How to Cook Lobster

Steaming - Not Boiling - Is the Secret

Lobster. Richard Boll

Sure, most people boil their lobsters. And most people end up with slightly watery, diluted lobster meat for their effort. The secret to perfectly boiled lobster is to steam it instead. Don't worry, you don't need a steam rack or any equipment other than a large pot and a steady heat source (either a stove or a fire will do):

  1. Put an inch or two of water in the bottom of a large pot with a lid. Add enough salt so the water tastes as salty as the sea (you want the lobster(s) to feel at home, don't you?). Bring the water to a vigorous boil.
  1. If you have a steam basket or rack or pile of seaweed, set that in the bottom of the pot, if not, that's okay - the lobsters will partially boil but mainly steam and if you're cooking enough of them the bottom one or two will act as a steam rack for the rest.
  2. Add the lobsters and cover. Cook until bright red and the tail will pull away from the body, about 10 minutes for 1-pound lobsters, 15 minutes for 1 1/2-pound lobsters, and barely 20 minutes for 2-pound lobsters. If you're cooking soft-shell lobsters, shave a minute or two off the cooking time.

Serve lobster hot, warm, or chilled with plenty of room to pick out the meat and make a mess. In case you're new to the game, see this How to Eat a Lobster guide for help. Here is another recipe that includes lobster.