How to Cut Lobster Tail

Are you a professional cook or do you just love to cook in your home? Whichever the case is, one thing that you should learn is how to cut lobster tail.


This task requires some time to practice but once you master it, it makes you a formidable force in preparing lobster meals.

There are different ways to cut lobster tail and you need to learn the different ways depending on the cooking method. Why so much emphasis on cutting lobster tail.


It is because most people prefer eating this part of the lobster. Why shouldn’t they when it contains, tender, thick, and tasty meat? You can grill, bake, or fry this meat to taste.

This post will teach you how to cut lobster tail, or as it is commonly known, butterfly a lobster tail. Ready to find out? Grab a seat and let’s get started.

Do you cut lobster tail before cooking?

Learning how to cut lobster tail shouldn’t exactly be a difficult process. As we mentioned above, with a little practice, you should become a pro soon.


One question that is common among chefs is, “Do you cut lobster tail before cooking or after?” If you have this question in your mind, then this section will provide the answer.

The truth is that different recipes have different requirements. For some recipes, you need to first butterfly the lobster tail before you cook.

There are a few exceptions that require you to first boil the lobster tail before cutting. An example is when making “lobster mac and cheese.”

What if the recipe requires you to cut the tail before cooking? The steps below should show you how to cut lobster tail easily.


Step 1: Cut the tail

Pick up the lobster tail and hold it in one hand. While doing this, ensure that the hard shell of the lobster is facing up.

Cut through the upper part of the shell using a pair of sturdy kitchen shears. Ensure that you cut through the meat as well but stop before you hit the base shell. Also, never cut through the wider end of the lobster tail.

Step 2: Separate meat from shell

Here, you should use your fingers and thumbs to open up the lobster tail. Spread it into two halves while making sure that the meat is only attached close to the end of the lobster tail.

Step 3: Lift the lobster meat over the shell

Well done, you are almost done with the process. In this step, you need to separate the meat gently from the shell at the back.

Note that you should do this without allowing the meat to detach from the base. Gently lift the lobster meat over the shell.

Put the different halves back together and squeeze them firmly beneath the meat. Doing this makes the meat rest over the shell.

Once your complete these steps, you have successfully cut your lobster tail and it is ready for cooking.

Do you cut the legs off lobster tails?

There is no denying that lobster dishes are delicious and we all want to have them. Where most people face a challenge is preparing lobster meals.

So far, we have shown you how to cut lobster tail and whether you should cut it before cooking.

Another question that comes up many times during lobster discussions is, “Do you cut the legs off lobster tails?”

Again, the answer to this question depends on the recipe. Mind you, lobster legs are just as delicious and you can snack on them while working out your lobster meal.

So you can decide to cut them off and use them to prepare some quick snacks.

Meanwhile, if your recipe requires you to, you can easily cut the legs off using the steps below:

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Step 1: Defrost your lobster

Here’s one thing that you should know about lobsters. They always come frozen regardless of where you buy them.

So whether you have stored them in your freezer or you just bought them, you have to defrost them first. The reason for defrosting is that lobsters are easier to clean when thawed.

Step 2: Take the lobsters out of the package

After allowing the lobsters to thaw for a while, remove them from the package and move them into a bowl or pot.

Put the container in your sink then run some cold water over them for ten minutes. Doing this ensures that the lobsters thaw properly while getting rid of a considerable amount of iodine.

Step 3: Rinse all over

Leave the lobster in the cold water for another thirty minutes then get rid of the water. Fill the container again under running water and rinse the lobster all over.

This way, you ensure that it is no longer frozen. After rinsing, place the lobster on paper kitchen towels to dry.

Step 4: Cut off the appendages

The technical term for lobster legs is fins. Get a sharp pair of kitchen shears or scissors and use them to cut off all the fins or legs.

After taking these steps, you can follow the steps on how to cut lobster tail that we described earlier. One reason why many chefs prefer to cut lobster legs is that they are quite smelly.

What side of a lobster tail do you cut?

Now that you know how to cut lobster tail and legs, there is one more question to answer. What side of a lobster tail do you cut?

As we mentioned earlier, the most common process of cutting lobster tail is butterflying. In this case, you don’t completely remove the meat from the shell.

Some individuals prefer to take out the meat completely but the process is quite tricky and may dry out the lobster. Truth be told, there isn’t a wrong side or way to cut a lobster.

It all depends on what you are most comfortable with and what you want to achieve. However, the most foolproof method is the butterflying method that we discussed earlier.


Congratulations, you now know how to cut lobster tail and legs. We have explained the easiest procedure out there in this post. Drop a message in the comments section if you are still having issues.


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