Want to know how to cook lobster? There are so many ways! Here, as a lobster lover living in Maine, I’m giving you a full guide on how to steam lobster! It’s way easier than you might think so let’s dig in!

Living in Maine, we undoubtedly get the best lobster in the world. It’s fresh, local, and oftentimes way less expensive than anywhere else. So don’t ask me why it’s taken me so long to write a post on how to cook lobster!

Perhaps it’s because I’m so eager to sit down and dive into my lobster that I can’t be bothered with taking photos.

Or maybe it’s that we actually haven’t eaten lobster all that often since we moved up here since it’s available literally everywhere. It’s sort of an inverse supply and demand thing: supply increases –> demand decreases. I’m sure there’s a legit economics term for that.

All I can say is that we don’t feel pressured to eat it or buy it like we did when we vacationed in Maine because we can now get it whenever we want.

And believe me, I understand what a great problem that is to have! Especially when lobster costs just $6.50 per pound!

OH YES!! You read that correctly! My mom and I found a lobsterman selling his lobster for $6.50 per pound right off the dock in back of the inn he runs with his wife.

We had taken a drive out to Bailey Island at the beginning of July to have lunch on the water at a crazy good restaurant I’ve been meaning to get to for over a year. And on the way home, we stumbled upon a LOBSTERS sign with an arrow on the side of the road.

Which, when you’re looking for lobsters in Maine, you follow.

The rest is history until we got to steaming our lobsters the next day!

Four cooked lobster on a white platter.

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Tools for Cooking Lobster

Here are the tools that I use for steaming lobster, with shoppable links. Don’t worry if you don’t have the exact tools and don’t want to buy them – be creative and repurpose what you already have in the kitchen!

A large black pot on a stove. The water in the pot is steaming and is ready to cook lobster.

Lobster Pots

Believe it or not, I use my huge canning pot as my primary lobster pot! It’s a wide pot that can steam 8 to 10 lobsters in a single batch. My 12 quart pasta pot and 8 quart stock pot are my back up pots for steaming smaller amounts or if I have more lobster than will fit in the canning pot.

A whole cooked lobster just pulled from the lobster pot with a pair of tongs.


Serving Platters, Pans, and Bowls

A hand holding a fresh whole lobster over a large pot of steaming water.

FAQs About Steaming Lobster

Nervous to steam a live lobster?

I see you! Lobster are wiggly creatures so be sure to keep the rubber bands around their claws. You don’t want to get snipped!

How do you store live lobster before cooking?

You need to keep your live lobsters cold before cooking them, just like any other type of seafood or shellfish. If you have room, keep them in the fridge. You can also store lobster in a cooler with ice packs (no need to ice the lobster if you keep the cooler in the house – just keep them cold).

How do you humanely cook live lobster?

If you have concerns about how to cook a lobster humanely without it wiggling around as you lower it into the pot, freezing the lobsters for about 15 minutes will lull their bodies into an unconscious state. So, they won’t be moving when you start to cook them. To maintain maximum freshness, don’t allow your lobster to completely freeze and die before you cook it!

Do lobsters squeal when you cook them?

Ummm, I truly think this is an old wives tale! I’ve cooked a whole lot of lobster over the years and I’ve never, ever heard them squealing in the pot!

What size pot do I need?

For whole lobsters, use at least a 12 quart pot. For lobster tails, a pot anywhere between a large saucepan and an 8 quart stock pot will work, depending on how many tails you’ll be steaming. (See the Tools section above or the Recommended Products section below the recipe for my suggested tools.)

Want to Host Your Own Clambake or Lobster Bake?

A few years ago, I helped to throw a family party that featured a full-on New England-style clambake. If you want to host your own, you’ll definitely want to check out that post for tons of tips on how to do this!

The lobsters for that party were steamed in seaweed over an open fire but you could absolutely steam them in a pot instead!

Fantastic Lobster Recipes

Four steamed lobster on an oval platter.

How to Steam Lobster

Yield: 4 lobsters
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes


  • 4 fresh whole lobsters, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs each


  1. Bring a very large pot filled with 2 to 3 inches of water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Using a pair of tongs or your hands if you're brave enough, lower the lobsters into the pot. Cover and steam the lobsters for 13 minutes.
  3. With a pair of tongs, pull the lobsters up from the pot, allowing as much water to drain off as possible over the pot, and transfer them to a large serving platter. Allow the lobster to cool for 5 minutes before serving or cool for 15 minutes and then chill them in the fridge if you're going to pick them for lobster rolls, salad, or another recipe.


To steam lobster tails, use a smaller pot, 1 to 2 inches of water, and reduce the steaming time to 10 minutes.

Recommended Products

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