Maine lobster rolls are a beloved delicacy that originates in New England! Tender lobster meat is the star attraction, lightly dressed with a bit of mayonnaise, plus some lemon and fresh herbs for a bright flavor. A toasted buttery bun makes the perfect counterpart in this delectable sandwich!
Maine-style lobster rolls are synonymous with summer and hot weather! If you’ve ever traveled to New England, you know exactly what I’m talking about. They’re the perfect handheld sandwich for summer parties and holidays.
The trick is to use a little mayo to make it creamy and delicious with a splash of lemon and fresh herbs that enhances the natural sweetness of the lobster meat. Serve up the sweet tender lobster on a buttery roll and enjoy every bite.
In this recipe for cold lobster rolls with mayonnaise, you will find the perfect balance of ingredients for the best flavor.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Great Summertime Sandwich - Served up cold, it’s refreshing and oh-so-good.
- Simple Ingredients - Everything that you need to need to make the best lobster rolls can easily be found at any grocery store.
- Flavorful - This easy lobster roll recipe allows the sweet flavor of the lobster to infuse each and every bite.
- Quick and Easy - This lobster sandwich comes together in just minutes.
What's the Difference Between Connecticut and Maine Lobster Rolls?
Both types of New England lobster rolls showcase tender seasoned lobster meat served up on a New England-style hot dog bun. Both receive a light dressing, allowing the flavor of the lobster shines through. Beyond these similarities, the two sandwiches are quite different.
The first difference lies in the temperature at which they are served. The Connecticut-style rolls are served with warm lobster meat while the Maine lobster salad roll is served chilled.
They also differ slightly in the ingredients used to flavor the lobster. The Connecticut lobster roll skips the mayo and instead, the lobster is tossed with melted butter and fresh herbs.
On the other hand, a Maine-style lobster roll uses lobster tossed with a touch of mayo and fresh herbs, and often lined with lettuce to prevent a soggy bun.
Sometimes a traditional Maine Lobster roll recipe includes finely chopped celery. This gives it a crunchier texture. I did not include celery but you can add a half cup if you like the crunch.
What Kind of Lobster Meat is Best?
The key to delicious lobster rolls is not surprising - quality lobster is essential.
The best choice of meat for a lobster roll is the knuckle, arm, and claw meat. These are more tender than lobster tails.
You can usually find cooked lobster meat in the seafood department of your grocery store or at a local fish market, whether fresh or frozen. If you have frozen lobster, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
If you cannot find cooked lobster claw meat you can use a mix of lobster meat that includes the tails. In this case, make sure to save the large chunks of claw meat, which are tender and have a redder color, to place on top of the tail meat.
Alternatively, you can purchase whole live lobsters and cook them yourself. To yield approximately one pound of cooked lobster meat, purchase around two lobsters weighing a total of about three pounds.
Here is a helpful tutorial on Steaming Whole Lobster that can guide you through the cooking process.
What is a New England Style Bun?
The traditional bun for lobster rolls is a New England-style bun, also called a top-split New England hot dog roll. This bun has flat sides which makes them much easier to spread with butter and grill.
Because the slice is on top of the bun you can stuff them with plenty of lobster filling and they won’t fall apart. If you can't find top-split buns then you can also use thick-cut Texas toast or slice the crust sides off of regular hot dog buns.
How to Make a Classic Maine Lobster Roll
Once you’ve got your cooked lobster meat cooked, cooled, and ready, it’s time to mix everything together. Here’s a look at the basic steps.
1) Make the Lobster Filling
- Drain off any liquid in the lobster meat and place it in a medium bowl.
- Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and chopped herbs to the lobster.
- Gently toss until each piece of lobster is coated with the seasoned mayonnaise.
2) Toast the Buns
- Spread butter on the left and right sides of each hot dog bun.
- Heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium heat.
- Place the buns flat side down in the pan and toast for 30-45 seconds, until golden brown.
- Flip the buns over and toast for another 30-45 seconds.
3) Fill and Serve
- If you are using lettuce, place it inside of each bun, lining the bun.
- Fill each toasted bun with the lobster mixture and top with additional fresh herbs.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
What to Serve with Lobster Rolls
- This sandwich is most commonly served with a side of french fries or potato chips.
- We enjoy our lobster rolls with fresh corn on the cob! They’d also be great with coleslaw, potato salad, or even a small spinach salad.
- If you really want to do it up New England style, serve it up with a bowl of creamy clam chowder.
- For something sweet to end your meal, enjoy another delicious food from Maine, the Whoopie Pie!
No, steaming them at home is not necessary. You can buy fresh lobster meat already cooked and deshelled from many specialty grocery stores.
Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days. If you have any leftover buns, these are best kept at room temperature. You can warm them in the oven or toast fresh plain rolls.
I used chervil, which is a delicate herb that tastes like a mixture of tarragon and parsley. If you can't find chervil, either tarragon or parsley are good substitutes.
More Seafood Recipes
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Maine Lobster RollsRecipe by:
- 1 pound cooked lobster meat
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise 77 grams
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chervil or parsley optional
- 4 split-top hot dog buns
- 2 tablespoons butter softened, 14 grams
- 4 large Bibb leaves optional
- Drain off any liquid from the cooked lobster meat, then place it in a medium bowl.1 pound cooked lobster meat
- Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and herbs to the bowl and gently toss the lobster, coating it completely. Taste the lobster salad and add additional seasonings, if desired.⅓ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon chervil or parsley
- Spread butter onto both sides of the buns, then place them in a preheated skillet over medium heat. Cook for 30-45 seconds per side, until both sides are toasted and golden brown.4 split-top hot dog buns, 2 tablespoons butter
- Remove the buns from the skillet and line them with lettuce leaves, if using. Then fill generously with the lobster mix.4 large Bibb leaves
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of additional herbs.
This recipe was originally published on October 5, 2020. It was updated on June 22, 2023, including new pictures and ingredient information! Here's one of the original images!