How to Cook Live Lobsters

How to Boil Live Lobsters

How to Steam Live Lobsters

When our customers order live Maine lobsters or a delicious lobster dinner, one of their first questions is, “how do I cook my lobsters?” This is a question the the lobster experts at Lobster Gram are happy to address, as learning how to boil or steam lobsters is part of what makes a Lobster Gram so great!

While each order includes our easy-to-use lobster cooking guide, we want to help ensure our customers have everything they need to steam and boil live lobsters like a professional chef. Why not start by finding the perfect lobsters for your next meal!

With a huge selection of amazing lobster dinner recipes available for our customers, you’re sure to find the perfect way to prepare your lobster. Don’t forget to look for more great deals in our lobster dinners on sale section!

How to Prepare Lobster and Care for Live Lobsters

For almost 30 years, Lobster Gram has provided the highest quality live lobsters fished from the cold North Atlantic waters. Each lobster we ship is hand-picked at our distribution center and shipped directly to your door, but what do you need to do once you receive your lobster?

First things first: be sure that you cook your lobsters, shellfish, or seafood the same day you receive the package. This will help ensure the best flavors and quality.

Start by leaving your lobsters in their packaging until you’re ready to make dinner. It’s fine to take a peek, but be sure to keep that lid closed tightly! This helps keep the lobsters cold and fresh. Don’t leave the container near a heat source and be sure to keep it on the counter so pets, children, or hungry spouses don’t open the box.

Make sure that you don’t freeze your lobsters OR put them in tap water prior to cooking them. Freezing them will kill them, and tap water will actually drown your lobsters. A fresh, live lobster is always the best!

For more information, visit our live lobster preparation and care page, or call us directly at 1-800-548-3562.

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How to Boil Live Lobsters

Boiling a live lobster is a simple and fun process, and with Lobster Gram’s help, you’ll be cooking your lobsters like a seasoned pro in no time. Follow the directions below for perfectly cooked fresh lobsters!

  • Fill a large stock pot with enough water to cover your lobsters and bring it to a rolling boil. We recommend not adding salt, as it can cause the water to over-boil and might make an already salty dinner even saltier.
  • While your water is boiling, remove your lobsters from their packaging and placing them on the counter for a few moments. Feel free to rinse them off with lukewarm water, but don’t hold them under the faucet for too long, as they can drown or start waking up.
  • We recommend leaving the rubber bands on the lobster’s claws when you cook them. We don’t want you getting pinched!.
  • When the water is ready, grab the lobster behind the claws with the palm of your hand over the back. Use an oven mitt or gloves if you don’t want to touch the lobster directly, or want to protect your hands from any splashing water.
  • Carefully slide the lobster head-first into the water and cover the pot with the lid. You might hear a whistling sound when the steam starts escaping from the shells, but don’t worry - that’s normal. Remember: lobsters can’t scream!
  • When the water returns to a full boil, set your timer using the chart below, and be careful that you don’t overcook your lobsters.
Lobster Size
Cooking Time
1-Pound Lobster
9 - 10 minutes in boiling water
1 ¼-Pound Lobster
10 - 11 minutes in boiling water
1 ½-Pound Lobster
11 - 12 minutes in boiling water
2-Pound Lobster
12 - 13 minutes in boiling water
3-Pounds and Up Lobsters
15 - 16 minutes in boiling water

Use the cooking times listed above to prepare other parts of your meal. We recommend melting unsalted Maine butter on very low stovetop heat or in short bursts in the microwave.

  • After the time goes off, check to make sure your lobsters are somewhere between a deep red to pink color. This means they’re cooked.
  • Using rubber gloves or tongs, carefully remove your lobsters from the boiling water and place them on a flat surface where they can drain.
  • Let your lobsters sit for at least 5 minutes. This will allow the juices to settle and will give the lobster the time it needs to retain its natural flavor.

Visit our “How to Remove Lobster Meat” section below the lobster steaming guide to learn how to perfectly prepare your cooked lobsters, and be sure to check out our How to Boil Live Lobsters Video below to learn more!

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How to Steam Live Lobsters

Steaming lobsters is an age-old Northeastern tradition that true lobster lovers have long enjoyed, and Lobster Gram is proud to teach you how to perfectly steam your lobsters right at home!

  • Fill a large pot with one to two inches of cold, salted water, and place a steaming insert or high-temperature-resistant colander in the pot. Be sure that the water line is below the steaming insert, otherwise you’ll end up boiling your lobsters.
  • Cover your pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring the water to a boil. We recommend using a 16-quart lobster steaming pots, which come with handy tongs!
  • Add your live lobsters to the pot one at a time. Make sure to do it slowly and wear oven mitts or gloves, otherwise you could burn your hand in the steam.
  • Be sure that your lobsters are far enough apart to ensure that the steam can move freely between them. Overcrowding your lobsters can result in imperfect cooking.
  • Use the chart below to gauge how long you should steam your lobsters based on their weight.
Lobster Size
Cooking Time
1-Pound Lobster
10 Minutes
1 ¼-Pound Lobster
12 Minutes
1 ½-Pound Lobster
14 Minutes
1 ¾-Pound Lobster
16 Minutes
2-Pound Lobster
18 Minutes
2 ½-Pounds and Up Lobsters
22 Minutes

  • Once the timer goes off, check your lobsters. They should now be a bright red or deep pink color.
  • Remove your lobsters from the steamer pot, place them on a flat surface, and let them sit for at least 5 minutes. This will allow the juices to settle and reabsorb into the meat.
  • Check the tail meat for doneness by twisting the tail off and inspecting the meat. It should be firm and white with no translucency or gray patches.
  • If the meat is still gray or translucent, place it back in the pot and steam it for one- to two-minute intervals. Be careful that you don’t accidentally overcook your lobsters!

Refer to our “How to Remove Lobster Meat” section below to learn how to extract your freshly cooked lobster meat from the tails and claws. Enjoy!

How to Remove Lobster Tail Meat:

  • Start by grabbing the lobster’s body in one hand and the tail in the other. Quickly twist the tail completely free from the body and rinse off the innards.
  • Check the lobster tail to ensure it’s cooked. Fully cooked lobster meat will be white and firm, but if you see any gray or translucent areas, then the tail needs to be cooked longer. Return the lobster tail to the boiling water or your steamer pot for one-minute intervals until the meat is fully cooked.
  • Once the tail is fully cooked, crack the flippers off the end of the tail. If you find red material in the tail, don’t worry – these are lobster eggs, also known as roe or lobster caviar. Some consider lobster roe to be a delicacy, but it’s up to you whether or not you want to eat the roe.
  • Use your heavy-duty steel lobster shears or kitchen scissors to cut through the top of the tail shell. Many people make two long cuts and remove the middle section, which makes it much easier to get to the meat.
  • You can choose to either push the meat out or eat the meat directly out of the opened shell. Either option is perfectly fine.
  • Your cooked lobster meat is now ready to serve. Bon appetite!

How to Remove Lobster Claw Meat:

  • Begin by twisting the lobster’s arms off and removing the rubber bands.
  • Crack the claws and joints open using a sturdy lobster shell cracker, then push the meat our with a seafood fork or other small tool.
  • Hot water might come out of the claws during this process, so be careful!

You’re now ready to enjoy your sweet, succulent boiled lobster. We hope that you love your meal and come back again to have another lobster dinner delivered to your door!

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Learn More about Boiling and Steaming Lobsters

If you would like to learn more about how to boil or steam live lobsters, please contact the Lobster Gram customer service team today. Simply call 1-800-548-3562 or fill out our online contact form. We’re here to help you cook an amazing meal your friends, family, and favorite people won’t soon forget!