Can You Freeze Cooked Lobster in the Shell?

Can You Freeze Cooked Lobster in the Shell

You might already know that you can freeze lobster meat. It freezes well.

But can you freeze cooked lobster in the shell too?

Well, it’s a little trickier, but yes, you can freeze cooked lobster in the shell.

But before we get into the how-to, let me tell you why you might want to do this.

The big advantage of freezing cooked lobster in the shell is that you can use it later in recipes where fresh lobster won’t do.

I love lobster salad, but fresh (cooked) lobster is so perishable that you can’t really make enough for more than a couple of meals.

I made a wonderful lobster chowder out of frozen cooked lobster shells, but it’s not something you want to eat every day.

But if you freeze the cooked meat in the shell, then when a recipe comes along where you need some frozen lobsters, all you have to do is defrost them and pick out the meat from the shells.

It’s like having your own little frozen lobster steamer in your freezer!

How to freeze cooked lobster in the shell?

If you are reading this post until this point, it means that you are interested in knowing how to freeze cooked lobster in the shell.

Without further ado, here are the general steps:

  1. Make sure that there is no meat left in any part of the shell. If there evens the tiniest bit of meat left in a shell, it will spoil your whole batch.
  2. Separate the claws with the body to make sure that the claws are completely frozen before you freeze them together with the lobster bodies.
  3. Put on rubber gloves and grab each lobster claw at its base. Brace yourself against something and then yank out hard. You can get two or three large pieces of meat from one claw this way without having to remove the beards first. Don’t worry about getting scraped. I do this all the time and there’s only been one incident when I got too excited and ripped off a thumbnail. There are worse things.
  4. Freeze-cooked lobster tails right away if you want to serve them in the next few days.

In general, freezing cooked lobster in the shell is not a good idea if you want to serve it on its own.

The meat will freeze too hard and you won’t be able to get through it with your teeth.

The texture also changes during this freezing process (the fat solidifies). Plus, there are some compounds present in lobster that can potentially taste fishy when frozen.

However, it’s totally okay if you want to use them for other recipes: lobster chowder, bisque, stuffed mushrooms, etc.

I’ve frozen-cooked lobster in the shell for up to 6 months with good results.

Just make sure that you label your packages well and store them in a freezer bag, not on a tray, where they might sweat or leak liquid into other food.

How do you store whole cooked lobster?

Whole-cooked lobster can be stored for no longer than three days in the refrigerator.

Do not refreeze cooked lobster. Cooked frozen lobster can be stored for about 6 months, but only if you freeze them properly and use clean freezer bags.

And remember that you can always use frozen cooked lobster meat in recipes where fresh seafood won’t do.

How long can you freeze cooked lobster?

Cooked lobster can be frozen for about 6 months if you use clean freezer bags and store them in the freezer, not on a tray where they might be exposed to moisture.

Cooked lobster can also be frozen for up to a year if you store them in vacuum-sealed bags, but you have to use freeze-dried products for that.

What about frozen whole lobsters?

I know that I said above that freezing cooked lobster in the shell is not a good idea if you want to serve them on their own, but that doesn’t mean they are useless – far from it!

You can use frozen whole lobsters as a base for other dishes such as bisque (just buy some mussels too) or even as the main ingredient in a seafood salad.

I also heard people say that they make delicious lobster sushi. All you have to do is, well, roll it up and then eat it with soy sauce or wasabi.

No cooking required!

If you check out this post about storing lobsters, you’ll see that I’ve talked about freezing whole-cooked lobster before.

That’s how much I like them! Just make sure not to thaw frozen whole lobster at room temperature.

Preferably, thaw frozen whole lobsters overnight in the refrigerator or use a cold water bath instead of letting them sit on your kitchen countertop for a few hours where they will be exposed to ambient air.

How to thaw frozen lobster?

If your state allows it, you can just leave your lobsters in the fridge overnight and they will thaw out by morning.

I always keep my lobsters on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator so that I don’t accidentally expose them to freezing temperatures.

Alternatively, you can use a cold water bath if you find it easier to do it this way.

 In both cases, make sure that you thoroughly wash your kitchen countertop with soap or bleach after removing the cooked meat from the frozen lobster bodies.

The bacteria from raw seafood will survive long enough to cross-contaminate other food in your house.

Always cook your food all the way through! Even though cooking gets rid of most bacteria, it doesn’t mean that your food is 100% safe if you see some pink on the inside.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Can you freeze previously frozen lobster tails?

Yes, you can refreeze lobster tails that are previously frozen. Just wrap them up in several layers of plastic wrap and place the package in a freezer-safe bag before putting it back in your freezer.

How long can frozen lobster tails last?

You can store previously frozen lobster tails for no longer than three months if you keep them in your freezer.

The key to keeping cooked seafood fresh is proper packaging and storage, as well as paying attention to details when buying seafood at the fish market or grocery store.


I hope that this post answers your question. I would like to reiterate that you can always freeze cooked lobster in the shell.

All you need to do is to follow the tips shared in this post and you will be good to go!

But the most important thing is to enjoy your food, whether it’s fresh or frozen. There are so many ways to cook lobster.

From hot potting it in butter and wine sauce (my favorite) to curling up with a nice book after a long day at work while enjoying an iced mug of lemon-lobster bisque (also my favorite).

Enjoy your lobster!

Learn more about freezing foods here.