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Maine-Style Lobster Rolls

Maine-Style Lobster Rolls 6.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Aug 18, 2020

In this classic Maine-style lobster roll, lemon juice and zest accentuate the crustacean’s natural sweetness and salinity, and a touch of Dijon mustard adds dimension to the traditional mayonnaise dressing. Served in lightly toasted, split-top hot-dog buns brushed with melted butter, the contrast of warm, crisp bread and cold, crunchy lobster salad is the very epitome of summer. These rolls pair well with steamed corn on the cob and a pile of potato chips.

Make Ahead: The mayonnaise dressing can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. The lobster salad can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated. The lobster needs to be steamed and well-chilled before being shelled — at least 2 hours ahead of serving.

Storage Notes: Leftover lobster salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, store-bought or homemade
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or more to taste
  • 1 generous pinch kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Sweet paprika (optional)
  • Chilled meat from 3 cooked lobsters (each weighing 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds, see NOTE)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery (1 to 2 stalks), leaves reserved
  • 6 split-top hot dog rolls, preferably potato, such as Martin’s, or brioche
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Sliced scallions, for serving (optional)

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In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the lemon zest and juice, mustard, salt and a pinch of sweet paprika, if using. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Using lobster crackers and pick, remove the lobster meat from the claws and tails (save the legs for a cook’s snack, and discard the torsos or reserve them and the shells for stock). Dice the lobster meat into bite-size chunks (you should get 3 to 3 1/2 cups) and transfer to a large bowl. Add the chopped celery and fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Taste, and season with more lemon juice, mustard and/or salt, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Position a baking rack about 6 inches from the broiling unit and preheat the broiler on high. Place the hot dog buns on a baking sheet, split side up, brush with the melted butter and broil until golden, 1 to 2 minutes (start checking on the rolls after 1 minute so they do not burn).

To serve, divide the lobster salad among the rolls, then top with scallions, if using, and celery leaves. Add a pinch of paprika, if you like, and another squeeze of lemon juice, if desired, and serve.

NOTE: To cook the lobsters, put them in the freezer for 15 minutes (the cold sedates them). In the interest of humane treatment, some experts advocate killing the lobsters with a chef's knife before steaming; see more on that technique in the related recipe for Steamed Lobster. In a very large pot over high heat, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Place the lobsters in the pot, cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Steam for 13 to 15 minutes, until the lobster shell turns red. To check on the lobster doneness, pull on an antenna. If it comes off easily, the lobster is done. If you're making lobster rolls, transfer the lobsters to a large bowl with ice and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours, before cracking open the shell. Inside the lobster torso, you'll find the tomalley (green) and sometimes coral (lobster roe if you get female lobsters, which turns red once cooked). You can add the cooked coral to your mayonnaise dressing for deeper lobster flavor.

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Recipe Source

From Olga Massov.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 408

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 21g 32%

Saturated Fat: 7g 35%

Cholesterol: 247mg 82%

Sodium: 1012mg 42%

Total Carbohydrates: 23g 8%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 31g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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