how to cut lobster tail

How to Cut Lobster Tail: A Step-by-Step Guide

Lobster tail is a delicacy that many people enjoy. Whether you’re having it at a fancy restaurant or making it at home, knowing how to properly cut a lobster tail is important. In this article, we’ll go over the step-by-step process for cutting lobster tail, as well as some common questions and answers about it.

Step 1: Prepare the Lobster Tail

Before you can begin cutting the lobster tail, you need to prepare it. Start by defrosting the lobster tail if it’s frozen. To do this, you can either leave it in the fridge overnight or put it in a sealed plastic bag and submerge it in cold water for 30 minutes.

Once the lobster tail is defrosted, rinse it under cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Use a sharp pair of scissors or kitchen shears to cut off the fan-like fins located at the tail end of the lobster. Be sure to also remove the small piece of shell located at the tip of the tail.

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Step 2: Cut the Top of the Shell

With the lobster tail prepared, it’s time to start cutting. Position the tail so that the belly-side is facing up and the tail is pointing away from you. Use a sharp knife to make a cut down the middle of the shell, starting at the wide end and cutting towards the narrow end (the end where the fins were removed).

Be sure to only cut through the shell and not the meat underneath. Take your time and use a gentle sawing motion to work your way through the shell. You should be able to feel when the knife is close to the meat.

Step 3: Loosen the Meat

Once you have cut down the middle of the shell, use your hands to gently separate the meat from the shell. Keep the tail intact, but loosen the meat from the sides and top of the shell.

Be sure to be gentle and take your time during this process so that you don’t accidentally tear the meat. You want to keep the meat attached to the shell at the base of the tail.

Step 4: Lift and Cut the Meat

With the meat loosened, lift it up and out of the shell. You may need to use a small knife to cut any remaining connective tissue. Then, use your knife to cut the meat down the middle, making sure not to cut all the way through to the other side.

If you want to butterfly the tail, you can cut all the way through the meat and lay it flat. But if you want to keep the tail whole, be sure to stop before you cut all the way through.

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Step 5: Cook the Lobster

With the tail cut, you’re ready to cook the lobster. There are many ways to cook lobster tail, including boiling, grilling, or broiling. No matter how you decide to cook it, be sure to follow the cooking instructions carefully to avoid overcooking or undercooking the lobster.


Now that you know how to cut lobster tail, here are some common questions and answers about it.

Q: How do I know when the lobster tail is cooked?

A: The easiest way to tell if lobster tail is cooked is to look at the color of the meat. When cooked, it should turn opaque white and the shell should turn bright red. The meat should also feel firm to the touch.

Q: Can I store cooked lobster tail?

A: Yes, you can store cooked lobster tail in the fridge for up to 3 days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Q: Do I need to remove the vein in the lobster tail?

A: No, there is no vein in lobster tail like there is in shrimp. The digestive tract runs down the center of the tail, so be sure to remove it if you don’t want to eat it.

Q: Can I cook a frozen lobster tail?

A: Yes, you can cook a frozen lobster tail. However, it will take longer to cook than a thawed lobster tail. Be sure to add extra cooking time and check the internal temperature to ensure it’s fully cooked.

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Q: How do I store raw lobster tail?

A: If you have raw lobster tail, store it in the fridge in a sealed container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. It will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge. If you need to store it for longer, you can freeze it for up to 6 months.

Q: Can I cut the lobster tail before cooking it?

A: Yes, you can cut the lobster tail before cooking it. However, be sure to keep the meat attached to the shell and cook it shell-side down to prevent the meat from shrinking.


Cutting lobster tail may seem intimidating, but with the right tools and a little practice, you’ll be able to do it with ease. Remember to take your time and be gentle when separating the meat from the shell to keep it intact. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different cooking methods to find the one that works for you. Enjoy!

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