Steaming frozen cooked lobster is a great way to enjoy luxurious seafood with minimal effort. The gentle heat rewarms the precooked lobster while keeping it incredibly moist and tender. Follow this straightforward guide to learn the process from start to finish.
Assess Your Frozen Lobster
Take stock of the lobster packages in your freezer to determine:
- Type: Whole lobster, lobster tails, lobster claws, split lobster, etc. Size and cut will impact cooking time.
- Weight: This determines how long to steam. Larger, thicker tails need more time than smaller ones.
- Number: Be sure your pot can fit all lobsters without crowding. Cook similar weights together for even steaming.
- Freezing method: Was it blast frozen? Quick freezing helps retain moisture better than slow freezing.
Prepare Your Steamer
You just need simple items to steam frozen lobster.
- Large pot with lid: Choose one that gives you a few inches of clearance above the lobsters.
- Steamer basket or rack: Elevates lobsters above water so they don’t get soggy. If you don’t have one, place them directly in the pot.
- Metal tongs: Lets you safely transfer lobsters in and out of steam. Avoid piercing the delicate meat.
Fill Pot with Water
This creates the steam that cooks the lobster. Follow these steps:
- Add about 1-2 inches of water to the pot’s bottom. Too much water will make the lobster soggy.
- For flavor, add lemon, Old Bay seasoning, garlic, or other aromatics to the water.
- Bring water to a rapid boil over high heat so steaming starts immediately after adding lobster.
Position Lobsters in Steamer
Now it’s time to load up the lobsters:
- Place steamer basket or rack at bottom of pot, then place lobster directly on top.
- If no steamer setup, place lobsters directly in pot. Just ensure they aren’t submerged in water.
- Arrange all lobsters with space between each one for steam to circulate effectively.
- Use metal tongs to safely transfer frozen lobsters from freezer to steamer.
Steam Based on Weight
Refer to these general guidelines for steaming times:
- 0.5 lb lobster tails: 5-7 minutes
- 0.75-1 lb lobster tails: 7-9 minutes
- 1-1.5 lb lobster: 10-13 minutes
- 1.5-2 lb lobster: 13-15 minutes
The time depends on your individual frozen lobsters and personal preference for doneness.
Use these techniques to confirm your lobster is ready:
- Insert thermometer into thickest part of tail – it should reach 140°F.
- Meat should be opaque throughout when cut or cracked open.
- Antennae or legs should detach easily when given a gentle tug.
Rest and Serve Immediately
Once fully steamed:
- Use tongs to transfer lobster to a platter or plates.
- Tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes so juices redistribute.
- Crack tails, claws, legs, etc. and remove meat for easy eating.
- Serve with melted butter, lemon wedges, or your favorite dipping sauce.
Eat your tender, deliciously steamed lobster right away for maximum flavor and moisture!
Steaming Different Cuts of Lobster
The method remains the same, but use these tips when steaming specific lobster cuts:
Steaming Whole Lobsters
- Cut lengthwise underside of tail to allow heat to penetrate meat.
- Increase steaming time to 15-18 minutes for 1.5-2 lb lobsters.
- Add flavorings like lemon, garlic, and herbs to the steaming liquid.
- Serve with traditional drawn butter or flavored aioli.
Steaming Lobster Tails
- Use kitchen shears to carefully cut through soft underside shell lengthwise to expose meat.
- Position tail cuts facing up in steamer so seasonings penetrate meat.
- Baste tails with herb butter before steaming for incredible flavor infusion.
- Garnish with fresh lemon and parsley.
Steaming Lobster Claws
- Twist and crack claw shell slightly before steaming to help heat penetrate faster.
- Add broth, wine or bold spices to infuse flavors into the smaller cuts.
- Serve claws whole or shelled with dipping sauces like butter, mustard sauce, or Hollandaise.
- Garnish with fresh chives.
Choosing the Best Frozen Lobsters
Not all frozen lobsters are equal. Look for these signs of quality when purchasing:
Check the Processing
- Choose blast-frozen lobster over slow-frozen. The quick freezing retains more moisture and flavor.
- Lobster frozen immediately after catching is best. Avoid pre-frozen then re-frozen meat.
- Look for vacuum-sealed packaging to prevent freezer burn.
- Meat should be in solid, uniform pieces, not mushy or washed out.
- Shell should be shiny with no dry spots or freezer burn.
- Legs and antennae should be intact, not broken off or discolored.
- No foul odor – should smell like fresh ocean water.
- No dryness or crystals on meat, shell or packaging.
- Shell segments move freely – no gaps between joints if bent.
- Use frozen lobsters within 3-4 months for best quality.
Thawing Frozen Lobster Safely
Follow these methods to safely thaw frozen lobster before steaming:
- Refrigerator: Thaw overnight in the fridge for slow, safe thawing. Place on a tray to catch drips.
- Cold Water: Submerge vacuum-sealed lobster in cold water, changing water every 30 mins until thawed. Use sealed bags only to avoid contamination.
- Microwave: Thaw on 50% power in 1 minute increments, rearranging and flipping. Check often to avoid cooking edges.
- Only thaw as much lobster as you plan to eat within a couple days.
- Do not thaw at room temperature or in hot water – this promotes bacterial growth.
- Cook thawed lobster immediately and discard any leftovers. Do not refreeze thawed lobster.
FAQs About Steaming Frozen Lobster
Still have questions? Here are answers to commonly asked questions:
Can I steam frozen raw lobster?
No, only pre-cooked frozen lobster should be steamed. Raw frozen lobster must be cooked fully from scratch.
Do I need to add oil or butter before steaming?
No, steam will cook the lobster sufficiently without adding fats. Brush with butter after steaming for flavor.
What if my lobster isn’t fully thawed before steaming?
Increase steaming time by a couple minutes per half-pound of frozen lobster to allow heat to penetrate completely.
Cooked leftovers can be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. Re-steam until hot before eating again.
How can I flavor the lobster beyond just steaming?
Incorporate herbs, spices, citrus, and aromatics into the steaming liquid. You can also brush lobster with compound butter before cooking.
Enjoy Delicious Steamed Lobster
Steaming frozen pre-cooked lobster makes preparing elegant seafood easy and fuss-free. With the simple guidance provided in this article, you can confidently thaw, prep, steam and serve tender lobster with superb results. Adjust cooking times and experiment with flavors to customize your feast. Impress guests or even enjoy a weeknight surf and turf by whipping up restaurant-worthy lobster in your own kitchen.