How to Tell If Lobster Is Cooked

Sweet and succulent, lobster meat is a decadent ingredient that immediately becomes the star of any dish of which it's an element. However, before savoring the rich meat in a pasta dish, casserole or dipped in drawn butter, you must make sure it's properly cooked after removing it from the heat source.

A plate of cooked lobster. (Image: -lvinst-/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Place the lobster belly side down on a cutting board.

Step 2

Inspect the lobster shell. When lobsters are purchased from the store, they have a bluish-green quality to their shell. After cooking for the proper amount of time, the shell turns to bright red. As a rule, a one-pound lobster takes eight minutes to boil and 10 minutes to steam. Add one to two minutes for each quarter pound of lobster thereafter.

Step 3

Split the lobster shell where the tail meets the body of the lobster. Use your chef's knife to slice or crack through the shell. If the meat is white, then the lobster is cooked. If it is still translucent, then the lobster needs more time to finish cooking.

Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board

  • Chef's knife


Another method that signifies a lobster has finished cooking entails tugging on the antennae. If they pull out easily, then the lobster is done cooking.

The USDA does not recommend a specific internal cooking temperature, but states that lobster meat is finished cooking when it is "pearly and opaque."


People who consume undercooked lobster run the risk of ingesting the bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus. This can result in diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever for about a 24-hour period.

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