Butter Poached Lobster

Indulge in pure decadence with the sweet, tender, and succulent bite of the sea Butter Poached Lobster brings to the plate. This tried-and-true process lets the purity of the king crustacean shine with minimal ingredients and preparation.

Butter Poached Lobster Tails

There is something incredibly sumptuous about perfectly cooked lobster. From miso ginger butter grilled lobster this lobster cooked in a beurre monté, it’s an indulgence used to celebrate with and often saved for a special meal out. With a few easy steps and tips, you can easily serve up restaurant worthy lobster. Pop open your favorite bottle of white wine or bubbly, and let’s dive into it.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Butter Poached Lobster Tails
  • Texture – Butter poached lobster meat is all about that tender texture. If you’ve cut into a rubbery lobster tail, you know the disappointment an overcooked lobster can bring. This is a gentle method of cooking the lobster at a lower temperature and helps make it easier to achieve that ideal temperature. In addition, because the emulsified butter sauce, or beurre monté, never comes to a boil, you also have the best texture for the butter. It’s creamy. dreamy, and not a broken sauce with that oil slick on top.
  • Versatility – This method of cooking lobster works for all parts and types of lobster meat. You can use this to gently heat through already cooked lobster meat for lobster rolls or use it to cook split lobster tails in the shell. It works for both raw and cooked lobster meat in and out of the shell.
  • Easy Process – This does take slightly longer than other methods for cooking lobster such as grilling lobster or steaming it, but there is nothing difficult about it. It’s more about the method and only requires a few simple ingredients.

What is a Beurre Monté?

The reason this recipe works is because it is rooted in the classic French technique of creating a beurre monte sauce. This is an emulsified butter sauce that can be used to finish a dish, cook food such as butter poached lobster tails, or keep food warm.

Butter Poached Lobster

Butter normally starts to break down and melt at 158 degrees, but by whisking cold butter into a little hot water, the butter emulsifies and can be kept silky smooth at a higher temperature such as 180-190 degrees.


Butter Poached Lobster Ingredients
  • Lobster – For this recipe for butter poached lobster tails I used already shucked lobster tail meat from LobsterAnywhere. You can achieve the same effect but using kitchen shears to cut through the top of the lobster tail and then gently easing the meat away from the shell with your fingers. You can also use split lobster tails in the shell. Make sure that your lobster tails are sustainably sourced, not batch frozen, and come from a reliable source such as LobsterAnywhere.
  • Butter – Aside from the lobster, butter is the star of this dish. Use a high quality butter that is higher in butter fat such as Kerrygold. I also recommend using an unsalted butter so you can control the seasoning.
  • White Wine – The bright acidity of white wine pairs perfectly with seafood. Pick a dry white wine that isn’t oaky such as a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc.
  • Shallots – These add delicate sweet onion flavor without overpowering the sweetness of the lobster.
  • Herbs – Use your favorite soft herbs. I like a combination of fresh dill, chives, and Italian parsley. Tarragon or basil would also be great with this.
  • Lemon Zest – Gives that sunny citrus note without diluting the sauce.
  • Salt/Pepper – Add a pinch of salt to enhance al of the natural flavors of the ingredients. If you like a little heat add crushed red pepper flakes when you simmer your wine, or just a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper.

How to Make Butter Poached Lobster

  • Prepare your ingredients. Make sure that your lobster is defrosted. Pat it dry. Finely mince your shallots and chop your herbs. Cube up your butter and keep it cold until ready to use.
  • Reduce your wine. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the wine, shallots, and crushed red pepper flakes if using. Allow the wine to come to a boil and reduce by half.
  • Whisk in the butter. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add a couple of cubes of butter into the wine while whisking continuously. Once it has dissolved add in a couple more cubes while whisking. Continue this process until all of the butter has been added and is emulsified. It should be pale yellow, silky, a little glossy, and coat the back of a spoon.
  • Stir in your herbs. Add the herbs, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
  • Add the lobster tails. Carefully add your lobster tails to the beurre monte sauce. Keep an eye on the sauce that it doesn’t come to a boil. If you are using shell on lobster, place the tails flesh side down into the butter. If it seems like it is getting too hot turn the temperature down. Allow the first side to cook for 2-4 minutes and then flip it. Flip the tails over and allow the second side to cook for another 2-4 minutes. Continue this process of gently flipping the lobster tails in the sauce until the lobster has turned white, opaque, and more red in color. The internal temperature should be between 135-140 degrees.
  • Garnish and serve. Remove the pan from the heat and garnish with additional fresh herbs if desired. Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread. You can also serve this with pasta, a grilled steak, or use to make buttery lobster rolls.

Substitutions & Variations on Flavors

Butter Poached Lobster Tails
  • Replace the white wine in this recipe with cava, prosecco, or sparkling wine.
  • Add a pinch of saffron to the simmering wine for a saffron butter sauce.
  • Swap out the shallots for minced garlic.
  • Use this method to reheat already cooked lobster meat. Add your cooked lobster meat and gently stir to coat in the warm butter sauce and allow it to warm through. Remove from the heat once warm.
  • If you don’t want to use alcohol you can replace the wine with water. Reduce it to 1/4 cup and allow it to come to a simmer with the shallots. Once it has come to a simmer turn the heat to medium-low and proceed with the remaining steps.

Tips From the Beach

Butter Poached Lobster
  • The key to the success of this recipe is all about temperature control. Once your wine has reduced immediately turn the heat to medium-low. You don’t want your butter added to super-hot liquid. Also, make sure that your butter is cold. You can even place it in the freezer until ready to use while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
  • These butter poached lobster tails can be prepared on the grill. If you make this on the grill you’ll want to set up your grill for two zone cooking. This will allow you to move your skillet over to a cooler spot when you add your butter and cook the lobster.
  • Shucked lobster tails tend to curl when cooked. To prevent this, you can make a shallow cut vertically down the middle of the underside of the meat, and a couple of shallow horizontal cuts. This will allow the meat to stay relaxed as it cooks instead of tightening up and curling.
  • Make sure that you invest in a good quality butter with higher fat content. This will give you not only the best flavor, but a silkier texture.

Do I have to use wine to make butter poached lobster?

No. Water is actually the most common ingredient to make a beurre monte sauce. Reduce the amount of liquid to 1/4 cup and don’t worry about reducing it. Once it has come to a simmer lower the heat and proceed with the recipe in the same way. You may want to add a little squeeze of lemon juice for acidity, but that is completely up to you.

What else can I cook in a beurre monte?

This is a great method to gently poach any delicate fish. You can also use this to keep food warm, or serve with vegetables such as asparagus.


Butter Poached Lobster

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Indulge in pure decadence with the sweet, tender, and succulent bite of the sea Butter Poached Lobster brings to the plate.

  • Author: Nicole Stover
  • Yield: 2-4 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Poaching
  • Cuisine: American


Units Scale
  • 12 pounds lobster tail meat or split lobster tails
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 shallot finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons soft herbs finely chopped such as parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, basil, or a combination
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Charred bread for serving
  • Lemon wedges and extra herbs for serving


  1. Heat a large skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the white wine, shallots, and crushed red pepper if using. Allow the wine to come to a boil and reduce by half.
  3. Stir in the herbs, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Turn the heat to medium-low.
  5. Add a couple cubes of butter, whisking continuously until melted and combined. Add a few more cubes. Continue whisking and adding a few cubes of butter until all of the butter has been added and emulsified. If the butter seems like it is starting to break lower your heat.
  6. Stir in the herbs, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 
  7. Gently add the lobster meat into the butter sauce. Allow the first side to cook for 2-3 minutes, basting the top with the butter sauce.
  8. Flip the lobster meat and allow the second side to cook for another 2-3 minutes while basting.
  9. Continue flipping the lobster in the butter sauce until it is cooked through. The red will deepen in color and the flesh will turn white and opaque. It will be between 135-140 degrees.
  10. Remove from the heat. Garnish with additional herbs, and serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread. 


  1. If you are using split lobster tails in the shell, place them flesh side down into the butter sauce first. 
  2. Make sure that your butter is extremely cold. You can place it in the freezer for a few minutes if desired.
  3. You can also serve this butter poached lobster with steak, or toss it with pasta.
  4. The white wine can be replaced with sparkling wine, prosecco, cava, or champagne.
  5. You can also replace the wine with water. If using water reduce the liquid to 1/4 cup. Don’t worry about reducing the water. Once it has come to a simmer reduce the heat and continue with the rest of the steps. 

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