Do you know How to Steam Lobster when craving strikes? Steaming lobster is an easier way to cook these crustaceans and steaming yields a more tender meat than boiling. Cooking a whole lobster at home is much cheaper than having it in a restaurant. Plus, most restaurants only serve lobster tail. If you love having the creamy stuff inside the head and it’s claws, then you are out of luck.
I have planned many times to visit New England to see the delightful Autumn leaf colors and attend the Lobster Fest in Maine. In 2015, I have mapped out a long drive starting in New York and visiting all the States of New England, instead we end up going to Europe. Last October was my Mom’s birthday, aside from celebrating with family and close friends, we were again planning to go to Maine for the October Fest but this time, my sister in law cannot go because of work. So we postponed this trip again. Someday…
Usually a couple of days after Christmas, we’re tired eating leftovers from our Xmas celebration. We crave something light like seafood. When we go out, we usually order seafood for a change. Before leaving, we had leftovers for lunch. After a long day out, my brother wanted to stop by a grocery store before going home. None of us would like to tag along coz it was too cold so we stayed in the car. He was quick and came out with 3 huge bags of grocery.
When we got home, he said don’t warm up any leftovers. He took the steamer and showed us the lobster he got. They’re quite small but he picked all the big ones. Unfortunately, the store don’t cook it so we had to steam it ourselves. Most stores no longer cook whole lobster unlike before. Years ago, my brother knew a seafood vendor where he ordered jumbo lobster. One whole lobster can feed 3 people, they were huge and very expensive about $40 to $50 and this was 30 years ago.
Steaming lobster is not hard, as long as you have a large pot or a large steamer. Luckily, the lobster are already clean and all we need to do is run it in hot water. Brushing is not required but we do. Then we seasoned it with lemon juice and garlic powder. We don’t sprinkle salt since fresh lobster are already salty.
How to Pick a Lobster?
Pick a hard shell whole lobster that is 1 ½ pound. This is a good size for a lobster dinner.
How to tell a Male from a Female Lobster?
We prefer a female lobster because of its roe, the unfertilized eggs also known as the lobster caviar. The female has a bigger tail with roe while male has bigger claws.
Why Steam Lobster?
- It is more tender because it is cooked slowly.
- Not soaked or diluted in water unlike boiling.
- Less mess, no water dripping.
- It is cooked evenly.
- Not overcooked.
What Pot to Use When Steaming Lobster?
- A large pot is needed to cook lobster. Depending on the size and how many lobster you are cooking, you might need to cook it in batches. Don’t overcrowd so it cooks evenly.
- If using a large pot, place a rack or an upside down metal colander inside the pot and place lobster on top.
- The best way to steam a lobster is to use a steamer. If cooking 2 lobster, you can use a smaller steamer but cooking more than 2 will require a bigger steamer.
- A 4 to 5 quart pot or steamer can cook 2 lobster, a 10 quart about 4 lobster and a 20 to 25 quart about 6 – 10 lobster.
How to Steam Lobster?
- If you are not familiar how to handle lobster, it is best to leave the rubber band around the claws.
- Place lobster in sink with running hot water. Brush it lightly but not required since lobster sold in the US are already clean.
- Place clean lobster in steamer. Don’t overcrowd.
- Some people season it with salt but we don’t since it is already salty. Instead, we squeeze lemon and sprinkle garlic powder. The steamer pot (bottom) is attached with water and catches the squeezed lemon and garlic powder.
- If using a pot, add about 3 inches of plain water or salted water. If using a steamer, add 5 inches of water.
- Place the lid when steaming.
- Halfway through, if using a pot move the lobster at the bottom to the top and vice versa to cook evenly. If using a multi-steamer, switch the steamer tray.
- Follow the guide below for cooking time. Lobster when steamed will turn bright red or orange but it doesn’t mean it is already fully cooked.
How Long to Steam Lobster?
This guide is for all the lobster you are cooking, not individual lobster.
Lobster Size Steaming Cooking Time
1 pound -11/4 pounds 7-9 minutes
1 1/2 pounds 9-11 minutes
2 pounds 11-12 minutes
3 pounds 12-14 minutes
5 pounds 22-24 minutes
For more information about lobster, click the link.
Note: When you open the lobster and the roe, (lobster caviar) is still black, steam it for a few more minutes until it turns bright red. Some people are grossed out by this and it can be rinsed out before eating. But for us, it is the best part. If we have a choice, we prefer a female lobster and female crabs.
What Sauce or Dip to Use?
- Melted butter.
- Melted butter with lemon.
One of my popular post is How to Steam a Frozen Cooked Alaskan King Crab Legs. Click the link to see how I steam crab legs.
How to Steam Lobster
- 8 lobster 1 ½ pounds each, use a 20 – 25 quart pot or large steamer
- 2 tablespoons salt optional – we don’t salt our water since lobster is already salty
- 2 - 3 lemon squeezed
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
Sauce or Dip
- 2 sticks butter melted
- 2 lemon freshly squeezed
- In a large pot, add 3 inches of water (add salt if you like) then place the steaming rack, upside down metal colander or basket. Bring water to a rolling boil. If using a steamer, add 4 to 5 inches of water.
- For pot – when water starts boiling slowly add lobster one at a time. For steamer, arrange lobster in multi-steamer. Cover with lid.
- Before covering with lid, if you like you can do this step. It is optional but we love to squeeze lemon and sprinkle garlic powder over lobster.
- Follow this guide for cooking time.
- Lobster Size and Steaming Cooking Time
- 1 pound - 1 1/4 pounds 7-9 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds 9-11 minutes
- 2 pounds 11-12 minutes
- 3 pounds 12-14 minutes
- 5 pounds 22-24 minutes
- Halfway through, if using a large pot, move the lobster from bottom to the top and vice versa. If using a steamer, switch the steamer trays. Be very careful when doing this, steam is very hot.
- When done, open a female lobster. If roe (lobster caviar) is still black, put it back in pot and steam for a few more minutes until roe turns bright red.
- Make dip or sauce. Melt butter in sauce pan in low heat. If using a microwave, cover bowl with saran wrap with a little bit of opening. Power microwave 15 seconds at a time until butter is melted. Make sure to cover bowl, butter can explode inside microwave if time is set too long. You’ll end up cleaning a big mess.
- Enjoy this scrumptious lobster dinner with your favorite sides.
- Do not overcrowd lobster to cook evenly.
- Cook in batches, if you don’t have enough room in pot or steamer.