Tag Archives: cooking lobster

Steaming or boiling lobster. Which is best?

Steaming or boiling lobster?  That is the question.

With the great anticipation of the return of the outdoor cooking (bye bye winter),  lobster chef’s everywhere will soon be back to pondering the same old question.
Whether “tis better to boil or steam a live lobster.  What’s the best lobster recipe?
Two pound steamed Maine lobsters on a plate

Two Pound Steamed Maine Lobsters

 Boiling a Maine lobster is the easiest way to cook and serve a whole lobster and a boiled lobster is easier to pick clean. When you have that large picnic or party and the kettle is kept full all day with lobster, boiling is just so much easier.  But steaming a lobster often yields the best results for eating.
steamer kettle for lobster and clams

Traditional kettle for steaming clams

Here’s why:  steaming is a more gentle process of cooking the meat and it preserves more flavor and tenderness. Steaming a lobster is also more forgiving on the chef since it is harder to overcook a lobster in a steam pot.  For true lobster lovers, steaming is the way to go.
So let’s get started.
First step is to order some freshly caught, hard shell Maine lobster.  Hard shells are recommended as the lobsters are usually stronger and healthier and the hard shell lobster will have the most meat. 
Then choose a big four to five-gallon kettle or pot with a tight lid.  This size pot should be able to easily handle up to eight pounds of lobster.  Remember, don’t crowd the lobster into the pot or you will get uneven results.  It is best to have the right size pot.
Add two to three inches of sea water to the cover the bottom of the pot.  If you don’t have access to the Atlantic Ocean, don’t worry.  Use filtered fresh water and add lots of sea salt:  one to two tablespoons per quart.
Place a steaming rack inside the pot and use high heat to bring the water to a rolling boil.  If you wish, you may remove the rubber lobster claw bands.  Place the live lobster one at a time and head first into the pot and cover.  Start timing the lobster and do not overcook.
Hard Shell  Weight*
1 pound
8-10 minutes
1-1/4 pounds
10-12 minutes
1-1/2 pounds
12-14 minutes
1-3/4 pounds
15-17 minutes
2 pounds
16-18  minutes
2-1/2 pounds
18-20 minutes
3 pounds
20-30 minutes
5 pounds
35-45 (or more) minutes

*Reduce time by 3 minutes for soft shell lobster.
Half way through the allotted cook time, open the lid and move the lobster around in the pot.  It is important to shift the lobster so they all cook evenly.  If necessary, you may add a little more water but no more salt is required.
The most important step for all lobster chefs is determining when the lobsters are done.  The first rule, do not to overcook the lobster.  A lobster shell will be bright red when fully cooked and the meat white. 
So what’s the best way to tell when the lobsters are done?
Care must be taken with large lobster as they will be red but they may not be fully cooked.  And a lobster in the top of the pot may not have cooked as fast as one at the bottom.
One popular practice is to give one of the lobster antennae a good pull while the lobster is still in the steamer pot.    If the antenna pops off, it is a good sign the lobster is done.  Another step is to use tongs to remove one lobster and cut a small slice at the bottom of the tail.  If the meat is fully changed form translucent to white, it’s done.  Note: The lobster will continue to cook for a minute even after it’s taken out of the pot, so again, do not overcook.
Allow steamed lobster to drain for a minute. You may pierce the body and tail with a knife to help drain the water.  Then serve the lobster right away with a side of melted butter and a slice of lemon.   To make eating fun and easy, serve with lobster bib and steel cracker accessory kits.

Mother’s Day Maine Lobster Benedict Brunch Recipe

This year Mother’s Day is May 10th.  So this year begin Mom’s special day with a Mother’s Day lobster brunch of homemade fresh Maine Lobster Benedict, a beautiful dish that is sure to make your Mother’s Day celebration very special indeed.  As we like to say, flowers are great, but a Mother’s Day gift of lobster just tastes better.

Maine lobster benedict recipe for Mothers Day 2012

Maine Lobster Benedict (Courtesy Lobster From Maine)

The Maine Lobster Benedict recipe begins with fresh Maine lobster.  You will need five one-pound lobsters to garner 1 pound of cooked lobster meat.  You steam the lobster as usual and use a large chef’s knife to open the claws and tail to remove the meat.  Of, if you prefer, you can buy one pound of freshly cooked Maine lobster meat.  Just make sure the lobster is fresh.


The Maine Lobster Benedict recipe will provide four servings for a great Mother’s Day Brunch.  The recipe includes preparing homemade Hollandaise Sauce:

Hollandaise Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup (1/4 pound) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt
Other Ingredients
  • 4 English muffins
  • 12 asparagus spears, steamed
  • 1 pound cooked Maine lobster
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 eggs, poached
Prepare the Hollandaise Sauce: 
  • Melt the butter in a double-boiler on top of the stove.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper.
  • Whisk the egg mixture into the melted butter, stirring constantly over heat until the sauce starts to thicken.
  •  Season to taste with sea salt.
  • Remove the double boiler from the heat and keep the sauce warm over the hot water.

Prepare Maine Lobster Benedict:

  • Split and toast the English muffins and place 2 halves on a plate.
  •  Cut the steamed asparagus spears in half, and place 3 halve-pieces on each English part of the English muffin.
  • Briefly sauté the pre-cooked lobster in 1 tablespoon of butter until it is heated, and add a portion of the heated lobster to each English muffin.
  • Poach the eggs and top each muffin half with a poached egg.
  • Add a dollop of the Hollandaise Sauce on top.


Note on the Hollandaise Sauce from Chef Tom Gutow: If the butter fat and egg yolks separate and the sauce appear to curdle, add a few tablespoons of  hot water from the boiler and whisk like crazy to emulsify it. This will make the sauce smooth again. 

Lobster Real American Comfort Food

Yes, fresh lobster from New England is a well known delicacy, but did you know lobster is really good for you?  Rich in protein, Vitamin B-12, Phosphorus and Zinc, lobster is also low in fat and calories and has zero carbohydrates. Lobster is also an excellent source of lean protein.   All told, lobster is real American comfort food and an incredibly healthy food.


Lobster also contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which according to the American Heart Association, are associated with good heart health.
The experts at the National Institute of Health list lobster as having fewer calories and saturated fats than both chicken and turkey.  Here is a breakdown of a 3.5 ounce serving of each.
                       CHOLESTEROL    CALORIES     FATS
Maine Lobster          72 mg              98              0.1 g
Skinless Chicken        85 mg           173             1.3 g
Skinless Turkey        86 mg           140               0.4 g


New England restaurants from Maine to Rhode Island prepare lobsters in any number of elaborate ways.   Baked stuffed, lobster salads, lobster ravioli, lobster chowder and more are among the specialties. However, most New England folks rely on the tried and true ways: Steamed (or boiled), grilled or broiled. 


For lobster lovers, a fresh, steamed lobster has the best taste.   Hard shell or new shell, lobster requires careful cook timing for best flavor. Cooking either too long or too short can turn the meat mushy or tough and greatly affect flavor.  Perfectly cooked, the claw and tail meat is tender, sweet and delicious.   If all this make you hungry, remember you don’t have to go to Maine.  Today you can have live, fresh lobster delivered right to your front door anywhere in the country.


Here are the nutrients and the percentage of daily requirements found in a 3.5 ounce lobster tail.


Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
410 kJ (98 kcal)
0 g
0 g
0 g
0.59 g
0.107 g
0.091 g
0.16 g
20.5 g
0 mg (0%)
4 mg (267%)
4 mg (27%)
2 mg (40%)
4 mg (308%)
Folate (Vit. B9)
2 μg (1%)
0 mg (0%)
6 mg (1%)
2 mg (16%)
8 mg (2%)
15 mg (2%)
0 mg (0%)
15 mg (150%)
Percentages are relative to US Recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database


So what does one need to know when enjoying their next Maine? Lobster is is a beneficial source of plaque reducing Omega-3 fatty acids (which are healthy for the heart), extremely low in fat, very high in protein,  The same portion of skinless chicken has 130% more fat while the same portion of lean beef has 500% more fat.


And for those who prefer organic food, lobster is at the top of the list. They are harvested in the wild where they feed on a smorgasbord of fresh seafood. The Lobster diet consists of live fish, live crabs, live clams and live mussels. In all, lobster have a very healthy diet which which is why they are a beneficial food for humans.
For cooking information, check out our tips on how to cook live Maine Lobster.

Try This Lobster Mac and Cheese Recipe Bursting with Flavor

Down home American comfort food – fresh Maine Lobster and macaroni – combined to create a high-class dish that is bursting with flavor and a winter lobster dish favorite. Follow this recipe to make a glorious Lobster Mac & Cheese Casserole that will have your family and guests swooning.

lobster mac and cheese casserole

Lobster and Campanelle Pasta

The lobster mac and cheese dish starts with a selection of four of your favorite cheeses, Campanelle pasta and a hard-shell, two pound or larger, live Maine Lobster.


  1. Begin by poaching the lobster.   Add two to three quarts of water and two tablespoons of sea salt to a kettle or large pot.  Bring the water to a roiling boil, add the lobster, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for three to five minutes until the meat is just firm and opaque.  Remove the lobster and let drain. Save the water in the pot. Using a chef’s knife, open the tails and claws and remove the lobster meat.  Cut into bite size chunks. Save the claw and tail shells.  Set the poached lobster meat aside.
  2. Using the same water and pot, bring water to a boil again and stir in the macaroni. Add lobster claw shells and save the tail shell. Reduce heat to medium and cook the pasta uncovered about six to eight minutes (half the time specified on the box). You want to undercook the pasta otherwise it will be mushy after baking. Drain the pasta in the sink, rinse in cool water and set aside.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. The next step is the sauce. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan over low to medium heat.  Add in diced onion and cook until onion is translucent, about four minutes. Scoop the onions from the pan and set aside. Add the saved lobster tail shell; add the minced garlic, chopped shallot and light cream (or milk) to the sauce pan. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Scrape the garlic, onions and shallots from the pan and set aside. Remove and discard the lobster tail shell. Add in three more tablespoons of butter.  Stir in the flour and whisk until thickened.
  5. Stir in all four kinds of shredded cheese to the thickened cream sauce. Heat until the cheeses are melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.  Add in the macaroni and lobster chunks and toss.  Stir in the onions, garlic and shallots.
  6. Add heated macaroni mixture to a four quart casserole and smooth the cheese across the top.  Sprinkle with panko (or buttered) bread crumbs. Bake in oven until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly, about 12 to 15 minutes.


  • 1 (1 pound) campanelle pasta or other tubed macaroni
  • 1 (2 pound or larger) live Maine lobster, hard shell
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups light cream (or milk)
  • 5 tablespoons flour, all-purpose
  • 1 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½-pound soft, cream style (Boursin) cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons panko bread crumbs