Fish & Meat,  Savories

How To Cook A Maine Lobster

If you want to know how to cook a Maine lobster you have 100% landed on the right blog. I grew up there. And every summer Lyndon and I make at least one trip to the little cottage on the coast of Maine that my grandparents built in the 1960s. My mom owns the cottage now and she has started doing AMAZING work on it: Updating it where it needs updating (hello gorgeous new back deck that overlooks the water), preserving it where it needs preserving (saving the slate fireplace my grandparents built even when she was told it would sink the building), and generally taking great care of the place.

It’s become a bit of a tradition in my family to have lobster when you’re at the cottage. There’s a fire pit out back, you’re on the coast of Maine, and there are at least two giants lobster pots hanging around in the shed. Couple that with the ability to purchase the lobster directly from the lobstermen and you’ve got a winning combination.

OK, I’ve heard they are alive when you like… you know… do it.

Look, the lobsters are alive when you throw them into the pot. And you just have to get over it. Unless you’re a vegetarian or a vegan the meat you are eating was alive at one point — you just weren’t the one responsible for finishing it off. I’m not going to lie to you: I don’t love the idea of killing things, but I suggest you take a moment to give thanks for the food you are about to eat, ponder for a moment the ethical implications of being on the top of the food chain, and get the job done.

How to cook a Maine lobster:

There are many ways to cook a Maine lobster, but I’m going to offer up the tried and true method of boiling them. It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s consistent. There is literally no guesswork involved, and as long as you don’t leave them in there for 25 or so minutes the meat will not be overcooked. The lobster meat will be tender and juicy

Enjoy! 🦞😀👍🏻

The view (plus lobster pot) from “Bonnie View,” my mom’s cottage on the coast of Maine. This is, quite literally, how to cook a Maine lobster | Jam & Bread | Matthew Smedal

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How To Cook A Maine Lobster

  • Author: Matthew Smedal
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 minute
  • Yield: 1 lobster 1x
  • Category: Maine
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: American


There are many ways to cook a lobster, but I’m going to offer up the tried and true method of boiling them. It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s consistent. There is literally no guesswork involved, and as long as you don’t leave them in there for 25 or so minutes the meat will not be overcooked.


  • 1 or more 1-1/2 pound fresh lobsters
  • butter


  1. 15 minutes before you’re ready cook the lobster(s) place them into the freezer. Trust me, this will make the process of chucking them into the pot easier as a short stint in the freezer will lull the little guys to sleep. You don’t want them in there so long that they actually freeze to death, you just want them to take a little nap so that they are asleep when the time comes.
  2. Bring a large pot of salt water to the boil. If you have water from the ocean that’s perfect. If not, shake more salt than you think is necessary into tap water and turn on the heat.
  3. Take the lobster(s) out of the freezer and chuck them into the pot of boiling water. Once the water begins to boil again set a timer for 12 minutes.
  4. While the lobster cook, melt some (a lot…) of butter on the stove and keep it warm.
  5. Remove the lobster(s) with a pair of tongs, holding them over the pot for just a few seconds to drain any water from their shells. Let rest for a few minutes, and serve with ramekins of melted butter.


Some Mainers like to throw seaweed into the cooking water along with the lobster. I do not. I don’t find the flavor particularly nice. If you are the type of person who loves the flavor of seaweed and wants your lobster to taste like it then by all means, chuck it in.

Some Mainers also like to add ears of corn on top of the lobster to cook an entire meal at the same time and in the same pot. This “Lobster Bake” method — while traditional — only results in lobstery-corn, which I don’t particularly love. Better to microwave the corn, still in the husks, for 8 minutes (rotating half way through) and then peel and serve when the lobsters are done. Corn tastes like corn, lobster tastes like lobster. Everyone is happy.


  • Lynne Daley

    Hey Matthew!
    So. We are vacationing in Maine. And did exactly “this” last night on Peak’s Island I agree about microwaving the corn (and I love lobster). Your tips and timing are SPOT ON. ❤️❤️❤️

    • Matthew

      What amazing timing! And THANK YOU for agreeing with my microwaved corn suggestion. 😂 I know it’s heresy, but it’s just so much better, right?!? Enjoy Maine, and thanks, Lynne!

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