How to Cook Perfect Frozen Lobster Tails at Home

Got some frozen lobster tails for a good price but don’t know what to do with them? I can help you cook them.

Cooking frozen lobster tails is easier than you think after being thawed. Yes, thawed. Unfortunately, there’s no way around the thawing part if you’re after succulent, tender, sweet lobster meat. Cooking straight from frozen produces a tough lobster. Thawing is easy though and doesn’t take too long.

Frozen lobster tails are great for many recipes when fresh lobster isn’t available or when you want to find lobster that stays around the same price. They can be found just about anywhere if you know where to look. My favorite way to cook the lobster tails is by poaching in a flavorful butter mixture.

To find out more about how it all works, scroll down or click here. Now you can go straight to the recipe.

Lobster is a luxurious treat but live lobsters can be intimidating to prepare. Frozen lobster tails offer an easy fuss-free way to enjoy delicious lobster meat at home. When handled properly, frozen lobster tails can taste incredibly fresh and flavorful. Follow this simple guide to turn frozen lobster tails into a restaurant-worthy meal.

Selecting Frozen Lobster Tails

Choosing high-quality frozen lobster tails is the first step. Check for tails labeled “wild caught” versus “farmed” lobster. Wild caught tails will have better texture and taste. Maine lobster tails are prized for their sweetness.

See if the tails are split with the shell already cracked. This makes preparation much easier. Avoid tails with signs of freezer burn or frost. Make sure shells are not damaged. Bigger tails can be pricier but provide more meat. Typical frozen tail sizes include 5-6 oz, 7-8 oz, and 9-12 oz.

Buy tails still frozen solid without signs of thawing Keep frozen until ready to cook Allow the tails to thaw overnight in the refrigerator or do a quick thaw under cold running water for 30 minutes,

Cooking Methods for Frozen Lobster Tails

There are several excellent ways to cook frozen lobster tails


Steaming is a quick, hassle-free cooking method that retains moisture. Place tails shell-side up in a metal steaming basket or colander. Steam over boiling water for 5-7 minutes until the meat is opaque.

Remove the tails once cooked through and rinse briefly under cool water to stop the cooking process. Serve with clarified butter for dipping.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Gently add tails and boil for 5-7 minutes based on size. Drain and chill tails to stop cooking. Serve with lemon wedges and drawn butter.


Baking brings out the natural sweetness of the lobster meat. Place thawed tails shell-side up on a baking sheet. Brush with oil or melted butter and season as desired.

Bake at 425°F for 4-6 minutes until lobster meat reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Watch closely to avoid overcooking.


For perfect char and smoky flavor, grill thawed tails shell-side down over direct high heat for 2-3 minutes. Flip and grill 2 minutes more. Baste with butter and seasonings while grilling.


Broil thawed tails meat-side up under high heat for 4-5 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking. Drizzle with lemon butter and sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Sautéing or Pan Searing

Cook thawed tails meat-side down in a hot skillet with oil or butter. Sauté for 2-3 minutes per side until opaque and browned. Deglaze the pan with wine or stock to make a quick pan sauce.

Air Frying

Air frying yields tender, juicy lobster tails. Cook thawed tails at 400°F for 4-6 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. Brush with oil or butter first for extra browning and flavor.

Seasoning and Saucing Options

Beyond just steaming plain, here are ways to add more flavor:

  • Coat tails in Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, or Old Bay before cooking.

  • Brush with garlic-lemon butter or clarified brown butter.

  • Stuff tail cavities with breadcrumbs, herb butter, or cheese before cooking.

  • Serve with lemon wedges, clarified butter, or drawn butter for dipping.

  • Drizzle with lemon aioli, remoulade sauce, or Hollandaise sauce.

  • Garnish with fresh parsley, chives, or dill.

How to Prepare Cooked Lobster Tails

Once your frozen lobster tails are cooked through, you’ll want to access all the delicious meat. Here’s a simple process:

  • Use kitchen shears to cut through the top of the shell lengthwise.

  • Crack the shells further with your hands, if needed, to expose the meat.

  • Remove the lobster meat gently with a fork and discard the shell.

  • Check for and remove any small pieces of shell or cartilage.

  • Cut the lobster meat into bite-sized chunks if desired.

  • Arrange the prepared lobster meat over pasta, salads, or dipping sauce to serve.

Freezing Leftover Cooked Lobster Meat

For cooked lobster tails you won’t finish right away, the meat can be frozen for later use:

  • Allow lobster meat to fully cool first.

  • Transfer meat to freezer bags or airtight containers, removing excess air.

  • Freeze for up to 2-3 months.

  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

  • Use leftover frozen lobster meat for lobster rolls, seafood pasta, or mac and cheese.

Pairing Wine and Sides

Buttery Chardonnay, crisp Sauvignon Blanc, or sparkling wine pair wonderfully with lobster. For sides, opt for potato or pasta salads, coleslaw, corn on the cob, or grilled vegetables.

Top Tips for Cooked Frozen Lobster Perfection

  • Always start with high-quality frozen raw tails, not precooked ones.

  • Avoid overcooking, as lobster can become rubbery and tough.

  • Cook just until meat is opaque; test temperature with a meat thermometer.

  • Briefly soak in ice water after cooking to halt the cooking process.

  • Add any sauces or seasonings after cooking, not before, to prevent burning.

  • Carefully remove all shell pieces when preparing cooked lobster meat.

The Takeaway

Preparing frozen lobster tails is much simpler than tackling live lobsters. With proper thawing and using the ideal cooking methods for your needs, frozen lobster tails can provide delicious, restaurant-quality results at home. The next time lobster is on the menu, grab some frozen tails from the market to enjoy this decadent treat.

how do i make frozen lobster tails

Poaching Lobster Tails in Butter

Put the butter, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a wide saucepan or skillet with straight sides. The pan should be wide enough to lay the lobster tails flat in it. Cook this on low heat, swirling the pan every now and then until the butter is completely melted. You might start to see some white solids in the pan. This is normal; the milk solids are just starting to separate. It won’t change the taste. But don’t let the butter boil, or it will turn brown. Also, the lobster can start to taste bitter as it cooks.

As soon as the butter has melted, add the lobsters, cut-side-up, and baste the exposed tail meat with the pan butter. Cover the pan and poach for 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the lobster meat registers 135°F, or 140°F for a firmer texture, on an instant-read thermometer. It’s important the butter never boils, so check by listening or removing the pan lid and adjusting the heat as needed.

Move the lobster tails to a platter or plates for serving. Serve right away with some of the melted butter that was used for poaching.

Flavoring Your Poaching Liquid

Once the tails have been skewered, set those aside and prepare the poaching liquid. In this case, it’s butter, and lots of it, with garlic and herbs. The lobster will add its own flavor to the butter, and the butter will also add its own flavor to the lobster. The lobster butter can be used for dipping after it has been poached, or it can be kept in the fridge for up to five days and used in other recipes. The butter can also be frozen up to two months.

You can add other aromatics to the pan as well. Sliced fennel bulb and a splash of vanilla extract, chipotle in adobo and lime zest, and onion, bay leaf, green bell pepper, and coconut milk are some of my favorite combinations.

How to Cook Frozen Lobster Tails

How do you cook frozen lobster tails?

There are five main ways that you can cook thawed frozen lobster tails. For all of these, I use a combination of salted butter (or unsalted and add salt separately), garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Broil – Split the tails with a pair of kitchen shears, brush with butter, and place on a baking sheet.

How do you thaw frozen lobster tails?

Refrigerator method: Place the frozen lobster tails in a sealed plastic bag and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cold water method: Submerge the frozen lobster tails in a bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until they are thawed completely. Once thawed, it’s time to prepare your lobster tails for grilling:

Are lobster tails easy to cook?

Lobster tails may seem like a fancy meal that should be relegated to a special night out, but they’re actually quite simple to cook at home. The tails come frozen and ready to cook, and their meaty texture and sweet flavor pair well with just melted butter and a squeeze of lemon.

How do you cook lobster tails in a steamer?

Place a steamer basket inside a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Pour water into the pot until it comes about two inches up the sides. Bring the water to a boil. Add the lobster tails to the steamer basket in a single layer and cover the lid. Cook until the lobster meat is opaque and white.

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