How to Boil a Lobster

How to Boil a Lobster created by Mimi in Maine

This may be helpful for those who are not familiar with how to cook a lobster.

Ready In:


  • 1 lb lobster (9 to 11 minutes)
  • 1 14 lbs lobsters (12 to 14 minutes)
  • 1 12 lbs lobsters (14 to 16 minutes)
  • 1 34 lbs lobsters (18 to 20 minutes)
  • 2 lbs lobsters (20 to 22 minutes)
  • 2 lbs lobsters (cook an additional 1 minute for every 1/4 lb over 2 lbs)


  • HOW TO COOK A LOBSTER:. Place a steamer rack, pasta insert, or bed of seaweed in the bottom of a large pot. Add about 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the lobsters and cook covered until done based on the size of the lobsters according to the above table.
  • Serve with warm butter and lemon wedges.

  • Twist off the claws from the body.
  • Crack the claws with a cracker or pull apart small claw from large claw and pull meat out with hands or pick.
  • Separate the tail from the body by twisting.
  • Push tail meat up and out the other end with fingers. You will find a strip of meat on the outer part – pull this off – you can eat it.
  • Underneath it is the lobster’s digestive tract – you don’t want to eat this part.
  • Pull the shell off the body of the lobster and underneath you will find the green “tomalley” (the liver) – you probably don’t want to eat this part.
  • Pull the small claws off the body and suck out the meat.
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"This may be helpful for those who are not familiar with how to cook a lobster."

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  1. Cheri A.
    Rather than all water to steam the lobster(s), I pour 1 cup of white wine (dry) to 2 cups of water. Put lobster(s) in head first so they pass out before hitting the steam. They don't scream this way. I also usually put a rosemary spring or 3 in the pot. Cover and steam any where from 15 - 20 min. for 2 lb. crustaceans. Be careful when taking the lobster(s) out of the stock pot as they will be HOT. I use a very sharp knife to slit down the body of the lobster(s) and pull the body apart. There will be sweet white flesh. I pull the tail off. I usually also suck the tail fins as there will be meat there too. I pull off the fingers and bite down on a section sort of pushing the meat out of the finger. I put off the claws, cracking them at the joint after being pulled off. I save them for last as they are the sweetest part of the lobster. I serve with (un)salted melted butter and to make life easier, squeeze a lemon into the butter. We annually have a lobster bash and I've never had anyone complain. Do not use salted butter, as it melts, it gets exceedingly salty.
  2. Verelucky
    Thanks for giving time tables! Note: Some people like the tomalley(sp) I won't even try it myself! Also on larger lobsters when you pull off the small legs there is meat in the cavity that remains and also on large lobsters there is meat in the end of the tail. the several "fan" parts. Don't forget those! I usually boil lobsters, 12-15 min from a full boil and drained. Steamed are great though!
  3. Mimi in Maine
    How to Boil a Lobster Created by Mimi in Maine
  4. Mimi in Maine
    How to Boil a Lobster Created by Mimi in Maine
  5. Mimi in Maine
    This is wonderful. Time charts are always helpful in anything. I have been cooking lobsters for years and years and never had a cooking chart to go by. It was always "about" so many minutes. I have added this to my "Maine Is Down East" cookbook. Thank you.

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