How to Steam a Lobster

How do you steam a lobster? Learn how to choose a lobster, how to steam a lobster perfectly depending on its weight, and the proper temperature for a steamed lobster from a SoFabFood Cooking Expert.

How to Steam a Lobster: A cooking guide for beginners

As a native Mainer, there’s no better dish than a steamed lobster served up with melted butter. Cooking a lobster can seem intimidating, since lobster is a dish most people don’t serve on a regular basis. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. It’s your turn to learn how to steam a lobster!

Choosing a Lobster

Our first order of business is choosing our lobsters. Hands down, Maine lobsters are the best. The water in the gulf of Maine produces the sweetest, tastiest lobsters – and they’re coveted worldwide. Get fresh Maine lobsters if you can.

When choosing a lobster, you want a fighter! When the person behind the counter pulls the lobster out of the tank, if it’s limp and inactive, pass! You want one who curls its tail backwards and spreads its claws out to the side, this indicates a fresh lobster.

The second tell-tale sign of a fresh lobster is how long its antennas are. The longer the antennas, the less time it’s been in the tank with other lobsters. Lobster antennas will break off or get clipped off by other lobsters. If you find a lobster who’s looking for a fight and has full length antennas, you’ve found the freshest of the fresh!

Learn How to Steam a Lobster

How to Steam a Lobster

To steam a lobster (or a bunch of lobsters), you’ll want to get a big lobster pot. Lobster pots are usually a granite blue/grey color with white speckled spots on them. The lobster pot comes with a steaming rack in the bottom. No lobster pot? No worries, use any large pot you have.

  • Add 1 to 2 inches of water and a tablespoon of salt to your pot.
  • Heat pot on high with the lid on.
  • Check periodically until you reach a heavy steam.
  • Place lobsters, head and claws first, into the steaming pot.

You’ll steam your lobster for different lengths of time depending on their size. When you buy a lobster from the store, you’ll be asked what size you want. Rearrange the lobsters about half way through steaming for even cooking.

  • For 1 ¼ pound lobsters, steam for 10-12 minutes.
  • For 1 ½ pound lobsters, steam for 12-14 minutes.
  • For 2 pound lobsters, steam for 13-15 minutes.

FDA Seafood Safety

Your lobsters will be done when they’re bright red in color. If you’re unsure of their doneness, break off a tail and look at the meat on the tail closest to the body. The meat should be white, not translucent. If the meat is translucent, it needs to steam longer.

You can also check the tail meat with a thermometer by inserting the thermometer into the tail from the underside, closest to the body, the meat should read 165 degrees.

Editors Note: I prefer 1 ¼ pound soft shell lobsters. The meat is sweet, less tough than larger lobsters, and they’re super easy to crack open – perfect for a lobster cookout.

Learn How to Steam a Maine Lobster

Leftover Lobster? (What’s that?)

In the unlikely event you have a leftover lobster or two after your lobster dinner, immediately wrap them individually in tinfoil and store them in the freezer.

To reheat your frozen lobster, bring a pot of water to a full rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, remove the tinfoil and carefully place your lobster into the water. Bring the water back to a full boil and then remove the pot from the heat. Cover the pot and let the lobster reheat for about 10-12 minutes. You can test the temperature by bending the tail backwards and inserting the thermometer into the tail meat.

If you’re reheating more than one lobster, bring the water back to a boil and boil for a couple of minutes before removing from the heat, then reheat for 10-12 minutes. Check temperature before eating.

How to Steam a Lobster
Learn the proper way to steam a fresh lobster to perfection.
  • Lobsters
  • Water
  • Salt
  1. In a large pot or lobster pot, add 1 to 2 inches of water and a tablespoon of salt.
  2. Bring water to a heavy steam in the pot over high heat.
  3. Add lobsters, head first, into the steaming pot.
  4. Steam Lobsters: 1¼ pound lobsters, 10-12 minutes; 1½ pound lobsters, 12-14 minutes; 2 pound lobsters; 13-15 minutes.

You’ve just learned how to Steam a Lobster from SoFabFood Expert, Andrew Eaton of Scrappy Geek. Be sure to stop back by often because we’ll be sharing more simple “how to’s” in the coming weeks. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you never miss a single recipe. For daily recipe inspiration, like us on Facebook and find us on Pinterest. Enjoy!

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