How to boil a lobster

Most recipes call for boiled lobster and we will give you the easiest way to do it. Remember that if you are going to cook it again in the second half of your recipe it is important not to over cook it. If you are cooking once and eating cold then it could use the extra minute.

Boiled lobster can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days .

We recommend the biggest pot you can find. When this is full of boiling water it will bring the lobster up to full heat much more quickly than a smaller pot with less water.  Even in a very large pot and smaller lobsters we boil them one at a time.

Remember to salt the water heavily – lobsters are designed for sea water and lose their juiciness if boiled in pure water.


Take your lobster from the fridge and place in the freezer.  Leave for 30 mins or over.  In the cold it will become docile and easier to put in the pot. Do not leave for so long it freezes – but if it is still very vigorous after 30 mins – you can put it back in for longer.

If you prefer not to boil straight from freezer, then you can kill the lobster by cutting down the centre line of the head with a heavy sharp knife.

We usually put a large chopping board at the bottom of the sink for the next stage for kitchen tidiness, but you can also place your chopping board in a large baking tray if your sink is too small. This means any fluid released cannot escape around your kitchen.

Find the cross on the central dorsal line where the head meets the tail. Place the tip of a sharp chef’s knife on this cross and swiftly plunge the knife down forwards through the head. The legs will continue to move a bit afterward but the lobster is in fact dead. 

Here is a link with an easy video to direct you :

The water should be at a rolling boil and we use a strong pair of tongs clasped around the head end to put the lobster in tail first. You don’t need the tongs to put it in, but you will need them  to get to out so its best to have them nearby ! Start timing from when the water just starts to boil again. We think around 4 mins for a small lobster, 6 for a medium and 8 – 10 for a large – but it does depend on the ratio of water to lobster so we can’t be more accurate than that.

When your timer goes off, remove the lobster with the tongs and immediately place in bowl of iced water until it is cold. Then drain well and store in fridge until ready for next stage of cooking.

how to boil my lobster

Extract lobster meat

To extract the meat from the lobster does not always require specialist equipment, we use a rolling pin when we need to crack anything and also to roll the meat out of the leg sections like toothpaste ! Here is a handy picture guide.

We confess that we usually throw away the contents of the head, including the distinctive greenish tomalley.  However purists would keep this as a delicacy so please make your own choice.

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