Steamed Maine Lobster Recipe
Outdoor cooking season leaves lobster chefs with the decision of either steaming or boiling lobster. The easiest way to cook, serve, and pick clean Maine Lobster is by boiling it. When it comes to steaming, this often gives the best results for eating. With a more gentle process of cooking lobster meat, steaming preserves its flavor and tenderness. This cooking technique makes it difficult to overcook the meat and can be forgiving with timing.
How Long to Steam Lobster Recipe
The first step is to order some freshly caught old shell Maine lobster that is available up to 2.5 pounds. Older shell lobsters are usually stronger and healthier with more meat than new shell lobster. When you choose the lobster that’s right for your meal use a big four to five-gallon kettle or pot with a tight lid and a bottom steaming rack. This size pot should be able to easily handle up to eight pounds of lobster. When placing the lobsters in the pot make sure to not crowd to avoid uneven results.
Begin cooking by adding two to three inches of sea water to cover the bottom of the pot. If you don’t have access to the Atlantic Ocean you can use filtered fresh water and add lots of sea salt; one to two tablespoons per quart.
Place the steaming rack inside the pot and use high heat to bring the water to a roiling boil. If you wish, you may remove the rubber lobster claw bands. One at a time, place the live lobster head first into the pot and cover. Start timing the lobster and do not overcook.
Lobster Steaming Times (Hard Shell Weight)
- 1 pound, 8-10 minutes
- 1 ¼ pounds, 10-12 minutes
- 1 ½ pounds, 12-14 minutes
- 1 ¾ pounds, 15-17 minutes
- 2 pounds, 16-18 minutes
- 2 ½ pounds, 18-20 minutes
- 3 pounds, 20-30 minutes
- 5 pounds, 35-45 (or more) minutes
*If you’re using soft shell lobster reduce time by 3 minutes.
Halfway through the allotted cook time, open the lid and move the lobster around in the pot. Shifting is important for an even cook. You may add a little more water if necessary. To determine when the lobsters are fully cooked the lobster shell will be bright red and the meat white.
What’s the best way to tell when the lobsters are done?
Large lobsters’ shell can be red but may not be fully cooked and lobsters on top of the pot may not have cooked as quickly as the ones on the bottom. A great way to see if your lobster is done is to give one of the lobster antennae a pull while in the steamer pot. If the antenna pops off it’s a good indicator of being fully cooked. You can also use tongs to remove one lobster and cut a small slice at the bottom of the tail to see if the meat is fully white.
Allow steamed lobster to drain for a minute since it will continue to cook for a minute even after it’s taken out of the pot. When setting a time keep this in mind to avoid overcooking. You may pierce the body and tail with a knife to help drain the water. Then serve right away with a side of melted butter and a slice of lemon.
To make eating fun and easy, serve with a lobster bib and steel cracker accessory kits.
Check out our seafood recipes for other cooking ideas.