These classic lobster rolls bring back memories of visits to Maine and Nova Scotia. Lightly seasoned tender lobster meat in a soft grilled roll. Yum!!
Back in the day, our family would stop by a roadside stand, order a couple of lobster rolls made with lobster fresh from the ocean that day and inhale them.
These days, I try to recreate that experience at least once a year during the summer or fall. I have to make do with imported lobster or lobster from holding pounds since I don’t live on the ocean, but they still taste great.
Only a few simple ingredients are needed – and not much of them (you want to taste the lobster first). I like to use just enough mayo to coat the lobster meat, not drown it.
And if you buy cook lobster meat, the lobster rolls can be put together in just 10 minutes.
I love the simplicity of this recipe (there are a ton of similar ones on the internet) – and I recommend using hot dog rolls – but of course, lots of variations are possible.
FAQ – Good to Know
I love a good Herb Potato Salad and Grilled Cabbage (no-mayo slaw) or just some good ol’ potato chips with a pickle. You can also serve the lobster rolls as an appetizer – just cut them in thirds and stick a toothpick across the two sides to hold them together. And pairing lobster rolls with this Easy Gazpacho Recipe makes a perfect summer meal.
Figure 1/4 pound (113g) or 4-5 ounces per serving. You will get this from a 1 to 1 1/2 pound lobster. Both the claw meat and tail meat are good. Here’s a good article on how to buy lobster.
Generally mid summer to late fall in Canada and US east coast (this varies with where you live, though). In North America, the biggest sources of lobsters are Maine and Atlantic Canada. Atlantic Canada provides over 50% of the world’s lobster supply.
Tailor To Your Taste
Here are some variations and substitutes to try.
- Lobster: Since lobster is very expensive and not always easily available, you can substitute or combine it with chopped monkfish or shrimp. In fact, here’s a delicious recipe for grilled shrimp rolls.
- Add-ins: Add a few drops of Tabasco sauce, tarragon, lemon zest or minced green onions.
- Bread/buns: Use any other kind of rolls such as croissants or brioche. Feel free to butter and grill the buns on the BBQ instead of in a skillet.
- Buy fresh cooked lobster meat, removed from the shell. This avoids shucking which can be time consuming especially with a hard shell lobster.
- Use good quality canned lobster. Nowadays, it’s not unusual for lobsters to be processed and frozen within 4-8 hours of coming from the sea – maintaining maximum freshness.
Make Ahead Lobster Rolls
- You can make the lobster salad a couple hours ahead and keep it in the fridge covered. Or on the counter for up to an hour. Just before serving, make the buns and add the lobster salad.
Old Fashioned Lobster Rolls Recipe
- 1 cup chopped cooked cold lobster meat (from about two 1-1 1/2 pound lobsters; about 4 oz cooked meat per person
- 3 tablespoon mayonnaise (make sure it's real; light is ok too)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 1/4 cup celery, diced small
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 hot dog rolls, split
- softened butter
- PREPARE LOBSTER FILLING: Mix lobster meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, celery, parsely, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside or put in fridge covered until ready to use.
- PREPARE THE ROLLS: Heat a skillet to medium. Spread butter on both sides of each hot dog roll. Grill the rolls in the skillet on each side until golden brown.
- ASSEMBLE: Divide lobster mixture between the rolls. Serve immediately with pickles or chips or fries or whatever you want.
This recipe, originally published in August 2016, has now been updated with more information and better pictures.
No lobster? Try these shrimp rolls instead: