In the great debate of whether lobster rolls are best when served Connecticut-style with melted butter or the Maine way laced with lemony mayonnaise, I say do a combo of both! Trust me, you’re going to love these.
In a world of best-of lists and where everyone has an opinion, choosing how to make the best lobster rolls is right up there with naming the best Super Bowl match-up ever, whether thin crust or Chicago style pizza is better, or declaring the best movie of all time.
As simple as they are to make, the best lobster roll debate always comes down to two things: Butter or mayonnaise? Personally, I love them both.
In this recipe, the lobster is warmed in butter then added to the simple mayonnaise dressing before getting loaded into a soft, buttery toasted, split top bun.
Summer eats have arrived, and I’m here for it.
What’s In Lobster Rolls
The ingredient list for these lobster rolls is simple and lean, staying in line with the classic flavors so the lobster meat shines through.
- Lobster meat
- Lemon juice and zest
- Minced celery
- Minced chives
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Soft, split top New England-style buns, or hot dog buns
What Type of Lobster Is Best for Lobster Rolls
There are a couple of ways to get your mitts on lobster for lobster rolls:
If you live on the Eastern seaboard, consider yourself lucky to have fresh caught lobster at your fingertips.
If you have the budget, order the live crustaceans online and have them shipped to your door. You can also look for them at Asian markets and some up-scale supermarkets. For the rest of us, frozen lobster is more likely in the cards.
For this recipe, you’ll need one pound of lobster meat. For fresh lobster, a 1-pound lobster yields between 3 to 3 ¾ ounces of lobster, depending on the season.
If steaming fresh lobster, here’s a tutorial.
Instead of cooking fresh, I bought cooked, frozen lobster meat that includes the knuckle, claws, and tail meat for all those sweet lobster bites. You can also choose frozen tails, bake or steam them, and coarsely chop.
Lobster Rolls Dressing
Simple but flavorful, the dressing for these lobster rolls is beyond easy to whip up.
Don’t overdo the mayonnaise. Overdressing sweet lobster meat with gloppy mounds of mayo is one of the biggest travesties to befall a lobster roll. Keep the mayo light by using a scant ¼ cup of mayonnaise, and jus the right amount for 1 pound of lobster meat.
Add a celery crunch. While celery can be a controversial ingredient some lobster roll purists will take issue with, I like the crunch and change in texture it contributes. Dice it small so as not to overwhelm each bite.
Use both freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest. To avoid a watery or thin dressing that can make a soggy bun, add both lemon juice and lemon zest to the mayo for that zippy flavor that brightens up any seafood. For easiest results, zest the whole lemon while it’s firm and solid before juicing it.
Chive it up. The onion flavor chives provide not only add bits of heat, they’re also a tasty garnish when extra is sprinkled on top. For variety, try minced tarragon, red onion, or chopped green onion instead.
Lobster Rolls Get All Buttered Up
The best bite of this lobster roll is the first bite, when the bun is still warm and toasty and the lobster meat is warmed and buttery and mixed with the mayo dressing.
Gently warm the lobster meat in melted butter. Before combining it with the mayo dressing, warm the lobster meat in a skillet of melted butter for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to cook it long, or it will become tough and overcooked.
Spoon It Up
Leave the juicy butter in the pan. As it cooks, the lobster releases juices into the butter, that while tasting delicious, will make the dressing runny if it’s all added to the mayo. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lobster meat to the dressing, but don’t worry if some of that buttery goodness makes it in as well.
The Best Bread for Lobster Rolls
Because of the tender meat and delicate flavorings, this is a sandwich where the roll it’s served on can make or break the meal. I mean, it’s even part of the name!
Make it a soft, buttery bun. Split top, New England-style hot dog buns are the classic hand to mouth vehicle for lobster salad, but are sometimes hard to find. Made with eggs and butter, brioche-style buns with a tender, moist crumb or Hawaiian bread buns are options as well. While a regular side split hot dog buns will suffice, avoid buns that are dry or on the slightest verge of going stale. Soft and squishy are what you’re looking for here.
Slice the bun’s bready sides, butter and toast. Exposing the crumby texture by slicing away a thin margin of the bun’s sides, then toasting in a pan with melted butter adds another layer of warm richness lobster rolls are famous for.
How Much Lobster Is In a Lobster Roll
This isn’t the dish to be chintzy with, so stuff those lobster rolls with all you’ve got. Plan on ¼ pound of lobster salad for each bun.
While not classic, a piece of leafy lettuce can be added to the bun with the lobster. But beware, lobster roll fusspots may disagree.
What to Serve with Lobster Rolls
What would a lobster rolls be without a side of potato chips? For me, the saltier and the crunchier the better. Salt and vinegar kettle chips are my favorite, and add a great contrast to the soft bun and lobster.
More Lobster Recipes Ideas
- Lobster Mac And Cheese
- Grilled Lobster Tails With Smoked Paprika Butter
- Kennebunkport Lobster Grilled Cheese
- Lobster Etouffee
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a star rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
The BEST Lobster Rolls (With Butter AND Mayonnaise)
- 1 pound frozen lobster meat , thawed, or cooked meat from two 1 ½ - 2 pound live lobsters
- ¼ cup minced celery
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 split-top brioche, New England style hot dog buns , with sides trimmed off
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter , divided
- Rinse the lobster meat and pick through for any loose shells. Drain throughly so the mayo sauce doesn't get watery. Chop or tear into large chunks and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the celery, mayonnaise, chives, lemon juice, lemon zest, kosher salt and ground black pepper. Taste for seasoning.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and add the lobster meat. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes until warmed through and buttery all over. Use a slotted spoon to dish the lobster meat into the mayonnaise mixture and toss to coat. Discard butter and juice released from the lobster and wipe out the skillet. Melt the remaining butter in the skillet over medium heat; toast the buns on the cut sides about 2 minutes each side until golden and toasty.
- Load each bun equally with lobster meat and garnish with more chives if desired. Serve with potato chips.
More Sandwich Recipe Ideas
- How To Make A Healthy-Ish Fried Fish Sandwich
- How To Build A Better Sandwich
- My Favorite Reuben Sandwich Recipe
- Classic Egg Salad Sandwich
- Green Goddess Cream Cheese Veggie Sandwich
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I’ve never made lobster rolls before, so followed this recipe step-by-step and they were perfect! I used fresh-cooked lobster from the fish market. I found New England style brioche buns (at Trader Joe’s) and after toasting them, I did add a piece of bibb (or butter) lettuce before adding the lobster mixture. The mayonnaise mixture was perfectly lemony and delicious. One small addition, I sprinkled a tiny bit of chopped dill on top for color and flavor. Thank you!
First try with this unconventional hot buttered lobster role, WITH mayonnaise! I thought, risky, but I had just one serving of lobster meat, so I scaled it down, followed the recipe exactly, and have to say it was fantastic! Never would have thought you could mix the two, butter and mayo, but it turned out great. Highly recommend it and I’ll go big next time for lobster rolls for all!
Thanks, Pete, we’re so happy to hear you enjoyed these!
Everyone raved about them! Recipe did fresh lobsters justice. YUM!!
Followed the recipe exactly and made 4 of the best lobster rolls I have ever had. Used freshly cooked Nova Scotia lobster. Thank you for the recipe and clear directions.
I’m glad you enjoyed it Simon!
Thank you for this excellent recipe. I made it for my family tonight and they said mine was the best lobster rolls ever. I used green onion and add chopped Thai red chili pepper so it added a kick to it without changing the excellent flavor.
I’m glad you enjoyed!
I’ve been looking for a butter/mayo mix lobster roll recipe with an ingredient list that had some zing. We prepared it with fresh boiled lobster, but still sauteed it in butter to take away the excess water. These lobster rolls were truly delicious, just the right amount of citrus in the background. Those family members who opted for plain old lobster were left drooling. Try this recipe, you won’t be disappointed!
I’m glad they were enjoyed!
Best lobster roll I’ve ever eaten.
Happy to hear that!
Jeffrey C Larsen
Visiting my daughter in Halifax, Nova Scotia and made these with fresh cooked lobster. Delicious and will be making again very soon
I’m glad you enjoyed Simon!
So I don’t have the money for lobster, but I did have a lot of leftover imitation crab from making sushi. I sautéed it in butter and used the dressing from this recipe and it was delicious! My kids devoured it and asked for more.
I’m glad you all enjoyed Jenny!
Tried this recipe and was so disappointed…all we could taste was lemon!! What a waste of good lobster. Next time I will cut the lemon juice down to one teaspoon and omit the zest.
My family loved! My husband said “So effing good!”
I’m glad you enjoyed Cindy!
Better than any lobster roll I have ever had at a restaurant!!! This one is a keeper!!!
This was hands down the best lobster roll we have ever made. This recipe is an instant family favorite!
So glad you all enjoyed it!
I loved this recipe! Thank you!
I live in Brazil, and ingredients may change a bit like the tupe of lobster… But still, it was delicous. I loved the tips and the simplicity and freshness of the flavours. Brought me back to times when I lived in Boston!
Simple and amazingly delicious! One of the few recipes that I followed exactly and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Glad to hear you enjoyed Monica!
Hello, I just tried with frozen lobster meat, really not bad, amazing recipe, yummy and easy to make, will try it next with fresh!
i’d never known that there was a Maine v CT lobster roll difference, I’d always just assumed there was a default Maine version, now then buns are probably a big deal, where to get them, etc. thank you for a really imformative post!
They’re seriously the yummiest lobster rolls, especially with those soft buns!
Please leave out the mayo on mine to me mayo and lobster simply don’t go together and I love Hellman’s
I live in Idaho, lobster is soooo expensive here. I was wondering how langostino would work in this. I love the this recipe and so want to make this. We can get langostino at our local Costco. Thanks for your recipes and beautiful pictures, my mouth is watering.
Scott from NoDak
I live a few states to the east of you where this would be a $20 lunch made at home. Ouch. I have used langistino and shrimp. They aren’t lobster, but they make excellent and economical substitutes.