Sous Vide Lobster Tail sounds fancy, but is shockingly easy to make! With the magic of sous vide, you can’t mess lobster up, so no need to worry about a rubbery disaster. Use this sous vide lobster tail recipe to eat lobster tails as is, or to make delicious lobster rolls!
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Sous vide lobster tails were something I put off cooking for awhile. For one, being an Oregonian, my shellfish of choice is Dungeness Crab. Believe it or not, I’d never had lobster before testing tails for this recipe!
Two: lobster tails sound fussy and hard to make! Which, of course, makes them a perfect candidate for sous vide.
However, after a lot of research and testing, I found it. The magic numbers for delicious, perfect lobster tails. 135 degrees F for 45 minutes for the cook time and temp, using my favorite immersion circulator, the Vesta Precision Imersa Elite.
Why I Love Sous Vide for Lobster Tails
My philosophy is “If it’s finicky to cook, it’s probably a good candidate for sous vide.” And lobster tails 100% apply here! If you’re curious to learn what sous vide is, click that link and go do some reading, then head back here.
Overcook lobster tails, and they’re rubbery, chewy, and all around awful. Undercook them, and… ew. Which usually results in attempting to cook them longer, making the texture weird and likely overcooking them anyways.
Not so with sous vide! The magic of sous vide means the entire cooking environment (the water bath) is the exact temperature you want your lobster tails to come to, so it’s impossible to under or overcook them.
What to Look for When Buying Lobster Tails
Don’t overthink this process too much. Your number 1 priority should be go get what you can afford. From there…
- Get lobster tails that are as fresh as possible. Look for terms like “day boat” on the packaging and a best by date that’s a ways out.
- It’s okay if they’ve been frozen or you buy them frozen, but try to find language that indicates they’ve only been frozen once and don’t “refreeze” them yourself (of course it’s okay to keep them frozen if you buy frozen).
- Cold water lobster tails are typically higher quality than warm water lobster tails, but don’t sweat this too much if warm water are all you can find/afford.
What You Need to Make Sous Vide Lobster Tails
The good news is you don’t need much to make sous vide lobster tails! Just a few pieces of equipment and about 6 ingredients.
Here’s the equipment you’ll need to make sous vide lobster tails:
- Kitchen shears for cutting the lobster tail shell
- An immersion circulator – I recommend the Vesta Precision Imersa Elite
- A container (you can just use a stockpot, or my favorite sous vide containers are Everie containers)
- A handheld vacuum sealer, like the Vesta Precision Handheld Vac n Seal, or simply a plastic zipper top bag. I have a blog post all about air removal methods to help you out!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Lobster tails! I got mine from Costco. If you’re reading this before 2/14/21, I would snag Porter Road’s limited time surf and turf kit!
- Looots and lots of butter. You’ll use it for poaching and to make a garlic butter dipping sauce.
- Garlic, parsley, salt, and fresh lemons for dipping and garnishing.
- You might as well grab a loaf of french bread, too… because butter and dipping.
How to Remove Lobster Meat from the Tail
Some people insist on blanching the lobster tails first to make the meat easier to remove. This is not necessary! I am very much team “dirty as few dishes as possible” and had no issues removing the meat raw.
Unless you’re working with live lobster, save yourself the hassle and skip the boil.
Here’s how you remove the meat from the lobster tail:
- Use kitchen shears to cut down the middle of the underside of the lobster tail (you know it’s the underside because this part of the shell is soft and relatively easy to cut through).
- Do the same on the sides of the underside, where the soft part of the shell meets the hard part.
- Peel off the underside of the tail.
- Slide your fingers between the meat and the hard part of the shell to loosen it. Don’t be too timid! Gently lift up to remove the meat.
Temperatures for Sous Vide Lobster Tail
I did a lot of research and experimenting before settling on a temperature for our sous vide lobster tails and I was thrilled with the texture! We decided to cook at 135 degrees F, but here are your options.
|130 degrees F||45 minutes||This will produce lobster that’s meaty, but more tender than lobster you’d get at a restaurant.|
|135 degrees F||45 minutes||This temperature is still tender, but a little closer to that traditional texture and not at all soft.|
|140 degrees F||45 minutes||This will produce a lobster with “traditional”, old-fashioned texture.|
How to Cook Sous Vide Lobster Tail
Preheat a water bath to your desired temp (reference the table above) using an immersion circulator.
Start by removing the meat from the tail following the instructions above. Removing the meat will result in a more even cook, and you won’t worry about the hard shell poking a hole in your bag.
Lightly season the lobster with kosher salt. Usually I encourage heavy seasoning with sous vide, but not seafood.
Place the lobster meat in a bag. Add several pats of butter around the tails. I like a handheld vacuum seal bag for this – it’s more gentle than a standard vacuum sealer because you can control the suction. You could also use a zipper top bag + the water displacement method. Click here to learn more about air removal options!
After sealing, add the bag to the preheated water bath, making sure to keep the zipper on the bag above water (I use a chip clip and clip it to the side of my container!). Cook for 45 minutes.
While the lobster is cooking, make the garlic butter sauce.
When the lobster is done, it’s ready to serve! Some people like to broil it, but I found this to be unnecessary.
What to Serve with Sous Vide Lobster Tail
I’ve got a recipe for garlic butter sauce in the recipe card, but I also had it with Sous Vide Hollandaise and it was amazing!
The salsa verde from my Sous Vide Leg of Lamb would also be a lovely sauce with sous vide lobster tails.
For side dishes, here are some ideas!
- Easy Crusty Bread
- Warm Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fritters
- Cacio e Pepe Mashed Potatoes
Butter Poached Sous Vide Lobster Tail
- 2-4 lobster tails
- Kosher salt
- 8 tbsp butter, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 lemon, for sauce
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
- Preheat a water bath to your desired temp (reference the table above) using an immersion circulator. We like 135 degrees F.
- Remove the meat from the tail. Use kitchen shears to cut down the middle of the underside of the lobster tail (you know it's the underside because this part of the shell is soft and relatively easy to cut through). Do the same on the sides of the underside, where the soft part of the shell meets the hard part. Peel off the underside of the tail. Slide your fingers between the meat and the hard part of the shell to loosen it. Gently lift up to remove the meat.
- Lightly season the lobster meat with kosher salt.
- Place the lobster meat in a bag. Add 2 tbsp of butter for each lobster tail, evenly distributing through the bag. I like a handheld vacuum seal bag for lobster - it's more gentle than a standard vacuum sealer because you can control the suction. You could also use a zipper top bag + the water displacement method. Click here to learn more about air removal options!
- After sealing, add the bag to the preheated water bath, making sure to keep the zipper on the bag above water (I use a chip clip and clip it to the side of my container!). Cook for 45 minutes.
- While the lobster is cooking, make the garlic butter sauce. Melt 4 tbsp butter in a small saucepan. Add the garlic, and cook until just browned and fragrant. Remove from heat, squeeze the juice from half a lemon into the sauce, and add 1 tbsp chopped parsley.
- When the lobster is done, it's ready to serve! Remove from bag and serve with the dipping sauce. Garnish with additional parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over the lobster.