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I usually make broiled lobster tails or lobster tails in the air fryer (yes, really!) when I want fancy seafood, but my recent grocery store find — a whole cooked lobster — inspired me to recreate this Lobster Thermidor recipe that I’ve savored at restaurants in the past. And although lobster is already a fancy dinner recipe on its own, this dish takes it up a notch. Juicy meat in a buttery wine sauce, topped with parmesan cheese, and browned to perfection makes the ultimate elegant meal at home… at a fraction of restaurant cost!
Why You’ll Love This Lobster Thermidor Recipe
- Tender, juicy lobster
- Rich, savory flavors
- Creamy, buttery wine sauce
- Common ingredients
- On the table in less than an hour
- Perfect for special occasions or seafood lovers
What Is Lobster Thermidor?
Lobster Thermidor is a classic French dish consisting of lobster meat cooked in a rich wine sauce, then placed back into the lobster shell and browned. It’s the perfect meal for special occasions.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best Lobster Thermidor ingredients, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Cooked Lobsters – I prefer to just buy cooked whole lobsters for convenience, but you can cook your own live lobsters if you want to — simply boil them for 8 to 12 minutes per pound. You can also just make this recipe with lobster tails instead of whole lobsters, but the amount of other ingredients might be less if you’re using only tail meat.
- Butter – I use unsalted butter, but regular salted butter (with less salt added to the recipe) or clarified butter also works.
- Shallot – Adds a subtle sweetness and flavor. You can also substitute with finely chopped sweet onions if you like.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic is going to give you the best flavor, but you can easily use 1 teaspoon of jarred minced garlic to save time.
- White Wine – You can replace white wine with chicken or vegetable broth if you prefer a non-alcoholic option.
- Heavy Cream – Makes the sauce rich and creamy. You can replace it with half-and-half for a lighter option, but might need more parmesan to get the sauce thick enough.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese – Traditional lobster Thermidor recipes make a roux with flour to thicken the sauce, but I simply used grated Parmesan cheese to thicken mine. I also used shredded for the topping, but you could use the same kind for both.
- Dijon Mustard – Adds depth of flavor. Feel free to substitute it with yellow mustard or grainy mustard for a slightly different taste.
- Fresh Herbs – The classic herbs in restaurant quality lobster Thermidor are fresh parsley and fresh tarragon. You could use just one or the other.
- Lemon Wedges – Optional for serving, but I highly recommend!
How To Make Lobster Thermidor
This section shows how to make the best Lobster Thermidor recipe, 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.
- Prepare the lobsters. Twist off the claws, crack them open, and remove the meat. Cut off the front legs. Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut each lobster in half lengthwise. Rinse to remove any of the soft green substance inside, known as tomalley. Remove meat from the lobster and chop it into small chunks.
- Saute the aromatics. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until softened and fragrant.
- Deglaze and simmer the sauce. Add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for a couple minutes. Add the heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the liquid reduces by half.
- Complete the filling. Add the grated parmesan, stirring until the lobster Thermidor sauce is melted and thickened. Stir in the mustard, parsley, and tarragon. Finally, add the chopped lobster, stir well to coat, then remove from heat.
- Fill the lobster shells. Divide the lobster mixture between the lobster halves, filling each one to the top. Place on a sheet pan, and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.
- Broil. Cook Lobster Thermidor under the broiler, until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Garnish with more parsley and serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice if desired.
- Store: Place any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. You can also use leftover lobster meat to make lobster bisque or a lobster salad.
- Reheat: Heat in an oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes.
- Freeze: You can freeze lobster Thermidor, but it’s not ideal and it won’t be as good as fresh. If you still want to, keep it in a zip lock bag or container in the freezer for up to 1-2 months.
What To Serve With Lobster Thermidor
- Classic Sides – Embrace French cuisine and serve this dish with creamy scalloped potatoes, ratatouille, or buttery green beans almondine. It also pairs well with buttery sauteed mushrooms.
- Salad – Make a simple Caesar salad, or for a more classic side, serve with a French carrot salad.
More Elegant Seafood Recipes
Want more elegant restaurant-quality meals you can make at home? Try some of these ideas:
- Kitchen Shears – Although you can use a knife, these kitchen shears make cutting through the lobster shell a breeze!
- Enameled Cast Iron Skillet – I love using this skillet because it heats up evenly and quickly, and lasts forever.
- Sheet Pan – Super easy to clean up, which is a big win in my kitchen!
This Lobster Thermidor recipe simmers tender lobster in a creamy parmesan wine sauce, then broils in its shell. Restaurant quality at home!
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to Broil on High (500-550 degrees F(260-288 degrees C).
To prepare the cooked lobsters, start by twisting off the claws. Crack open the claws and remove the claw meat. Discard the claw shells. Cut off the front legs. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut each lobster in half lengthwise. Rinse to remove any tomally (the soft, green substance found in the body cavity).
Remove the meat from the lobster. Chop up all of the lobster meat into small chunks.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the shallot and garlic, and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
Add the wine and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half.
Stir in the grated parmesan, stirring until melted and thickened. Stir in the mustard, parsley, and tarragon.
Add the chopped lobster, stir well to coat, then remove from heat.
Divide the lobster mixture between the 4 lobster shells, filling each one to the top. Place on a sheet pan.
Top each lobster with 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese. Place the pan on the top rack of your oven and broil for 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and garnish with more parsley. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.
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Serving size: 1 lobster half
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