This Butter Poached Lobster is slow-poached in a creamy, buttery sauce. Throw in the freshest tomatoes you can find, some fresh herbs. Quick, delicious and a touch decadent!
Why This Butter Poached Lobster Is So Good
- A fool proof lobster recipe.
- Buttery creamy sauce.
- The most succulent lobster.
- Looks fantastic, perfect for impressing guests.
- Salted butter
- Garlic cloves
- Basil leaves
How To Make This Butter Poached Lobster – Step By Step
For whole live lobster
Boil a big pot of water, add in the lobster and for 3 minutes. I don’t want the lobster to cook all the way – I just want to partially cook the lobster and make it easier to remove the meat.
Instead of using the traditional lobster/crab cracking devices, I use little sharp kitchen shears. Makes less of a mess, the lobster meat comes out cleanly and most importantly, I don’t get lobster juice squirtin’ in my eye (which usually happens when I use those stupid metal cracking tongs)
See, this is much easier, no? Just cut straight down the middle (shell only) and peel back.
Same thing with the knuckle. Just snip the shell.
And the big claw.
If you’re the patient sort, you can tear off the itty bitty skinny legs and try to extract the meat from them too. Some people use a rolling pin to squeeze the meat out, but I’ve found that it results in more eye-squirtin’ lobster juice than I’m comfortable with.
For Lobster Tails
No need to dunk in hot water – just use a pair of kitchen shears, cut shell along length of back. Flip lobster tail over, cut shell along length of bottom (between its tiny feetsies). Pry shell open, remove meat and freeze the shell to make seafood stock.
For The Butter Sauce
This is the buttah for the lobstah. If you’re cooking more than one lobster, you can add more butter. I’ve used just one stick and cut it into small pieces.
In a pot just like this, start with 2 tablespoons of water over medium-low heat. Once it starts bubbling, add one piece of butter and whisk. When the butter has melted, add another piece, and so on and so on until you’ve used all the pieces.
Slowly adding the butter will help it emulsify – which basically means mixing two liquids together that normally don’t mix well (water and oil). What you’re after is a light yellow, creamy, buttery sauce called “beurre monte”…. NOT melted butter with white globs of milk solids (is there a fancy French term for this?)
To do this, you have to use low heat and add the butter pieces at a time. Make sure the mixture does not boil – otherwise it will separate.
Keep the heat on medium-low and add the lobster pieces and poach for 5 minutes. Every minute or so, I’ll turn the lobster.
Then remove the lobster. Now it’s time to gently cook the garlic and tomatoes for just a couple of minutes.
Finish off with some fresh basil and done!
Butter Poached Lobster
I enjoy lobster cooked any which way, though I do think that my least favorite way (other than overcooked) is steamed or boiled lobster, as the high heat that it’s usually cooked on ruins the texture of the delicate meat. If I’m going to pay $16.99 per pound for a whole lobster, it better darn well melt in my mouth.
This Butter Poached Lobster is so succulent with an addictive butter sauce and fresh tomatoes – it’s one you’ll come back to again and again!
Can I Use Lobster Tails?
If you’re squeamish about handling a live lobster, that’s totally okay. Many people are, including 9 out of 10 squeamish teenage grocery store cashiers who have to ring it up.
But let’s just say that if you’re really not into bringing a live lobster home, you can still make this dish.
You can use lobster tails.
Or, if your seafood department has complimentary steaming service (many do!) – have them steam the lobster for exactly 3 minutes and then immediately package it in ice to cool the lobster off. When you get home, remove the meat from the lobster and continue the recipe with the butter poaching.
Preparing A Lobster Before Cooking It
There are many theories on how best to prepare the lobster for its final moments – some suggest you freeze the lobster for a few minutes to slow down its metabolism and put it to “sleep”, some suggest piercing a knife in its head to kill instantly.
Our method was a family decision – the kids pet the lobster and thank Buddha for providing such delicious creatures.
“Ahhh, Good lobstah….you had a good life in the tank. May you reincarnate into a butterfly”
Top Tips For This Butter Poached Lobster
- If you don’t want to handle live lobster, you can use lobster tails.
- You can use leftover lobster shell & head to make Lobster Bisque
- Some seafood departments have a steamy service, ask at the counter to have your lobster quickly steamed before bringing it home.
Other Lobster Recipes
Lobster Mac & Cheese | Steamy Kitchen
Lobster Carpaccio | Steamy Kitchen
Grilled Lobster with Garlic Butter Sauce | Steamy Kitchen on Tasty Kitchen
Butter Poached Lobster with Fresh Tomatoes
- 1 3/4 pound live lobster or 2 uncooked lobster tails
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup salted butter 1 stick, cut into 1 tablespoon chunks
- 1 clove garlic very finely minced
- 2 to matoes cut into large chunks
- few fresh basil leaves chiffonade
- If you are using lobster tails: Use sharp kitchen shears to cut shell of lobster all the way down its back. Turn over and cut bottom shell all the way down. Peel off shell and remove meat. Continue with step 2.
If using live whole lobster
- bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off heat and add the lobster. Cover with lid and let cook for 3 minutes. Remove all lobster meat from shell and cut into large chunks.
- In a sauce pan, bring 1 tablespoon of water to simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in 1 piece of butter. When butter had melted, add another piece. Continue with remaining butter pieces, one at a time. Make sure the mixture does NOT come to a boil, otherwise the butter will separate.
- Keeping the heat on medium-low, add the lobster pieces and cook for 5 minutes, turning the lobster pieces every minute or so. Make sure mixture does not boil. Remove lobster pieces and divide amongst the 2 serving bowls.
- In the same saucepan with the remaining butter, turn the heat up just a bit, add the garlic. When fragrant, add the tomatoes and cook for just a couple of minutes until the tomatoes have released some of the juices. I like to gently smash the tomatoes a bit so more juice comes out. Throw in the basil and you're done. Spoon tomatoes over lobster and serve immediately.
And for a real treat, watch my friend (and incredibly talented storyteller/videographer) Liza de Guia’s video on Lobster Rolls.
Simple…but sometimes simple is best! I have an anti-tomato spouse so I used only one medium tomato and diced it. She ate all of it and asked for more! Will definitely make again.
Worked perfectly! Thank you for explaining the science behind crafting a butter sauce
This is the best !! I am from East Coast , now land locked in COLORADO ️ so when I can get my lobster tail 2 for 6$ at my Kroger I fo ? This is do much eat then getting them out of tail after steaming then .. Only way for me now !!
Sorry I meant 2fir 12$ 6 $ each
Omg, delicious!! I made this as an extra special treat for Christmas dinner and it was a hit. All empty plates. I’ll definitely make this again.
I have only recently begun to understand lobster and how to cook it. Broiling had become my fav, but this is the most luxurious recipe!
Thanks for making birthday date night at home just a little more special.
Darn good thing the gym has opened back up!
You know, I sure like your style! This is a beautifully written and presented recipe. I always keep lobster tails in the freezer, and was clicking around the NET, looking for compelling recipes to serve my lobster-addicted brother when he comes to dine with us on New Year’s Eve. Bingo! You won the prize! Thanks so much, and it’s been a pleasure making your acquaintance. I’ll be back!
I used a little white wine instead of water, and it was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted! This is a great way to prepare a lobster tail. It is tender and incredibly tasty. I was shocked at how well the tomato and basil complemented the lobster.
Thank you so much Elaine! – jaden
White wine is a great upgrade to a stellar dish.Thanks, Elaine!
For a girl who lives in Florida, you sure know how to handle a lobster! We live on the coast of Maine and this summer, we got a recreational lobster license . It’s been so much fun! It’s like Christmas when we pull up the traps – you never now what you’ll get. I’ve been preparing lobster many different ways, but have never tried butter-poached. Sound absolutely delicious and can’t wait to try it. I do not like dropping them in the into the steamer live, but I DO like the idea of thanking Buddha for their deliciousness.
My dad was from the East Coast so we grew up seeing lobsters hanging out in our bathtub until he cooked them. I’m allergic to shellfish(boo hiss) so I can’t partake but I love checking out seafood recipes. I wish I could eat it. I think it’s awesome that your kids are aware and part of the decision how to cook it. I’m a carnivore but also an animal lover so I love the way you handled it.
Passing this on to my sis in law, they are in Nova Scotia where lobster is plentiful.
Not a bad recipe taste-wise, but 3 minutes pre-cooking is not nearly enough to get the meat loose from the shell. More like 6 or 7 I’d say and because of the struggle to get the meat out on your too-short cooking time, it looked like hell. Still, it tasted great.
Oh my goodness this was da bomb! We thoroughly loved every last morsel. I even dunked my roasted asparagus in the extra butter sauce in the bowl. The tomatoes and basil added such a freshness to the sweet succulent meat! Thanks for the detailed directions. First time cooking lobster and we did 3 whole in 2 sticks of butter and 2 cloves garlic! Again fantastic directions and recipe!!!
Highly sad with the 5 star rating system – this should be a 6 dish. The white wine tip instead of water is also a great up class. I like a dollop of creme Fraiche mixed with chives to the top of the served lobster for creaminess and a touch of onion flavor
Mind-blowing! Added 2 Tbsp of chopped shallot, red and green bell pepper, half a jalapeno and a tbsp of chopped fresh basil. First time making lobster….and first time EATING it too! LOL Veteran lobster eaters raved. I used frozen tails. No muss or fuss. Enjoy!
Thanks Ian! 🙂 Wow- lobster virgin no more!
As a New Orleans girl (or rather “girl” some 60 plus years ago) with a French heritage Mama and hunting/fishing father, brothers, uncles and then husband I am not squeamish about cleaning, dressing and cooking anything that walks, flies, swims and tastes good. Unfortunately, I rarely have access to whole live lobster these days but did pick up about a dozen or more 6 oz lobster tails @ 6.99 lb at my local Publix recently.
I passed on the already thawed tails in the case and bought them still frozen so I could defrost them in the refrigerator, wash well and then carefully broil with garlic butter. I’ve found the quality has been decent and the finished tails tasty and fairly tender (I watch the tails like a hawk and cook until just done).
I’m going to try your recipe today but found your instructions for just tails a bit incomplete as to whether to par boil similar to the instructions for a live lobster. So, this is how I’ve decided to treat the tails: I’ll wash them well in cold water to remove any frost or debris; immediately drop them into a large amount of vigorously boiling salted water, cover and turn the fire off; let them sit for 3-4 minutes; then drain and plunge into ice water before proceeding with your recipe sans the tomatoes that really wouldn’t be good this time of year. Of course I’ll crush the shells up and add them to my bag of other such shells already in my freezer for a lobster stock.
I don’t know if you’ll respond to this but even if you do I’m certain it won’t be in time. I’ll let you’ll know later how it turns out.
Thank you so much for the recipe and I think I’ll browse through your blog later.
Sounds great and looks perfect! Lobster where I live is now about $3.99 a pound. I had lobster poached in butter in a restaurant for the first time a week ago. I loved it, and wondered how to do it. Thank you so much!
I will probably make this for Thanksgiving. We have lobster on Thanksgiving as we are more thankful for that than turkey. I do a turkey with all the trimmings on Sunday following Thanksgiving.
This is a great recipe. Thanks! I only added shallot and substituted water with lobster juice.
Delicious recipe! All I had were two small lobster tails (6 oz. meat total), so I adapted it a bit. Great idea to boil a bit of water and then whisk in the butter ounce by ounce. I ended up using three tbs of butter, which was more than enough. I had an ear of roasted corn on hand, so I cut the kernels off and added those. I served it over whole wheat spaghetti, which was robust enough to stand up to the sauce. Delicious and plenty for two. Thank you!
What wonderful Lobster Recipes. Your beautiful pictures really enhance the cooking experience. The Butter Poached Lobster with Fresh Tomatoes was an easy to prepare and delicious dish. Our family Loves Lobster so your Lobster Recipes will be on our menu often!
Oh my lord, this looks so so good. The colors, the presentation. Just gorgeous.
Your recipe ideas were really creative and innovative, and they were really useful enough for me. I never found it difficult to follow your procedures, and I would love to share this with my family and friends. Thanks and more power to your website.
This was great and also very easy to do. Might add some saffron and serve it over pappardelle. Thanks for sharing.
i had saved this recipe for years and found it today after a move and made it tonight – it was delicious!!! my first time making lobster at home and it was soooo good!!
I love how your children have such a down to earth approach to their food, and are not squeamish about it as most modern children are.
My children were the same. I did not indulge pickiness but encouraged my girls to keep trying things different ways. I made an example by eating things I knew were good for them, even if I didn’t like it.
Today they have well rounded tastes, and will try anything.
This recipe looks wonderful!
I love my lobster with “drawn buttter” (clarified) for dipping.
This sound right up my alley.
Thanks for sharing.
I’ve been folowing for a long time now! I’ve followed all the layout updates, the laurels you’ve been (deservely) collecting throughout the last years – and the reason I keep on coming back to Steamy Kitchen is the flavour of REAL I get from your charming posts, your accessible recipes, and your lovely kids taking part in the process, and the familiar tone you spread all over! Just so you know: you have a loyal fan in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!
So when my father-in-law sent some lobster tails (!) by mail (!) all the way from the native norstheatern city of my husband (Recife!!!) in a thermal container, I had to look up some trustworthy source for inspiration (I had never cooked lobster before today!). And the birthday boy (my husband) was very pleased with the result!!! (although my self-criticism tells me I shouldn’t have cooked the tomatoes that long… =) but hey! I’m not beating myself up for THAT!).
So, in short: I wanted to send you a big Thank You!!!! Boy, am I happy (maybe it’s all the chardonnay we had with it, but still)!!! 😉
By the way: the best lobster I’ve ever had!
Thank you so much Luciana!!! Big hugs from Florida.
May I come for dinner ………….. PLEEEEASE?!
Seriously this sounds and looks so good!
When I had my precious Michael, I made drawn (clarified) butter to serve with the lobster.
This sounds even better, and then the drawn butter on the side.
Love my Butter!
Thank you for sharing!
Oh dear. My life is now insufferably lacking. I must buy a creepy crawly lobster to make this. Also, boxes and boxes of butter. The End.
Oh, dear. I don’t know if I’ll make it through the work day now that I’ve seen this. I can almost taste it!
Yes. I would like one for breakfast please. (it’s 7:30 am right now)
I want lobster for breakfast everyday! 😉
Jaden, what a great post. Great how to cook lobster, but I love the idea of getting it steamed at the grocery store. Beautiful dish and it is making me so hungry!
that is just making me drool so badly! if only lobsters here in germany are that inexpensive, i would get a dozen! ahahaha! i don’t even think that the commissary (US grocery store inside the base) can sell it for that cheap. even if it does, it’s so rare that – when that would happen, and it would be gone in a jiffy. siiiigh.
That looks wonderful! I love Lobster (seafood in general) and butter too! What else cold you want in a meal?
Jean (my wife) loves lobster too, but I end up having to clean it for her. If I separate the pieces & crack them she’ll take it from there, but with complaints. She’ll love this dish — tasty & she doesn’t have to work for her food.
Oh, and I get all of the legs. Crush them between your teeth & suck out the tasty bits of meat.
Oh my goodness, I think I may swoon! Definitely on the menu this week!!!
yuuummmm… I’ve always been rather hesitant to cook lobster at home. There’s never any recipe I think I can handle to do justice to this wonderful lobster. Especially if they’re expensive (and it usually is, here). This sounds simple and lovely, and the basil is a nice touch!
Exceptional post as always, Jaden.
Love the part about blessing the lobstah by Buddha before poaching it in buttah. Nice touch!
I have seen the butter poaching technique and have been wanting to try it. But I hadn’t wanted to mess with clarifying as much butter as I needed.
Now I want to go get me a lobster!
Wow, next time Lobster goes on sale, I’m coming back to this recipe. Thanks for posting it. Butter makes everything better 🙂 MMMM!
We got to meet up when I am down in Tampa. Gotta cook up a storm of food with you Jaden 🙂 And this lobster is first up on our list!
Hey! Just stopping by to let you know we’re giving away a signed Sandra Lee cookbook with 1,001 recipes over at Chew on That! We’d love for you to enter! The giveaway ends on Halloween, so hurry over! 🙂
This looks fantastic! I’m going to make it and link back to you, Jaden!
Janice, the photos are amazing. Looks delicious!
I will take lobster any way I can get it, but your dish really looks wonderful. I just can’t deal with cooking the lobster. Mr. Bunkycooks will have to take care of that part.
This looks and sounds absolutely amazing, Jaden! Too bad I’m deathly allergic to lobster! If I weren’t, I would SO make this tonight! YUM!
This is such a beautiful dish! 🙂 Can’t wait to try it!
Holy cow does that look awesome! Having the unfortunate affliction of a serious lobster allergy, the closest I can to it is to look at incredible things like this! I’m insanely jealous that I don’t get to eat that!
The final dish is really lovely, Jaden.
This looks AMAZING! I love the simplicity of the ingredients. Will HAVE to try this. I am a little bit squeamish about cooking the live lobster though.
What a fantastic lobster recipe, Jayden–MOUTHWATERING!! Your site and recipes are both delicious!
When I was young, my family used to summer in Maine (okay, it was A LOT less snooty than it sounds). We’d stay at this B&B every year, the owners became close family friends, and they’d cook lobster for us a few times during our trip.
The trick they taught me for killing the lobsters was to boil the water and then hold the lobster over the steam so it passes out and then plunge it into the water. You HAVE to do it over an empty pot, though. Lobsters are smart and when they see a fellow lobster at the bottom of the pot they freak out and start flailing everywhere.
Looks great! I live in lobsta land, and here a pound is $4.99 🙂 The best way to eat it are the road-side lobster stands. Never had anything else but perfectly steamed lobster but your option looks good, too.
Sometimes wonder about my karma, with all the lobster I eat.
Mmm, lobster. In NZ it’s called crayfish I think, or are they 2 different things? I’ll be chowing down on some at Christmas because it’s a summer Christmas there, no chance of making this here in Austria (boo)…In a restaurant I used to work in we did the triple whammy; fridge to make ’em sleepy, stab between the eyes to kill and then a quick dunk to poach.
This looks amazing!! Now I’m craving lobster =)
So beautiful! Some of my very favorite things all in one dish. Did the kids have fun playing with the lobster?
LOL yeah. The first time we brought lobster home, Nathan wanted to keep it as a pet.
Aw, the pictures of the live to steamed lobster made me sad. But only for a minute because I want to eat this. Haha.
I live in Tampa. Where can you get whole lobster for $10.99/lb?
Publix has them at $10.99 a pound, though a couple of weeks ago, I saw the price dip down to $9.99 a pound. Sweetbay’s price is $11.99 the last I checked.
Now you just taught a Boston girl (via NY) a new lobstah trick — cutting the shells with shears. I thought it was virtuous (or a punishment) to have those spiny spikes pierce my skin trying to extract precious little meat from the shells. What kind of scissors – made of kryptonite?
These little shears are from a Chinatown supermarket – they are specifically for crab and come with a long plastic pick. However, you really can use any type of kitchen shears. There’s a great one by Joyce Chen that you can find at Sur La Table (or cheaper in Chinatown)
This is seriously making me drool. However lobsters are not even remotely affordable in Salt Lake, so I save that for a restaurant splurge. (Then I don’t have to deal with the idea of killing them, but your kids affirmations sound fun.)
You know the holidays are right around the corner when we all start talking about butter so freely…suddenly it’s okay again.
This looks fantastic, and I know it was delicious!
Lobster. Probably my most favorite thing in the whole world and yet such a rarity. $10.99/lb. Really? Not in Denver. Mostly available as frozen lobster tails that go for $28-30 lb it’s just not something that lands on our table often. This looks so decadent and amazing and, well, I’m just jealous of the abundance you have compared to the Rocky Mountains!
But I do have to share. Many years ago some friends had me over for dinner and fresh lobster. My wonderful (ahem) husband had just decided to leave our family for a young twit and my friends were trying to cheer me up…with, of course, my very favorite food.
Is it wrong that I named the two lobsters after him and the twit and actually took a bit of delight in plunging them headfirst into a pot of boiling water? It was cathartic for me and kept me out of prison and my girls out of foster care, so I’m thinking it was all for good…and delicious!
OMG, Jaden. I am wanting to reach right through the screen. GORGEOUS!
Lobster swimming in melted butter….ahhhh…. :))))
I have to say, I’m not a big fan of lobster. I think that a lot has to do with how it’s been prepared. But this recipe looks so amazing that I may have to surprise the boyfriend with it for a special occasion. I’d definitely have to get just the lobster tail, I can’t even get up the nerve to cut up a whole fish yet…
this dish looks amazing. i love lobsters!
I could live on lobster.
I apologize for the brevity but all I can say is, “YUM!”
I’m really looking forward to making this tomorrow night. Is it 1 T of water or 2? I couldn’t figure out what the other T was for. I assume you boil the lobsters in a pot full o water, not just 1T? Thank you!