Baked Lobster Tails

4.60 from 10 votes

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Baking these beautiful lobster tails in white wine brings out the succulent sweet flavors perfectly. This is the easiest way to cook a lobster tail with melt-in-your-mouth tender meat every time.

Cooked lobster tails on a large serving platter with cut lemon halves and fresh parsley.


 

Whether you’re planning a Christmas dinner menu, a New Year’s Eve party, or a quiet romantic dinner with your sweetheart, this impressive and effortless dinner is for you.

When in doubt, go with baked lobster tails.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

Smeared with butter then sprinkled with salt and paprika, these beautiful lobster tails are baked in white wine until tender and juicy.

  • Restaurant-quality lobster tails
  • Ready to eat in just 35 minutes
  • Perfect for celebrations & holidays

And don’t let the impressive presentation to fool you. I’ll demonstrate how easy it is later in a video.

You can boil, steam, broil, and even grill lobster tails, but baking them is foolproof and super simple. It’s my go-to method!

Ingredients for baked lobster tails:

  • Lobster tails – I used three 8-ounce lobster tails for this recipe. The cooking time will depend on the size of the lobster tails. For a firm sweet flesh that isn’t mushy, purchase cold water lobster tails.
  • Unsalted butter – To smear on the tails and to use as a dip after they’re cooked. I use unsalted butter to control the quality and amount of salt.
  • Salt equals flavor! Coarse kosher salt has larger grains than table salt which makes it easier to sprinkle without oversalting.
  • Paprika is for a mild, sweet taste and a bit of color! Feel free to add more seasoning if you like. If you love garlic, sprinkle a little bit of garlic powder too.
  • Dry white wine – Any type of dry white wine works great. If you don’t cook with alcohol, swap it for water or broth.
  • Lemon – A pop of citrus enhances their delicate and buttery flavor. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the tails just before eating.

Fresh vs Frozen:

You can purchase lobster tails fresh or frozen. There shouldn’t be a noticeable difference in taste if you thaw them correctly and purchase high-quality lobster tails.

For best results, look for cold water lobster tails. Cold water lobster tails are tender, firm, and sweet with a better flavor and texture.

Warm lobster tails are softer and sometimes mushy with more additives.

If it doesn’t say, assume they are warm water lobster tails.

Tips for buying fresh lobster tails:

  • Avoid tails with discolored meat, like black spots or a grayish yellow tinge.
  • Purchase tails that are all the same size, so they cook at the same rate.
  • Cold water lobster tails are more expensive, but have a sweet taste and better texture. It’s worth the extra money in the end.
  • Avoid lobster tails that are thawed but previously frozen. Thaw lobster tails immediately before cooking to preserve their fresh flavor.
  • The flesh should be firm, and the shell should be dry and coarse. If the flesh feels squishy and the lobster’s shell is slimy, toss them!

How to thaw frozen lobster tails:

It’s important to thaw frozen lobster tails correctly, otherwise the tails may cook unevenly.

Follow these simple instructions to do so.

  • Place the frozen lobster tails in a large bowl of cold tap water for about 30 minutes, changing the water once halfway through. If the tails are large, you may need to change the water and thaw for another 30 minutes.
  • Or if you’ve got time, you can place the frozen lobster on a baking sheet and refrigerate overnight to thaw.
  • Never thaw lobster tails in hot water or the microwave. It’s not safe nor will it make for a good meal. The lobster tail will partially cook and be rubbery instead of tender.

How to butterfly lobster tails:

  1. Place a dry, thawed lobster tail onto a cutting board and use kitchen shears to cut a slit through the top center of the shell until you reach the tail fins. You want to cut the meat as you do this so it will separate from the shell and cook evenly.
  2. Wrap the tail in a paper towel to protect your hands, squeeze the tail gently to crack the bottom of the shell. Be careful not to smash the shell.
  3. Use your fingers to spread the lobster shell open and separate the meat from the bottom of the shell. Keep the base attached and lift the meat up so it rests on top of the shell.
  4. Remove and toss the dark veins from the middle of the lobster meat.
hand removing meat from lobster tails

How to bake lobster tails:

This lobster tail recipe is a breeze to make! Here’s how you do it:

  • Place the prepared tails in a baking dish and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle them evenly with salt and paprika.
  • Carefully pour the white wine over the tails and into the baking dish.
pouring wine on lobster tails
  • Bake the lobster tails at 425°F for 20-25 minutes. The lobster tails are cooked when they’re opaque and white, without translucency.

Tip

Baking Time: Estimate 1-1 ½ minutes per ounce.

For example, here we have 24oz of lobster tails. So we’re baking these for 24 minutes.

I also recommend checking for doneness 2-3 minutes early to make sure they don’t overcook.

  • In a small dish, combine melted butter and chopped parsley. And brush it over the baked lobster meat before serving.
Brushing baked lobster meat with melted butter.

How to tell when your lobster tail is fully cooked:

The only way to ruin a lobster tail is to overcook it. Here’s how to know when it’s done:

  • The shell should be bright red and the meat an opaque, white color. It shouldn’t look translucent or grayish.
  • The internal temperature reaches 140°F (60°C). The tails will continue to cook even after removed from the oven, so it’s best to remove them at 135°F (57°C).

What to serve with this recipe:

If you’re looking for a quick but flavorful side dish, try one of these well-loved favorites! I love a heaping pile of steak fries with baked lobster tails.

A baked lobster tail on its shell.

And when you’ve devoured your perfect lobster dinner, don’t rush to throw away those shells. Re-use them to make a flavorful lobster broth for a restaurant quality lobster bisque!

Can’t you tell I’m a huge lobster fan? 😉

Video:

a baked lobster tail on its shell
4.60 from 10 votes

Baked Lobster Tails

Baking these beautiful lobster tails in white wine brings out the succulent sweet flavors perfectly. This is the easiest way to cook a lobster tail with melt-in-your-mouth tender meat every time.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 lobster tails Note 1
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup (120ml) dry white wine Note 2

For serving:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Using kitchen shears, cut the top of lobster tails lengthwise. During this process, you’ll cut the top of the meat, which is totally fine.
  • Wrap the tail in a paper towel to protect your hands, squeeze the tail gently to crack the bottom of the shell. Be careful not to smash the shell.
  • Run a finger between the shell and the meat to detach the meat from the shell, leaving the base of the meat attached to the shell. And then pull the meat out and place it over the shell.
  • Discard the dark veins from the middle of the meat.
  • Place the prepared lobster tails in a baking dish.
  • Brush on melted butter on each lobster tail.
  • Evenly sprinkle salt and paprika.
  • Pour white wine carefully over the lobster tails and into the pan.
  • Bake for 1-1 ½ minutes per ounce. We have 24oz of lobster tails here, so we’re baking for at least 24 minutes. The lobster tails are cooked when they’re opaque and white, without translucency. But be careful, not to overcook the lobster tails, or they become tough and rubbery.
  • In a small dish, combine melted butter and fresh parsley.
  • Serve the lobster tails immediately with melted butter with parsley and lemon wedges.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: For this recipe, I used 8oz lobster tails. Fresh or frozen lobster tails work great as long as you thaw them correctly. For best results, use high-quality cold water lobster tails. 
Note 2: For non-alcoholic version, feel free to use broth or even water.

Nutrition

Calories: 223kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 87mg, Sodium: 128mg, Potassium: 100mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 697IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

This recipe was originally published on December 7th, 2017.

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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28 Comments

  1. 3 stars
    I followed the instructions to a tee but the lobster was over cooked. I even set timer for a couple of minutes less. Good butter and white wine combo but…ya. Next time I will just look at them to see the color change.

    1. I’m confused. You have 3 – 8.oz lobster tails. Wouldn’t they cook 1 – 1 1/2 minutes per ounce of EACH tail vs adding the tails together? 8-12 minutes vs 24-32 minutes. Thinking this recipe needs fixed.

  2. Cooking time makes no sense. You are cooking 3-8oz. tails not 1-24oz. tail.
    So cooking time at 1.5 Minutes per ounce would be 12 Minutes total cooking time. A 1lb. tail only needs about 20 minutes Max.