8 Best Types of Lobster to Savor

by Ella

Lobster is a delicacy cherished by seafood enthusiasts worldwide, known for its succulent meat and rich, sweet flavor. With numerous species of lobsters found in different regions, it can be challenging to determine the best type to indulge in. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the most popular and delectable lobster species, comparing their taste, texture, and availability. From the classic Maine lobster to the spiny Caribbean varieties, we will help you uncover the best types of lobster to satiate your cravings and elevate your dining experience.

Characteristics common of lobsters

As you might already know, lobsters are omnivores that eat fish, plants and crustaceans. They are used as food for not only humans but also for crabs, fish and seals. They can scavenge from dead carcasses if necessary.


All types of lobsters have their hard shell and soft shell seasons because they molt or shed their shell to grow. During this process, they puff up their own flesh with water in order to create a roomier shell. This water-loaded flesh has a different flavor.


Hard and soft shell lobsters need a different style of cooking because soft shell lobsters are more fragile and they are also harder to ship. There are 2 main types of lobster: cold water lobster and warm water lobster. If you prefer lobster claw meat, you need to get a cold water lobster.


8 Best Types of Lobster to Savor

1. The Iconic Maine Lobster (Homarus americanus)

Maine lobster, also known as American lobster, is perhaps the most celebrated and widely available lobster species globally. Renowned for its large claws, tender tail meat, and distinctive sweet flavor, Maine lobster is the epitome of luxury seafood. It is predominantly caught in the cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, particularly off the coast of Maine in the United States.


With its versatility, Maine lobster can be prepared in various ways – steamed, boiled, grilled, or even incorporated into creamy lobster bisques. Its tender, slightly chewy texture, combined with the sweet, briny taste, makes it a favorite among lobster aficionados.

2. European Lobster (Homarus gammarus)

The European lobster is another esteemed species, commonly found in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, from Norway to the Mediterranean Sea. This lobster species is distinguishable by its spiny appearance and blue-black color, which turns bright red when cooked.

Compared to the Maine lobster, the European lobster has a more delicate flavor profile and a firmer texture. The meat is slightly milder but equally succulent, making it an excellent choice for lobster purists who appreciate subtler tastes.

3. Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus)

Unlike the clawed lobsters, the spiny lobster lacks prominent claws, and its meat is primarily concentrated in the tail. It is abundant in tropical and subtropical waters, particularly in the Caribbean and parts of the Pacific Ocean.

The spiny lobster’s white, tender meat has a distinctively sweet and slightly nutty taste. Popular cooking methods for spiny lobster include grilling and broiling, allowing the natural flavors to shine through. Given its tail-centric meat distribution, it may not offer the same abundance of meat as clawed lobsters, but its unique flavor and texture more than make up for it.

4. Australian Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii)

Hailing from the pristine waters surrounding Australia, the Australian rock lobster, also known as the southern rock lobster, is highly sought after for its premium quality and delectable taste. It inhabits rocky reefs and is predominantly harvested along the southern coast of Australia.

The Australian rock lobster features a tender, firm texture and a slightly sweet, briny flavor. The tail meat is particularly esteemed for its succulence, making it a popular choice for special occasions and gourmet dishes.

5. Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus)

The Caribbean spiny lobster, as the name suggests, is abundant in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and parts of the Western Atlantic Ocean. This species is similar to its Pacific counterpart, the spiny lobster, and is known for its lack of claws and the presence of a spiny carapace.

Caribbean spiny lobster offers a delightful medley of flavors, combining sweetness with a hint of tanginess. Due to its versatility and distinct taste, it is widely used in various Caribbean and Latin American dishes, such as lobster ceviche and spicy lobster stew.

6. New Zealand Rock Lobster (Jasus verreauxi)

Found in the coastal waters of New Zealand, the New Zealand rock lobster, also known as the crayfish, is highly valued for its superior taste and premium quality. It is a cold-water species, making its meat exceptionally succulent and flavorful.

The New Zealand rock lobster boasts a delicate, sweet flavor and a tender, juicy texture. Due to its exceptional taste, it is often enjoyed simply, either grilled or steamed, to preserve its natural goodness.

7. Slipper Lobster (Scyllarides latus)

Slipper lobsters, as the name suggests, have a unique slipper-shaped carapace, and their meat is primarily concentrated in their elongated tails. They are found in warm waters throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Slipper lobster meat is similar to that of clawed lobsters in taste and texture, with a sweet and tender profile. It is particularly popular in Asian cuisines, often featured in dishes like lobster sashimi and lobster congee.

8. Cape Lobster (Homarus capensis)

The Cape lobster, also known as the South African or East Coast lobster, is native to the southeastern coast of Africa. It shares some similarities with the European lobster in appearance but possesses a unique flavor profile of its own.

Cape lobster meat boasts a sweet and delicate taste, reminiscent of the European lobster. It is commonly used in both traditional and modern South African cuisine, adding a touch of luxury to various dishes.

What is the most expensive lobster?

Because it is the most sought after, the Maine lobster is the most expensive type of lobster commonly found. Enjoying this lobster right after killing and cooking is how it retains its freshest texture. You don’t have to worry if you order live Maine lobsters directly at Fishermen’s Net at a reasonable price, they will be shipped straight to your door.

In addition, old shell lobsters are also ranked as the most expensive due to the high transportation costs, most of which are shipped by air to anywhere. They also have a courser flavor.

Global Lobster Import and Export

The Homarus species (American cold-water lobster) from the North Atlantic Ocean are regularly exported from the USA and Canada to Europe. Canadian waters are very cold, so their lobsters typically have harder shells than Maine lobsters and are therefore ideal for shipping such a distance (but the meat is less sweet and tender).

Meanwhile, much of American warm-water lobster is sold to Asian markets. The United States typically exports around 12 million pounds of California rock lobster to China, where people are willing to pay premium prices. Because these fisheries can ship directly to Asia while keeping the lobsters alive, they are able to make a much bigger profit.

Oddly, the USA is also the world’s largest importer of lobster! Americans import huge numbers of lobster from Caribbean markets to satisfy insatiable craving for the tender meat.

The Best Time of Year to Buy and Eat Lobster

In Maine, where the most well-known lobsters thrive, they are harvested year-round. But the largest harvesting counts come during the summer months when fishermen work around the clock to meet the demands of tourists and locals.

The reason lobsters are more abundant during the summer season is because they migrate closer to shore in the warmer waters and shed their shells. After they’ve molted, they tend to feed, and hungry lobsters are considered easier to trap.

Mother nature does not always cooperate with the wants of man. Live lobsters are susceptible to seasonal changes, and government regulations can often affect supply and demand. In Canada, where 60% of the world’s lobsters are harvested, the season typically peaks 2 times a year; once between the months of April and June, and another in December.

May is typically the best month if you’re looking to buy live lobsters. The hauls are very good, yet the summer demand is not in effect yet, and prices haven’t skyrocketed. Plus, the lobsters are generally very firm and meaty after the cold months.

Prices surge throughout summer, and even more into Christmas and New Years. Throughout the winter months, only the bravest fisherman take on the choppy waters and head far out to catch what they can. Hence, there are fewer lobsters to be had in winter, and this is when they are most expensive to get live.

Lobster Side-Dishes

Typically a fine lobster meal is served with more than one side dish. It really depends on your taste, as these sides are very diverse.

1. Light salad, such as coleslaw

2. Corn on the cob

3. Clam Chowder

4. Asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes or cucumber with a light lemon and olive oil dressing

5. Steamed mussels or clams

6. Crusty bread

7. Macaroni and cheese

8. Baked beans

9. Brown sugar glazed carrots

10. Melted butter and fresh lemon juice

11. Cocktail sauce

12. Baked potatoes or potato salad

Freezing Lobster

Properly prepared lobster, whole or “in the shell,” has a quality freezer-life of 9 to 12 months.

Cooking raw lobster from frozen – If you want to thaw your frozen lobster (uncooked), it should be done slowly to preserve premium taste and texture – overnight in the refrigerator.

Your thawed lobster can then be boiled in a 2% salt brine for 12-15 minutes (roughly 1/2 cup of non-iodized salt or sea salt per 2 quarts of water).

Preparing pre-cooked lobster from frozen – If you have lobster tail, knuckle or claw meat, which is already cooked, thaw using the overnight refrigeration method and boil in salt brine for 2-3 minutes. You don’t want to further cook it; you’re just heating it up. Drain in a colander and enjoy.

You can steam pre-cooked whole lobsters. Place a steam rack at the bottom of a large pot and fill with 2 inches of water + 2 Tbs salt. Bring to a boil and place lobster(s) in rack, cover pot. Average steam time is 10 minutes.

Preparing and Freezing Cooked Lobsters

Blanch live lobster at 212° F for 60 seconds in a 2% salt brine.

Chill after blanching in a tub full of half ice, half water.

After a 15-20 minute chill, remove excess surface water.

Put lobsters in commercial freezer bags and remove as much air as possible. Place in a second freezer bag or wrap over with a laminated freezer wrap.

Freeze at -18° C (0° F) or lower. The lower the freezer temp, the better they will regain flavor and quality.

Lobster steamed in a pilsner or lager beer is delicious!

Flavor Influences of Lobsters

Freshness – Depending on how far your lobster has traveled to get to your plate, the freshness will vary. If a lobster is alive right before being cooked, you will have ultimate freshness. Usually, a flash-frozen lobster that is thawed, cooked, and eaten quickly will regain most of its flavor as well.

1. Age – The older the lobster, the tougher the meat will be. Younger (smaller) lobsters will usually have more flavor to offer. Lobster fishermen throw back the ones that are too big or too small. The small ones need to grow, while the large ones add vigor to the gene pool.

2. Location – Where the lobster is harvested will also have an effect on the quality of the meat. Lobsters’ environment and diet can have distinguishing effects on their ultimate taste. Different location, different species, different tastes.

3. Season – Lobster is easiest to transfer (alive) when the shell is hard. They tend to have more meat and firmness after the colder months. Educate yourself about the molting season in your area if you want to buy locally.

The most expensive lobster meal

The most expensive lobster meal comes from the Le Parker Meridian Hotel in New York. This Lobster Frittata costs a whopping $2000 per plate. Would you be willing to splurge to see what this dish has to offer?


Choosing the best type of lobster to enjoy ultimately boils down to personal preference, as each species offers its own unique taste, texture, and culinary experience. For those seeking a classic, indulgent lobster encounter, the Maine lobster’s sweet and tender meat is hard to beat. For a more delicate flavor profile, the European lobster or the Australian rock lobster may be the ideal choice.

On the other hand, the spiny lobster and Caribbean spiny lobster introduce distinctive flavors with their tail-centric meat distribution. Adventurous seafood enthusiasts may appreciate the subtleties of the New Zealand rock lobster or the Slipper lobster’s widespread popularity in Asian cuisines.

Ultimately, whether you are savoring a succulent Maine lobster roll, indulging in a Mediterranean-inspired European lobster dish, or relishing the tropical flavors of a Caribbean spiny lobster, the world of lobsters promises a journey of taste and texture like no other.



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