Skip to Content

What does a lobster dinner include?

A lobster dinner is a classic luxury meal that is popular across New England and beyond. Lobster is synonymous with summer and indulgence, making it the perfect centerpiece for a special meal. But what exactly makes up a lobster dinner? Let’s take a closer look at the key components of this decadent dish.

The Main Event: Lobster

The star of the show in any lobster dinner is, of course, the lobster itself. When serving lobster for dinner, most people opt for fresh live Maine lobster. These lobsters are caught off the coast of New England and delivered directly to restaurants and fish markets. Maine lobsters are prized for their sweet, tender meat and large claws filled with flavorful lobster meat.

When preparing a lobster dinner, most restaurants and home cooks choose to either boil or steam the lobster. Boiling is the quickest and easiest method, as you simply drop the live lobsters into rapidly boiling salty water for 8-12 minutes depending on size. The intense heat quickly kills the lobster and cooks the meat. Steaming takes a bit longer at 10-15 minutes, but many argue it better preserves the delicate flavor of the lobster meat. Either boiling or steaming results in a tender, juicy lobster ready to crack open.


While lobster is undeniably the showcase of the meal, the side dishes play an important supporting role. Here are some classic options for rounding out your lobster dinner:

  • Drawn butter – Melted butter for dipping the lobster meat is an absolute must. Clarified drawn butter has an extra luxurious texture and rich flavor.
  • Corn on the cob – Sweet summer corn complements lobster perfectly.
  • Coleslaw – Crunchy, vinegary coleslaw balances the richness.
  • Potato salad – Creamy potato salad is another nice counterpoint to the lobster.
  • Biscuits – Fluffy biscuits work well for soaking up drawn butter.
  • Garlic bread – Toasted garlic bread is great for dipping in buttery lobster juices.

Salad Course

While optional, a light salad course is a nice way to kick off a lobster dinner. The tangy crunch of the salad contrasts nicely with the sweet lobster meat. Great salad options include:

  • Wedge salad
  • Caesar salad
  • Caprese salad with tomato, mozzarella, and basil
  • Mixed greens with a light vinaigrette


Lobster is such a treat that it cries out for an equally decadent dessert. The sweet, indulgent flavors complement the lobster perfectly. Great choices include:

  • Lobster tail with drawn butter – For the ultimate lobster lover, another lobster tail makes a delicious dessert.
  • Cheesecake – Rich, creamy cheesecake is a perfect choice.
  • Creme brulee – The crunchy caramelized topping provides a nice contrast to the creamy custard.
  • Key lime pie – The refreshing lime flavor balances the rich meal.
  • Chocolate cake – You can’t go wrong with a dark chocolate cake or souffle.


It’s important to have beverages on hand that pair well with lobster. Chilled white wines like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are classic choices. Sparkling wines also complement lobster beautifully. For beer lovers, wheat beers, pilsners and pale ales make good matches. Don’t forget the importance of water either – be sure to serve both still and sparkling water to allow guests to rehydrate. Iced tea is also a nice option to wash down the salty, buttery flavors.

The Full Lobster Dinner Menu

Now that we’ve covered the components, let’s see a full menu for how to create the perfect lobster dinner experience:

First Course

Mixed Green Salad with Light Vinaigrette

– Mesclun greens

– Cherry tomatoes

– Cucumber slices

– Red onion

– House vinaigrette

Main Course

Steamed Maine Lobster

– 1.5 pound lobster

– Melted lemon-garlic butter

– Corn on the cob

– Coleslaw

– Homemade biscuits


Chocolate Lava Cake

– Molten dark chocolate cake

– Vanilla ice cream


– Sauvignon Blanc

– Sparkling water

– Iced tea

This full menu provides the perfect culinary experience from start to finish. Every element complements the sweet lobster meat to create a truly decadent lobster dinner.

How Much Does a Lobster Dinner Cost?

Lobster is one of the most expensive seafood ingredients, so a lobster dinner generally doesn’t come cheap. Here’s a breakdown of approximate costs for a lobster dinner for two:

Ingredient Estimated Cost
Two 1.5 pound lobsters $60-70
Salad ingredients (greens, veggies, vinaigrette) $10
Sides (corn, coleslaw, biscuits) $15
Dessert ingredients (lava cake, ice cream) $10
Beverages (wine, water, tea) $20
Total Cost $115-125

As you can see, fresh lobster makes up the biggest cost at $60-70 for two 1.5 pound lobsters. The supporting ingredients, beverages and dessert will add about $50-60 more to your total cost. So you’re looking at spending around $115-125 to serve a lobster dinner for two.

Buying lobster from the grocery store rather than dining out can help save some money. You can also reduce costs by limiting beverages or skipping appetizers and dessert. But keep in mind that lobster is a premium ingredient, so a lobster dinner will generally be one of the pricier meal options regardless.

How to Save Money on Your Lobster Dinner

Lobster might seem like an ultra-luxurious splurge, but there are ways you can enjoy an indulgent lobster meal on a budget:

  • Choose chicken or turkey lobster – Rock crab and langostino lobster have similar sweet flavor at a fraction of the price of real lobster.
  • Go for lobster tails – Pre-cooked lobster tails cost less than whole lobsters per pound.
  • Catch your own – If you live near the coast, join lobster fishing trips.
  • Use lobster sparingly – Add some lobster meat to pasta, tacos or salad instead of serving whole lobsters.
  • Order lobster rolls – Lobster rolls maximize the meat in a sandwich versus whole lobster.
  • Go for lunch – Many restaurants offer discounted lobster at lunch versus dinner.
  • Watch for deals – Look for seasonal lobster price drops or all-you-can-eat specials.
  • Simplify side dishes – Keep sides simple to focus spending on splurging for lobster.

Following some of these tips can help you indulge in lobster without breaking the bank. Just getting a bit creative can allow you to experience the delightful flavor of lobster for less.

Lobster Dinner Etiquette

Since lobster is fancy fare, there’s some etiquette to keep in mind when eating lobster dinner:

  • Use the proper utensils – Crack shells with lobster crackers and pickers, not your hands.
  • No double-dipping – Don’t dip already bitten lobster meat back in butter.
  • Watch your manners – Don’t talk with your mouth full or use your fingers excessively.
  • Go easy on slurping – It’s OK to slurp juices from legs or claws, but don’t overdo it.
  • Discard shells neatly – Place empty cracked shells on your provided plate or bowl.
  • Mind your bib – Wear a lobster bib to avoid splatters on your clothing.
  • Don’t rush – Take your time to savor each sweet, indulgent bite.
  • Use common sense – Apply basic table manners as you would for any nice meal.

It’s fine to get a little messy when cracking and eating lobster, but following these etiquette tips will keep your meal sophisticated.

How to Cook the Perfect Lobster Dinner at Home

Want to host your own lobster feast at home? Here are some tips for nailing lobster dinner at home:

Shopping Tips

  • Buy 1.5-2 pound live lobsters for the best value and meat.
  • Allow 1 whole lobster per person.
  • Shop for sides, salad and dessert ingredients.
  • Get drawn butter or ingredients to make your own.
  • Purchase lobster crackers, picks and bibs.
  • Chill white wine, sparkling water and iced tea.

Cooking Tips

  • Boil water with salt – 4 quarts of water per lobster.
  • Cook lobsters 6-8 minutes for 1.5 pounds.
  • Prep salad, sides and dessert while lobster cooks.
  • Melt at least 4 ounces butter per lobster.
  • Set table with picks, crackers, bibs and moist towelettes.
  • Pour beverages just before serving.

Serving Tips

  • Present whole lobsters on platters for dramatic effect.
  • Offer salad first, then serve the lobster feast.
  • Provide nutcrackers, picks and finger bowls for easy eating.
  • Make sure drawn butter is warm for dipping.
  • Have a large empty bowl or plate for shells.
  • Serve dessert and additional beverages after dining on lobster.

Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to serve an indulgent lobster feast worthy of a New England seaside restaurant right from your own home kitchen.


A lobster dinner is the ultimate indulgent feast, featuring tender, sweet lobster meat as the star of the show. The main event is accompanied by classic sides like corn, slaw and biscuits. A light starter salad and decadent dessert round out the full experience. While not cheap, there are ways to enjoy lobster on a budget if you get creative. At around $115-125 to serve two, a lobster dinner is truly a special occasion meal. With proper preparation and etiquette, you can serve up a restaurant-worthy lobster feast in your own dining room for an occasion sure to be remembered.