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This super easy Broiled Lobster Tails Recipe is the absolute best way to cook lobster ever! It is super simple, packed with flavour, and everyone loves how it turns out. These lobster tails are coated in garlic sauce then broiled to tender perfection.
Lobster is the ultimate indulgence, and while it may seem intimidating. I am here to tell you how easy they are and come together so quickly, and yet it is beautiful on a plate. It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare to broil them. Most ingredients you already have at home even! I’m going to teach you easy tips to prepare, season, and cook using whichever method you prefer. I am breaking down the steps in a way that is simple enough for even beginner cooks to understand and make a show-stopping meal.
The most elegant presentation and impressive way to cut and prepare the tail is to butterfly the lobster. Butterfly the lobster tails is a fancy way of saying cut the shells open (down the middle), loosening the tail meat from the shell but leaving it attached in the fin, and then laying it back down on top of the shell. You don’t have to butterfly a lobster tail to cook it, but it makes them so stunning and is easier to eat that way, so I highly recommend it!
I love to broil lobster tails because it is quick and easy, plus you still have that beautiful colouring over the meat. When cooked, the shell appears to be reconnected with the meat gorgeously sitting on the top. When dipped in rich melted butter is a blissful feast.
Impress your sweetheart or family with this beautiful lobster tail recipe. This is one romantic dinner you don’t want to pass up! It’s the best recipe for Valentine’s Day, holidays, celebrations, date nights at home or special occasion dinner.
Lobster is considered the most elegant, high-end type of seafood that’s usually reserved for special occasions at pricey restaurants. Skip the restaurants and make your own fancy meal at home! It’s so much more affordable than getting it out at a restaurant. And you don’t have to wait or make reservations in advance.
Not only is lobster delicious, but it’s also nutritious! It is low carb, keto, easily paleo and rich in protein.
This recipe is long because not everyone is comfortable in the kitchen, and sharing more information to help make a recipe great only helps others. It takes hours to write up recipes this way, but you can never go wrong with this recipe. This simple preparation really lets the fresh flavours shine through. It’s a practically foolproof way to enjoy this fabulous seafood!
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- 5 Lobster tail
- 1 ½ tbsp Olive oil - or melted butter
- 2 cloves Garlic - crushed, NOT minced
- 1 tsp Garlic powder - optional
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice - or lime juice or white wine
- ½ tsp Paprika
- Black pepper - and/or garlic chilli or Cayenne pepper – optional to taste
- Salt - to taste
- 2 1/2 tbsp Butter - 1/2 tbsp per tail
For garnish (optional)
- Parsley - and/or thyme or rosemary
- Lemon juice - wedges
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Prepare frozen tails
- Thaw them overnight in the fridge or in a bag submerged in cold water on the counter for about 30 minutes.
- Make sure they are thoroughly thawed, or they won’t cook evenly.
- Rinse the defrosted lobster shells with cool water and dry them with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil (or melted butter), garlic, Dijon, lemon juice, paprika, Hondashi (optional), salt and pepper.
- TIP: Make sure to use crushed garlic, not minced. Crushed will mix better with the other ingredients and prevent burning.
Butterfly the lobster tails
- Using kitchen shears, butterfly the tail by cutting down the center. Loosen the meat and pull the lobster meat upward. For more details, follow the guide on how to prepare (butterfly) lobster tails in the notes.
- Then place butterflied lobster tail onto a lined baking sheet.
Brush Butterflied lobster tails with sauce
- Spread evenly on each one. It’s important to coat all the lobster meat so that it stays nice and juicy.
- Cut the butter into 5 pats, then place a pat of butter on the top of each lobster tail meat.
- Preheat the oven to Broil at 260°C/500°F.
- Note: Broiler low temp is 230°C/450°F, broiler high temp is 288°C/550°F. So, use low temp and add a minute or two to the cooking time.
- Broil lobster until the meat is opaque and slightly browned on the top, about 1 minute per 28g/1 ounce of the individual tail. The centre of the lobster will reach 63°C/145°F for best results.
- Remove and serve immediately.
- Drizzle melted butter from the baking sheet over lobster tails and serve with additional for dipping.
- Garnish and enjoy!
- Finish your lobster tails with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.
How to buy lobsterYou can use any lobster for this recipe. If you don’t have a seafood market close to you, you can buy frozen lobster tails at most grocery stores! Make sure that it is not discoloured on the meat. When cooking, it will turn out mushy and sometimes flavourless.
Lobster sizeThe weight generally varies between 85-454g/3 ounces to 1 pound. Most often, frozen lobster tails that are readily available in grocery stores (not from specialty fishmongers, who will have larger lobster tails more readily) are around 113-170g/4-6 ounces. A 113-283g/4-10-ounce tail is considered a good individually sized portion. About ½ the weight of a lobster tail is actual meat after cooking, although larger lobsters typically have a slightly better yield. Be aware that yields can vary by season. You can also use that great shell in stocks or soups to get the great lobster flavour to other dishes.
How to prepare (butterfly) lobster tailsFor a beautiful presentation with the meat on top of the shell. Works for all cooking methods except boiling. I love how simple it is to prepare and broil. While this may look a bit complicated, I promise that it’s easier than you probably think. Hold a lobster tail in one hand, or place it on a benchtop supporting it with your hand. Using sharp kitchen shears (or sharp scissors), with the shell facing up, cut down the center of the shell lengthwise. Start from the exposed meat side down to just before the tail fin until you reach the tail but without cutting the tail. You want to cut through the top of the shell, but don't cut through the bottom shell. Note: If you cut through your meat, it will be okay. Sometimes this will help ensure it is cooked more evenly anyways. You will want to avoid cutting through the bottom shell, though. Remove any dark-lined digestive tract that runs down the middle of the tail if present and discards. Wash the tail with cool water and dry thoroughly. Split the shell. Using your thumbs and fingers to gently press the ribs to crack them and spread open the shell on top. This will make it easier to open the top part of the shell and remove the meat. Open the shell starting at the wide base of the tail, run your fingers between the meat and shell to release. Carefully lift the meat out, but keep it attached to the tail end. Lay the lobster meat on top of the shell. Loosen the meat and gently pull the lobster meat upward. Place your fingers underneath the lobster meat, separating it away from the bottom shell, leaving the end attached to the tail fin intact. Once the lobster meat is on top of the shell, take the shell and close it around the bottom of the meat. Slightly push together the empty shell underneath and place the row of meat on top. Place butterflied lobster tails onto a lined baking sheet. Your homemade lobster tails are already starting to look like you got them from a fancy restaurant, even before cooking. As the lobster is being broiled, it will expand and have an elegant fan shape presentation similar to the restaurants.
Whole tails should be rinsed and dried before cookingWhen cutting open the shell, you may notice a dark line running down the center of the flesh. That’s the digestive tract, and it needs to be removed. Wash and dry after cleaning.
SeasoningsDepending on the cooking method, you can season the meat before or after it’s cooked, or both! When broiled, grilled, or steamed, brush the flesh with melted butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, or your desired seasonings to your taste. When boiling the lobster, remove it from the shell and season or serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.
How to cook lobster tailsOnce you have it butterflied, there are several different options for how to cook lobster tail. It is all about preference and what is easiest for you in your kitchen. In less than 10 minutes, you will have a beautiful and decadent meal on your table any way you cook them. In my opinion, the best way to cook lobster tail is broiled or baked in at a very high temperature (230-260°C/450-500°F) until it reaches the correct temperature. The cook time is quick (just 10 minutes or less!), and it’s super flavourful from the butter. Brush garlic sauce with paprika over the top of lobster for a gorgeous golden-red appearance. Paprika creates a lovely golden-red hue on the top of the lobster. Learn how to cook lobster tail in different ways! I've got all the popular methods covered here:
Broiled lobster tailsThis is my go-to way. This method is in the oven under the high heat of the broiler. It’s super simple, quick and easy. Due to the high heat radiating from the broiler, the shell and meat lightly brown, adding in new layers of more depth in flavour. This makes a tender lobster tail every time. Place tails, flesh-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil lobster until the meat is opaque and slightly browned, pinkish-white and cooked through. The dry heat cooks the meat very quickly, so make sure to frequently check for doneness after cooking time — about 1 minute per 28g/1 ounce of lobster tail - check every minute after to prevent over-cooking.
How long to broil them?Try your best not to overcook the lobster tails. It is easy to overcook lobster tails, so you will want to be paying close attention to them as they are being broiled. This will help by using a meat thermometer. The cooking time for broiled lobster will vary depending on the size of the tail. The general rule of thumb for lobster tail cooking time is about 1 minute per 28g/1 ounce of the individual tail. For example, broil a 280g/10-ounce lobster tail for about 10 minutes. A 140g/5-ounce lobster tail will take about 5 minutes. Important: the broiling time is per 28g/1 ounce of an individual tail, not the sum of all tails. Ideally, this is easiest if your tails are the same weight. But if your tails are different sizes, for best results, you’d start with the number of minutes that equals the weight of the smallest tail, then take that one out, and continue broiling the rest until each has reached 1 minute per 28g/1 ounce of that tail weight.
If your broiler just says high or low which one, should you use?Broiler low temp is 232°C/450°F, broiler high temp is 287°C/550°F. I would use low temp and add a minute or two to the cooking time.
Oven settingsThe lobster tails should be placed on a baking sheet about 10-25cm/4-10 inches away from the broiler, so lobster tails don't touch the broiler or get so close they burn.
Baked lobsterVery similar to the broil method but under average heat and extra time when cooking. It gives a delicate texture due to gentle steaming at a consistent temperature in the oven. I find that the high heat of broiling gets more tender inside than regular baking. The tails are cooked in a baking dish at 218ºC/425ºF with a small amount of water or wine. Baking with water on the bottom of the pan in the oven gently steams the lobster, giving a tender, almost poached texture. This works great for larger-sized lobster tails that need more time to cook. It takes about 1 to 2 minutes per 28g/1 ounce to fully cook using this method. Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 218ºC/425ºF.
Brush the lobster with the sauce and add the butter if desired. Place lobster tails in a baking dish, then add just enough water or wine to cover the bottom of the pan, about ½ cup. Bake until the flesh is firm and pinkish-white, about 1 to 2 minutes per ounce.
Poached lobsterSometimes this is another term for boiled lobster, and sometimes it means simmering the shucked lobster tails in a layer of butter. It is also known as butter poaching. Poaching is a cooking technique that involves cooking by submerging food in a liquid. Poaching is differentiated from the other "moist heat" cooking methods, such as simmering and boiling, in that it uses a relatively low temperature (about 70–80°C/158–176°F).
Boiled lobsterThis is one of the simplest methods, as it just involves cooking the tails in boiling water, but the flavour can get diluted. I find the flavour is not as good as lobster cooked with butter. Sometimes the lobster is not quite as tasty, though and doesn’t have that rich buttery garlic flavour attached to it compared to other ways of cooking. That’s why it is good to add some salt to the water for seasoning. This is also a great way to parboil large lobster tails before broiling or grilling to kick start the cooking so that the meat cooks more evenly and prevents over-cooking. Add enough water to a large pot to cover the lobster tails. Bring the water to a boil, then carefully add the tails to the pot. Cook until the meat is translucent, pinkish-white, and shells are red, about 1 minute per 28g/1 ounce. Drain and allow to cool just enough to handle before opening the shell to remove the meat. Add desired seasonings.
How do you remove the digestive tract when you are boiling the whole tail?You can remove the digestive tract after cooking, then rinse and dry very well after removing.
SteamingRapidly yields a clean flavour for those who like to customize their toppings. Steaming is a quick way to cook lobster using superheated moist steam. The high heat effectively cooks and releases the meat from the shell, making it easier to remove if left inside. The meat can be kept in the shell, then shell cut open, or shell cut open and meat placed on top. Add 2 inches of water to a large pot, then place the steamer basket on top.
Bring water to a boil. Once the steam has formed, add the lobster tails and cover. Do not overcrowd the pot. Work in batches if needed. Cook until the meat is firm, pinkish-white in colour, and the shell is red, about 45 to 60 seconds per 28g/1 ounce. Keep a close eye on the lobster. It can overcook easily if left too long. Keep a close eye on appearance change as it can overcook quickly. Add desired seasonings.
Grilled lobsterIf you love to grill on a barbecue, this is for you! It adds a bit of smokiness and char to the meat and shell. Add the lobster tails to your grill and let the heat cook the tails evenly and quickly. Prepare the lobster tails by either butterfly the tails to have the meat placed on top or cutting them in half down the centre into two pieces. Cut down the center with meat left inside. A skewer can also be placed through the center of the halved tails to prevent the seafood from curling. Preheat the grill, then cook the lobster tails over direct medium heat between 177-204ºC/350-400ºF. Place the lobster cut side down first for 4 to 5 minutes, then flip over to finish. Cook until the flesh is pinkish-white. If butterflied, leave the flesh side up the entire time. You can also cook butterflied lobster tails on a cedar plank for extra flavour.
How to know when lobster is done cookingLobster meat will go from grey and translucent to bright pink and white and opaque when fully cooked. The taste of the cooked lobster is slightly sweet and briny, and because of its long muscle fibres surrounded by connective tissue, it has a similar texture as shrimp. Like shrimp, other fish and crustaceans, lobster flesh cooks in just a few minutes and can turn tough and rubbery if overdone. The best way to know when the lobster is done cooking is to insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the tail. When the internal temperature reaches between 57-63ºC/135-140ºF, the lobster is ready to eat. Take caution to keep the thermometer away from the shell. Visually, when cooked, the dark shell will turn bright red due to the colouring agent astaxanthin transforming when heated. But look to the meat inside for the most reliable indicator. The flesh will turn from translucent to opaque pinkish-white colour that is firm to the touch. If your lobster still looks grey, it's not cooked - if it is white and pink, it's done. Do NOT overcook lobster - it will result in tough, gummy meat and a fishier flavour.
Instant-Read ThermometerIt is best to use an instant-read thermometer to make sure it doesn’t overcook. The one thing I always have near me when cooking any type of meat is my instant-read thermometer. I am very cautious about making sure I do not overcook my meat.
Doneness temperature of lobster tailIt is done when the internal temperature reaches between 57-63ºC/135-140ºF. Cook times will vary depending on size and method.
Can I use frozen lobster tails?While fresh is always best, fresh-frozen lobster tails are delicious when thawed properly. Cooking frozen lobster tails is just as easy as fresh ones, and depending on where you live, it might be preferable to buy frozen tails. Thaw your lobster tails and then cook the same way you would cook fresh lobster tails. Just make sure they are thoroughly thawed, or they won’t cook evenly.
How to thaw lobster tailsThawing out lobster tails is a simple step! You have two options for thawing:
- Thaw the lobster tails in the refrigerator overnight to thaw naturally - Let it sit on paper towels to soak up any ice melt. Make sure to check your tails an hour or so before you plan on cooking them to ensure they are fully thawed!
- Cold Water - If you can't let them thaw overnight, place lobster tails in a zip lock bag and submerge in water for 30-60 minutes, changing the water every 30 minutes. Repeat the process until the flesh is flexible and no longer icy and it’s completely thawed.
Making it aheadI recommend serving lobster immediately after it comes out of the oven. Lobster meat becomes tougher when reheated. It is best freshly cooked. You can butterfly your lobster tails on the same day and store them in the fridge until cooking time. Too early will discolour the lobster meat. You can also make the seasoned sauce ahead. When you’re ready to serve them, it will just take a few minutes to brush on the butter and broil.
What to serve with lobster tailsServe with fresh lemon wedges, fresh parsley or chives, and melted butter from the lobster itself. You can also add more melted butter on the side for dipping. Side dishes to serve with lobster Make this a complete meal with all the right sides! This is a simple meal that can start off with a side salad or soup, add a side of vegetables, potatoes and even some copycat Red Lobster tea biscuits. There are so many great options. Check out some of my favourites below.
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