Boiling lobster is the certainly easiest way to cook lobster and a great way to enjoy the flavor of a fresh live lobster.  The meat of a boiled lobster also pulls easily from the shell when cracked, making boiling an especially easy way to eat — as well as to cook — a fresh lobster.  Steaming lobster can result in somewhat more tender meat, though, so if you have the equipment (a steamer pot, or even just a rack that sits inside your large pot) you might considered steaming as well.

It is best to boil a fresh lobster in seawater, but if that is not available, salted water works just fine; just add about two tablespoons of sea salt for each quart of water.

The pot for boiling lobster should be large enough to completely submerged the lobster in the water.

Bring the water to a full, rolling boil, and then place the lobster claws first into the water.  Cover the pot, and when the water begins to boil again, begin timing.

Cooking times for boiled lobster:

  • 1 pound lobster – boil 9 minutes
  • 1-1/4 pound lobster – boil 10 minutes
  • 1-1/2 pound lobster – boil 11 minutes
  • 1-3/4 pound lobster – boil 12 minutes
  • 2 pound lobster – boil 13-15 minutes
  • 2-1/2 pound lobster – boil 15-20 minutes

Dan “The Lobster Man” shows how to boil Maine lobster at home:




  1. At diffrent times I have cooked (boiled) lobster only to find the meat is just mush. The lobsters have been both hard and soft shell, and cooked 15 min. Any ideas why this happened. Thanks Henry

  2. Never have your pot at a rolling boil…..You want your lobster to fall asleep in the warm water…..that slowly comes to a boil. I will get back to you on the amount of time needed from the start of the boiling.

  3. I have found that if you put the lobster in the freezer for a few minutes it puts them to “sleep”. When you drop them into the boiling water they don’t put up a fight.

  4. @ HENRY…the reason your lobstas were ‘mushy’ was because they were DEAD…NEVER NEVER cook or eat a DEAD Lobsta! this is the reason I do not buy ‘cooked ones in the deli case’ as these are usually either DEAD or DYING…they HAVE to cook them before they get too bad to sell…when you DO purchase a lobsta…be sure it is LIVE & KICKING!!I hope this helps…regards, Jackie in New Hampshire

  5. I bought my lobster from my catering company. It was frozen when I got it, but not the red color it’s supposed to be when cooked. How should I thaw and cook it and what should I look out for to make sure it hasn’t gone bad?

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  7. If you hold the live lobsta upside down for a couple minutes, it will pass out which is when you slip into the boiling water. (State law in MA, or so my aunt told me.)

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