How to Microwave Lobster: Yes it really works in a pinch!

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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

There are endless ways to cook and flavor lobster. These sweet treats of the sea are a canvas for flavor and creativity, so how about using a favorite of lobster fisherman, microwave lobster? In a pinch to cook whole live lobster? Learn how to microwave lobster from the pros at

You’ve done it! You ordered your lobster from LobsterAnywhere and scheduled your delivery. As you eagerly track your precious cargo knowing it’ll arrive in less than 24 hours, you begin to plan. Dreaming of minimal clean-up and fast cooking, “ZAP”, it hits you. What about in the microwave?

While this is not the most conventional method of cooking lobster, this convenient and mess free method works well. Not only does it work, it requires minimal effort and only your microwave. As Ina would say, “How easy is that?”

Not into zapping bugs, there are plenty of ways to cook live lobster, including baking, steaming, boiling, grilling, butter poaching and more.

How to Microwave Lobster

Why Microwave Lobster?

You might be wondering to yourself, just because you can microwave lobster, should you? Much to the surprise of even those of us at LobsterAnywhere, the answer is a resounding “YES!”. Long before there was the Instant Pot and air fryer, people were utilizing the speed, efficiency, and convenience of the microwave.

We know you’re probably looking at your microwave right now, wondering if we’re a little crazy. Sometimes the best methods to do something come directly from the source. Picture yourself on the icy waters of Maine. When you’re out on the ocean there is minimal room in the galley and only the basics. With the freshest lobster aboard their boats, lobster fisherman would take their catch, add it to a microwave safe bag along with a splash of seawater, and zap! Tender, succulent, and perfectly steamed lobster every time!

One of the leading authorities on New England cuisine, Chef Jasper White, has a section in his cookbook Lobster at Home that breaks down the process and explains why it works. Not only does he have a section devoted to it, but it was the legendary Julia Child who suggested it. If it’s good enough for Julia, it’s good enough for us. Just don’t forget the butter!

Easier than Steaming and Boiling!

Just like steaming in a pot, the lobster cooks in its own shell. Unlike boiled lobster, there is little water involved, just enough to create that steamy environment. As the lobster cooks in its own juices, its natural sweetness and flavor concentrates.

We might not be on fishing boats, but there are occasions where this might be a great alternative method for cooking lobster. For those who might be new to cooking or just don’t want to spend your day in the kitchen, a large pot to comfortably accommodate whole lobsters might not be part of your cooking arsenal. In addition, this method also frees up your oven and stove if you are preparing multiple dishes at once.

The Basics of Microwaving Whole Lobster

With just a couple of ingredients and one step before your lobster meets the microwave, this method couldn’t be easier. To begin with, you will need to humanely dispatch the lobster, or use fully thawed lobster tails. We recommend you do this just before microwaving for even doneness. In addition, we recommend you only microwave one lobster or two tails (single for colossal and monster tails) at a time. If you are cooking multiple lobsters, you may want to consider another cooking method such as steaming or boiling.

Besides your microwave, the only specific tool you need for this method of cooking is a microwave safe bag or container. You will find these in the same aisle as your freezer and storage bags. They’re meant specifically for cooking vegetables, seafood, and other proteins safely in the microwave.


  • One-gallon microwave safe plastic bag for each 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound lobster or a 2-gallon bag for 2 pound lobster (colossal and monster tails); or microwave safe container with a lid
  • Microwave
  • Tongs or heat resistant, silicone BBQ gloves to ‘manhandle’ the piping hot, cooked lobster.
  • Microwave steaming container (optional)

Cooking Times to Microwave Whole Lobster

Lobster WeightCooking TimesInternal Temperature
under 1 pound2 minutes/30 second intervals135-140 degrees
1 pound6 minutes135-140 degrees
1 ¼ pound7 minutes135-140 degrees
1 ½ pound8 minutes135-140 degrees
1 ¾ pound9 minutes135-140 degrees
2 pound10 minutes135-140 degrees
Microwave Times is for all lobsters.

Get Creative: A Few Options to Microwave Lobster

While this is a basic guideline to microwave lobster in the shell, your microwave is a useful tool for other types of lobster.

  • Reheating
    • Some might think leftover lobster is a myth, but the microwave is an easy and dependable way to warm your cooked lobster meat through. Simply place it in a microwave safe bag or covered microwave safe dish. Depending on the quantity of meat you have you can microwave on medium for 1:30, or in 30 second intervals.
    • Be careful of over cooking, you just want to warm it through.
  • Raw Out of Shell
    • Split your lobster in half and clean out the roe, head sacs and tomalley.
    • Crack the claws. Remove the meat from the shells.
    • Spread the raw meat in the microwave safe bag and add 1/4 cup water.
    • Because the meat is out of the shell it won’t take long to microwave lobster. Reduce the cook time in half and check to make sure your internal temperature is between 135-140 degrees.

Quality Matters

Regardless of whether you steam your lobsters or decide to give nuking your clawed crustaceans a try, it always starts with the freshest lobsters. Our sustainably sourced, hard shell lobsters are caught daily in the icy cold waters off of the coast of Maine and delivered to your door within 24 hours.

FAQs on Microwaved Lobster

Can I microwave lobster?

Yes! The microwave cooks the lobster in a similar fashion as steaming. In cooks in its own juices in its shell, concentrating the flavor.

What do I need to microwave lobster?

Other than your microwave all you need is a microwave safe bag/container, a small amount of water, and a half a lemon(optional) per lobster.

How long does it take to microwave lobster?

Just like any other method of cooking lobster, it varies by weight. It takes 6-10 minutes on average. If you have smaller tails under a pound, we recommend 2 minutes of cook time and then 30 second intervals after to ensure not to overcook your lobster.

Can I cook more than one lobster at a time when I microwave lobster?

No. We recommend you only cook one whole lobster or two smaller tails at a time, and only one whole lobster per microwave safe bag. If you are cooking multiple lobsters we recommend that you either steam them or boil them.

Can I use the microwave to defrost Lobster?

Yes, if your Lobster tails are frozen you can use the defrost setting on your microwave to begin defrosting. Be careful to not go for too long as it could over cook your tails!

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microwave whole lobster

How to Microwave Lobster: Yes it really works in a pinch!

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You might be wondering to yourself, just because you can microwave lobster, should you? Much to the surprise of even those of us at LobsterAnywhere, the answer is a resounding “YES!”. Long before there was the Instant Pot and air fryer, people were utilizing the speed, efficiency, and convenience of the microwave.

  • Total Time: 12
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1/2 lemon per lobster (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of water per each bag/container, or rockweed if it’s available
    • You can replace the water with your favorite white wine such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc.
    • Beer also works well adding flavor and creating steam. We recommend using an ale, lager, or pilsner.
  • Toss in your favorite aromatics if desired. Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, or tarragon would work as well as bay leaves.


1. Put Whole Lobster in the Bag

For whole lobsters, spear the halved lemon onto the rostrum (beak-like structure that looks like a nose), or place in the bag with the lobster. For tails, split in half or cut shell down the center and pull meat onto the top of the shell. Add 1/4 cup of water or rockweed into your bag/container and close. Lobster Steamed Microwave

2. Cook your lobster at the highest setting. Zap!

Cook your lobster at the highest setting. Cooking times will vary slightly according to your microwave model; usually 2-4 minutes

3. Open the bag, watch for steam!

Be careful when removing the bag/container from the microwave and opening it as steam will be escaping. Because of the steamy environment and the lobster’s own thick shell, it will continue to cook once removed. Steamed Lobster Microwave

4. Check the Temperature

We recommend using an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of your lobster. Insert it into the underside of the lobster at the tail, closest to the body. It should be between 135-140 degrees or until flesh is opaque throughout.

5. Get Cracking with Whole Lobsters

Allow your lobster to cool enough to handle. Then have fun cracking it open! Tails just need enough time to cool off before extracting the meat.

6. Accoutrements

Serve your microwaved masterpiece with your favorite accompaniments such as melted butter and lemon wedges. Here are more lobster side dishes ideas.


If you do not have an instant read thermometer you can do the antenna check when using whole lobster. Simply give one of the antennae a tug. If it easily releases, it’s done!

  • Author: Lobster Loue
  • Prep Time: 2
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Microwave
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 1000
  • Fat: 20

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.

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