The Ultimate Lobster Rolls
Lobster Rolls are an east coast delicacy, usually centered in Nova Scotia specifically.
They’re so popular, that you can buy them at some grocery stores, and even McDonald’s sells a “McLobster” at times!
I consider Lobster Rolls to be almost a non-recipe, as there are a million ways of making it, all very dependant on personal taste.
When it comes to an ingredient that is as expensive as lobster tends to be, you want to aim for your own tastes!
Lobster Roll Ingredients
Lobster rolls are a pretty simple - but really customizable sandwich. Here are some key bits of info on the ingredients!
Let’s start with the most important ingredient - the lobster!
Fresh lobster is best - a mixture of tail and claw meat - of course ... but if you live inland, you may need to make some compromises there.
Frozen tail meat can make a delicious sandwich, but I would stay away from pre-cooked frozen claw meat if possible.
I’ve just had more bad experiences with it, than good. Weird textures, “off” flavours, watery meat, etc.
If you’re going to treat yourself, get the good stuff!
Generally speaking, I like to go about 5 oz of meat per roll, but 4oz / ¼ lb is pretty typical of restaurants.
What Kind of Bun Should I Use for a Lobster Roll?
Next comes your bun. What you use is largely a matter of personal taste.
Personally, I like a soft but chewy bun.
One of the local groceries in Minneapolis sold a "Bolillo roll" (it's not actually one) that is like a high end brat bun.
I LOVED it for lobster rolls - it’s what’s pictured in this post.
Some people prefer a crunchier roll, almost like a baguette. You could definitely use a section of baguette, if you’re one of those people!
As for serving, I like mine cut and served as-is, though it's traditional to butter and grill / toast your bun.
I don't like the mouth feel of that, so I skip it.
I prefer the crunch to come from the celery, not the bun. Your mileage may vary!
Note: Apparently hot dog buns are the standard in the USA. I’ve never tried it like that, though!
Then there's the matter of mayo.
Use the best quality mayo you can find, and only use enough of it to lightly coat your lobster.
I think this is the only real "universal" tenet of lobster roll ingredients - do NOT use too much mayo!
You want the lobster to shine, not be drowned in mayo!
The lobster, bun, and mayo are the most important ingredients, and everything else works together to elevate them.
This is where you have a ton of room to customize your lobster roll.
Think about the vegetables and flavourings you want.
Onions or no?
If yes, red, yellow, or green?
Celery, or nah?
For me, my standard "while I live inland" Lobster Roll tends to involve:
- Green Onion
- Mustard Seed, cracked
- Lemon zest
- Fresh dill weed
- Salt and Pepper
While I was living in Newfoundland - and had easy access to the BEST lobster - there are plenty of times when my lobster roll would be simply lobster, mayo, salt, pepper and MAYBE some green onion.
The better quality the lobster is, the less you have to mess with it!
What Do you Serve with Lobster Rolls?
While fries can be an acceptable side, chips are the gold standard, here - ideally simple and unflavoured.
I like kettle cooked style, but regular or ripple chips work as well.
Also: A pickle.
Lobster Roll Variations
Don’t have access to lobster, and/or want an easier or more cost effective sub?
You can use this base recipe with several different substitutes:
- Shrimp or crab: cooked and cooled.
- Fake crab: “Krab”, Surimi, “crab sticks”, etc. Just chop or rip it up unto bit sized pieces
- Seafood Salad: A mix of fake crab & shrimp
Just keep the amount of meat used to a similar amount called for in the recipe.
My Canadian Cookbook!
This recipe is one of many fantastic Canadian recipes in my cookbook, "More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods from my Home and Native Land”. "More than Poutine" is a Canadian cookbook like no other - written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional home cooking recipes, as well as accurate homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada! Order your copy here on this site, through Amazon, or through any major bookseller!
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The Ultimate Lobster Rolls
- 5 oz Cooked Lobster tail meat
- 1 ½ tablespoon Mayonnaise
- ½ rib Celery sliced
- 1 Green onion White part only, thinly sliced
- Pinch Cracked mustard seed
- Pinch Fresh lemon zest
- Fresh dill as much as I'm in the mood for
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Bolillo roll
- Chop lobster tail meat, toss with remaining ingredients.
- Stuff into a roll, gluten-free if needed.
- Serve with kettle chips and a pickle spear.