How to Boil and Eat Lobster

How to boil and eat lobster

You might be wondering how to boil and eat lobster. As a self-described lobster expert, I can certainly help you out! I live in New England, and the trees are just starting to bud after another dreary winter. That means one thing is on the horizon soon: lobster!  People harvest lobsters in Maine all year round, but the season lasts from May 16- October 31 off the coast of Massachusetts. My family has a recreational lobstering license and we usually get a dozen or more lobsters in our traps each year.


Lobsters in New England


People in New England have been eating lobster for a long time. In fact, the Native American tribes who lived in the region consumed lobster. When the Europeans arrived in the 1600s, they also began to harvest lobsters for food. However, at that time, lobster was not considered a delicacy, but rather a food for the poor and for prisoners. In fact, some early colonists would only eat lobster as a last resort, when other food sources were not available.

By the mid-1800s, however, the popularity of lobster began to grow, particularly as railroad lines made it easier to transport the catch to cities further inland. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, New England lobster fishermen began to form cooperatives to regulate the catch and maintain prices. Today, eating lobster is considered a quintessential New England experience. Lobster is served in a variety of ways, including boiled or steamed, in stews and soups, as a filling for sandwiches and rolls, and even as a topping for pizza. Lobster rolls, in particular, have become a signature dish of the region and are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

A juicy lobster roll on a New England bun served with a side of Cape Cod chips and a cold New England IPA is how I like to eat the lobsters we catch.


How to Select and Store Live Lobsters


To purchase and keep lobsters in good condition, consider the following tips. When selecting live lobsters from the market, search for lively ones without noticeable shell cracks and with all their parts intact (including legs and claws). A lobster size for the average eater is around 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds.

Once you bring the lobsters home, refrigerate them immediately to maintain their freshness. It’s essential to avoid storing them in tap water and instead use a sturdy paper bag in the fridge. When transferring lobsters, take care to handle them by their body, not the tail or claws.

Since lobsters can survive only up to 36 hours out of seawater, it’s best to purchase them on the day you plan to cook them and avoid keeping them for too long before cooking. Patriot Seafoods, just north of Boston, is my personal favorite place to pick up some live lobsters. They even ship lobsters across the country!


Is there a humane way to kill a lobster?


Lobsters are often enjoyed as a delicious seafood delicacy. As more people become aware of animal welfare concerns, they may wonder what are the most humane ways to kill lobsters. One of the most widely recommended methods is to rapidly and painlessly stun the lobster by placing it in the freezer for a short time, followed by piercing its brain with a sharp knife. Another option is to use a device designed to kill the lobster instantly.


Boiling live lobsters is a common practice, but some worry about distress and pain. It’s important to note that while there is no single “perfect” method. The goal is usually to minimize the animal’s suffering as much as possible.

How to boil and eat lobster
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How to boil live lobster:

Boiled lobsters are a New England delicacy! Here's an easy recipe to have boiled lobsters in no time.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lobster, seafood, shellfish


  • Large Pot
  • Paper Towels
  • Cutting Board
  • Tongs or Slotted Spoon


  • Whole live lobster s
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1/4 cup of sea salt


  • Fill a large pot with 1 gallon of water and add 1/4 cup of sea salt. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  • While the water is heating up, prepare the lobster(s) by rinsing under cold water and patting it dry with paper towels.
  • Once the water is boiling, carefully add the lobster to the pot. It's best to lower the lobster into the water headfirst to avoid splashing hot water. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot - one lobster per pot is best.
  • Let the lobster boil for about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on its size. A 1.5-pound lobster should take about 8 minutes, while a 2-pound lobster will take closer to 10 minutes.
  • To check if the lobster is cooked, look for a bright red shell and an internal temperature of 145°F. You can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  • Once the lobster is cooked, carefully remove it from the pot using tongs or a slotted spoon. Place the lobster on a cutting board and let it cool for a few minutes before cracking open the shell and removing the meat.
  • Plate the lobster(s) and enjoy!


Lobster shells turn bright red only after they are cooked. A 19 to 20-quart pot can hold 5 to 6 lobsters, depending on their size.
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