Lobster Salad

This is not your classic lobster salad–not by a long shot. It’s got juicy cherry tomatoes, basil, red onions, and mayonnaise mixed in with chunks of fresh, sweet lobster meat.

Fork with lobster salad and tomato salad, two small leaves of basil

This salad is a celebration of summer and over-the-top deliciousness. It’s also the centerpiece of one of my favorite seasonal meals. Be sure to use tomatoes at their juicy sweet peak.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the same red-handled and razor-sharp Joyce Chen kitchen scissors, which are excellent for countless food-prep chores, including snipping through tough lobster bodies and knuckles to remove whole chunks of meat. Originally published August 1, 2012.Mindy Fox

LC Cracking Lobster Note

This lobster salad recipe, like so many others before it that similarly call for cooked lobster, sort of assumes that you have some semblance of a notion how to crack the darn thing. And perhaps you do. But if, like some folks we know, you’ve never attempted this before, take a glimpse at our handy dandy cheat sheet. And once you’ve extricated that lovely lobster meat, don’t you dare discard those shells. Tuck them inside a resealable plastic bag, toss them in the freezer, and save them for a rainy day–the perfect occasion for simmering some lobster stock, low and slow. You’re welcome.

Lobster Salad

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Salads: Beyond the Bowl cookbook

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  • For the lobster salad
  • For the tomato salad


Make the lobster salad

Bring a large pot of salted water (at least an 8-quart stock pot) of salted water to a boil. The water ought to taste salty, like the sea. Place a wire cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet.

Meanwhile, finely grate the zest of the lemons into a large bowl. Squeeze enough juice to yield 1/4 cup and pour the juice into the bowl with the zest. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and stir. Let stand at room temperature.

Meanwhile, plunge 2 of the lobsters headfirst into the boiling water. Loosely cover the pot and cook the lobsters for 9 to 11 minutes from the time they enter the water, depending on the size of the lobsters. Using tongs, transfer the cooked lobsters to the rack to cool. Return the water to a boil and cook the remaining 2 lobsters in the same manner.

When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the claws, joints, legs, and tails. Set the shells, roe, and tomalley (the soft green paste found in the body cavity) aside for another use or discard them. Cut the lobster meat into 1/2-inch chunks and toss it in a bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, sliced basil, and black pepper to the onion mixture and whisk together to combine. Add the lobster meat and gently toss to combine. (The lobsters can be cooked, shelled, and, if you like, prepared as a salad one day ahead, then covered and refrigerated.)

Make the tomato salad

In a large bowl, gently toss the tomatoes, whole or torn basil leaves, oil, a few pinches of salt, and pepper to taste.

Divvy the tomato salad among 4 plates, mounding it in the center of the plate. Top each mound with some of the lobster salad and then drizzle any leftover juices from both bowls over the top of each salad. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with an extra pinch of salt.

Print RecipeBuy the Salads: Beyond the Bowl cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Ooh, this was a delicious lobster salad. I used freshly cooked lobsters as opposed to cooking them myself, which made it an extremely easy dish. I think it packs a lot of flavor with some very simple ingredients and is definitely an easy picnic dish. This will be a keeper in the family.

This lobster salad is the ideal summer dish. I can rarely get live lobster where I live, so I used two one-pound tails, and considered that to be half a recipe. It would be great if the author specified an expected yield of meat from the four lobsters called for. Anyway, the salad was still delicious. The sweetness of ripe tomatoes enhances the sweetness of the lobster meat, and the basil goes perfectly with both. A nice cool salad for a warm summer night, showcasing summer ingredients at their best.


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  1. $80-90 worth of lobster? Come on, get real here. Maybe a lobster and shrimp or lobster and crab or lobster and flaked white fish such as cod. Not 4, 1 1/2 pound lobsters?

    1. Stu, I do think your idea of stretching the lobster with flaky white fish (such as Pacific cod) is a good idea. But as Renee says, we can get summer lobsters cheaper than filet mignon, rib eye, or even strip steak

      1. You lucky guys live on the East coast where lobsters grow like dandelions. Here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the lobsters come with their own airline tickets and they fly first class! Today the market price for small, “chicken lobsters”, is $16.99 per pound. That is for the 1 1/4 pounders. Heavier ones cost more per pound. So, we are talking $22 a lobster. Four lobsters, $88..ouch! I bought one and steamed it last week…made classic lobster roll. Nice. I followed your recipe except no onion and I used tarragon, and put it on a brat bun. Even though we have this lobster issue, I still love you, David, and thoroughly enjoy hearing from you, Renee.

        1. Ah, Stu, I have a dear friend in Minneapolis. I wish I could see her more often but the airfares are outrageous, as you say. Save this recipe for one day when finally there is a sale….

    2. Stu, at my local greenmarket, $10 gets me a ginormous and lovely specimen during lobster season, and I know it’s just as easy to get the same deal at numerous local spots along the East Coast. True, lobster salad is always a splurge of some sort, though not as extreme as you had assumed.

  2. The salad looks amazing and I have all the ingredients in the house. Oh boy. I know what I am making for lunch on Saturday! Mmmm….

  3. The Chew crew said that lobster on the east coast is cheaper than bologna this year due to a market glut. Not here in the midwest. Could you ship some of those luscious crustaceans our way?

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