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close up of boiled lobster

How to Boil and Eat Lobster

It's not summer in New England until you have your first taste of lobster!  Cooking lobster at home is the easiest and most fun way to enjoy this classic summer seafood.
Course Seafood
Cuisine American
Keyword boiling whole lobsters, hot to boil lobster, how to cook lobster, how to eat lobster, how to shuck a lobster
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 lobster
Calories 97kcal
Author Lauren


  • 1 lobster per person 1.25 to 2 pounds
  • a large stock pot
  • water
  • salt
  • butter
  • lemon


  • Prep.  Fill a large stock pot with water and salt generously.  You'll want a large enough pot that the water will cover the lobsters.  Leave at least two inches from the top to avoid boiling over.  Cover and bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  • Add lobsters.  Grab the lobsters from the back shell, not the claw or tail.  Add each lobster to the boiling water head first.  Optional: You can freeze the lobsters for 10 to 15 minutes before boiling to limit the amount of kicking.  See notes regarding the rubber bands.
  • Cook.  Cover the pot and return to a boil.  Stir the lobsters halfway through cooking.  Cooking times will vary depending on size, about 10 minutes 1.25-pound lobsters to 15 minutes for 2-pounders.
  • Eat.  After cooking, remove from the water and serve immediately with butter and fresh lemon wedges.
  • How to shuck a lobster.  Serve the lobster on a deep lipped plate with a side bowl for the shells.  Remove the arms and claws.  Crack the claws using the lobster cracker and remove the meat from the bottom.  Dip the meat in butter and enjoy or add a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Repeat with the knuckles.  Break the tail from the body and remove the tail meat either by cracking the shell or cutting it with kitchen shears.  If there is green substance in the tail, this is called 'tomalley' and is the liver and pancreas.  It is edible and considered a delicacy.
  • Finding the uncommon meat.  Remove the legs from the body and use the lobster fork to poke the meat through the shell.  Meat can be sucked from the fins, antenna, and the head.  In the body, there is meat along the inside of the shell as well.  If there are small, bright red eggs in the body, these are roe and can be eaten as well.


  • You do not have to remove the rubber bands from the claws but some people find it affects the overall taste. I have never found that to be the case and value by fingers more, but you do you.
  • If this is your first time cooking lobster, please take a minute or two to read all the information in this post!  There are tons of helpful tips for buying, storing, cooking, and eating lobster.
  • Recommended cooking times for boiling lobsters are based on weight.  1 pound starts at 8 to 9 minutes, then add 1 to 2 minutes for each ¼ pound - there's a super easy to read graphic in the post above that has this all listed.


Calories: 97kcal | Protein: 21g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 252mg | Vitamin A: 5IU | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 1mg