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This grilled lobster tail recipe has a lot in common with my air fryer lobster tails and broiled lobster tails, and is the perfect alternative for warm weather. No need to be intimidated by grilling lobster — it’s actually very easy and tastes as amazing as a restaurant version! I’ll walk you through the whole process (prep included), so that you’ll know exactly how to grill lobster tails, from butterflying them to seasoning to the right technique once they are on the grill.
If you want to take this grilled lobster up a notch, turn it into surf and turf or make butter poached lobster instead! Add a side of New York strip steak, a reverse sear steak, perfect seared filet mignon (or air fryer filet mignon!), or even steak bites.
Why You’ll Love Grilled Lobster Tail
- Juicy, tender, and full of flavor
- Irresistible garlic butter topping
- Easy to make
- Ready in less than 20 minutes
- Fancy dinner at home, for a fraction of the cost of a restaurant!
How To Grill Lobster Tails
This section shows how to cook lobster tail on the grill, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
The first step in any grilled lobster recipe is to butterfly them. You can bring the flesh over the shell the same way you would for broiled lobster tails, but below I’ll show you a different, slightly easier method:
- Cut. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut down the center of the lobster shell lengthwise, starting from the end opposite the tail fins and going down the the tail. Do not cut the tail. Use a knife to cut the flesh lengthwise along the center ridge.
- Flatten. Use your hands to pry open the tail and then press with your palm to flatten, so that it opens up.
- Skewer. Run the wooden skewers lengthwise through the center of the flesh. This helps to prevent the lobster tail from curling up.
- Before grilling: Brush the lobster tails with olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper.
- While grilling: Brush with the seasoned garlic butter after flipping. To make it, whisk together melted butter, crushed garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. You can also add fresh parsley or chives to make a garlic herb butter.
- Grill flesh side down. Place lobster tails on the grill grates, flesh side down and cook without moving for 5-6 minutes, until the flesh is starting to brown and the shells start to turn red.
- Add lemon garlic butter. Flip the lobster tails and brush the melted seasoned garlic butter mixture over the lobster meat. Close the grill and cook until opaque. (See below for a time chart!) Serve with more of the seasoned butter. If you like, garnish the grilled lobster tail recipe with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of parsley or chives.
How Long To Grill Lobster Tails?
Grilled lobster tails cook for 5-6 minutes flesh side down, followed by 1-6 minutes flesh side up, depending on the size.
TIP: A good rule of thumb for lobster tail grill time is about 60-75 seconds total time per ounce of individual tail.
For example, if your lobster tails are 8 ounces each, you’ll grill them for 480-600 seconds total, which is 8-10 minutes. Out of that total time, 5-6 minutes would be flesh side down and the remaining time would be after flipping.
Tips For Success
- When butterflying, be careful not to cut the bottom shell. You want to cut the top shell and some of the flesh, but leave the bottom shell intact.
- Soak your skewers in water first, so they don’t catch fire on the grill. Simply place them in a shallow pan filled with water for 30-60 minutes and weigh down with a bowl to keep them submerged.
- Be careful when brushing on the butter. Try to apply it to the flesh only and don’t let it drip through the grates, as this can cause the grill to flare up.
- Don’t overcook. The time chart above is a good starting point, but if you want to be sure, use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. The perfect internal temperature is 140 degrees F.
- Thaw lobster tails. If using frozen lobster tails, you will need to thaw them before grilling.
Can You Grill Lobster Tails From Frozen?
Grilling frozen lobster tails is not recommended, because they will cook unevenly and come out tough. Simply thaw them first, either in the refrigerator overnight or in a bowl of cold water on the counter.
Can You Grill Lobster Tail In Advance?
Grilled lobster is best cooked fresh, as seafood generally doesn’t reheat very well. However, you can butterfly the lobster tails in advance and wrap in plastic before refrigerating, to prevent drying out.
What To Serve With Grilled Lobster Tail
This easy grilled lobster tail recipe needs a few sides, here are some to try:
- Other Grilled Recipes – Make easy grilled summer sides, like grilled zucchini, grilled broccoli, crisp-tender grilled asparagus or grilled cabbage steaks. If you’re grilling for a feast, make it varied with other favorite main dishes, like bruschetta chicken, grilled salmon, or grilled lamb chops.
- Salads – Salad recipes like spring mix salad, sweet and savory kale salad, 10-minute creamy cucumber salad, or even a sweet grilled peach salad all pair well with grilled lobster.
- Vegetables – If you don’t want to grill your veggies, try sauteed asparagus or sauteed zucchini for a side you can make just as fast. For a more filling veggie side, try zucchini fritters or a cauliflower casserole.
- Starches – Oven roasted potatoes are a popular option. I often like to make a lighter swap with cauliflower potato salad or mashed cauliflower.
- Lemon Butter Sauce – I originally made this to go with halibut, but it’s also my go-to dipping side for the best grilled lobster!
Grilled Lobster Tail (Fast & Easy!)
Learn how to grill lobster tails perfectly every time! This grilled lobster tail recipe is juicy & tender, with the best lemon garlic butter.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
If tails are frozen, thaw them overnight in the fridge, or in a bag submerged in cold water on the counter for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the grill for about 15 minutes, or a grill pan for 5 minutes, over medium heat.
Meanwhile, prepare the lobster tails. Using kitchen shears, cut down the center of the shell lengthwise, starting from the end opposite the tail fins, continuing down until you reach the tail but without cutting the tail. You want to cut through the top of the shell, but don't cut through the bottom shell. Use a knife to cut lengthwise along the ridge in the center, cutting through the lobster meat but not through the bottom shell, then your thumbs and fingers to spread open the shell. Run a skewer through the center of the flesh lengthwise to prevent curling.
Brush the lobster tails with olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Set aside.
Place the lobster tails on the preheated grill, flesh side down. Cook undisturbed for 5-6 minutes, until the flesh underneath is starting to brown and almost cooked through.
Flip the lobster tails and brush half of the melted garlic butter over the lobster meat. Close the lid and grill for an additional 2-4 minutes for 8-ounce tails, or until opaque. Serve with remaining garlic butter.
(If your tails are a different size, a good rule of thumb for lobster tail grill time is about 60-75 seconds total time per ounce of individual tail. For example, if your lobster tails are 8 ounces each, you’ll grill them for 480-600 seconds total, which is 8-10 minutes. Out of that total time, 5-6 minutes would be flesh side down and the remaining time would be after flipping.)
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Serving size: 1 8-ounce lobster tail
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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