top down view of cooked lobster tails on a white platter

Learn how to cook lobster tails six different ways and you can serve up an impressive restaurant-quality meal in less than 15 minutes. It’s surprisingly simple to cook lobster tails in the oven or on the grill. Steam, boil, Instant Pot, and air fryer methods also included. 

Suitable for gluten free, paleo, keto, and low carb diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

Post may contain affiliate links. For more information, check my disclosure

top down view of the finished how to cook lobster tails recipe

Whether you want to cook lobster in the oven, grill lobster tails, cook in the instant pot, air fryer, boil, or steam, you will learn how to cook lobster tails perfectly every time. These gourmet crustaceans are within your reach as a home cook, and you are less than 15 minutes away from a memorable dinner that will make any occasion special. 

You don’t have to go to a high-priced restaurant to enjoy a delicious seafood dinner. Lobster tails are one of the most prized portions of the lobster, and cooking lobster tail is easy to do at home, using any of the methods included here. Just like learning How To Cook Italian Sausage and How To Cook Frozen Corn on the Cob (which happens to be a great side dish to serve with lobster tail).

Once the lobster tails are cooked to perfection, top them with lemon garlic butter for a decadent feast that is not only sure to impress dinner guests but that the whole family (yeap, even the kiddos) will love!

top down view of cooked lobster tails on a white platter

Why Make This Recipe

  • Simple – No matter which method you choose, cooking lobster tails is simple and delicious.  
  • Saves Money – Eating lobster in a high-end restaurant can be expensive and easy to make at home for a fraction of the cost. 
  • Quick – It only takes 2 to 15 minutes to cook lobster tails, depending on your chosen method. 

Ingredient Notes

  • Lobster Tails – The timing for each method is based on 4-ounce Lobster Tails. You can use Maine lobster tails or Rock lobster (spiny lobster) tails interchangeably. Lobster tails are available in most grocery stores. Check the freezer sections with the other seafood if you don’t have a seafood counter.  
  • Olive Oil – This is my preference, but you can use any light, neutral-flavored oil.  
  • Butter – Melted butter, salted or unsalted, is an important part of this recipe.
  • Lemon Juice and Lemon Wedges – Freshly squeezed lemon juice has so much flavor and is preferred to bottled lemon juice. Serve cooked lobster with lemon edges to add a lovely brightness.
  • Garlic – Freshly minced garlic is aromatic and flavorful, but garlic powder can be substituted in a pinch.  
  • Paprika – A touch of sweet smoked paprika provides color and a slightly smoky flavor. Using regular paprika is fine too. 
  • Fresh Herbs – Chopped parsley or thyme to use as a garnish will add both color and flavor. 
a fork pulling out meat from the completed how to cook lobster tails recipe

Ready to learn six methods for how to cook lobster tail? Gather your ingredients and I will show you…

How To Cook Lobster Tails In The Oven (Baked Lobster Tail)

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F / 204 degrees C.
  2. Prepare the lobster tails by butterflying with a pair of sharp kitchen shears. Gently lift the meat, still attached at the bottom, and place it on top of the shells. 
  3. Combine olive oil, melted butter, lemon juice, paprika, and garlic in a small bowl.
  4. Brush each lobster tail with the garlic butter, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  5. Set them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake them for 10-12 minutes, or until the meat is firm and opaque (and the shells are bright red).
  6. Garnish lobster tails with chopped herbs and serve with additional melted butter. 

Note:  Be sure to check for doneness using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the lobster meat should be 140 degrees F / 60 degrees C before serving.  

image collage showing the steps for how to cook lobster tails in the oven

How To Cook Lobster Tails On The Grill

  1. Preheat the grill to 350 to 400 degrees F / 177 to 204 degrees C.
  2. Butterfly the lobster tails and brush with lemon garlic butter.
  3. Place the lobster tails over direct heat with the meat facing up. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the meat is opaque and the shells are red. 
  4. Remove from grill and brush with more lemon garlic butter before serving.

Instant Pot Lobster Tail

Cooking lobster tail in Instant Pot is so easy, and it’s a great way to free up oven space for other dishes. Check out my Instant Pot Lobster Tail post for the complete instructions. 

one lobster tail being removed from the instant pot

How To Steam Lobster Tails

  1. Bring several inches of salted water to a boil in a large pot and place a steamer basket inside. 
  2. Add the cut lobster tails to the steamer basket and cook for 4 minutes. 
  3. The meat should be opaque and the shells bright red. 
  4. Allow to cool slightly, then pull the meat out of the shell and top with the lemon garlic butter, and season with salt and pepper. 

Air Fryer Lobster Tails

Want to learn how to make delicious lobster tail in air fryer? Then head on over to the Air Fryer Lobster Tail post for the full recipe and instructions.

top down view of lobster tail in air fryer basket

How To Boil Lobster Tails

  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. It should be enough to cover the lobster tails. 
  2. Cut the shells open, but do not pull the meat on top of the shell.
  3. Carefully add to the boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes (1 minute per ounce), or until the meat is opaque, pinkish-white, and the shells are red.
  4. Drain and allow the lobster tails to cool just enough to be able to handle them before opening the shell to remove the meat.
  5. Brush with the lemon garlic butter mixture and serve. 

How To Butterfly Lobster Tails

Learning how to butterfly lobster tail is key to cooking delectable lobster. Luckily, it’s easy to do by following these simple steps:

  1. Begin at the cut end of the lobster tail, where it was removed from the body. 
  2. Use sharp kitchen shears to cut through the top layer of the shell, completely avoiding the meat. 
  3. Cut until you get to the part where the tail fans out. 
  4. Firmly spread apart the cut portion of the shell and lift out the lobster meat with your hands or tongs. The meat should still be connected at the very tip of the tail. 
  5. Lay the meat down over the cut and allow the shell to come back together and hold the meat in place. 

Expert Tips 

  • Prepare your side dishes in advance as lobster tails cook quickly.
  • Sharp kitchen shears are the best choice for cutting lobster shells. You can also use a chef’s knife in a pinch.  
  • Only cut the top shell when butterflying the tail. Do not cut all the way through the fan portion of the tail.  
  • Rinse or wipe away the green tomalley (also known as lobster paste) if there is any left on the end of the tail. 
  • These cooking times are based on 4-ounce lobster tails. Adjust the cooking time based on the size of your lobster tail, so you don’t overcook the meat. 
  • Perfectly cooked lobster meat should be opaque and firm and the shells should be bright red. 
  • For the best results, frozen lobster tail should be thawed before cooking. Thaw lobster overnight in the fridge, or soak it in cold water for 30 minutes. 
  • Try several different methods, then choose your favorite way of cooking lobster tails.
  • Cooking times vary depending on the cooking method. 
three lobster tails served on a white plate

Delicious Variations

  • Creole Style – For a zippy creole flavor, add cajun seasoning or blackened seasoning to the melted butter.
  • Garlic Parmesan – Add parmesan cheese to the garlic butter mixture for a nutty, cheesy flavor. 
  • Add Your Favorite Herbs – You can season these Lobster Tails with almost any herbs or seasonings. 
  • Use Stock – Add a little extra flavor by using seafood stock or chicken stock in place of water for any recipes that call for water. 
  • Add Wine – Add a splash of white wine for even more flavor. 
  • Add Salt – Heavily salted water is always better than plain water when cooking seafood. 

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Thaw frozen lobster tails completely before cooking by placing them in the fridge overnight. 
  • Store – Leftover cooked lobster tail meat can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, but is best enjoyed fresh as it has a tendency to become chewy when reheated. 
  • Freeze – Remove the meat from the shells and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place it in a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge. 

FAQs

How Much Lobster To Serve Per Person?

A 4-6 ounce lobster tail is perfect for most eaters when served with a few side dishes. For hungry eaters, look for larger lobster tails or plan on serving two per person. 

How To Cook Frozen Lobster Tails?

Lobster tails can be cooked frozen for most methods except for grilling and air frying. However, the results can be hit or miss, so we highly recommend thawing lobster tails first. Allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge or soak them in cold water for 30 minutes.

What Is The Best Way To Cook Lobster Tails?

You can cook lobster in the oven, on the grill, boil or steam it, or you can cook it in the Instant Pot or air fryer.

Each method has its pluses and minuses so the best way to cook lobster tails is to use the method you feel most comfortable with. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness and you’ll have delicious lobster tails every time. 

Why Butterfly Lobster Tail?

Butterflying lobster tail is essentially just cutting open the shell lengthwise to expose the meat. Since the shells are quite hard, this makes it easier to eat and also helps ensure that the lobster meat cooks evenly and at the same rate.

the finished recipe served with lemon wedges

More How To Recipes You May Like

Serving Suggestions

Weight Watchers Points

There are 5 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

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top down view of the finished how to cook lobster tails recipe

Print Recipe

How To Cook Lobster Tails In Oven

Learn how to cook lobster tails for two in the oven in just a few minutes.

Prep Time3 mins

Cook Time12 mins

Total Time15 mins

Course: Appetizer, Main Course

Cuisine: American

Diet: Gluten Free

Servings: 2

Calories: 139kcal

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F / 204 degrees C.

  • Prepare the lobster tails by butterflying with a pair of sharp kitchen shears. Gently lift the meat, still attached at the bottom, and place it on top of the shells. 

  • Combine olive oil, melted butter, lemon juice, paprika, and garlic in a small bowl, then brush the mixture onto each lobster tail and season with salt and pepper.

  • Set the lobster tails on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the meat is firm and opaque and the shells are bright red.

  • Remove from oven, garnish with chopped parsley (or thyme) and serve with additional melted butter.

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Notes

  • Prepare your side dishes in advance as lobster tails cook quickly.
  • Sharp kitchen shears are the best choice for cutting lobster shells. You can also use a chef’s knife in a pinch.  
  • Only cut the top shell when butterflying the tail. Do not cut all the way through the fan portion of the tail.  
  • Rinse or wipe away the green tomalley (also known as lobster paste) if there is any left on the end of the tail. 
  • These cooking times are based on 4-ounce lobster tails. Adjust the cooking time based on the size of your lobster tail, so you don’t overcook the meat. 
  • Perfectly cooked lobster meat should be opaque and firm and the shells should be bright red. 
  • For the best results, frozen lobster tail should be thawed before cooking. Thaw lobster overnight in the fridge, or soak it in cold water for 30 minutes. 
  • Try several different methods, then choose your favorite way of cooking lobster tails.
  • Cooking times vary depending on the cooking method. 
  • Storage – separate leftover cooked lobster meat from shells and store it in an airtight container inside the fridge for 2-3 days.
  • There are 5 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 139kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 180mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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