Boiled Lobster with Hot Melted Butter


The Italian and I decided to treat ourselves to a lobster dinner on Saturday night. Both of us absolutely adore lobster but have never cooked it ourselves. I grew up eating lobster during summers while visiting my dad’s family who live in Maine – one of my strongest childhood memories is of being outside in someone’s backyard with a picnic table filled with dozens of lobsters, and I walked around sucking on the juices of the lobster legs.

The Italian said that his experience in Italy has seen lobster usually served as part of another dish such as pasta, which is always delicious but not quite the same as you sometimes lose the actual flavour of the lobster itself. He said in Italy he had never had a whole boiled lobster and only tried that for the first time while studying abroad in Boston during high school. We both agree that when it comes to lobster (and most shell fish, for that matter) simpler is better as you can really taste the meat of the fish. We had our lobster with melted butter and amazing bread rolls that we bought from Borough Market in south London.

We bought our live lobster from a fishmonger at Borough Market as well as some Brazilian shrimp that we prepared as an appetiser (recipe for Spicy Jumbo Shrimp). For dessert I made a chocolate mousse and we toasted with champagne and wine. All in all it was an excellent dinner, and we surprised ourselves by successfully cooking lobsters that brought us both back to summers spent on the American east coast!


Two lobster tails ready to be eaten!

Boiled Lobster recipe

Serves 2.

Use a large pot suitable to cook two live lobsters. Fill the pot 3/4 with water. Add 2 T of salt for every quart (1.1 litre) of water. The water should be salty like sea water. Bring the water to a boil.

Holding the lobster by the body lower it upside down and head first into the boiling water. When both live lobsters are inside cover the pot.

Note the time at which the water begins to boil again. From that moment, boil the lobster 12-20 minutes longer, depending on the size of the lobster. 12-15 minutes for 1 lb lobster, 15-20 minutes for a 1 1/2 pound lobster, 20-25 minutes for a 2-3 pound lobster. The lobsters should be a bright bright red color when done.

  • Note: Just because the lobsters are red does not mean they are done as they change colour quite quickly after being placed in the water. This is why it is important to time the cooking to ensure it is done.

Remove the lobster with tongs and place on a plate to cool and drain.

Use nutcrackers to crack open the lobster shell and get to the meat. The best parts are the tail and claws! Serve with melted butter and crusty bread.


Live lobster fresh from Borough Market


Lobster goes into the pot headfirst


In the pot

ImageOnce inside the boiling water the lobster changes colour fairly quickly. Be sure to watch the timer to know when it is done. 


2 thoughts on “Boiled Lobster with Hot Melted Butter

  1. Pingback: Spicy Jumbo Shrimp | Cooking with Italian

  2. Pingback: Borough Market Magic | Cooking with Italian

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