How to Humanely Kill a Lobster For Cooking

Ways to get a live lobster into the cooking pot

Woman with live lobster
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How to Boil a Lobster

So, do you begin cooking with a live lobster or a dead one? Certainly, it should still be alive within a matter of minutes prior to cooking unless it has been previously frozen. While plunging the live lobster into the pot will surely be fatal, the thrashing tail is likely to cause burns from the boiling water or at the least, a mess.

From a scientific standpoint, the muscles toughen with the shock of hitting the boiling water, which means more chewing for the diner.

If you go for the plunge method, put the lobster in head-first which should kill it pretty much instantly.

How to Humanely Kill a Lobster

Some cooks are concerned about humanity issues of cooking a live lobster. In fact, research indicates the lobster has no central nervous system or cerebral cortex to register stimuli, thus the creature mostly likely can feel no pain. However, killing the lobster just before cooking is the preferred method.

There are several ways to accomplish this. Putting the lobster in the freezer an hour before cooking will do the trick. Quicker yet is to plunge the tip of a sharp knife straight down right behind the lobster's eyes.

For those who do not wish to wrestle with a thrashing lobster prior to cutting the spinal cord, place the lobster in a large pot in the sink. Begin filling with cold tap water and gradually increase the heat factor of the tap water until it is hot.

This will desensitize the creature so you can cut the cord and put it into the pot or cut it in half for further cooking.

More About Lobster:


Lobster At Home
Fish & Shellfish
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
Big Book of Fish & Shellfish
More Cookbooks