Broiled Lobster Tail with Brown Butter Sauce

If starting with frozen lobster tails, prepare a bowl with 2 quarts of cold water and 1 Tbsp salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Place the lobster tails in the water. Add a few ice cubes. Let sit for half hour to an hour until defrosted.

This recipe calls for lobster tails that are 6 to 8 ounces each. If you are cooking smaller or larger lobster tails, you'll need to adjust the broiling time down or up. For example, a 3 ounce lobster tail should take 3 to 4 minutes to broil.

The trickiest part of working with lobster tails is opening the shell and loosening the meat enough to pull it through the cut you've made in the shell. Depending on at what point of the lobster's molting cycle the lobster was caught, the shell can be either really thick and strong, or thin and easy to manipulate.

Take care if working with an especially hard shell so you don't cut yourself, and use a strong hand. (I recommend watching this video for a good explanation of the technique.)

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2


  • 1/4 cup unsalted raw hazelnuts
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 lobster tails (6 to 8 ounces each), fresh or frozen


If starting with frozen lobster tails, while the lobster tails are defrosting, prepare the hazelnut brown butter sauce to save time.

1 Toast the hazelnuts: Toast hazelnuts in a small skillet on medium to medium high heat. When fragrant and lightly browned, remove hazelnuts from pan and place in the center a dry, clean dish towel.

Rub the hazelnuts together inside of the dish towel to remove as much of the papery dark skins as you can. Coarsely chop them and set aside.

Toasted Hazelnuts on Stove top Cracking the Skin off of Toasted Hazelnuts

2 Brown the butter: In a small stainless steel saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. (Use stainless so you will easily be able to tell when the butter is browning.)

After the butter melts, it will foam up, and recede. The milk solids will fall to the bottom of the pan.

Brown butter in sauce pan Foaming heated butter in sauce pan

Continue to heat and the milk solids will start to brown giving the melted butter a wonderful nutty aroma.

Brown butter sauce in pan warm brown lobster butter in glass bowl

Let most of the milk solids brown and then remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, to remove the browned milk solids.

Remove 2 tablespoons of the melted brown butter and set aside (they will be brushed on to the lobster tails before broiling. (See more details in How to Brown Butter.)

3 Complete the sauce: To the remaining brown butter, add the chopped hazelnuts, parsley, shallots, lemon zest and salt. Set aside.

4 Prepare lobster tails for broiling: Place rack in medium position in oven. Preheat broiler. Place a layer of foil over a broiling pan or roasting pan.

Using kitchen shears or strong scissors, cut the top side of the lobster tail shells lengthwise, from open end to the base of the tail.

Scissors Cutting Lobster Shell

To help make the shell easier to deal with, put the tail upside-down in the palm of your hand and squeeze to break the translucent bottom shell (see this useful video I found on YouTube).

Grip the sides of the shell and pull open by about an inch or two.

Hands Pulling Apart Shell From Raw Lobster Tail

Using your finger, carefully wiggle between the lobster meat and the shell and separate the meat from the shell.

Hand Presenting Meatless Lobster Shell

Then gently pull the meat up through the crack you've created, keeping the meat attached to the tail, and let the lobster meat sit on top of the shell. Place the tails on the foil-lined broiling pan.

Lobster Tail Meat with Shell on Tin Foil

5 Brush lobster tails with browned butter and broil: Pull back the lobster meat to expose as much of it as possible. Brush the exposed lobster meat with the unadorned browned butter you set aside in step 2.

Lobster Meat with Brown Butter Sauce on Top

Broil for 7 to 10 minutes until the meat is cooked through (less time for smaller lobster tails), and the shells are bright red.

I recommend using a meat thermometer, which should read 145°F when the lobster is done.

Broiled Lobster Tail in Oven

6 Serve with browned butter hazelnut sauce: When the lobster tails are done, remove from oven and place on serving plates. Spoon the browned butter hazelnut sauce over the lobster meat of the lobster tails to serve.

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  • kelly

    How did I not know about brown butter before! Its a game changer for lobster. Paired this with prime filet for a surf and turf NYE dinner! Loved it.

  • Kim Pawell

    Great tutorial on both how to brown butter and how to prepare lobster. Thank you for your detailed approach. There is nothing like lobster tails with good butter and lemon, some crusty bread and a crisp glass of white wine. I’m looking forward to browning the butter for my next lobster meal!

  • Jeff

    The lobster tail turned out very delicious. But the butter sauce elevated it to amazing!


  • JoanneNicole

    I read through this recipe 4 times, just to make sure I wasn’t just missing it…but where do the minced shallots come in?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Joanne, good catch! That was an unintentional omission. They go in with the butter in step 3.

  • Christian Gehman

    Technically, if you are referring to the French sauce beurre brun, the accurate translation is “brown butter” — not “browned” butter, although in fact it is made with “browned” butter. Those are some very yummy photos ….

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Christian, you are so right! I’ve corrected the title, thank you.

  • mazdee

    I always followed a method from my fishmonger, way back in the 60s. He told me to cut the bottom thin shell (easy with kitchen shears), pull out the whole tail, trim the shell, put the tail back in upside down, dowse with some butter and put in a preheated 450 oven for 10 minutes, or until done. The times might have to be adjusted, but that roasted tail was so wonderful! Today I live in Mexico, and get only rock lobster, which is good but a whole different creature. But your post makes me want a big lobster tail with brown butter. YUM.

  • JudyB

    Elise, the only thing I don’t have on hand is the hazelnuts, but I do have a can of macadamia nuts. Could I use those instead?
    The recipe looks amazing!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Judy, hmm, I think macadamia nuts would work well too!

      • JudyB

        Thanks very much! And just to be cheeky, I’ll add a pinch of lemon pepper to the sauce. Will be making this very soon!

  • Mary Walker

    We usually cut the whole tail in half from bottom to top (scissors work well to cut right through the middle of the bottom shell and then broil or BBQ. recipe look yummy.

  • Tchakayiti

    This looks amazing. We usually grill our lobster and serve it with a spicy/hot lemony sauce in Haiti. But I’m going to have to try this, especially because of the hazelnut, which I never would’ve thought to add…

  • Sally

    Coincidentally I had two lobster tails defrosting when I saw this recipe. I made a quick change in how I was planning to cook and serve them and this became dinner. With a salad and crusty bread it made a quick, easy and delicious meal. Thanks!