Cracking the Claws: Everything You Need to Know About the Lobster Roll

If you’re a seafood lover, you’ve probably already heard about the famous lobster roll. This iconic dish is a staple in coastal towns and cities, where the tender meat of a freshly caught lobster is piled high into a buttery, toasted bun. But what exactly is a lobster roll? Is there a proper way to make it? And why are some lobster rolls so much more expensive than others?

In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the lobster roll, from its history to the best recipes to make your own at home. So, let’s get cracking!

What is a Lobster Roll Made of?

A lobster roll is a type of sandwich that originated in New England, where lobster is a plentiful and popular catch. The sandwich consists of a split-top hot dog bun that’s been toasted and brushed with melted butter, filled with lobster meat that has been cooked and seasoned with mayo, lemon juice, and spices like paprika and celery salt. The amount of mayo used can vary depending on the recipe, but in general, it’s used to bind the lobster meat together and add a creamy texture to the filling.

Some lobster rolls are also served with additional toppings, like chopped celery or onions, sliced avocado, or a drizzle of melted butter on top. While these additions aren’t strictly necessary, they can add extra flavor and texture to the sandwich.

What is a Proper Lobster Roll?

While there are many variations of the lobster roll recipe, there are a few key components that are required for a proper lobster roll. First, the bun should be soft, but sturdy enough to hold the filling without falling apart. A split-top hot dog roll is the classic choice, but many people also like to use brioche buns or soft, pillowy rolls.

Second, the lobster meat should be fresh and cooked properly. Overcooked, rubbery lobster meat is a sure way to ruin a lobster roll, so it’s important to cook it just until it turns pink and is no longer translucent. The lobster should also be removed from the shell and chopped or shredded into small, bite-sized pieces.

Finally, the filling should be seasoned with just enough mayo to hold the lobster meat together, but not so much that it becomes overwhelmingly creamy. A squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of spices can also help to enhance the flavor of the lobster without overpowering it.

What is the Difference Between Traditional and Connecticut Lobster Roll?

There are two main styles of lobster roll: the traditional New England style and the Connecticut style. The traditional style is the most common, and consists of a toasted bun filled with cold lobster salad that has been mixed with mayo and sometimes other ingredients like celery or herbs.

The Connecticut style, on the other hand, is served warm and has been buttered and lightly grilled or toasted prior to being filled with lobster meat. The lobster in a Connecticut-style roll is often served plain, with just a little melted butter or lemon juice added for flavor.

Both styles are delicious, so it really comes down to personal preference. Some people love the contrast of the cold, creamy lobster salad with the warm, buttery bun, while others prefer the simplicity of a warm, buttered roll filled with sweet, succulent lobster meat.

Best Lobster Roll Recipe

Now that you know what goes into a great lobster roll, it’s time to try your hand at making one at home. This recipe from the Barefoot Contessa takes a classic approach to the traditional New England-style lobster roll:


  • 3 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat (about 6 to 7 whole lobsters)
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 hot dog rolls, sides trimmed


  1. Cut the cooked lobster meat into large chunks and place in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, and chives.
  3. Pour the dressing over the lobster meat and mix gently until the lobster is well coated.
  4. Season the lobster salad with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the outside of the hot dog rolls with melted butter and grill until lightly toasted on all sides, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Divide the lobster salad evenly between the toasted buns and serve immediately.

Easy Lobster Roll Recipe

If you’re looking for a simpler version of the lobster roll that doesn’t require hours of cooking and preparation, here’s a recipe for an easy, no-cook version that’s just as satisfying:


  • 1 pound cooked lobster meat, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 hot dog buns, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)

1. In a large bowl, combine the lobster meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and paprika, stirring until everything is well combined.
2. Season the lobster salad with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Brush the toasted hot dog buns with melted butter.
4. Divide the lobster salad evenly between the buns, filling each one generously.
5. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped chives if desired.

Why are Lobster Rolls so Expensive?

One of the most common questions people have about lobster rolls is why they’re so expensive. After all, a sandwich that’s just a few ounces of meat served on a bun shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars, right?

Well, the truth is that lobster meat is one of the most expensive types of seafood you can buy. Lobsters are caught in the wild, and their populations can fluctuate from year to year depending on factors like weather and fishing regulations. This, coupled with the high cost of shipping and handling live lobsters, means that the price of lobster meat can be quite high.

Additionally, many restaurants that serve lobster rolls use only the freshest, highest-quality ingredients and often go to great lengths to source the best lobster meat available. This can further drive up the cost of the sandwich.

Despite the cost, however, many people are willing to pay a premium for a delicious, perfectly crafted lobster roll. After all, there’s nothing quite like biting into a warm, buttery bun filled with fresh, succulent lobster meat.

How to Cook Lobster for Lobster Rolls

If you want to make a lobster roll at home, the first step is to find a good source of fresh lobster meat. You can often buy pre-cooked lobster meat in the seafood section of your grocery store, or you can cook your own lobsters at home.

To cook a whole lobster, fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a boil. Add the lobster to the pot and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the shell turns bright red and the meat is cooked through. Alternatively, you can also steam the lobsters using a or method.

Once the lobsters are cooked and cooled, remove the meat from the shells and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Then, follow one of the recipes above to make a delicious, mouth-watering lobster roll that’s sure to impress.

Wrap Up

The lobster roll is a beloved classic that’s sure to satisfy any seafood lover’s cravings. Whether you prefer the warm, buttery goodness of a Connecticut-style roll or the cool, creamy tang of a traditional lobster salad, there’s a lobster roll out there for everyone to enjoy.

So, what are you waiting for? Head to your local seafood market, grab some lobster meat, and get cracking on your own delicious lobster roll creation!