Food & Drink

Butter-Poached Lobster Tails

The key to a delicious lobster tail is to avoid overcooking and to use butter. Cook it in butter, very slowly, and at the right temperature.


Frozen lobster tails are really easy now to come by. Most supermarkets sell them and my local market frequently puts them on sale for 5 bucks each, making them more affordable than a mediocre steak. However, many people overcook their lobster tails by broiling them or otherwise rendering the tails tough and tasteless. The remedy? BUTTER. Lots of butter. You could probably cook river rocks in butter and they’d taste great, right? Well, the key to cooking lobster tails in butter is to do it very slowly, at the right temperature. You could eat these lobster tails a la carte or use them for lobster rolls, lobster salad, pasta with lobster, lobster omelet, etc. You can easily increase the number of servings for this recipe; just figure on about a stick of butter per lobster tail. 


2 lobster tails, thawed and shells removed

1 stick of butter per lobster tail (2 sticks total)

Crusty bread (optional)


  1. Get out a small saucepan. You want a pan just wide enough to hold the lobster tails. If the pan is too wide, you’ll have to use extra butter in order to submerge the lobster in the butter. Got it?
  2. Next, put a quarter cup of water into the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and start to whisk in the two sticks of butter, a couple tablespoons at a time. Resist the urge to dump all of the butter into the pan at once.
  4. Once a couple of tablespoons of butter have melted, whisk in a couple more and continue until all of the butter has melted. 
  5. Now, here’s the important part: Try to keep the butter between 160 and 180 degrees F. I try to shoot for 170 F. At this temperature, the butter will melt, but it won’t break down, separating the milk solids, water and milk fat. Technically, you’re making what the French call beurre monte.
  6. When all the butter is melted, turn the temperature on the stove down to low.
  7. Gently lay the lobster tails into the melted butter. With an instant read thermometer, make sure the temperature doesn’t get over 180 F.
  8. If the tails aren’t completely submerged in the butter, continually spoon a little butter over the tops. Poach the lobster tails for 8 to 10 minutes, until the meat turns white and is a bit firm, but not tough or hard.
  9. Remove the lobster tails and serve with crusty bread for soaking up the butter. Or, use the lobster as suggested above – in lobster rolls, with pasta, for lobster salad, etc. 
, , , , ,

Join our newsletter.
Stay informed.

Related Articles