all over the world, I swear, these were
    sooo tender and sweet, fresh, you BET!!! No kidding either. I had bought the huge 24 oz a few months ago for one son’s BD, but the ones I just got, the 8 oz, are better for me, I eat 2 for dinner, or have a little surf n turf with one.

    Again, these lobsters slept in the ocean the day before I got them, had too, just tooooo sweet!!!
    Thank you for such a wonderful product!!! And I got the Maine butter with these.

  8. Real lobster , huge chunks of meat !!!!! What else can you say but summer time sure is great when lobster and friends are involved !!!! Love it can’t wait to sit down with a REAL lobster roll and a cold bud light.

  9. Buttered lobster rolls are the best. I’ve had them in Maine and I don’t think you can get them anywhere else as fresh and plentiful then in Maine. They never skimp on the lobster and it is the sweetest I’ve ever tasted.

  10. There are no favorites, but my favorite way to truly enjoy them is to make and devour 1 hot buttered and one with mayo and a bit of celery, I cheat by leaving a little lobster meat to eat by itself. I have given and served lobster rolls and other great food from Lobster Anywhere for a number of years.

    From Florida to Arkansas, always well received and want to know when there will be more. I’ve even served rolls in the winter with a side of sautéed bok choy over brown rice. No bad way to serve a lobster roll.

  11. Best lobster roll I ever had was at a little seaside restaurant in Oqunquit, Maine! Definitely love mine with mayo and a little splash of Tabasco! 🙂 Yum, yum and more yum!

  12. We were up in New England for over two weeks an I bet I had 12 different Lobster rolls. My favorite had a spicy mayo seasoning (maybe aioli). Don’t remember the place but I know I will find it when we return.

  13. Must be in a freshly buttered & toasted roll, stuff with as much of any fresh, buttered or mayo tossed Lobster……..drizzle with a little lemon juice……..Enjoy every last bite YUMMMM!!!

  14. I have enjoyed Lobster Rolls, both ways, Mayo & Butter. The best one we had was when we were on a Cruise From NY, to New Brunswick, St. Johns, & Boston. The Northeast know how to make them perfectly. Just thinking about them gets my mouth watering. YUMMY

  15. All terrific suggestions. Lobster meat…check. Cold Arnold Palmer…check. Buttered split-top rolls…check. I’ll go one better — TOASTED split-top rolls. Nothing better! Agreed, summer, fall, winter, spring…anytime of year. Lobster knows no season.

  16. I am sure this taste great. I have not tried a real Maine lobster rolls, however I LOVE your lobsters tails, so I am sure I would enjoy and love these rolls!

  17. I like my lobster rolls warm with finely minced shallots sauted in butter with chopped peppadew peppers, squeeze of fresh lemon juice, black pepper and a sprinkling of grated romano cheese on a hot buttered bun. I know I have gone rebel but its so good!!!

  18. I was just visiting my family on Cape Cod. Other than seeing the Ocean having a lobster roll and fresh whole clams was the most awesome thing. Along with fresh made Clam Chowdah!!! I need to win my some Lobster Rolls.

  19. Love the classic Lobster rolls I enjoyed in Brewster, Mass on Cape Cod…I sometimes added a shot of hot sauce, but mostly I loved to let the fresh Lobster taste shine through.
    A nice dry white wine or a cold beer made the meal heaven to me…!

  20. When making a lobster roll, you have to be very careful not to add too much mayo. I chop celery fine add a little mayo and put on fresh Italian bread with iceberg lettuce! Yum!

  21. I served my party with the Frito lay dips…just in case the over stuffed lobster fell out! I also sprinkled old bay spices on top and toasted the buttery bread in the oven for a warm crunch! Some ate my potato salad with the rolls… I just disappeared with 3 to myself ?

  22. I’ve never heard of doing that with crackers. I do love lobster lightly dressed on a grilled buttered roll. Some places pile it high with lettuce and tomato. Just give me the lobster.

  23. I LOVE any kind of lobster rolls and LOBSTER!!!! I lightly toast the hot dog buns and spread REAL melted butter on them..I do a LOT of lobster mixed with mayo and chopped celery and a dash of horseradish!! I serve with homemade potato salad and potato chips and a corn on the cob! YUMMY!!! BRING IT ON!!!!

  24. I like my lobster roll with a little “kick”! I prefer to have the lobster chopped into large chunks, with a little freshly chopped horseradish, some Hellmann’s mayonnaise, a pinch is sea salt and pepper, thinly sliced scallions and a hint of minced garlic…yum!

    1. That’s a new one! We’ll have to try it out. We’ll have to see if we can found them here. It’s usually the case that lobster lovers can’t get the top-split hot dogs buns outside of New England!

  25. My wife’s parents live on Cape Cod and the loberster rolls from Lobsteranywhere are as close to being on the Cape as you can get -PS this scores me big points with the wife!!!!!!!
    Thanks Lobersteranywhere.

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