How to Boil a Lobster

lobster (live, moving around, with clear looking eyes)


Keep the lobster chilled (and alive) until you go to boil it. Fill your largest stockpot with water to the half way point and add salt.

Cover and bring water to a boil. Use tongs to drop the lobster into the water. Loosely cover. Boil 1 lb* lobsters for 15 minutes.

Lobster should be bright red when it is fully cooked. Eat as is or use in your favorite recipe.

*1 lb is pretty standard sized for lobsters, but if you are lucky enough to get a big one, add 5 minutes for every 1/2 lb to you cooking time.

My thoughts:

We were lucky enough to be given a fabulous Le Creuset lobster pot when we got married a couple of years ago but have rarely ever actually used it for cooking lobster. Generally we make stock, gumbo or chili in it, so when we can actually use it for lobster it is pretty special. Growing up in Baltimore, I am more familiar with crabs than lobster which seemed so big and daunting but is actually much easier to eat than streamed crabs. Just remove and crack open both parts of the claw (nutcrackers work just as well as fancy lobster crackers), see if you can get any meat out of the legs, then bend the tail until it cracks and peel the shell off the meat and you’re done. And unlike crab, the meat is big and in one piece. Much easier to eat but less of an event. Anyway, I got 2 fresh, live lobsters overnighted to me from Sagamore Lobster and they were so, so good. Fresh tasting, wild caught and the most lobster-tasting lobster I have ever had if that makes any sense. I am already dreaming of the next time we boil some lobster. Lobster this good is great plain, but if you aren’t planning on cutting it up to use in a recipe and are a dipper, heating lemon juice, minced shallots and butter together makes a great dipping sauce.


  1. I love your lobster pot!!!

  2. I agree with Steamy Kitchen – that lobster pot is fantastic.

  3. You left out some important parts:

    a. Lobster is best enjoyed in Maine, preferably on a wild and deserted island on a sunny summer afternoon. You’ve arrived there by rowboat, preferably off a sailboat with no motor. Bring your own firewood; there isn’t enough on the islands.

    b. You need to cook the lobster in salt water pulled right from the ocean. It has loads of little bugs in it that enhance the flavor.

    c. Into the pot must also go: potatoes, onions, mussels, corn on the cob (husks on).

    d. Cover the lot with seaweed and boil until done.

    It should look like

  4. That must be nice MP, but completely impractial for me and 99.9% of my readers.

  5. This would be great boiled in crab boil.

  6. i have read where one is supposed to take off elastics do u think that necessary cause i see you do not….this person/column said the elastic color would bleed into the water and would add a rubbery taste…what do u say

  7. I didn’t take them off because I didn’t want them to pinch me. I didn’t notice an off taste. Maybe if you were boiling dozens of lobsters but just 2 in a huge amount of water? Not a big deal.

  8. I’ve heard that extremely large lobsters have tougher meat. Is this true?

    Is there a local place to get lobsters in Baltimore?

  9. If you watch the lobster episode of good eats,Alton Brown gets the meat out of the legs with a rolling pin. He just cut them off, and then started at the closed tip and rolled to the cut one, and all the meat came out in one big long piece. It is up on you tube if you want to see.