Broiled Lobster Tails with Lemon Butter

Broiled Lobster Tails with melted butter is the perfect meal to serve for a special occasion, date night at home or Valentine’s Day. Lightly dusted with our simple seasoning and then drenched in lemon butter, you can’t wrong for a 15 minute meal.

how to broil lobster tails with text overlay


Making the perfect lobster tail might be easier than you think.

Lobster at Home

Lobster: fancy, special occasion, expensive! Because of all these reasons, people tend to be scared of cooking lobster tails.

They don’t want to waste the money or ruin a celebratory event if they mess it up. I’m here to tell you that broiling a lobster tail does not have to be difficult or (that) expensive.

overhead of broiled lobster tails on a baking sheet

Plus I’ll show you exactly how to cook lobster tails with ease. I find that knowing more about the food I am preparing helps me become more confident. So here are my thoughts on lobster tails.

What is the Best Size Lobster Tail to Eat?

The first thing to know is that size does matter… only the size you want is actually SMALLER. Yep, smaller lobster tail meat is better in this case. A large lobster tail might look impressive, but won’t cook up at as juicy.

Smaller lobster are sweeter with a smoother texture. A large lobster tail will take longer to cook all the way through and thus become chewy and tough on the outside. Don’t break the bank buying the tail. Also, keep a watchful eye for sales on frozen tails at your grocery store.

close up of cooked lobster tail with butter and parsley

I can usually get decent 4-ounce frozen tails for $5 each on sale. Pair them with a steak and make it surf-and-turf. These sale tails are generally frozen, so buy them when they are cheap and save them for a special occasion.

Why are Lobster Tails Different Colors?

As you can see here, some of my tails are a pearly white while others more pink and peach, but they are all safe to eat and will taste exactly the same.

Pigment from the shells starts to migrate and penetrate the meat making it a rainbow of color. Did you know that for every two million lobsters there is a blue lobster? And that meat can be tinged blue!

overhead of butterflied lobster tails

Is it Better to Bake or Broil Lobster Tails?

There are many good ways to cook a lobster tail, but broiling is high up there along with steaming and poaching. Grilling lobster is also a great method, but requires special equipment (a grill).

Due to the delicate nature of the lobster meat, it needs a quick and high heat or something that is more mild, but with a lot of moisture (steam) to keep them from drying out and that is why broiling is the best way (and also the easiest way). A larger lobster tail might benefit from poaching or steaming since it includes moisture.

And of course you can make whole lobster, but that can get a bit tricky and messy to crack open.

How Long Do You Cook Lobster Tails?

The general rule for broiling lobster tails is one minute more ounce at 4-5 inches away from the heating mechanism. I like to only cook them for 30 seconds less than the recommended time due to carry over cooking. And yes, you should still let them rest, just like meat.

Baking, searing and boiling are other options.

close up of a lobster tail with lemons and parsley

How Do You Butterfly Lobster Tails?

Butterflying the meat means removing it from the shell so it has direct access to the heat, cooking it fast and even. Setting it up on its own shell will allow heat to circulate around the whole tail, helping it cook evenly without drying.

  1. Use sharp kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut the top of the shell right down the center, keeping it attached at the base.
  2. Run a finger around the bottom of the shell to loosen it. You might have some shell related injuries here, so be careful!
  3. Meat will tear away from the shell allowing you to pull it up and out whole, setting it on top. Sometimes you need to bend in the bottom shell with your palms to pop it out.
  4. If there is a black, brown or green vein through the center, gently pull to remove it and discard.
raw lobster tail in a shell

Do You Rinse Lobster Tails Before Cooking?

Generally speaking, lobster tails do not require being rinsed, however if you butterfly it and there are small shards of shell or pieces of the digestive tract were removed, you might want to give it a quick cold water bath.

If you do rinse or they are super wet, blot them dry with a paper towel so the seasoning and butter baste can stick to the meat.

What is Drawn Butter?

People use the term drawn butter and it does sound super fancy. So what is it and can I make it at home?

Drawn butter is just another term for clarified butter or ghee. This an unsalted butter has had all of the milk solids and water evaporated out leaving behind a liquid gold sauce.

Clarifying butter is pretty easily, it just involves simmering the butter and then spooning off the frothy white top. If you are really particular, you can run it through a fine mesh sieve. But if you are feeling lazy, grab a jar of ghee at the store. It is shelf stable and can be used in many different types of cooking. Here are instructions for making clarified butter.

You can also make a crab butter, which is basically butter seasoned with citrus and seafood seasoning.

dipping lobster tail in drawn butter

What You’ll Need

The ingredient is list is pretty short. Feel free to modify the seasoning blend to your liking. The only two things I suggest not omitting are the lobsters and butter.

  • Lobster tails– Aim for small to medium tails and make sure they are fully thawed before cooking. Use fresh lobster tails or frozen (thawed).
  • Seasoning blend– Our blend is a simple mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, salt and smoked paprika. Sweet or spicy paprika can also be used. It pays to know your audience! White pepper is also a good addition.
  • Clarified butter or ghee- In a pinch you can use standard butter, but know that it might drop off easier before of the water content and the milk proteins will likely start to brown and burn under the intense heat of the broiler.
  • Flat parsley– Also known as Italian parsley, it adds a mild earthy flavor to the butter and it looks pretty.
  • Lemon Zest– Zest adds a pure lemony flavor without breaking the sauce like adding straight acid would do. It’s light and refreshing.
  • Hot sauce- My secret ingredient! Only a couple of dabs will give your seafood butter zing; it won’t be spicy. I learned this trick from my mother who used Tabasco in her butter baste for cornish game hens. It’s delicious and will be the thing people “can’t put their finger on”.
  • Fresh lemon wedges- Has there ever beef a seafood that didn’t benefit from a citrus spritz before serving? Adding lemon juice at the end preserved the true flavor and doesn’t break the butter based sauce.
close up of cooked lobster tail

How to Cook Lobster Tails

Get ready- in just 15 minutes you’ll have a meal worthy of a special occasion!

  1. Preheat the broiler to high heat and place an oven rack 4-5 inches away from the heating mechanism. Grab a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet or a broiler pan. Thinner pans might warp under the extreme heat. Having sides ensures any loose butter won’t escape to the bottom of the oven.
  2. Butterfly using sharp kitchen shears and place lobster tails a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Fanning out the tail fins can help them balance easier.
  3. Melt the clarified butter and then whisk in the lemon zest, parsley and hot sauce, if using.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and paprika. Depending on how large your tails are, you might not need this whole amount.
  5. If the tails are wet or moist, dab dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the seasoning blend liberally over tail meat.
  1. Using about half of the butter, baste the tails.
  1. Broil for about 1 minute per ounce, but watch carefully! Remove when meat is opaque, but before it starts to brown. Cooking time with vary based on the size.
  2. Remove and baste again with the butter mixture. Spritz with fresh lemon wedges.
close up of lobster tails being served with fresh lemons

What to Serve with Lobster Tails

Practically anything pairs well with lobster, it’s a sweet buttery meat, but my favorite is always beef. Pan seared steak, steak frites, or even oscar style steak. Don’t be afraid to pair this surf with more seafood either. Scallops, crab cakes and squid ink pasta are loads of fun.

But don’t stop there- pair this with chicken or pork like baked chicken thighs, chicken piccata or pork tenderloin.

Amazing side dishes include artichoke hearts, linguine or butter swim biscuits.

They can even be chopped up and tossed into a pasta dish like my famous Lobster Ravioli Sauce or parmesan garlic linguine.

angled shot of mediterranean lobster ravioli on plate with lobster tail

How to Reheat Cooked Lobster

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheating it tricky because of the delicate meat which gets a tad rubbery when reheated. I suggest reheating, covered, in the oven at 300°F or a quick pan fry in hot butter.

The other option is to enjoy leftover lobster tails cold or make them into a lobster salad or lobster rolls.

collage of broiled lobster tails and butter

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arranged board of lobster tails with lemons
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Best Broiled Lobster Tail Recipe

4.43 from 14 votes
Broiled Lobster Tails are seasoned and basted with lemon butter (and a secret ingredient!) Ready in just 10 minutes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4



  • Preheat the broiler to high heat. Place a rack 4-5 inches away from the heating mechanism.
  • Butterfly the tails by cutting the top of the shell right down the center using kitchen shears, but leaving it intact at the bottom. Wiggle your fingers around the connective tissues to loosen the meat. Gently pull it up through and set on top of the shell. If there is a brown, green or black vein, remove it. Repeat with remaining tails and set aside on a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan.
  • In a small saucepan, meat the clarified butter (ghee). Whisk in the lemon zest, parsley and hot sauce, if using.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and paprika. Depending on how large your tails are, you might not need this whole amount. Sprinkle the seasoning blend liberally over tail meat.
  • Using about half of the butter, baste the tails.
  • Broil for about 1 minute per ounce, but watch carefully! Remove when meat is opaque, but before it starts to brown.
  • Remove and baste again with the butter mixture. Spritz with fresh lemon wedges.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.


Calories: 245 kcal, Protein: 10 g, Fat: 22 g, Saturated Fat: 14 g, Cholesterol: 137 mg, Sodium: 268 mg, Potassium: 126 mg, Calcium: 53 mg, Iron: 0.2 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 245
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broiled lobster tails, easy lobster
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This was everything a gourmet meal should be, and then some! Turned out perfectly tender and juicy; easily, a new favorite recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow! So much easier than I thought lobster tails would ever be! I appreciate the tips and expert guidance. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    Your Lobster tail recipe answered all of my questions about how to cook them properly!
    Thanks for sharing

  4. 5 stars
    I made these last night for my husband, and he said he’s never had better lobster! Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. 5 stars
    Now, I totally want to get some lobster tails to through in the freezer for the next time we have company. This sounds so decadent and I never ever thought about making it at home. Such a great idea! Thanks!