Sous Vide Buttery Lobster Tails
Lobster tails can be notoriously rubbery, overcooked seconds after they’re perfectly cooked. By using the sous vide methods, we can poach them in butter with herbs and end up with pure luxury each time.

We should note that most of the lobster tails sold in the United States are from crawless, warm-water lobsters. Some of these are of inferior quality and can fall apart while cooking. The best lobster tails are those from Canada and the northern U.S., cold-water lobsters that have a sweeter, milder taste. Check the packaging, ask the fishmonger, and use the cold-water ones. You may also find fresh cold-water tails at markets along the East Coast, although these tails tend to be absurdly expensive.

The best lobster tails for this technique are small. Whether they make two servings or four servings with lots of sides is up to you. We can suggest Corn on the Cob and Three-Bean Salad.
Servings Prep Time
2-4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
2-4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
  • Wateras needed
  • 4 raw frozen lobsters tails in their shellsthawed (4-5 ounces
  • 1/4cup butter1/2 stick
  • 4large tarragonor thyme sprigs
  • Kosher or coarse sea salt and ground black pepper for garnishing
  1. Fill a MAX Instant Pot two-thirds or to the Max Fill line with water. Set the machine’s heat-safe trivet in the pot’s bottom. Latch the lid onto the pot.
  2. Set the machine to its SOUS VIDE function. Set the timer for 3 hours. Set the temperature for 130°F. Press the START button.
  3. Remove the lobster tails from their shells with kitchen shears. Cut the pale white underside from the thicker end toward the fanned tail. Peel open the shell on either side, loosen the meat from the shell, and pull the meat out.
  4. Put two tails in a small vacuum-sealer bag; add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 herb sprigs. Repeat with a second bag. Seal the bags on the regular setting of the vacuum sealer. If you don’t have a vacuum-sealer, set two tails in a 1-quart zip-closed plastic bag;
add half the butter and herb; prepare a second bag in the same way; and seal them both using the water method
  5. When the water is at the right temperature, unlatch the pot’s lid and open the cooker. Use kitchen tongs to lower each bag with its lobster tails onto the trivet; use the trivet’s handles to hold the bags down without pressing on them. The bags must not touch; they must have enough room between them that convection currents can circulate between them, as well as between the bags and the insert’s sides. Latch the lid onto the cooker again. Cook for 3 hours.
  6. When the machine is finished cooking, ready, unlatch the lid and open the cooker. Use kitchen tongs to take the bags out of the cooker. Split them open and use kitchen tongs to pull out the tails. Discard the bags, herbs, and any liquid in them. Garnish the tails with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Recipe Notes

• The best lobster rolls start with hot dog buns. Slather the insides with mayonnaise, set a lobster tail in each (or maybe two in one bun!), and garnish with minced chives.
• Or brush the cut sides of the buns with melted butter and toast them cut side down on a griddle, in a grill pan, or on a grill until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Chop the poached tails into bite-sized pieces (none too small), then mix them with 1/2 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise, 1 thinly sliced medium celery stalk, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Pile this mixture into the warm hot dog buns and serve at once.