This lobster tail recipe with a luxurious lemon and garlic sauce is fancy food made easy! Broiling lobster tails takes less than 20 minutes but brings restaurant-level flavor and a festive spirit. Plus, I'll show you how to butterfly a lobster tail the easy way so your meat is juicy, tender, and perfectly cooked every time.

4 broiled lobster tails on a blue serving platter lemon wedges and butter sauce in a small bowl.
Photo Credits: Ali Redmond

There are some nights you just want to show off a little bit. Maybe it’s a holiday, birthday, or date night–whatever the case, this lobster tail recipe is your ticket!

The butterflied lobster tails are painted with an aromatic garlic butter sauce which may remind you of a “fancy scampi.” They’re quickly broiled until just cooked through and juicy, with the sauce giving the tails a nice glossy sheen and the most incredible smell. The meat rests right on top of the shell like an unwrapped gift. It’s the ultimate statement! 

And, while I normally stick to extra virgin olive oil, butter and lobster are a beautiful match. Each brings out the other’s rich, sweet and salty qualities. Just a touch, combined with olive oil for lightness and depth of flavor, makes the sauce so velvety and delicious.

Make this recipe for a special night that calls for some hard-earned indulgence. Serve as alongside lighter vegetarian fare like Italian or Greek-style roast vegetables or go all out with steak for a classic surf and turf situation. 

Table of Contents
  1. Broiled Lobster Tail Ingredients 
  2. How to Butterfly a Lobster Tail 
  3. How to Cook Lobster Tail 
  4. What to Serve with Lobster Tails
  5. You’ll Also Like: Celebratory Shellfish!
  6. Lobster Tail with Lemon, Garlic and Aleppo Pepper Recipe
Ingredients for broiled lobster tail including 4 lobster tails, olive oil, butter, garlic, lemon, chopped parsley, sweet paprika, Aleppo and Kosher salt.


Broiled Lobster Tail Ingredients 

This lobster tail recipe uses just oil and butter for richness and a few simple aromatics, which add a depth of flavor but allow the lobster to shine. You’ll need: 

  • Lobster tails: Fresh or frozen both work well, just be sure to thaw frozen lobster tails in your fridge overnight. Cold water lobster—like from Maine or New England—tend to be sweeter and more succulent, but the buttery garlic sauce means that any lobster tails you get your hands on will work well.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Adds a nice bit of flavor without weighing down the dish. I used Arbaquina, which is perfectly buttery and mildly intense. A smooth, medium to rich-bodied variety is my preference, but any high quality extra virgin olive oil will work well. 
  • Butter: A small amount of unsalted butter enriches the sauce and makes the dish especially luxurious. If you only have salted butter that is perfectly fine—just season lightly. 
  • Garlic: Adds a sweet and savory depth of flavor. You can replace with very finely chopped shallot or the white parts of green onion if you prefer.
  • Lemon: The juice brightens the sauce and the zest is used as a garnish to give an aromatic quality. 
  • Parsley: Adds freshness to lift the rich flavor. Though it’s a small amount, it makes a big difference–I wouldn’t try to substitute or skip the parsley. 
  • Spices: Sweet Spanish paprika adds a touch of color and a very mild spice. You can use smoked or a very small pinch of cayenne in its place. Red pepper flakes, or their milder cousin Aleppo pepper, add a subtle kick. You can leave them off if you avoid spice entierly, or substitute with ground black pepper. 
  • Kosher salt: Enhances the flavor. 
two plates with forks, each containing a broiled lobster tail and a lemon wedge.


How to Butterfly a Lobster Tail 

Butterflying the lobster’s tail is not just for looks! This easy one-minute technique allows the butter and flavor to soak directly into the meat. And the exposed meat cooks very quickly so it stays tender and juicy. To butterfly lobster tail: 

  • Halve the shell. Face lobster tail’s shell up with the thicker end facing you. Use a pair of good kitchen shears to cut down the center of the shell lengthwise, starting from the thicker end. Stop when you get to the tail. 
  • Butterfly the lobster tail. Gently spread the shell open and work your thumbs along the shell, separating the meat from the shell. Carefully pull the lobster meat up toward you, leaving it attached at the bottom. Rest it on top of the shell.4 side by side photos showing the steps to halve and butterfly the lobster tails.


How to Cook Lobster Tail 

Broiled lobster tail couldn’t be easier—just brush with a butter lemon garlic sauce and cook over high heat. To make it: 

  • Start the sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in your microwave or on your stove over low heat. Add to a small mixing bowl, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 
  • Add the aromatics: Very finely mince 1 to 2 garlic cloves. Finely chop enough parsley leaves to make 1 heaping tablespoon. Add to the bowl.
  • Season and mix: Zest a lemon into a separate small bowl and set aside for later. Slice it in half, and squeeze one half into the bowl with the butter mixture. Season with a pinch of salt and  ½ teaspoon each of sweet paprika and red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour half of the sauce into a small bowl for serving.Butter sauce for the broiled lobster tails in a bowl next to a whisk.
  • Get ready. Set an oven rack in the top third of your oven, about 6-inches from your broiler. Set the broil function on high (or 500°F). 
  • Brush the lobster meat. Arrange 4 butterflied lobster tails on a sheet pan with the flesh facing you (see “How to Butterfly Lobster Tails” above if you haven’t done so already). Brush the remaining sauce on the lobster tails. 4 uncooked, butterflied lobster tails brushed with butter sauce on a sheet pan with a brush.
  • Broil. Place the sheet pan under the broiler and broil until the meat turns opaque and is lightly browned on top. This takes about 1 minute per ounce of lobster tail or 7 to 10 minutes in total, depending on the size. While the lobster is cooking, cut the remaining lemon half into wedges. 
  • Finish and serve. Transfer the broiled lobster tails on a serving platter with the lemon wedges arranged around the platter. Drizzle more of the sauce all over the lobster and brush to cover the flesh. Sprinkle with the reserved lemon zest and serve immediately, with the remaining sauce in a small bowl to the side for dipping. An overhead photo of 4 broiled lobster tails on a blue serving platter lemon wedges and butter sauce in a small bowl.


What to Serve with Lobster Tails

This lobster tail recipe is perfect for a date night or dinner party with just a fork and knife, but if you'd like to serve it for a larger casual gathering go Provincial and serve Grand Aioli, which is like a party platter, but with seafood and plenty of garlicky aioli.

Get everything except the lobster tails ready in advance. Make a platter with boiled potatoes (either simple fingerlings or herby), crudités, hard boil eggs, and other shellfish like shrimp and mussels. Serve everything at room temperature with aioli on the side, and broiling the lobster just before serving. Let your guests graze!

Three broiled lobster tails on a platter with lemon wedges and a bowl of butter sauce. A bite of lobster is being lifted from the bowl of butter sauce with a fork.

You’ll Also Like: Celebratory Shellfish!

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5 from 2 votes

Lobster Tail with Lemon, Garlic and Aleppo Pepper

Suzy Karadsheh of The Mediterranean Dish. In the kitchenSuzy Karadsheh
Three broiled lobster tails on a platter with lemon wedges and a bowl of butter sauce. A bite of lobster is being lifted from the bowl of butter sauce with a fork.
This simple recipe uses just a handful of ingredients but makes for a show-stopping start or side for a dinner party or date night in. Butterflying the tails exposes the meat, allowing it to cook very quickly and stay juicy. And it takes just a few minutes! While it looks decidedly fancy, this dish is deceptively easy and virtually fail-proof. Just take care not to overcook the lobster–7 to 10 minutes is all you need.
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 7 minutes
Total – 17 minutes
Cuisine:
American/Mediterranean
Serves – 4
Course:
Appetizer, Entree or Side Dish

Ingredients
  

  • 4 (8 to 10-ounce) lobster tails (thawed in the fridge overnight if previously frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 to 2 large garlic cloves, minced as finely as possible
  • 1 lemon, zested and halved
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, or more to your liking
  • Kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Get ready. Set an oven rack in the top third of your oven, about 6-inches from your broiler. Set the broil function on high (or 500°F).
  • Halve the shells. Place the lobster tails on a cutting board with the shell facing up and the thicker end facing you. Use a pair of good kitchen shears to cut down the center of the shell lengthwise, starting from the thicker end. Stop when you get to the tail.
  • Butterfly the lobster tail. Gently spread the shell open and work your thumbs between the meat and the sides of the shell, separating the meat from the shell. Carefully pull the lobster meat up toward you, leaving it attached at the tail fan. Rest it on top of the shell. Repeat with the remaining lobster tails.
  • Make the sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, melted butter, garlic, juice of ½ lemon, parsley, paprika, red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, and a pinch of salt. Whisk well. Pour half of the sauce into a small bowl for serving.
  • Brush the lobster meat. Arrange the lobster tails on a sheet pan with the flesh facing you. Brush the remaining sauce over the lobster tails.
  • Broil. Place the sheet pan under the broiler and broil until the meat turns opaque and is lightly browned on top. This takes about 1 minute per ounce of lobster tail or 7 to 10 minutes in total, depending on the size.
  • Finish and serve. Arrange the broiled lobster tails on a serving platter. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges and arrange them around the platter. Drizzle more of the sauce all over the lobster and brush to cover the flesh. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and serve immediately, with the remaining sauce in a small bowl to the side for dipping.

Notes

  • The lobster is cooked when the meat goes from slightly pink and see-through to white-ish and opaque. If you’d like to use a thermometer, the thickest part should read at  135°F to 140°F.
  • Serving suggestions:
    • Serve as an appetizer to steal the show, alongside lighter vegetarian fare like Italian or Greek-style roast vegetables. Or go all out with steak for a classic surf and turf situation. 
    • Make it “grand aioli-style” for a festive and elegant party platter. Get everything except the lobster tails ready in advance. Make a platter with boiled potatoes (either simple fingerlings or herby), crudités, hard boil eggs, and other shellfish like shrimp and mussels. Serve everything at room temperature with aioli on the side, and broiling the lobster just before serving. Let your guests graze! 
    •  Go all out with steak for a classic surf and turf situation.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 171.2kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 10.9gFat: 13.3gSaturated Fat: 4.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6.7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 95.4mgSodium: 273.7mgPotassium: 180.5mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.7gVitamin A: 401.8IUVitamin C: 14.9mgCalcium: 65mgIron: 0.5mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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