How to Cook Lobster or Crayfish

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • serves


Appears in

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

By Darina Allen

Published 2001

  • About

The method described here is considered by the RSPCA to be the most humane way to cook lobster and certainly results in deliciously tender and juicy flesh. When we are cooking lobster we judge by colour, but if you are uneasy about that allow 15 minutes for the first 450 g and 10 minutes per 450 g after that.


  • 2×900 g live lobsters or crayfish

Court Bouillon

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 600 ml water
  • 600 ml dry white wine
  • bouquet garni: parsley stalks, sprig of thyme, celery stalks
  • and a small bay leaf
  • 6 peppercorns
  • no salt


Cover the lobsters or crayfish with lukewarm salted water (170 g salt to every 2.3 litres water). Put the saucepan on a low heat and bring slowly to simmering point: lobster die at about 44°C/112°F. By this stage the lobsters will be changing colour so remove them and discard all the cooking water.

Slice the carrot and onion and put with the fresh water, wine, herbs and peppercorns into a stainless steel saucepan and bring to the boil; replace the lobsters and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Steam them until they change colour to bright red, and remove them from the pot. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve for a sauce.