Go Back
+ servings
Cooked lobster tail on a white plate with parsley and lemon wedge, with the words How to cook lobster tail as an overlay
Print Recipe
2.17 from 6 votes

Garlic Butter Lobster Tails

Everything you need to know to cook Garlic Butter Lobster Tails: Several methods, how to butterfly the lobster tails, clean them, and cook them for a great lobster dinner at home. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to cook lobster, how to cook lobster tails, lobster tails
Servings: 2
Calories: 157kcal


  • 2 lobster tails cold water, 4-8 ounces
  • 2 Tbs butter salted
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp parsley chopped fine
  • 2 lemon wedges


Thaw Lobster Before Preparing

    Butterfly Lobster Tails

    • Use kitchen shears to cut from the top of the lobster tail to the base.
    • Flip lobster tail over, and use thumbs to crack the ribs, pressing down until you hear them crack. 
    • Flip lobster tail back over, and use fingers to separate the lobster meat from the shell, being careful not to cut your fingers. 
    • Gently lift the lobster tail meat out of the shell, leaving attached at end. Place over top of the shell. 
    • Clean lobster tails by removing digestive tract, and rinse off.

    Butter Garlic Herb Sauce

    • In a small microwave safe dish, melt butter in microwave by heating for 20-30 seconds.
    • Stir in minced garlic and fresh, finely chopped parsley,  and set aside. 


    • Move oven rack to the highest setting, then Pre-heat oven broiler to high.
    • Place butterflied lobster tail in a baking dish or broiler pan with the shell side down, so meat will be closest part the top oven element. Set aside
    • Carefully spoon butter mixture over lobster meat. Reserve some for after cooking.
    • Broil 4-5 inches from heat for around 1.25 minutes per ounce. If broiling large tails, broil farther away from the heat source (approximately 6-8 minutes)
    • Remove from oven, use a meat thermometer to test doneness (140 degrees F.) or check that meat is no longer translucent, but rather white or opaque.
    • Remove from baking dish, and serve with remaining butter, and a squeeze of lemon.

    Baking Lobster Tails

    • With oven rack at the middle setting, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
    • Place cleaned and butterflied lobster tails in a baking dish.
    • Brush with butter and garlic herb mixture.
    • Bake around 7 to 18 minutes (depending on tail weight)/ until an instant-read thermometer reads 140 degrees. Do not overcook.
    • Remove from oven.  Optional: Place under broiler for 1-2 minutes to get a golden finish
    • Finish with additional butter, and a squeeze of lemon. 

    Poaching Instructions

    • Add water to a deep pot, and bring to a boil.
    • Parboil or blanch tails (add to water and let boil about 2-3 minutes, depending on size) just enough so that the meat can be removed from the shell.
    • Butterfly the lobster, but instead of setting on top of the shell, remove the meat in one piece.
    • Clean and remove the vein and any goop.
    • In a large skillet, add butter plus additional butter, and gently poach the lobster meat in melted butter by simmering them gently (DO NOT BOIL).
    • When internal temp reaches 140degrees F. remove and rest for 2-3 minutes.
    • Serve and enjoy.

    Grilling Instructions

    • Preheat grill to a medium heat (350-375 degrees)
    • Brush lobster with butter mixture. Reserve some for basting later. 
    • Grease grill rack well with oil or additional butter.
    • Cook tails with the shell side on the rack until shells turn red and meat begins to turn from translucent to opaque. (3-5 minutes)
    • Flip tail and grill on flesh side for just a couple of minutes to add some flavor.
    • Baste with butter, and finish grilling shell side down until internal temp reaches 140 degrees F. Be care to not overcook or tails will be dry and rubbery.
    • Serve with lemon wedges. 

    Pressure Cooker Instructions

    • Thaw: If frozen, allow the lobster tails to fully thaw before prepping. While many instant pot recipes can be prepared from frozen, lobster is not one of them. It will result in tough and rubbery lobster. 
    • Butterfly and clean according to instructions above. Add Salted Water to the bottom of the Instant Pot (1 cup water 1 1/2 tsps salt)
    • Add any desired seasonings to the Instant Pot. 1 clove of garlic and some salt is recommended. 
    • Place Steamer Basket inside the Instant Pot. Adjust the Steamer Basket so it is partially closed, and the opening is just wide enough to place the lobster tails standing up inside.
    • Place lobster tails in steamer basket, so they are standing up inside.
    • Brush the lobster tails with butter mixture. Reserving some for serving. 
    • Place lid on Instant pot, and lock into place, set vent to "sealing" and cook tails for 2 minutes on LOW pressure.
    • Quick release pressure, and open the Instant Pot. 
    • Use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature, and allow lobster to sit in pot and continue cooking until temp reaches 140 degrees F.
    • Serve with lemon wedges and additional butter mixture and Enjoy

    Boiling Instructions

    • Do not butterfly lobster first! 
    • Bring a medium to large pot of water to a boil. Make sure the pot is large enough that once the lobster tail is inserted, the water has room to circulate.
    • Once water boils, add tails, and allow water to come back up to a boil.
    • Once back to boiling, lower temperature, and cook until done. The shell should be red, and the meat white. 
    • Use kitchen shears to butterfly lobster, wash off any green good and remove digestive track if it is there.
    • Serve by spooning butter mixture over the top, and squeezing lemon over it all.

    Steaming Instructions

    • Butterfly and clean lobster according to above directions.
    • In a large pot with a lid and steamer basket, add 2 inches of water, and place on medium high heat. Cover pot with a lid.
    • Bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid, and . add lobster tails to the steamer basket, cover with a lid. 
    • Steam until cooked through (internal temp of 140 degrees)
    • Serve by brushing with butter mixture and squeezing lemon over the top.

    Air Fryer Instructions

    • Preheat your air fryer to 380F
    • Butterfly and clean lobster tail according to above directions.
    • Brush lobster with the butter mixture,  reserving some to add later.
    • Place the lobster tails in the air fryer basket and air fry at 380F for 4 minutes.
    • Add the additional butter, as this will help keep the lobster from drying out while it finishes cooking. 
    • Air fry for and additional 2 minutes or until internal temp reaches 140 degrees F.



    If cooking a lobster tail larger than 9 ounces, move oven rack down to middle setting. If meat is slightly pink, this just means it is from a female lobster, nothing to worry about.
    Estimated Baking Times:
    S: 3-4 ounces, 7-8 minutes
    M: 5-6 ounces, 10-12  minutes.
    L:7-9 ounces, 12-15 minutes
    XL:9+ ounces, 15-18 minutes
    Bake until opaque and reaches temperature of 140 degrees F.
    Estimated Broiling Times:
    S: 3-4 ounces, 6-8 minutes
    M: 5-6 ounces, 10-11  minutes.
    L:7-9 ounces, 12-15 minutes
    XL:9+ ounces, 15-18 minutes
    Broil lobster meat until opaque and white in center, and/or 140˚F.
    Estimated Poaching Time
    S: 3-4 ounces, 3-5 minutes
    M: 5-6 ounces, 6-8  minutes.
    L:7-9 ounces, 11-12 minutes
    XL:9+ ounces, 15 minutes
    Estimated Grilling Times
    S: 3-4 ounces, 4-5 minutes
    M: 5-6 ounces, 6-8  minutes.
    L:7-9 ounces, 8-11 minutes
    XL:9+ ounces, 10-12 minutes
    Estimated Boiling Times
    6-7 ounces, 5-6 minutes.
    8-10 ounces, 6-8 minutes
    16-20 ounces, 10 minutes
    20+ ounces, 10-12 minutes
    Estimated Steaming Times
    6-7 ounces, 6-8 minutes.
    8-10 ounces, 8-10 minutes
    16+ ounces, 10-12 minutes


    Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 369mg | Potassium: 151mg | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 0.3mg