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Welcome to the ultimate guide to cooking lobster tails! With the flavorful butter sauce and ultra quick cooking method, it’s the best lobster tail recipe for holidays, celebrations, and date nights at home. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make broiled lobster tail – it’s ready in less than 20 minutes – but it’s so much more affordable than getting it out at a restaurant (much like crab legs!). Keep on reading, because I’m going to cover everything you need to know: how to shop for lobster, how to butterfly lobster tails, how to cook lobster tails, and plenty of side dishes to serve with lobster.
This recipe works with both warm water and cold water lobster, but if you have a choice, get the latter. It has a whiter, firmer meat and tastes better.
Why You’ll Love This Lobster Tail Recipe
- Sweet lobster taste with buttery flavor
- Delicate, tender texture
- Just 6 simple ingredients
- Ready in 20 minutes
- Perfectly cooked every time
How To Butterfly A Lobster Tail
The best way to broil lobster tails starts with butterflied lobster tails! While this may look complicated, I promise that it’s easier than you probably think.
Here’s how to prepare lobster tails before you cook them:
- Butterfly the lobster. Using kitchen shears, cut down the center of the shell, all the way to the tail, but not cutting the tail. You want to cut through the top of the shell, but don’t cut through the bottom.
TIP: It’s fine if you cut through the lobster meat. In fact, it cooks a bit more evenly if you do. The important part is not to cut through the bottom shell, though.
- Split the shell. Using your thumbs and fingers to spread open the shell, gently push the lobster tail meat upward, separating it away from the bottom shell. Leave the end attached to the tail fin.
Gently split it open first…
And then continue to open up the shell more, so that it separates away from the meat on the sides…
- Push lobster meat above the shell. Slightly push together the empty shell underneath and place the row of meat on top.
- Place butterflied lobster tail onto a lined baking sheet, flesh side up. See? Your homemade lobster tails are already starting to look like you got them from a fancy restaurant, even before cooking…
TIP: If you want to prevent curling, pierce a wooden skewer lengthwise through the center of each tail. I skipped this step here, but you can see a visual in my grilled lobster tail post.
How To Cook Lobster Tail
Once you have it butterflied, there are several options for how to cook lobster tail:
- Broiled lobster – This method is in the oven under the high heat of the broiler. My easy lobster tail recipe is broiled!
- Baked lobster – Similar to the broil method, but under normal heat. I find that the high heat of broiling gets a more tender inside than regular baking.
- Poached lobster – Sometimes this is another term for boiled lobster, and sometimes it means simmering the shucked lobster tails in a layer of butter (called butter poaching).
- Boiled lobster – This is one of the simplest methods, as it just involves cooking the tails in a large pot of boiling water. But, I find the flavor when you boil it is not as rich as lobster cooked with butter.
- Grilled lobster – You can even cook lobster tails on a grill if you like! We don’t have nice weather enough during the year for this to be my go-to method, but I do love it during the summer months. Get the grilled lobster recipe here.
As you can probably guess, I think the best lobster recipe is broiled! The cook time is quick (just 10 minutes or less!) and it’s super flavorful from the butter.
How To Broil Lobster Tails
The next step in the best broiled lobster tail recipe is the butter sauce! It’s super quick and easy.
Here’s how to broil lobster tails with butter sauce:
- Mix together butter sauce. Whisk together melted butter, garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and cayenne. I use salted butter and don’t need salt, but you could also use unsalted butter and add salt separately (you’ll need 1/8 teaspoon of salt if your butter is unsalted). Feel free to add some black pepper to the sauce if you like, too.
TIP: Make sure to use crushed garlic, not minced. Crushed will mix better with the other ingredients and prevent burning.
- Brush lobster tails with butter. It’s important to coat all the lobster meat so that it stays nice and juicy – this is the best way to cook lobster tails! You’ll use about a tablespoon of butter mixture for each tail.
- Broil lobster tails. Broil lobster until the meat is opaque and slightly browned, about 1 minute per ounce of individual tail.
TIP: See the instructions below to calculate how long to broil lobster tails, including examples. They look like this when they are done:
- Garnish and enjoy! Finish your lobster tails with lemon wedges and fresh parsley. You can also serve with melted butter on the side.
How Long To Broil Lobster Tails
The cooking time for broiled lobster will vary depending on the size of the tail. A standard lobster tail is about 5 ounces, so the 10 ounce tails pictured are jumbo!
The general rule of thumb for lobster tail cooking time is about 1 minute per ounce of individual tail.
For example, broil a 10-ounce lobster tail for about 10 minutes. A 5-ounce lobster tail will take about 5 minutes.
If you want to be sure, use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. The perfect internal temperature is 140 degrees F.
How To Cook Frozen Lobster Tails
Cooking frozen lobster tails is just as easy as fresh ones, and depending on where you live, it might be preferable to buy frozen tails. We’re in Minnesota, so I prefer to buy lobster frozen – this way I know it’s fresh when I thaw it out!
Simply thaw your lobster tails (more on that below) and then cook the same way you would cook fresh lobster tails.
How To Thaw Lobster Tails
Thawing out lobster tails is a simple step in this easy lobster tail recipe! You have two options for thawing:
- Fridge: Thaw the lobster tails in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure to check your tails an hour or so before you plan on cooking them, to ensure they are fully thawed!
- Cold Water: Place lobster tails in a zip lock bag and submerge in water for 30-60 minutes, until thawed completely.
Just make sure they are thoroughly thawed, or they won’t cook evenly.
Lobster Tail Nutrition
Not only is lobster delicious, but it’s also nutritious! This broiled lobster tail recipe is low carb, keto, easily paleo and whole30 (just swap butter with ghee!) and rich in protein.
Here’s a summary of lobster tail nutrition facts, per 10-ounce tail:
- 337 calories
- 13 grams fat
- 50 grams protein
- 0 grams carbs
Where To Buy Lobster Tails
You can buy lobster tails at most grocery stores! If you don’t have a seafood market close to you, many other grocery stores will carry frozen lobsters.
Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club also typically carry lobster tails, and often have the larger sizes you see pictured here.
Can You Prepare Lobster Tails In Advance?
For the best broiled lobster tail, I recommend cooking it immediately before serving. You can certainly prep things ahead of time, but most seafood is best freshly cooked, and broiled lobster tail is no exception.
Now that you know how to prepare lobster tails, butterfly them and store in the fridge until cooking time. You can also make the seasoned butter ahead. When you’re ready to serve them, it will just take a few minutes to brush on the butter and broil.
What To Serve With Lobster Tails
So you know how to cook lobster tail, but the tricky part is deciding what to serve with it! Of course, you need some lemon wedges and melted butter for the lobster itself.
But what about the sides? There are so many great options, here are a few of my favorite side dishes:
- Sauteed Broccoli – Garlic broccoli is the perfect green side to this broiled lobster tail recipe.
- Mashed Cauliflower – For the ultimate decadent meal, pair this creamy side with the best lobster tail recipe. Perfect for date night and holidays.
- Roasted Asparagus – Easy and light side to this baked lobster tail recipe.
- Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts – Bacon, brussels sprouts, and lobster. What a trifecta!
- Creamed Spinach – The classic steakhouse side goes well with this broiled lobster recipe.
Tools To Make Broiled Lobster Tail
- Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors – A good set of kitchen shears is a powerhouse tool in the kitchen and if there’s one thing you need to have for how to prepare lobster tails, this is it!
- Nonstick Baking Pan – I love these pans so much. Easy to clean and nothing sticks!
- Silicone Cooking Utensils Set – This set has every utensil you could ever need, including a marinade brush for the butter mixture that goes on top of this easy lobster.
Easy Broiled Lobster Tail Recipe
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This guide has all you need to know about cooking lobster tails – how to prepare lobster tails (butterfly them), how to cook lobster tails, and the BEST broiled lobster tail recipe – all in just 20 minutes!
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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 oven to Broil (500 degrees F or 260 degrees C). Rinse the defrosted lobster shells. Set the oven rack such that lobster tails placed on a baking sheet would be 4 to 5 inches away from the broiler.
Butterfly 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 your thumbs and fingers to spread open the shell on top, then gently pull the lobster meat upward, separating it away from the bottom shell, leaving the end attached to the tail fin intact. Slightly push together the empty shell underneath and place the row of meat on top. Place the butterflied lobster tail onto the baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Brush the butter mixture over the lobster meat.
Broil the lobster tails until the meat is opaque and lightly browned, about 1 minute per ounce of individual tail. (For example, broil for 10-ounce lobster tails for 10 minutes.)
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Serving size: 1 10-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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