Baked Lobster Mac and Cheese

Sweet lobster, creamy cheese and a crunchy panko topping come together to make the BEST Lobster Mac and Cheese recipe! Perfect for any special occasion or casual meal!

fork picking up lobster mac and cheese


 

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? The variations are endless and it is the ultimate comfort food.

But after you’ve visited Ruth’s Chris or Capital Grille and had a sizzling plate of Lobster Mac and Cheese, it is hard to go back to the simple stuff. But no worries, you can make your own award winning mac and cheese at home!

I can 100% guarantee you it will be flowing with way more lobster and will certainly taste better.

Lobster Mac and Cheese Recipe

Let’s start off by saying that I am not digging in on my favorite steakhouses. I love them. And for many things, they are delicious, but not when it comes to the lobster mac.

It tastes great, but it almost always only comes with the tiniest 4-5 little lumps of lobster and that is all. When you factor in cost, it makes sense, actually. Lobster is quite pricey. But you can make your own at home and have total control over the lobster factor.

I also don’t use too many additional spices or herbs. When you are paying that much for lobster why in the world would you over it up with a laundry list of garlic, onion and paprika? Just use a simple cheese that complements the flavors instead of covers them up.

I do add a little pizzazz in the crunchy panko topping, but that it all.

close up of lobster mac and cheese in a blue casserole dish

Ingredients

  • Elbow pasta – Cook the pasta according to box al dente before making this mac and cheese. You can really use any type of pasta that you have on hand.
  • Unsalted butter – I always prefer to use unsalted butter when cooking and baking. That way I am able to control the amount of salt that goes into the recipe.
  • Flour – All purpose flour is crucial for making the roux. This will be the base of our cheese sauce and also the thickening agent.
  • Milk – I like to use whole milk. This is what thins our cheese sauce out.
  • Cheese – I use two kinds of cheese: Swiss and aged gouda. Make sure to shred your own- pre-shredded cheese has an additive to prevent it from clumping. But it also prevents it from melting smoothly.
  • Lobster – The star of the show! We want this to be cooked and roughly chopped. Check the section below for picking out the best lobster and how to cook it.
  • Panko breadcrumbs – This is what we use to make that delicious crunchy topping. You can use Italian breadcrumbs if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Olive oil – We need a little bit of olive oil to help bring our breadcrumb topping together.
  • Seasonings – To flavor our crunchy panko topping, we use a blend of smoked paprika, ground black pepper, kosher salt and garlic powder.
baked lobster mac and cheese with panko topping in a blue baking dish

How To Make Lobster Mac and Cheese

I like to think of it in three parts and then the grand finale. None of the steps are particularly hard, but they do take time. No bones about it, this recipe does have some hands-on time, but it is totally worth it.

  1. Cook and chop the lobster.
  2. Make the mac and cheese.
  3. Make the crunchy topping.
  4. Bake it all together.
ingredients for lobster mac and cheese

Cooking The Lobster

You have several options for your lobster mac and cheese recipe. Tails or whole lobster are the two main choices. Cold water lobsters (Maine lobster) are often more sweet than warm water (spiny lobster or Caribbean Lobster).

whole lobster on white marble slab

Lobster Tails– This is the simplest and least messy option.

You can grab some frozen lobster tails which is usually smaller and little less expensive. Let them thaw complete and then split out the meat, baking at 450 degrees for about 10-12 minutes (this depends on the size). The meat will be a pearly opaque, remove and roughly chop.

Fresh tails work the same way, but might be more expensive.

Whole Lobster– This lobster mac and cheese option can be less expensive, but will certainly require more work. They are less per pound and now you’ll have tail and claw meat to work with and potentially some backfin. Either way, you are going to have to get the lobster meat out.

You can steam the lobster yourself or have the meat counter (or seafood monger) do it for you.

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You can also use frozen langostinos. The term is Spanish for “tiny lobster” but they are actually not the same thing. They taste similar enough and even have a red tint to the meat. You can get it for much less money and already cooked, saving you time.

fork picking up lobster mac and cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Homemade mac and cheese takes only 5 minutes more than a box and is so much more respectable. You can pick your cheese and have sense of accomplishment when you look at the dish.

For my lobster mac and cheese, I make the pasta, which is always one with nooks and crannies to grab the sauce. Then I make a basic roux (butter and flour base), add milk and finally seasonings and freshly grated cheese.

PRO TIP: use freshly grated cheese, pre shredded cheese is coated with potato starch when makes it dry and gives it a mealy texture.

You can use any combo of cheeses you like. I love using Gouda. It is the perfect mild and melty cheese. For this recipe, I used a smoked gouda and swiss combo. I find that white sauces look best with seafood.

You can totally use cheddar cheese if your family prefers it. Or even a mixture of cheddar with Gouda and Swiss. It is the total amount that is important, not necessarily the quantities of each.

One of the things that makes a baked mac and cheese spectacular compared to a saucepan only version is the crunchy topping. And this is where I add the majority of seasoning.

It takes a few extra minutes, but they are SO worth it. Brown your panko bread crumbs in olive oil and then season with smoked paprika, pepper and salt. It is simple, but totally brings out all the flavors.

You can top it with scallions, parsley or chives. Even a drizzle of truffle oil will complement it well. Serve it immediately and hot!

breadcrumbs spooned onto lobster mac and cheese

Variations

  • Seafood mac and cheese – The last option, if fresh lobster meat is breaking the bank, is to use a combination of seafood. Scallops shrimp, crab and other shellfish are often your best bets. Whatever you use, make sure it is fully cooked before adding it to the mix.
  • Pasta – Elbow macaroni is the obvious choice of pasta for macaroni and cheese. But any hollow pasta shape that is able to soak up that creamy cheese sauce will work here. Even a corkscrew shape.
  • Cheese – Experiment with different types of cheese. I used swiss and gouda, but sharp cheddar, gruyere cheese or any type of italian cheese would be the best cheese to use if you want to switch it up.
  • Seasoning – This southern mac already has amazing flavor, but feel free to make it your own. Old Bay seasoning would pair well with the buttery lobster. You could also add some cayenne pepper or onion powder if you’d like.
lobster mac and cheese before baking

Storage, Make Ahead and Freezing

Storage: You can store any leftover lobster mac in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.

Make Ahead: You can make all of the elements of lobster mac and cheese and crunchy topping ahead of time and then bake it last. Alternately, you can bake it all and then reheat it. But anything with dairy has the potential to curdle and separate a little when reheated. Pasta can also absorb the cheese sauce, so it might not be as cheesy as it was the first time.

Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, the thawed result is just not as good as the original.

lobster mac and cheese for pinterest

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baked mac and cheese with lobster for pinterest

More lobster recipes

overhead of lobster mac and cheese with large piece of lobster meat on top

Lobster Mac and Cheese

4.61 from 23 votes
Sweet lobster, creamy cheese & a crunchy panko topping come together to make the BEST Lobster Mac and Cheese recipe! Perfect for any elegant or casual meal!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Lobster Mac and Cheese:

  • 1 pound elbow pasta , cooked according to box al dente
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese , shredded
  • 1/2 cup aged gouda , shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chives , chopped
  • 2 cups lobster , cooked and roughly chopped
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Crunchy Topping:

Instructions

Make the Topping:

  • In a small skillet, heat olive oil and add panko bread crumbs, Kosher salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder.
  • Heat and brown for 3-4 minutes until fragrant.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.

Lobster Mac and Cheese:

  • In a large, heavy bottom saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour until a paste forms.
  • Continue to cook on medium heat until paste turns a light brown.
  • Whisk in milk until smooth. Then add shredded cheeses, blending until smooth.
  • Using a pasta spoon, toss cooked pasta with cheese sauce.
  • Test for seasoning and then add Kosher salt or cracked pepper sparingly. This will vary based on how salty your cheese was.
  • Lightly toss with chopped lobster and chives, reserving a few pieces for topping at the very end.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Transfer to baking dish.
  • Top with crunchy panko topping.
  • Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Garnish with scallions, chives or parsley and reserved lobster chunks. Serve hot.
  • If you tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.

Notes

You can use any type of seafood you’d like, just make sure it totals 2 cups and it cooked. Crab, shrimp, scallops and other shellfish are all good options.

Nutrition

Calories: 474 kcal, Carbohydrates: 54 g, Protein: 21 g, Fat: 19 g, Saturated Fat: 10 g, Cholesterol: 67 mg, Sodium: 445 mg, Potassium: 282 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 6 g, Vitamin A: 520 IU, Vitamin C: 1 mg, Calcium: 319 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 474
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lobster mac and cheese, oven baked mac and cheese
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. I am wondering what the serving size of the recipe is? You give the nutrution information, but don’t mention the serving size.

  2. 4 stars
    The lobster mac and cheese turned out great! The taste was 5 stars, only thing is I almost messed it up because there is no mention of adding the milk in and how long it should be cooked for before adding the cheese.

    1. Hi Kristine, Thanks for the feedback- we will update the instructions to be more clear. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. 5 stars
    WOW! This mac was so creamy and paired wonderfully with the lobster. Everyone loved it, thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    This was so delicious. I made it today! It was approved by my entire family! I am adding it to the rotation! YUMMMM

  5. 5 stars
    Lobster mac & cheese is my favourite ever. I have never tried cooking a lobster though, I always use ready cooked ones. I love the panko topping, it adds a delicious crunch.