Fun fact about me: I was obsessed with Red Lobster growing up. In fact, I spent at least three of my preteen birthdays there, scarfing down a basket of Cheddar Bay Biscuits and my very own one-pound lobster with unbridled glee.
Why? Lobster is the crown jewel of the ocean—and even though I was young when I had my first taste, I quickly realized that I was eating the good stuff. Lobster meat is sweet, tender, and has that light, ocean-fresh flavor. While the price tag might be a bit steep, it certainly makes any dinner (especially birthdays) feel like a special occasion. Nowadays, I can't get enough of lobster rolls and big seafood boils during the hotter months, but there are so many other ways to enjoy this popular crustacean throughout the season.
So I've rounded up 14 of our very best lobster recipes just in time for summer, from a chilled avocado soup to a spicy tomato spaghetti. There are a handful of our favorite lobster roll recipes in there, too, because any lobster-y list wouldn't be complete without at least a few of them.
Shopping for Lobster
If you’re purchasing lobster in the grocery store or fish market, you’ll find it three ways: chopped meat that’s been shelled and frozen, whole lobster tails (fresh or frozen), or live lobster, usually found in a giant tank. The frozen lobster meat is a great option for lobster rolls or lobster pasta, but if you are boiling whole lobsters, you’ll want to look for the most active crustaceans. The ones who are more active in the case are most likely fresher and will have more tender-tasting meat. Oh, and this is not a time to shop early. Pick them as close as you can to when you’re planning to cook them (ideally, same-day or better yet, within a few hours) so that their quality doesn’t start to deteriorate. Keep them covered with a damp towel; if lobsters dry out, they’ll die before they ever have the chance to be cooked and dunked in drawn butter.
These Genius-approved lobster rolls are famous for a reason: The lobster is steamed slowly and gently before getting tossed in a special tarragon mayonnaise. Oh, and you can't forget that fluffy, butter-toasted roll.
You won't find a better lobster-y recipe for ripe summer tomatoes than lobster diavolo, a classic Italian pasta that gets its kick from red pepper flakes or Calabrian chiles.
Simple potato hash with a fried egg gets taken up about a hundred or so notches when you bring sweet, rich lobster meat into the mix—perfect for breakfast or brunch the day after a big lobster boil.
This dish is all about taking a humble ingredient—fennel—and cooking it nice and slowly until it becomes something altogether luxurious, elegant, and delicious. The fresh lobster meat, white wine, and heavy cream don't hurt either.
This Catalan-style paella calls on tons of smoky spices, herbs, and vegetables to create an earthy, fresh-tasting dish that has just the right amount of from-the-sea flavor thanks to cuttlefish, squid, mussels, clams, cod, and a lobster stock that makes it.
You probably know and love a traditional Caprese salad: juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and basil. But once you try it with nutty, brown butter lobster and crunchy raw corn, you'll never look back.
There's always going to be lobster roll lovers out there who like theirs with nothing but steamed lobster in a buttered, toasted bun—not a lick of mayo in sight. But the recipe author for this lobster roll likes to mix things up by bringing in a lemony mayo, chives, and a bit of crisp Boston lettuce.
If you've already had one too many lobster rolls this season (is that even possible?), give this avocado panini a shot—it's light, easy, and perfect for leftovers.
For special-occasion summer dinners, it doesn't get better than this creamy lobster risotto. Think: Arborio rice cooked until perfectly al dente in broth, dry white wine, and juicy San Marzano tomatoes. A sprinkling of fresh parsley at the end adds just the right brightness.
Sweet corn and lobster make a tasty duo in this silky pappardelle pasta, while salty pancetta and tangy crème fraîche bring a bit of balance.
Take what you think you know about lobster rolls and throw it out the window. This version from Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine warms up the lobster in browned butter and stuffs it in a fluffy steamed bun.
This chilled, ready-for-summer soup gets its smooth creaminess from avocados, broth, and a splash of cream, plus a little bit of smoky heat from chipotle and cayenne pepper.
If you’re not too keen on mayo-heavy lobster rolls, try this creamy variation: avocado dressing (made from puréed avocados, garlic, and lemon juice) for a zippy dressing that beautifully complements the lobster’s sweet flavor and tender meat.
This is the most literal definition of a lobster salad, in which cold lobster meat tossed with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and celery is tucked into bibb lettuce “cups.” It’s the perfect light lunch or crowd-friendly starter to dinner after a day lounging in a cushioned chair poolside with a cocktail in hand. Sounds nice, right?