Food & Drink

How to Eat Lobster: 5 Easy Steps

Last Updated on June 30, 2023 | 0 Comments
how to eat lobster
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Enjoying a whole lobster for a luxurious meal or celebration may seem wonderful until the massive crustacean arrives and you realize you don’t know how to eat lobster! Where do you start? Which parts can you eat? Luckily, learning how to eat a whole lobster can be broken down into just a few easy steps that make this daunting task more efficient and rewarding. 

Impress fellow diners with your knowledge of how to eat lobster as you access every bite of treasured meat from claws to tail. Whether you ordered the lobster at a fancy restaurant or are serving whole lobsters for a summer celebration at home, knowing how to eat lobster with these five easy steps will ensure you can confidently extract every morsel of succulent seafood out of its shell. 


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How to Eat Lobster

When practicing how to eat a lobster, keep in mind that breaking down an entire crustacean will get messy, so keep a stash of towels or napkins nearby. Especially for those newly learning how to eat lobster, a few helpful seafood tools can assist with quickly, easily and safely disassembling a lobster, such as a claw cracker and small picks or forks. Follow these easy steps as you learn how to eat lobster with confidence. 

how to eat lobster
via Canva

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Step One: Break It Down

The first step of how to eat lobster — or even how to extract lobster meat for this fantastic lobster risotto — is to break it down. Although staring down at a whole lobster may seem intimidating, strategically separating the lobster into distinct parts makes the task more manageable.

Begin by twisting off the tail. Grab the tail at the top near the body, then twist and pull the tail away to separate it. Next, detach each of the claws by pulling with a slight twist. You now have four separate pieces including two claws, the tail and the body.

broken down lobster claws with lemon
via Canva

Step Two: Tail

One of the most prized parts of the lobster, and its largest treasure trove of meat, is the tail. There are two methods for how to eat lobster tail. For a more elegant method, use a knife to cut the tail down the center and split it lengthwise. If you prefer a hands-on approach, squeeze the edges of the shell together between your palms until the thinner shell on the underside cracks and you can remove the whole piece of tail meat.

Be on the lookout for a dark vein running through the tail. This is the digestive tract and should be removed and discarded. If you are eating a female lobster, you might come across some red or orange lobster eggs. The eggs, or roe, can be eaten as is or saved for use in spreads or soups. 

lobster tail
via Canva

Step Three: Claws

The claws also contain plenty of succulent lobster meat, although they require a little more work to break down than the tail. It may seem tedious and clumsy as you learn how to eat lobster claws, but it will become faster and easier the more you practice.

First, push the smaller, thumb-like piece away from the rest of the claw until it breaks off. As you pull this piece out, it may release some water, so have a towel or napkin nearby. Now you can move on to the rest of the claw and knuckles. Using a cracker, hammer or heavy knife, carefully break the claw and pull out the meat.

For the smaller knuckles, the cracker and a small fork can help ensure you get every bite of meat from each section. Be sure to watch for pieces of shell while you are picking the meat. 

lobster claws
via Canva

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Step Four: Legs

The legs have the least amount of meat, so not everyone is willing to put in the effort. For those wanting no meat left behind, break open each knuckle, then wiggle out as much of the meat as you can by hand or with the help of a small skewer or fork.

If you are at home and want an easy method for how to eat lobster leg meat, grab a rolling pin or bottle to help push it out. 

whole steamed lobster with lemon rounds
via Canva

Step Five: Body

Since the body does not generally have much meat, some choose to set it aside with the rest of the shells for making seafood stock. As you learn how to eat lobster, it is important to know which parts are edible and which to avoid, especially as you work through the body.

The body does often contain some good meat along with a greenish substance called the tomalley — the liver and pancreas of the crustacean. Tomalley is one of the parts of a lobster you can eat and is considered a delicacy by many. As you learn how to eat lobster, give the tomalley a try to find out whether or not you like it.

To access the body cavity, split the body down the center and use a small fork to pick out the small pieces of meat that can usually be found between the cartilage-lined pieces and toward the front of the body cavity. Be sure to avoid the feathery-looking pieces on the side as these are the lungs and not edible. 

steamed lobsters in a bakset with lemon and seafood fork
via Canva

Best Tools for Eating Lobster

Now that you know how to eat lobster, there are some helpful tools and pieces of cookware that can enhance your enjoyment of lobster at home. From crackers and picks that allow you to extract every bite of tender meat to accessories that help accentuate the flavor of the lobster with warm butter or a spritz of citrus, these specialized tools are sure to refine your seafood dining experience.

Maine Man Seafood Cracker and Pick Set
via Maine Man

Understanding how to eat lobster from claws to tail can turn a potentially intimidating dining situation into a pleasant and satisfying experience. With the help of a few tools and accessories, learning how to eat lobster transforms from a tedious and time-consuming process to an interactive and rewarding activity. Follow these easy steps and tips to enjoy the whole lobster with confidence whether eating at home or at a high-end restaurant.

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