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How To Prepare A Live Lobster

Crustacean lovers! Check out how to handle a live lobster, plus a Recipe for a Mouth-watering Lobster Tail.mouth-watering lobster tail recipe
There’re 2 different types of lobsters – Maine & Spiny. The Maine or Clawed lobsters contain more meat while Spiny lobsters, also called Rock lobsters, have no claws. Hence, almost all of the meat is in the tail & there’re about 45 different species of Spiny lobsters all over the world.

asian food channel lobster recipe chinese cooking
Confronting a common culinary fear is the humanity issues of cooking a live lobster. Well, research indicates the lobster has no central nervous system to register stimuli, thus the crustacean will most likely feel no pain.

Method of preparation before cooking:
  1. It's gonna be a challenge if you haven't done it before. Putting the lobster in the freezer will do the trick if you’re afraid of being “slapped” by the lobster. Temporary freeze it for about 10 mins for easy handling. Do not leave it in the freeze for too long as meat will toughen & you do not want to kill it at this point.
  2. Use an oven glove to pick up a lobster, grab it by the back just above where the tail connects to the body. The shell on the underside of the tail has some sharp edges & may cut you if the lobster flips its tail. *Remember: The lobster is only temporarily immobilized, it’s still alive & may move anytime.
  3. Prepare by inserting chopsticks into the tail of the lobster to let “veins” (urinal thread) out.
    how to prepare live lobster
  4. Clean thoroughly in cold lobster
Boil, Steam or Grill, but Don't Overcook! How you cook a lobster has no bearing on how you remove its meat. But if you overcook it, the meat will be tough & tasteless instead of sweet and tender.

It’s highly recommended to cook your live lobsters on the day you receive them & never place lobsters in water to try to keep them alive. Boiling a lobster is probably the easiest way to cook a lobster but I prefer steaming as the meat is more tender, especially with larger lobsters. Steaming preserves the true flavour of the lobster because it does not penetrate the way water can. Besides, I don't have “gallons” of boiling water to waste & clean up after.

bamboo lobster recipeTo prepare for this Steamed Lobster recipe, I’ve chosen to use Spiny Lobster - Bamboo species for My Lobster Affair. The Bamboo lobster (striped legs & tail that resemble that of a bamboo trunk) is good for steaming with its succulent meat.

Recipe: Mouth-watering Lobster Tail
1 fresh live Spiny lobster
1 small onion
3 stalks of celery
1 tbs salt
Mixed dried fruits for garnish

  1. Fill half the wok with water & add 1 tbs of salt. Cover the lid & put on high heat.
  2. Insert a chopstick down the length of the lobster tail. This will prevent them from curling up upon to kill live lobster
  3. When water boils, add lobster. Place quartered onion & pieces of diced celery into the wok. The smaller you cut your pieces of celery, the more flavour they will release.
  4. steaming lobster
  5. Steam for about 10 - 15mins (depending on size) until shell turns bright red. When cooked, leave the lobster to cool. Keep the vegetable liquid for Lobster Bisque stock.
  6. Grab the thorax (head section) with one hand, the tail with the other & twist. The parts should separate easily. Using a sharp scissors, cut under shell of the tail section & pull out the flesh carefully. Reserve the shell for stock.
  7. Slice the meat into medallions & arrange neatly onto plate. Decorate with the lobster head & tip of tail & dribble Lobster Bisque sauce on the meat. Sprinkle mixed fruits on the plate & here’s your platter of mouth-watering lobster tail.
mouth-watering lobster tail recipes


  1. Excellent writeup!!! Now I'm off to find some bamboo lobsters!!!

  2. Thks GrillinFools, for ur generous comment! Hope u can get some nice lobsters :)

  3. Great post...Working with live lobster can be pretty tricky, and these directions are excellent and easy to follow :)

  4. M.Spice, thks! Both our lobster posts can go hand-in-hand :)

  5. That's a beautiful species of lobster. Unfortunately, we don't have that type of lobster here :(
    Loved that you taught how to release the waste/urine through the tail. You'd be surprised how many people don't know you're supposed to do that. Actually if I wasn't such a seafood lover, I don't think I would've been aware of that step either. I love that you added onions and celery to the steaming water. I've never tried that before. Great post, Shirley! Will be adding you to my google reader. Love your recipes!

  6. Lequan, a lot of people actually omit that part :) Thks for dropping by & leaving your comments. Have a nice weekend!

  7. Lobster is my all-time favorite food and I loved your thorough instruction! I'm checking out your Lobster Bisque recipe and Lobster Affair link right after this. :)

  8. Kim, thks & glad u found it useful! Welcome to the lobster fan club. Hahaha!

  9. I love lobsters, or any crustacean for that matter, but I am deathly scared of them when they're alive! I have this fear that they might chomp into my fingers and sever it as their final revenge on me. Hahaha I know, they're a little far-out and my imagination going a little too overly-active.

    I have never worked on lobsters before, but when I do, I will sure use your post to serve as my guide.

    Thank you!


    as their final revenge on me

  10. Wi, I used to be like u too! LOL! Especially when I always see some people die after getting bitten. So scary! If u're not used to handling live ones, suggest u get those frozen lobster tails.

  11. I have never handle a dead lobster before, let alone the live one. Thanks for the education on how to prepare it. Very well written post Shirley!

  12. Veron, like I've earlier suggested to another blogger....... use frozen ones if u're not used to handling live lobsters. Or ask Quay Lo to take care of them? Hahaha!


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