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Succulent and lightly dressed lobster meat served in buttery, toasted buns are a quintessential way of serving these Maine Lobster Rolls. The delicate taste of lobster meat is so summery and bright in these classic sandwiches!
A Maine Summer Favorite
The real point of a lobster roll is to celebrate the famous shellfish that Maine is so well-known for. Lobster roll purists are known to vehemently attack efforts to gussy up what is essentially a simple sandwich made with fresh lobster meat, a bit of mayo, and maybe a tiny bit of finely chopped celery or chives.
Oh, and don’t forget the griddled bun, which is a delicious vehicle for transporting the lobster to your mouth!
In other parts of the east coast where lobster rolls are served, you might see the meat dressed in butter instead of mayo and served slightly warm. But from what I can tell, the most popular approach in Maine is to use mayo.
So that’s what I went with since I wanted to make these lobster rolls are part of my American Eats series. This series is where I’m celebrating the most popular foods from each state in the U.S.A., one state at a time. This week I’m celebrating the foods and flavors of the state of Maine.
What You’ll Need
The ingredient list for Maine lobster rolls is short! The reason is so that the sweet, delicate flavor of the lobster can really shine and not be overpowered by herbs or other ingredients.
- Lobster: If you have access to fresh, live Maine lobsters, use those! I’m fortunate to live in an area with plenty of fresh seafood, but you can also use frozen lobster tails instead, which are easy to find at most any grocery store or Costco.
- Mayonnaise: These are Maine-style lobster rolls made with mayonnaise as opposed to the kind you will find in other parts of New England that are made with melted butter. Use REAL mayo, not Miracle Whip.
- Hot dog buns: I can’t find split top hot dog buns anywhere, so I just went with the best quality buns I could find at my grocery store.
- Lemon juice: A little lemon juice really brightens the flavor and always goes well with seafood.
- Chives & parsley: These two herbs add just a touch of color and flavor to the lobster rolls. In some places you might also see 2 tablespoons of really finely diced celery added as well for a little crunch, but I chose to leave that out of our lobster rolls.
- Salt & pepper: This is a recipe where you will need to sneak a taste of the lobster roll filling and decide whether it needs a bit more salt or pepper because it will kind of depend on how salty your water was that you cooked the lobster in.
- Butter: This is for brushing on your buns so you can grill them just a bit so they are nice and toasty and buttery.
How to Make A Lobster Roll Sandwich
Aside from overcoming an initial trepidation about cooking a whole lobster, it’s incredibly easy to make a Maine lobster roll! And just to dispel myths, live lobsters don’t actually squeal when you put them in the pot of boiling water.
- Cook the lobsters: Bring a very large stockpot filled with water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of coarse salt, then add the lobsters to the pot and cover with the lid. Let them cook for 15 to 16 minutes until they turn bright red.
- Remove the lobster meat: Once the lobsters are cooked, you need to get the meat out of the shell. Start by gripping the lobster with both hands and twisting off the tail. You’ll see the stomach contents of the lobster, which is kinda gross, but just rinse it off with cold water. Twist off the claws and knuckles as well. Then use a sharp pair of kitchen shears to cut through the underside of the lobster tail to remove the lobster meat. Use lobster crackers or your shears to open up the claw and knuckle pieces and remove the meat there as well.
- Make the lobster salad for the sandwiches: Roughly chop the lobster meat. In a large bowl, combine the lobster with a generous squeeze of lemon juice, real mayo, chopped chives, and parsley. Toss to coat the lobster meat and season with a little salt and pepper.
- Toast the buns: Heat a griddle over medium-high heat, then brush the outsides of two hot dog buns with the melted butter. Place the buttered sides down on the griddle and let them cook for a minute or two until toasty and slightly golden brown.
- Assemble and serve: Divide the lobster roll filling between the toasted buns and serve immediately. We like these with a pickle and chips on the side.
What to serve with lobster rolls
We enjoyed our lobster rolls with dill pickle spears and salt & vinegar chips on the side. But these would also be delicious with other summery sides like coleslaw, macaroni salad, or potato salad. You could also serve them with some homemade french fries!
More State-Inspired Sandwich Recipes
- Cubanos from Florida
- Italian Beef Sandwich from Illinois
- Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
- Kentucky Hot Brown
- Louisiana Shrimp Po Boy
- 1 and 3/4 pounds whole lobster (or 4 lobster tails)
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon diced chives
- 1/2 tablespoon minced parsley
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 2 good quality hot dog buns
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- Bring a very large stockpot filled with water to a boil. It needs to be large enough to submerge both lobsters in the water. When boiling, generously salt the water to 2 tablespoons of coarse salt.
- Add the lobsters to the pot of boiling water and cover with a lid set slightly askew to release steam. Decrease the heat slightly so the water is still boiling, but won't boil over. Cook for 15 to 16 minutes until the lobster is bright red.
- Use a pair of tongs to carefully remove the lobster from the boiling salt water, then let it rest on a coating board for a few minutes until it is cool enough to handle.
- Grip the lobster with both hands around it's middle and twist your hands in opposite directions to separate the lobster tail. Rinse both parts with cold water to clean away the contents of the lobster's stomach. Twist off both claws, then twist off the knuckles.
- Use a sharp pair of kitchen shears to cut through the underside of the lobster tail, then peel off the outer shell to remove the lobster meat. Use lobster crackers or your shears to open up the claw and knuckle pieces and remove the meat there as well.
- Roughly chop the lobster meat, then add to a bowl with the lemon juice, mayo, chives, and parsley. Toss to coat the lobster meat and season with a little salt and pepper.
- Heat a griddle over medium-high heat, then brush the outsides of two hot dog buns with the melted butter. Place the buttered sides down on the griddle and let them cook for a minute or two until toasty and slightly golden brown.
- Divide the lobster roll filling between the two buns and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 636Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 192mgSodium: 1157mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 51g
More States I Have Visited in my American Eats Series
Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Montana • New York • Oregon • Puerto Rico • South Carolina • South Dakota • Texas • Utah • Wisconsin