Seafood lovers might know that lobster needs to be cooked as soon as possible if we buy it especially live lobster. And there may be a question in your mind, “Can I cook lobster a day in advance?”
The answer is YES. You can make your delicious meal the night before and have it ready to go when you are ready to serve later. It can store up to three days before serving; ensure you don’t overcook and pack it in an airtight container. To keep it fresh and not compromise the taste, refrigerate it as soon as you are done cooking.
When ready to serve, you must reheat the lobster in a pot of boiling water for just a few minutes or use your oven. Sounds easy, right?
In this post, I will share more details on properly cooking and storing lobster if you want to cook lobster in advance.
Choose Your Lobster
When buying lobster, make sure you buy the freshest one available. If you can, buy directly from a local fisherman or seafood market instead of getting them from a grocery store.
There are two main types of lobsters: Maine lobsters and spiny lobsters. Maine lobsters, also known as American lobsters, are the most common type found in the United States. They have hard, spiky shells and long, thick claws.
Spiny lobsters, on the other hand, have a softer shell and no claws, but they have long, sharp spines on their tail and body. Both lobsters are delicious, so it comes down to personal preference.
When it comes to size, bigger isn’t always better. Lobsters that are too large can be tough and chewy, while more undersized lobsters tend to be more tender and flavorful. I recommend choosing between 1.5 and 2 pounds of lobsters, as they are the most succulent and delicious.
How to Select Live Lobsters
If you’re buying live lobsters, there are a few key things to look for:
- Lively and active: Lobsters should be lively and active when you buy them. If they’re sluggish or slow-moving, they may not be fresh.
- Firm shells: Lobsters should have firm shells with no cracks or breaks. A soft, spongy shell signifies an old or sick lobster.
- Sweet, briny aroma: Lobsters should have a sweet, briny aroma, not a strong, fishy smell.
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How to Select Frozen Lobsters
If you’re buying frozen lobsters, there are a few key things to look for:
- Quality packaging: Look for frozen lobsters in vacuum-sealed bags or cryovac packaging. This will help to preserve their flavor and texture.
- No freezer burn: Avoid frozen lobsters with signs of freezer burn, such as frost or ice crystals on the surface.
- Freshness: Choose frozen lobsters caught and frozen within a few days of each other. This will help to ensure that they’re fresh and flavorful.
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Cook the Lobsters the Day Before
Once you’ve selected your lobsters, it’s time to cook them. There are several ways to cook lobster, including boiling, steaming, grilling, and baking. Whichever method you choose, it’s essential to cook the lobsters until they’re fully cooked but not overcooked.
How to Thaw Frozen Lobster
If you’re using frozen lobster, you’ll need to thaw it before cooking. Here are a few options:
- Refrigerator – Place the frozen lobster in the fridge for 24-48 hours to thaw.
- Cold water – Place the frozen lobster in a plastic bag and submerge it in a bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the lobster is thawed. This should take about 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the lobster.
- Microwave – Place the frozen lobster in a microwave-safe dish and microwave it on the defrost setting for 5-10 minutes until it’s thawed.
To test for doneness, insert a sharp knife into the thickest part of the lobster tail. If the knife goes in easily and the lobster meat is white and opaque, it’s cooked. The meat must cook for a bit longer if it is still translucent or pink.
Here are a few more tips for cooking lobster:
- Boiling: To boil lobster, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the lobsters to the pot, making sure they’re fully submerged. Boil the lobsters for 10-15 minutes, depending on their size. You can leave rubber bands on claws while boiling.
- Steaming: To steam lobster, fill a large pot with a few inches of water and bring it to a boil. Place a steaming basket or colander in the pot, and add the lobsters to the basket. Cover the pot and steam the lobsters for 10-15 minutes, depending on their size.
- Grilling: To grill lobster, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the lobsters for 8-10 minutes per side until they’re fully cooked, and the shells are bright red. Split the lobsters in half lengthwise, and brush them with melted butter or olive oil.
- Baking: To bake lobster, preheat your oven to 400°F. Split the lobsters in half lengthwise, and place them cut-side up on a baking sheet. Brush them with a bit of melted butter or olive oil, and bake for 8-10 minutes, until they’re fully cooked, and the shells are bright red.
|Boiling||10-15 minutes||Quick and easy, great for large batches, can add flavor to the water with herbs and spices||Can be easy to overcook, some of the flavor can be lost to the water|
|Steaming||10-15 minutes||Gentle method that preserve flavor and texture, can add flavor to the steam with herbs and spices, can be done in a covered grill||Can be slower than boiling or grilling|
|Grilling||8-10 minutes per side||Adds smoky flavor to the lobster, can be done outdoors, can be done in a covered grill for an outdoor option||Can be difficult to gauge cooking time, can be easy to overcook|
|Baking||8-10 minutes||Gentle method that preserve flavor and texture, can be done in advance and reheated||Can be slower than boiling or grilling|
Once the lobsters are cooked, remove them from the pot or grill and let them cool completely. Then, cut the lobsters in half lengthwise, remove the meat from the shells, and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Or leave it as a full size, depending on what you will serve.
Store Cooked Lobster
Now that your lobster is cooked and chopped, it’s important to store it properly to keep it fresh and flavorful. Here are a few tips:
- Place the lobster meat in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
- Store the lobster in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for up to three days.
- If you’re not planning on serving the lobster within three days, you can also store it in the freezer for up to six months. Just be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before freezing. But surely this methods will taste not better than freshly cooked lobsters
Reheat and Serve the Lobster
When it’s time to serve the lobster, you have a few options for reheating it. It will depend on how you plan to serve it.
- For a quick and easy option, microwave the lobster meat in 30-second intervals until it’s heated through.
- If you want a more flavorful option, sauté the lobster in butter or olive oil over medium heat until it’s heated through and the edges are crispy.
- For a more elegant option, bake the lobster in a butter sauce or béchamel sauce until it’s heated through and the top is golden and bubbly.
You can even go further with creative options such as:
- Lobster rolls: Split a toasted hot dog bun and fill it with chunks of lobster meat, a bit of mayonnaise, and some diced celery and onions.
- Lobster bisque: Purée cooked lobster meat with some chicken or seafood stock, a bit of cream, and some vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs.
- Lobster mac and cheese: Mix cooked lobster meat with some cooked macaroni, a bit of cheese sauce, and some breadcrumbs. Bake until the top is golden and bubbly.
- Lobster pasta: Toss cooked lobster meat with some cooked pasta, a bit of butter or olive oil, and some fresh herbs like parsley or basil.
- Lobster salad: Mix cooked lobster meat with diced vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions. Add a bit of mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tips for Serving Lobster
Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when serving lobster:
- If you’re serving lobster as the main course, plan on one to two lobsters per person.
- Accompany your lobster with simple sides, like boiled or roasted potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a salad.
- If you’re serving lobster as an appetizer, you’ll need less – about half a lobster per person.
- Don’t forget the condiments! Serve your lobster with some melted butter or a lemon wedge for dipping.
- For a truly luxurious touch, serve the lobster with some clarified butter for dipping.
No matter how you decide to serve it, nothing compares to cooked lobster’s succulent flavor. Whether you have it as a main course or an appetizer, the cooked lobster is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! Enjoy!