Food You Can Eat: Lobster Rolls

These, to me, are among the most perfect of summer foods. Ideally they are eaten outside in the sunshine, at a venue with ocean views, but they’re terrific anywhere.

For the filling:

1 lb. lobster meat. Try to get a cooked lobster if you can, take off the shell, and peel off the meat in chunks. You can use canned, but…You could also steam your own lobster but that is not for the squeamish. You can sometimes find frozen lobster tails, and those work, but you have to steam the tails and cook them yourself.

Some mayo but not too much. You just want it as a binding agent and you want to create as lobster-y a filling as you can.

A little lemon juice.

Some diced celery if you want. This really isn’t necessary but I do it if I have celery I want to use up.

Some salt and pepper if you think it tastes better that way, but, again, optional.

6 New England-style hot dog buns. These differ from regular hot dog buns in that their sides don’t have a crust. If you can’t find these, cut the side crusts off regular hot dog buns.

A little butter.

Potato chips, preferably the Cape Cod brand, because you are going for A Theme.

Lemon wedges.

If you want to go all out, buy some small plastic baskets. You can find these sometimes in dollar stores, I don’t know why. Line these with wax paper, for serving.

Mix the lobster meat the mayo, and the lemon juice, and the celery and salt and pepper if using. Refrigerate so that it gets good and cold.

Butter the hot dogs buns on both sides and fry them for a minute or two on both sides so they’re nice and crisp. Fill with your lobster mix and place in the wax-paper-lined plastic baskets. Serve the Cape Cod Potato Chips™ alongside. For drinks, Sam Adams beer of course. If there’s no convenient dock nearby, tune in a Red Sox game and cheer for them, even if you despise them, as I do. If you have no patience for baseball, try to find a “Muder, She Wrote” rerun and watch that.

Fair warning: Though this recipe couldn’t be simpler, it’s among the most expensive things I make, because the price of lobster meat is astonishingly high.



  1. Looks delicious. Lobster meat is so expensive that I get very nervous about making things with it…

    • I have found that the good thing about the lobster roll is that the mayonnaisey meat and the buttered bun are filling, so you don’t need to eat a lot of it. The amount in the image would be enough for me for a decent lunch. 

  2. As long as I’ve lived in NE, I’ve never had a lobster roll.  I’ll have to do something about that this summer.

    Also, planting my flag right here:  New England Style hot dog buns are bullshit.

    • Also, planting my flag right here:  New England Style hot dog buns are bullshit.

      Basically, they’re a ploy to make something brown-ish even more white. Very New England indeed, eh?

      • The problem is that they open the wrong way which means you can’t put something large, like a sausage, or a bunch of–you know–lobster salad in there because the damned bun is too small when you open it THE WRONG WAY.

  3. We went to Cape Cod a few years back and I had lobster rolls for basically every meal. It was awesome. 

    It hadn’t really occurred to me it was a thing I could make, perhaps I will try!

    • Essentially if you’re ever made a tuna fish sandwich and toasted the bread you are more than competent to make a lobster roll! 

      • I’ve always been afraid to try this too.  I’ve only had them at someplace in NYC near Central Park that was amazing and these food trucks in CA.
        Hey, it just occurred to me “Cousins” and Cousin Matthew?  Is this FYCE an infomercial?  Do you need to disclose an affiliation?

        • I wish I could get in on some hot spot-con action. In my recent ramp-up/recipe dump mania I’m pulling from memory to populate my quota for FYCE. Those recipes that I have written down can be a little sparse on details (“add the tomatoes at this point”–how many? Have I diced them or chopped them into chunks?) I often have to troll the internet as a refresher. I’ll see a recipe and think, “No, that’s not what I do” or “Yes, that’s right, you sauté the garlic and THEN…” 
          Anyway, often these recipes will go on and on, personal anecdotes, a recap of the recipe, etc., until you finally get to the recipe itself. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. I’m surprised by how many “may contain affiliate links” disclaimers they have. How many people read your blog? Do you get free stuff and/or a percentage of sales? 
          It is the 21st century. I should establish a personal brand and monetize with every fiber of my being, but I don’t have the energy.

  4. This reminds me I never finished watching The Affair after Ruth Wilson left the show. 
    Also, friends who live in Maine tell me, depending on the market, lobsters can be quite cheap on the docks. 

    • Once every six months (at least before the lockdowns) Mrs. Butcher and I would drive to Maine to go on a “fishing trip”.  We would bring our Very Large Cooler and about $300 in cash, stop at the Harbor Fish Market and fill the cooler with fresh-off-the-boat fish, and ice, then drive home, portion the fish out and freeze it.  If we bought all that fish retail, we’d be spending easily twice as much.  We don’t get lobsters because we just wait until they go on sale at our local store.  Sometimes we can get a few chicken lobsters for as little as $9/pound, which is about as good as you can do at a fish market on the dock.

      • TIL the phrase “chicken lobsters”

        (I went ahead and googled it to spare me asking you what it meant, cuz I’m polite like that.)

        • Chicken lobster: young lobster weighing 1lb or less.
          (Now no one else has to look it up. You’re welcome.)

          • That’s very disappointing, I was hoping for some Turducken super hybrid creature.

            • Or an obscure B-52’s track. 
              “Chicken Lobster!” 

            • I was assuming either really big crawdads or small gators 

          • Now why didn’t I think of that lol

        • Pro tip when ordering lobsters in New England:  don’t get the biggest lobster you can find.  Their shells are hard has a motherfucker, and the meat is tough and lacking in flavor.  Instead, order a chicken lobster (or, if you really want to sound like a local, “chix”) which is smaller, has a softer shell and the meat is much sweeter and more tender.

      • I love it. This would be the closest I’d get to a fishing trip nowadays as well.

  5. I have made versions of this only with shrimp because it is cheaper and more reliable where I am, and if you chant to yourself “this is just a good as lobster, this is just a good as lobster” you almost might believe it.

  6. tangential, but once when I was enlisted, I was stuck on a navy boat for a few months.  Every now and then they would have “steak and lobster” dinners.  I’m pretty “meh” about steak, so I don’t think I even bothered, or at least I can’t remember, so I’ve nothing to say about that.  The “lobster” on the other hand, was an abomination.  just the tails, split in half, and, I don’t know, boiled for a couple weeks or something.  I think I may have drunkenly gnawed on some tires once that were less dry and rubbery and better tasting.
    I think I tried two of those, just in case it was a bad crew, or something, but they were universally horrible.  After that, I just skipped the “lobster” and went straight to the sides, or whatever lame alternative they had.
    It would have been better if they just stuck to chicken tenders or spaghetti or whatever the normal fare was…

Leave a Reply