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Warm, buttery, lemony, and simply perfect, our Connecticut lobster roll recipe is a best-in-class take on a dreamy summer classic.

connecticut lobster roll recipe in a homemade top split bun with lemony butter sauce
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Why we love this recipe

I am enthusiastically agnostic about all sorts of things, not least of all lobster roll style. Maine-style lobster rolls (with lightly dressed, chilled lobster salad) have been among Umami Girl’s most popular recipes for years, and I’m an equal fan of these Connecticut-style sandwiches (served warm, with lemony buttered lobster meat), because how could you not be.

This recipe makes the most of an already great thing. It’s got:

  • Lots of tender, succulent lobster. You can make the rolls standard-sized and easy to pick up with 1/4 pound of cooked meat per roll, or follow the supersize trend and use 1/2 pound of lobster — and a fork.
  • Perfectly crisp, buttery, top-split buns. You can buy them or use my favorite recipe to make your own.
  • A generous amount of salted butter and freshly squeezed lemon juice tossed right in with the meat, for the perfect balance of flavors in every bite.
  • Pops of freshness and flavor from snipped chives or other soft spring herbs of your choice.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • For four standard-size lobster rolls, you’ll need one pound of cooked lobster meat. There are so many ways to arrive at this point that I’ve dedicated a whole section to it below.
  • Top-split buns (also called New England-style hot dog buns) have shellacked tops and naked sides that take well to buttering and skillet-toasting. Buy them or get next-level and make your own with our favorite recipe.
  • Use a really good-quality butter if you can. Here and virtually everywhere, I start with a cultured, salted butter from grass-fed cows. This sounds fancy but doesn’t have to be. Kerrygold, for example, is sold in most supermarkets at a reasonable price. A lot of lobster recipes call for drawn butter, with the milk solids removed. I don’t believe in this at all — the milk solids contribute a ton of flavor, and adding lemon juice to the sauce prevents it from thickening too much as it cools.
  • A generous amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed right into the sauce makes all the difference in the world. If you’ve ever intuited that something’s lacking from a lobster roll, I guarantee it was missing the perfect balance of acid and salt.
  • Snipped chives provide a delicate, savory freshness and a little pop of color. You can use the green tops of scallions instead if that’s what you’ve got, or mix things up with other soft spring herbs. I especially love mixing in a little bit of fresh tarragon (at about a 1:3 ratio with chives) when I have some on hand.

Sourcing lobster for lobster rolls

You’ve got plenty of options for arriving at a pound or two of cooked lobster meat, and over the years I’ve partaken of them all. Traditionally, lobster rolls are made with claw and knuckle meat, which is succulent, tender, and flavorful (and leaves the tails for other preparations). But rolls do well with absolutely any lobster you’ve got.

You can:

  • Start with live lobsters. Here’s everything you need to know, and more. On average, one pound of live lobster will yield about 3 1/2 ounces of meat — but summer soft-shells will yield significantly less.
  • Buy picked lobster meat at your local fish market. For the photos here, I went to one of my local markets and bought a gorgeous two-pound bag of flash-frozen claw and knuckle meat, then defrosted it on a rimmed half sheet pan at room temperature for an hour. (Contact with metal accelerates defrosting — it’s science, but it’s also magic.) Something weird about our economy is that I didn’t pay more for this beautifully cooked, painstakingly shelled meat than I would have paid for its raw equivalent.
  • Honestly, my favorite time to make lobster rolls is with leftovers in the days following a big feast. You wouldn’t know it from the current state of affairs, but this sandwich originated as a delicious way to use up odd bits of lobster meat, and you should absolutely feel free to do the same.
  • Or hey, go in the opposite direction and start with tails (or other parts) and cook them sous-vide.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make our Connecticut lobster roll recipe. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll butter and toast the rolls.
  2. Over low heat, melt the remaining butter and stir in the lemon juice.
  3. Add the lobster and cook for a couple of minutes, just until warmed through and coated with sauce.
  4. Pile the lobster into the buns, top with a little bit of sauce and a sprinkle of chives. Serve with remaining sauce on the side. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

You can cook and pick the lobster meat up to a few days in advance (and make the buns, if you’re starting from scratch). Heat and assemble the rolls right before serving.

Leftover elements can be stored separately — buns at room temperature or in the freezer, and lobster mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat according to the same directions used for cooking.

Make it a meal

Lean into summer by pairing your warm, buttery lobster roll with:

connecticut lobster roll recipe in a homemade top split bun with lemony butter sauce

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connecticut lobster roll recipe in a homemade top split bun with lemony butter sauce
5 from 5 votes

Connecticut Lobster Roll Recipe

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Warm, buttery, lemony, and simply perfect, our Connecticut lobster roll recipe is a best-in-class take on a dreamy summer classic.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 4 top-split buns
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) salted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pound (454 grams) cooked lobster meat
  • ¼ cup minced fresh chives

Instructions 

  • Spread the sides of the buns with two tablespoons of the butter.
  • Warm a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  • Place the buttered buns on the skillet and toast until the undersides are crisped and golden-brown. Flip once and toast the other side. Place buns on serving plates.
  • In a medium frying pan, melt the remaining three tablespoons of butter over low heat.
  • Pour in the lemon juice and stir to combine.
  • Add the lobster meat and cook, tossing with tongs almost constantly, until just warmed through, two minutes or so.
  • Divide lobster meat evenly among buns.
  • Sprinkle with chives and spoon over a bit of the pan sauce.
  • Serve with remaining sauce in small ramekins on the side.

Notes

  1. Please refer to the Sourcing Lobster section of the post above for more information on choosing meat for lobster rolls.
  2. One pound of lobster meat makes four standard-sized rolls. If you'd like to go jumbo, use two pounds and also double the butter, lemon juice, and chives.
  3. If you’d like to make your own top-split buns, here’s my favorite recipe.
  4. Snipped chives provide a delicate, savory freshness and a little pop of color. You can use the green tops of scallions instead if that's what you've got, or mix things up with other soft spring herbs. I especially love mixing in a little bit of fresh tarragon (at about a 1:3 ratio with chives) when I have some on hand.
  5. You can cook and pick the lobster meat up to a few days in advance (and make the buns, if you're starting from scratch). Heat and assemble the rolls right before serving. 
  6. Leftover elements can be stored separately — buns at room temperature or in the freezer, and lobster mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat according to the same directions used for cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 282kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 57mg, Sodium: 384mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Fish + Shellfish
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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