How long to cook 4 oz lobster tails?

Lobster tails are a delectable seafood delicacy that can elevate any meal. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook looking to impress, mastering the art of cooking 4 oz lobster tails is essential. This comprehensive guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions, cooking techniques, and valuable tips to ensure perfectly cooked lobster tails every time.

Selecting and Preparing Lobster Tails

Selecting Lobster Tails:

  • Choose 4 oz lobster tails that are firm, have a vibrant reddish-brown color, and are free of discoloration or strong fishy odors.
  • Opt for tails that are approximately the same size for consistent cooking times.

Thawing Lobster Tails:

  • Thaw frozen lobster tails overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Alternatively, seal them in a plastic bag and submerge them in cold water for 30-45 minutes, changing the water every 15 minutes.
  • Avoid using hot water or microwaving, as these methods can affect the texture of the meat.

Preparing Lobster Tails:

  • Butterfly the lobster tails by cutting through the top shell lengthwise, stopping at the tail fan.
  • Gently lift the meat and rest it on top of the shell, exposing the flesh.

Cooking Techniques and Timing

Boiling (6-8 minutes):

  • Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
  • Add lobster tails and boil uncovered until opaque and the internal temperature reaches 135-140°F.

Steaming (4-5 minutes butterflied, 6-9 minutes whole):

  • Fill a steamer with water and bring to a boil.
  • Place lobster tails in the steamer (flesh-side up if butterflied).
  • Cover and steam until opaque and the internal temperature reaches 135-140°F.

Baking (15-20 minutes):

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Place butterflied lobster tails in a baking dish with enough water to cover the bottom.
  • Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until opaque and the internal temperature reaches 130-135°F.

Grilling (5-8 minutes):

  • Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat (350-400°F).
  • Brush lobster meat lightly with oil and place on the grill flesh-side down.
  • Cover and cook until grill marks appear on the bottom (about 5 minutes).
  • Flip the tails and continue grilling until opaque and the internal temperature reaches 135-140°F.

Tips for Perfect Lobster Tails

  • Seasoning: Brush lobster tails with melted butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper before cooking.
  • Serving: Serve lobster tails with melted butter for dipping and lemon wedges.
  • Make-Ahead: Butterflied lobster tails can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before cooking.
  • Storage: Cooked lobster meat can be removed from the shells and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


  • Overcooked Lobster: Overcooked lobster becomes tough and rubbery. Avoid cooking for extended periods.
  • Undercooked Lobster: Undercooked lobster has a translucent appearance and is not safe to eat. Ensure the internal temperature reaches the recommended range.
  • Curled Lobster Tails: Insert wooden skewers through the tails before boiling or steaming to prevent curling.

Why You’ll Love This Lobster Tail Recipe

  • Sweet lobster taste with buttery flavor
  • Delicate, tender texture
  • Just 6 simple ingredients
  • Ready in 20 minutes
  • Easy cleanup
  • Rich in protein and omega 3s
  • Perfectly cooked every time

How long to cook 4 oz lobster tails?

This section outlines the best ingredients to use when preparing lobster tails, what each one does in the recipe, and possible substitutions. For measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Lobster Tails – This recipe works with both warm water and cold water lobster, but if you have a choice, get the latter. It has a whiter, firmer meat and tastes better. You can buy lobster tails at most grocery stores or at the seafood market (the freshest option), but I often prefer warehouse clubs because they have larger ones for a better price.
  • Salted Butter – Adds flavor, locks in moisture, and helps with browning. I use salted butter and don’t need salt, but you could also use unsalted butter and add salt separately (you’ll need 1/8 teaspoon of salt, or more to taste, if your butter is unsalted). Feel free to add some black pepper if you like, too.
  • Garlic – Use 2 fresh, crushed garlic cloves. Minced garlic is more likely to burn (and won’t mix with the other ingredients as well), so I don’t recommend it for broiled lobster tail. You can also substitute 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder if that’s what you have on hand, but I think fresh tastes best.
  • Lemon Juice – Not only does it pair perfectly with lobster recipes, lemon juice also helps make the flesh more tender.
  • Smoked Paprika – For flavor. If you don’t have smoked paprika, then sweet paprika will work as well.
  • Cayenne Pepper – I used just a pinch, so my broiled lobster recipe did not come out spicy, but you can add more if you like a kick.

How do you cook a 4 ounce lobster tail?

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to cook 4 oz lobster tails?

  • Boiling: 6-8 minutes
  • Steaming: 4-5 minutes (butterflied), 6-9 minutes (whole)
  • Baking: 15-20 minutes
  • Grilling: 5-8 minutes

How do I know when lobster tails are cooked?

  • The meat will turn opaque and firm to the touch.
  • The shell will turn bright red.
  • The tail should curl up slightly.

Can I cook frozen lobster tails?

  • Yes, thaw frozen lobster tails before cooking using the methods described above.


Cooking 4 oz lobster tails is a culinary skill that can impress guests and elevate your dining experience. By following the techniques outlined in this guide, using high-quality ingredients, and paying attention to the cooking times, you can consistently achieve succulent, flavorful lobster tails that will delight your taste buds.

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