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steamed lobster tails on a white plate, curly parsley, and lemon.

How to Cook Steamed Lobster Tails Recipe

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Steamed Lobster Tails Recipe with Garlic Butter– Steaming the lobster tails preserves their natural sweetness and avoids needing heavy or overly complicated sauces. The result is a fresh and light dish that lets the lobster shine!

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 4 lobster tails (small to medium or large)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Lemon slices for serving


  1. Thaw the lobster tails if they are frozen*.
  2. Butterfly the lobster tails: Cut through the top of the shell lengthwise using sharp kitchen shears, stopping at the tail. Gently spread the shell open to expose the meat without detaching it from the shell. This is known as “butterflying” the lobster tails.
  3. Fill a large pot with a few inches of water and insert a steamer basket, steamer insert, or steamer rack. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the basket. Place lobster tails in the steaming basket, in a single layer, shell side down. Cover the pot with a lid.
  4. Cook the Lobster Tails: steam lobster tails until fully cooked. This typically takes 6 to 8 minutes for small to medium lobster tails and 8 to 10 minutes for larger tails. Try not to open the lid when they are steaming!
    1.  Tip: Lobster tails are fully cooked when the flesh is firm to the touch and white and opaque in color. The shells should be bright red, and the internal temperature should range from 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. 
  5. Prepare Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce: While the lobster tails are steaming, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, but be careful not to brown the garlic. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the garlic butter mixture. Stir well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
  6. Once the lobster tails are fully cooked, carefully remove them from the steaming basket. Place them on a serving platter. Garnish the lobster tails with chopped fresh parsley. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.
  7. Pour the garlic lemon butter sauce over the steamed lobster tails, or dip each bite into the lemon garlic butter sauce (or sauce of choice!).


Thawing lobster tails: 1) Refrigerator (overnight method) – Set frozen lobster tails on a plate topped and cover them with paper towels (to absorb excess water) and wrap them with plastic wrap, or set them in an airtight container. Thaw 8-12 hours, or overnight in the fridge. 2) Fast method – Place frozen lobster tails in a gallon-sized sealed bag and release the air. Place the bag in a bowl of cool water until the lobster is thawed. 

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: American
  • Cuisine: American