How to Steam a Lobster


Steam cooking keeps lobster meat juicy and sweet as there’s no risk of diluting the flavor. Steaming also produces more tender meat, as it’s a gentler cooking method than boiling, and there is less risk of overcooking your lobster. To steam lobster, use a lidded pot that is large enough to hold all of your lobsters, and use a steaming basket or tray to keep your lobsters -- either in pieces or kept whole -- out of the boiling water.

Water and Utensils

  • Use a pot that is large enough to comfortably hold all of your lobsters. Crowding them will lead to uneven cooking. A 4 to 5 gallon pot will comfortably hold 6 to 8 pounds of lobster. Add in inch of water and 2 tablespoons of sea salt per inch of water for every 2 1/2 gallons of water. Sea water can also be used if you have access to it. Place the steamer basket inside the covered pot and bring the water to a rolling boil -- 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooking Times

  • The amount of time needed to fully steam cook a lobster depends on the weight of the lobster. A 1-pound lobster will be fully cooked in 10 minutes. The cooking times increase by 2 minutes for every 1/4 pound after the first pound, so a 1 1/2 pound lobster will be done in 14 minutes. If you are cooking multiple lobsters, the cooking time is based on the individual weight of each lobster, not the combined weight of all lobsters. Some lobsters may be done before others, if your lobsters vary in individual size and weight. If your lobster is precooked, the amount of time required is even less -- often around 8 minutes per pound of lobster.

Checking for Doneness

  • Halfway through the cooking time, shift or rotate your lobsters to ensure even cooking. Lobsters will turn bright red when they are fully cooked, and the flesh will be white and opaque -- checking the color of the flesh works best for cut pieces of lobster, rather than whole ones. To test for doneness in whole lobsters, pick the lobsters up by their antenna, and gently shake. If the antenna comes out out easily due to the weight of the cooked lobster, the lobster is done.

Serving Ideas

  • Allow your lobsters to cool for 2 to 5 minutes before serving, as they are still very hot. Serve the lobster pre-cracked for easier consumption, or cut into pieces beforehand if you want a more elegant presentation. The classic accompaniments include lemon wedges and clarified butter to season the lobster. You can also serve it with garlic mayonnaise, pesto or any other tangy sauce. Extra steamed lobster can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three days, and can be eaten cold or reheated.

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