"When boiling lobster, how do you tell when it's done? Is there a rough estimate of cooking time (eg: time/ounce, etc...)?

  • 1
    Read this, it's a great read! When I've got a minute, I'll put the conclusions in an answer. Nov 23, 2012 at 18:48
  • @BaffledCook Have time to write up an answer? The link you posted, while indeed a great read, is focused on large lobster; most likely the OP doesn't have to embark on such an ambitious project.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 11, 2012 at 22:37
  • @Jefromi, the server is down, I'll come back to it some day soon. Dec 12, 2012 at 14:08
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    The thing is, there are many different ways to cook a lobster. Even assuming the traditional boiling or steaming, assuming sufficient energy output that the water stays at a boil, the time is going to vary non-linearly by weight. It will be more proportional to the girth of the lobster than its mass. The details for arthropod cookery, however,I will have to leave the experts. But per ounce or gram cooking times are only good as an estimation starting point--you need a test for doneness or a more sophisticated formula.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Jan 28, 2013 at 20:38
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    Maybe reword the question simply as "When boiling lobster, how do you tell when it's done? is there a rough estimate of cooking time?"
    – talon8
    Jan 29, 2013 at 7:27

2 Answers 2


roughly 9-11 minutes for pound should be ok

  • For what range of sizes?
    – Cascabel
    Jan 29, 2013 at 16:07

In my comment, I referred to the CookingIssues write-up on Giant Lobsters. The site went down, so it was impossible to get the 'conclusions'. The site is back up again, in a way, so here it is:

“Do you normally get 20 pound lobsters?” I asked him. “Yep,” he replied, “we sell ‘em all the time.”

I decided that the lobster shouldn’t be cooked whole.

I convinced the shop owner to cook the lobster for 8 minutes in his steamer and then plunge the lobster into ice water to halt the cooking.

The body meat didn’t seem set enough to remove, so I cut the body in half.

I bagged [ziploc] everything in butter. I cooked the body for 12 minutes, the knuckle meat for nine, the tail and claw meat for eight, and the leg meat for five.

Note that only the whole lobster weight is given and that the body was cooked together with the shell.

  • This is cool, though I think it's probably only useful if you're cooking an enormous lobster. With smaller ones you can just cook it all at once, instead of having to partially steam it, cut it up, and cook some more.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 28, 2013 at 23:19

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