Lobster Roll

This lobster roll, a summertime classic in Maine (heck, in all of New England), is made with cool, creamy mayo and lemon swaddling sweet lobster in a toasted split-top roll.

A lobster roll on a toasted split bun, stuffed with lobster in a creamy mayo and lemon dressing with some potato chips on the side.

This lobster roll is exactly what you’ll find along the little highways and byways of coastal Maine–a toasted split-top bun cradling cool, creamy mayo swaddling sweet, sweet lobster. Much as we love cool, creamy mayo, we feel compelled to point out that there is actually more than one way to make a lobster roll, and that other lobster roll simplifies things to no adornment other than a drizzle of melted butter. But since most of Maine seems to prefer mayo, perhaps you start there? Or rather, here.–Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Tell The Difference Between Male And Female Lobster

We’re often asked how do you tell the difference between a male and a female lobster? And our standard response is, look between its legs, of course. You’ll find two feelers, or swimmerets, located at the base of the tail. If they’re hard, it’s a male; if they’re soft and flexible, you’ve got yourself a lady. Some think females are sweeter; others swear by the males. Guess you’ll need to discern that for yourself.

Lobster Roll

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 25 M
  • 35 M
  • Serves 2
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Add enough water to a large pot to reach a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Bring it to a rolling boil. Place a colander or a wire cooling rack over a rimmed baking dish.

Carefully remove the rubber bands from the lobster claws. Lower the lobsters into the boiling water, shell side down, cover the pot, and cook until done, about 11 minutes.

Using tongs, remove the lobster from the boiling water and transfer them to the colander or the rack to drain and cool to room temperature.

When the lobster is cool enough to handle, use your hands to separate the lobster tail from the body. Using a fork, remove the tail meat.

Using a cracker, the flat side of a chef’s knife, or the bottom of a heavy skillet, crack the claws and legs and remove the meat. The red roe, or coral, found in female lobsters, is considered by many to be a delicacy and can be reserved for another use. Coarsely chop the lobster tail and claw meat. Reserve the shells for making stock or discard.

In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise (using a little more or less, depending on how creamy you like it), lemon juice and zest, chives, scallion, just a touch of salt, and pepper to taste.

Gently fold the lobster meat into the mayonnaise mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Cover and refrigerate for no more than 3 to 4 hours.

In a skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Cut the baguette pieces in half lengthwise and place them, cut side down, in the puddle of butter. Toast the baguette until it just begins to turn golden brown. (Alternately, brown the hot dog rolls until they begin to turn golden brown, flipping them over so they get toasted and buttery on both sides.)

Divide the lobster between the pieces of toasted baguette. Serve (and devour) immediately. Originally published August 13, 2012.

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    Lobster Roll Variations

    • Stir 1 tablespoon drained capers into the mayo
      Toss 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery in with the scallion
      Rely on lime juice and zest instead of lemon
      Line the baguette with tender leaves of butter lettuce
      Slices of ripe tomato
      2 strips of cooked country-style bacon
      Thin slices of buttery avocado
      Very thin slices of red onion

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    Plain and simple, this sandwich is great! The dressing is light enough that it doesn’t mask the lobster flavor at all.

    I used a cup of cooked lobster and celery for a bit of crunch. The amount of baguette, using a three-inch interval, was not adequate for the lobster, so I’d recommend using four-inch lengths for ease of eating. (Sourdough buns or ciabatta rolls would also be good substitutes for the baguette.) One thing you may want to do is lightly pat the lobster meat dry, as the dressing may otherwise get a tad runny on you. Then again, eatin’ lobster and gettin’ messy is what she’s all about, eh?

    When it comes to lobster rolls, most cooks agree that the KISS (keep it simple stupid) approach assures the best final product. Why spend the money on lobster if you’re just going to cover it up with other flavors? While a warm butter bath is always satisfying, I tend to think a chilled creamy filling pairs better with a toasted, buttered roll. Kathy Gunst agrees, and has created a spot-on dressing for this satisfying summer splurge.

    Kathy keeps it simple by adding to the creamy mayonnaise conservative amounts of the highly complementary flavors of lemon and onion-y fresh herbs. While Kathy lists celery as optional, I never omit it, as I like an occasional crunch, and I also would list a pinch of Old Bay or cayenne as one of those (highly suggested!) variations.

    The only place where I disagree with Kathy on what defines the ultimate lobster roll is the suggested vehicle for the perfectly seasoned lobster–I will always prefer a soft, tender New-England style hot dog roll (they ensure lots of toasting surface!) rather than a chewy, crusty baguette, which serves as a distraction to the tender texture of perfectly-cooked lobster. Similarly, resist the temptation to make the roll more sandwich-like by adding lettuce and tomato–relegate them to a simple side salad that will be the perfect accompaniment to this taste of a New England summer.


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    1. Living in CT, a lobster roll has always been hot, dripping-with-butter, succulent lobster piled high in a grilled hotdog bun. Cold lobster with mayo would be served on a bed of lettuce or stuffed into a tomato as a luncheon entree, but never on a roll. Actually both sound great right about now!

    2. I live in a rather big city–Minneapolis, Mn.–and we can’t seem to find any rolls that are flat on the sides for buttering and grilling and can be split thru the top rather than the sides. We do have Vienna Chicago buns but they’re precut and they’re cut on the side. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? You either have to make your own or speak to a small personal bakery to make them.

      1. Stu, I’ve seen those Vienna side-split rolls. But I like your idea of speaking to a local baker. Hey, it can’t hurt, right? And it brings cooks that much closer to the production of their food.

    3. The problem? What are recommended brands for the hot dog rolls? The split tops are hard to find in most grocer aisles around here 🙁

      1. A poor substitute, but it does work: Cut a loaf of soft white bread, similar in shape to ciabatta, into 2-inch wide slices. (You’ll probably have to do this on an angle to get the proper hot-dog-bun length.) Then slice three-quarters of the way down the middle to mimic top-cut hot dog rolls. Butter up the sides and grill away.

      2. Tracy, we’re confident that Kathy will be back with you in a moment with some specific hot dog bun recommendations. In the meantime, anyone else have any brands they rely on for lobster rolls?

      1. The recipe is easy and the results are great tasting, Mary! We hope you’ll try it and let us know what you think.

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