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 3/4 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 1/4 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 1/4 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 1/2 - 2 pound live lobsters
- 1/4 cup minced celery
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 split-top brioche, New England style hot dog buns , with sides trimmed off
- 1/4 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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