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Lobster Stew Recipe

Lobster stew is a heavenly soup that doesn't have any other meat or veggies - it's simply lobster meat in a warm cream base. But the way the stew base is created is what makes it so special. And even though the process to make it is time consuming (the recipe below calls for 2-days of preparation) — it's well worth it! Rich, velvety, savory and sweet, lobster stew is a Maine tradition that can't be beat!

There are probably countless lobster stew recipes out there, but we'd like to feature one that really captures the essence and flavor of Maine.

lobster stew classic recipeLobster stew is a Maine classic

Servings: 6-8 Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes 


  • 5 each 1.5-lb. Maine lobsters
  • Salt, as needed
  • 12 Tbsp. butter (separated, 8 Tbsp. and 4 Tbsp.)
  • 1 cup medium or dry sherry
  • 6 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1-2 pinches paprika
  • To taste, salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 sprigs parsley, leaves only, cut into strips
  • Directions, Day 1:

    1. Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil.

    2. Plunge the lobsters into the boiling water and boil until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to prevent them from cooking any longer, keeping them submerged until completely cool.

    3. Drain the lobsters and separate the tails from the bodies, setting the bodies aside. Crack the shells and remove all of the meat from the tails and claws (tip: keep the ripper claw meat whole for beautiful presentation!). Chop the meat into large chunks (again, except that ripper claw); cover and store in the fridge until day 2.

    4. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter into a large, heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch Oven) over medium-high heat. Add the lobster bodies and tail shells and cook, stirring often, until the shells turn a deep red. This usually takes 5-8 minutes.

    5. Add sherry and boil 2 minutes, and then add the milk and cream and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until milk and cream reduce by one-quarter and thickens slightly, 20-25 minutes. Add cayenne, paprika, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove pot from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

    6. Strain sauce into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard contents of strainer. (Lobster and sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.)

    7. Transfer sauce to heavy large saucepan. Cut lobster meat into bite-size pieces; coarsely crumble roe, if using. Add to sauce. Gently re-warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.

    Directions, Day 2:

    1. Strain the milk mixture into another medium pot, discarding the bodies and solids, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat (you can also opt to heat the mixture a touch before straining in order to soften any of the fats to save them from being discarded).

    2. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Add the lobster meat and heat until warmed through, 3-5 minutes, and then transfer the meat to the pot with the milk mixture.

    3. Add lemon juice and adjust seasonings.

    4. Divide stew between 6 bowls and garnish with parsley (makes between 6 and 8 servings).

    This delicious recipe for lobster stew isn't all that difficult, and the steps are fairly simple and easy to follow. You do need to be patient while removing all of the meat from the lobsters. It's an authentic recipe that will remind any Mainer of home or give you an exceptional taste of the Northeast.

    Source: Lydia Shire, as seen on Portland Monthly