Handling and Caring for Lobsters After Delivery

Your hand-selected lobsters are packed with seawater-soaked paper or fresh seaweed to keep them moist, and frozen ice gels to keep them cold. Lobsters are shipped in an extra thick insulated cooler.

Once your La Jolla Lobsters are delivered:

Do This:

  • Open the Seafood Cooler (shipping box) then refrigerate your lobsters immediately to keep them cold until cook-time (best around 40 degrees F. The colder the lobster is, the more sluggish the lobster becomes. It won’t move around a lot. This is expected and normal.
  • If the shipping cooler is too large to fit in the refrigerator, transfer lobsters into a strong brown paper bag or in a lobster pot with a lid.
  • Add bagged ice (in ziplock bags) or frozen gel packs to quickly cool lobsters.
  • Keep your lobsters moist with wet paper or seaweed that they were packed in. Rewet this material and place around lobsters. A dry lobster is an unhappy lobster.
  • It’s best to cook your lobsters the day they’re delivered. See below if you cannot cook your lobsters right away.
  • When transferring lobsters, pick them up by the body, not the claws or the tail. The lobster may wave its claws, flex its tail, or display only the slightest movement.
  • In the unlikely circumstance, the lobsters are warm to the touch and there is a foul odor upon delivery, contact us as soon as possible. Please see our La Jolla Lobster Guarantee.
  • Keep rubber bands around claws on until after cooking. 
  • Reuse the seafood cooler and gel packs. Save them and reuse them for your next outing or beach day!

Do NOT Do This:

  • DO NOT freeze live seafood.
  • DO NOT store live lobsters in fresh or saltwater.
  • DO NOT transfer live Lobsters into a plastic bag.
  • DO NOT allow lobsters to sit on melting ice. Packing lobsters in ice creates a buildup of freshwater which can suffocate them. Instead, use bags of ice or frozen gel packs.

How long can I store live lobsters before cooking?

Our lobsters are very hardy and have been known to last up to 36 hours out of saltwater, but we cannot guarantee it. We always suggest cooking your lobsters the day they are delivered.

You can store live lobsters overnight, one night, in your refrigerator. Keep them upright, moist, and cold and you’re good to go!

The best way to keep your lobsters alive for 24 hours is to follow the Do This: section above in the coldest part of refrigerator (usually the lowest shelf at the back or in the meat keeper). Keep lobsters in a loose paper bag or in the shipping container.

Periodically check up on your lobsters.  If the lobsters are still moving, you may delay cooking, but if they begin to show little or no movement they need to go right into the pot!

If you must wait to cook the lobsters, you may partially-cook them the day of delivery. After you have par-cooked them, submerge in cold water for 3 minutes, drain, and refrigerate. Then, finish cooking the lobsters any time up to 48-hours.

Cooking Instructions

Steamed Lobster:

  1. Use a pot large enough to comfortably hold the lobsters and fill with about two inches of water.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. of salt for each quart of water.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  4. Add lobsters, one at a time, claws- or head-first. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Return to a rolling boil as quickly as possible.
  5. Once water returns to a boil, start the timer. Steam a lobster for 7 minutes per pound, for the first pound. Add 3 minutes per pound for each additional pound thereafter. See the chart below for approximate cooking times. Regulate the heat if the froth starts to bubble over.
  6. Carefully remove lobsters from the pot with tongs. Set in a large bowl for five minutes to cool before cracking.
Lobster WeightSteaming Times
1 – 1.25 lbs.7 – 9 minutes
1.5 lbs.9 – 11 minutes
2 lbs.11 -12 minutes
3 lbs.12 – 14 minutes
5 lbs.22 – 24 minutes

Boiled Lobster:

Our recommendation:

  • Best for cooking 4 or more lobsters at one time.
  • Cooks lobsters more evenly than steaming.
  • High intense heat cooks the meat quickly making it easier to remove from the shell.
  1. Use a pot large enough to comfortably hold the lobsters and fill anywhere from one-half to two-thirds full with water. Use approx. 1 gallon of water per lobster so it is deep enough to entirely submerge the lobster.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. of salt for each quart of water.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  4. Add lobsters, one at a time, claws- or head-first. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Return to a rolling boil as quickly as possible.
  5. Once water returns to a boil, start the timer. Regulate the heat to prevent water from boiling over, but be sure to keep the water boiling throughout the cooking time.
  6. Carefully remove lobsters from the pot with tongs. Set in a large bowl for five minutes to cool before cracking.

Lobster WeightBoiling Times
1 lb.5 – 6 minutes
1.25 lbs.7 – 8 minutes
1 – 1.5 lbs.8 – 9 minutes
2 lbs.10 – 12 minutes
3 lbs.12- 14 minutes
5 lbs.18 – 20 minutes
Lobster WeightBoiling Times
1 lb.5 – 6 minutes
1.25 lbs.7 – 8 minutes
1 – 1.5 lbs.8 – 9 minutes
2 lbs.10 – 12 minutes
3 lbs.12- 14 minutes
5 lbs.18 – 20 minutes
Boiled Lobster – Recommended

Our recommendation:

  • Best for cooking 4 or more lobsters at one time.
  • Cooks lobsters more evenly than steaming.
  • High intense heat cooks the meat quickly making it easier to remove from the shell.

Directions:

  1. Use a pot large enough to comfortably hold the lobsters and fill anywhere from one-half to two-thirds full with water. Use approx. 1 gallon of water per lobster so it is deep enough to entirely submerge the lobster.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. of salt for each quart of water.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  4. Add lobsters, one at a time, claws- or head-first. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Return to a rolling boil as quickly as possible.
  5. Once water returns to a boil, start the timer. Regulate the heat to prevent water from boiling over, but be sure to keep the water boiling throughout the cooking time.
  6. Carefully remove lobsters from the pot with tongs. Set in a large bowl for five minutes to cool before cracking.
Lobster WeightBoiling Times
1 lb.5 – 6 minutes
1.25 lbs.7 – 8 minutes
1 – 1.5 lbs.8 – 9 minutes
2 lbs.10 – 12 minutes
3 lbs.12- 14 minutes
5 lbs.18 – 20 minutes
Steamed Lobster

Testing testing

Note #1: If the roe inside a female body is blackish and appears gelatin-like, instead of the customary red, it may be undercooked. Put the lobster back into the pot until the roe is red. The roe is edible but can be rinsed out. Learn more about lobster eggs, also called the tomalley.

Note #2: When a lobster boils it retains a lot of water. Pierce the body and tail with a knife before plating to help drain the water.