Grilled Lobster Tails

This recipe for grilled lobster tails is classy, elegant, and so simple. Bonus – this indulgent dish is ready in under 30 minutes.

Lobster Tails on a charcoal grill.

Lobster tails are a perfect match for the grill. They’re prepackaged in their own cooking vessel – which actually has a built in color indicator for doneness – and they grill up in under 10 minutes. Add a simple butter, herb, and lemon sauce and you have a dish as good as those served in high-end restaurants.

How to Choose Lobster Tails

First, when choosing lobster tails, make sure that they’re frozen. Don’t purchase thawed lobster tails. And keep the lobster frozen until you’re ready to cook them. Once they are thawed, they need to be cooked right away.

Generally, there are two types of lobster tails available, warm water and cold water varieties.

The warm water varieties grow in the waters of Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America. They tend to grow faster and are less expensive than their cold water counterparts. They’re readily available in most grocery stores. They do have a tendency to be less sweet and have a higher chance of getting mushy during cooking.

The cold water varieties come from North America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. They grow slower and therefore are more expensive. They tend to be less widely available in regular grocery stores. Some people, me included, think they have a slightly sweeter flavor.

Given the choice and the budget, I like the cold water varieties, however, I’ve also had great grilled warm water varieties. As a matter of fact, the variety used for this recipe is a warm water variety.

When choosing either warm or cold water varieties, make sure that the flesh isn’t discolored. No black or yellow spots. Also, if there is any graying – walk away. This is an indication that the lobster was dead before processing. Again, don’t purchase lobster tails that have been thawed.

How to Prepare Lobster Tails for Grilling

To thaw the lobster tails, place them in the refrigerator the night before you plan on grilling them. You can also thaw them by placing them in a resealable plastic bag and placing them in a sink full of cold water. Change the water every 15 minutes for 1 1/2 hours or until the tails are fully thawed. They should be pliable. You CANNOT thaw them in the microwave – please. ;)

Once thawed, pat them dry and then cut the top of the shell lengthwise from top just to where the tail starts. Using a sharp knife, place it in the cut and slice through the meat stopping when you get to the bottom shell. Pry the shell away from the meat and then flatten using your hands.

Lobster Tails cut open on a tray to prepare for the grill.

To ensure that the meat stays flat, run a wooden skewer through the meat lengthwise.

Lobster tails with wooden skewers through the meat lengthwise.

All that’s left to do is drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Lobster tails drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

How To Grill Lobster Tails

Fill a chimney starter with charcoal and light according the manufacture’s instructions. (Please don’t use starter fluid. This will leave a nasty chemical taste on your food.) You’ll know the coals are ready when the edges  turn grey and ashy.

Pour the charcoal evenly over charcoal grate and put the cooking grate in place.

If you’re using a gas grill, set the heat to medium-high heat.

Preheat the grill for 10 minutes and then clean and oil the grates.

While the grill is heating, mix together the melted butter, parsley, and lemon juice.

Place the lobster tails flesh side down on the grill gate and cook for 5 minutes. Turn them over and drizzle the melted butter mixture over the meat and cook an additional 3 – 4 minutes. The meat will be opaque and the shells will turn a bright orange. You can also use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness. It should read 140˚F when inserted into the thickest part of the tail meat.

What to Serve with Lobster Tails

These are delicious served with grilled veggies, a light salad, or if you looking for something more surf and turfy, try a perfectly cooked steak.



Grilled Lobster Tails

  • Author: Leigh Olson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


This recipe for grilled lobster tails is classy, elegant and so simple. Bonus – this indulgent dish is ready in under 30 minutes.


  •  4 lobster tails, 4 – 6 ounces
  • Olive oil, for grilling
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice


  1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking. For charcoal grilling, fill a chimney starter with charcoal and light. Once the coals are ready, pour them evenly over the charcoal grate. Set the cooking grate over the coals. For a gas grill, set the burners to medium heat. Preheat for 10 minutes and then clean and oil the cooking grate.
  2. Using kitchen shears, create a cut through the top of the shell down the length of the tail. With a sharp knife, slice through the meat being careful not to cut through the bottom of the shell.
  3. Using your hands, flatten the tail.
  4. Thread a skewer through the length of the tail.
  5. Drizzle olive oil over the meat and season with salt and pepper.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, parsley, and lemon juice.
  7. Place the lobster flesh side down on the grill and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Turn over, drizzle the butter mixture over the lobster, and cook for an additional 3 – 4 minutes, or until the meat is opaque and the shell has turned bright orange. If you prefer to use an instant read thermometer, it should register 140˚ F at the thickest part of the tail meat.
Grilled Lobster Tails

4 responses to “Grilled Lobster Tails”

  1. Sherry says:

    We don’t have a grill. Could they be air fried?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      I have not tried that, Sherry, but you should be able to follow these same instructions and timing! Just don’t worry about the skewers when doing them in the air fryer.

  2. Rewari says:

    This dinner is perfect for date nights. I have never thought about making it at home because I thought it was too challenging.

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