Lobster is one of those foods that rarely become leftovers. Why? Because aside from being too delicious to leave unfinished, no one wants to leave such expensive meat to the effects of freezing and thawing.
But what if you cooked one too many lobsters for dinner? Or what if the restaurant gave you a too-big portion of lobster? Can you freeze cooked lobster? Or is it a better idea to finish leftover lobster right then and there?
Not to worry–you can freeze cooked lobster. In fact, cooked lobster can stay frozen for up to 6 months!
However, just like any other type of food, lobster can lose some of its original flavor and texture when you put it in the freezer. Although it can resist spoiling, your lobster may not taste the same when you eventually reheat it.
But, of course, we have a solution for that.
First things first:
Can Cooked Lobster Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze cooked lobster whether it’s in or out of the shell. When properly stored, cooked lobster can maintain its best quality for around 2 to 3 months, although it can last much longer than that.
In optimum conditions, frozen lobster is safe to eat for around 6 to 8 months. However, it may no longer taste the same as freshly cooked lobster.
Why does that happen? Here’s what we found:
What Are The Factors That Affect The Quality of Frozen Lobster?
Freezing can affect the texture, flavor, and overall quality of all foods. Lobster is no exception.
Here are the factors that can affect the quality of frozen lobster:
1. Freezer Temperatures.
Ideally, freezer temperatures must remain at or below 0 °F for long-term storage of foods. If your freezer can’t maintain freezing temperatures (or if the door is opened frequently), your lobster will likely decrease in quality. (*)
2. Container Used.
Cooked lobster must be frozen in an appropriate container to avoid freezer burn and contamination. If, for example, you store your lobster in cling film, it can stick to the freezer and make your lobster very dry.
3. Quality of the Lobster Itself.
Generally, higher-quality lobster freezes better than low-quality lobster. With that in mind, we don’t recommend long-term freezing for low to mid-quality lobster.
All that said, freezing cooked lobster without sacrificing quality may seem tricky. However, it’s not as difficult as it may sound.
To keep your cooked lobster as fresh and tasty as possible in the freezer, here’s what we recommend:
How To Freeze Cooked Lobster?
Freezing cooked lobster the right way will help you preserve as much of its original flavor and texture as possible. Here is the best procedure for both lobster meat and in-shell lobster:
- Allow your lobster to cool down completely. Afterward, place it in a vacuum bag.
- If you are freezing lobster meat, arrange the meat so that it is able to lay in a single layer in the freezer. For in-shell lobster, simply put the entire thing in the vacuum bag.
- Remove as much air from the bag as possible.
- Label the bag with today’s date and then place it in the freezer. Make sure your freezer stays at 0 °F or below.
To keep your freezer at the right temperature, avoid opening the door as much as possible. More than that, ensure that your lobster bag has plenty of room around it for air to circulate properly.
That said, avoid stacking things on top of your frozen lobster or around it. If you must make room in the freezer for more stuff, make sure your lobster stays on top of the stack.
Another tip is to use the quick-freeze shelf in your freezer if you have one. Otherwise, freeze your lobster as fast as possible.
This helps prevent large ice crystals from forming, which will melt upon thawing and damage the cells, resulting in dryness. To help your lobster freeze quickly, set your freezer at the lowest possible setting, and do not open the door for at least a few hours.
If you keep all these tips in mind, your lobster should remain in its best quality for 2 to 3 months.
Fast forward a couple of months later, and you’re now ready to enjoy your leftover lobster. Here’s what you need to do next:
How To Thaw Frozen Cooked Lobster?
The quickest way to thaw frozen lobster is to run cold water over it for around 30 minutes. However, we recommend slow thawing for best results.
Slow thawing simply refers to allowing your lobster to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours. This method ensures minimum drip loss, which will help your lobster stay juicy. (*)
Do not thaw your meat at room temperature or in hot water. If the outer layer of the meat falls between 40 and 140 °F, harmful bacteria can multiply.
Can You Refreeze Cooked Lobster Meat?
As long as you keep it in the refrigerator, you can refreeze cooked lobster. However, this can lead to a decrease in quality due to thawing, which takes out some moisture from lobster.
Do not refreeze meat that has been left outside of the refrigerator for longer than 2 hours. (*)
Can You Freeze Live Lobster?
No, putting a live lobster straight into the freezer will kill it. When a lobster dies, the bacteria naturally present on it will multiply and produce harmful toxins.
You will need to cook the lobster and kill the bacteria before freezing it.
How To Tell if a Lobster Is Bad?
If your lobster has gone bad even after freezing, it will display one or more of these signs:
- Pungent odor
- Cottage-cheese texture
- Slimy meat
Throw your lobster away at the first sign of spoilage. You don’t want to risk food poisoning!
The best way to freeze lobster meat is to first blanch it in boiling water for a few seconds, then shock it in ice water. This will help to preserve the flavor and texture of the lobster meat.
Once the lobster meat is cooled, you can either freeze it in bags or containers. Be sure to label and date the frozen lobster meat so that you can keep track of how long it has been stored. Frozen lobster meat will stay fresh for 3-6 months.
Lobster meat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
To store cooked lobster meat, place it in a container and cover with cold water. Place the container in the fridge and change the water every 12 hours. The lobster meat will stay fresh for up to two days.
The best way to reheat frozen cooked lobster meat is to place it in a steamer and cook it until it’s warm throughout.
Another option is to thaw the lobster meat in the refrigerator overnight and then heat it in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until it’s cooked through. Be sure not to overcook the lobster or it will become rubbery.
So, can you freeze cooked lobster? The answer is yes, absolutely. However, be sure to do it the right way so it tastes just as amazing as the first time!
If you ever have leftover lobster in your hands, simply refer to our guide above.
For more food storage tips like this, check out our blog where we talk about food, nutrition, cooking, and everything in between! Thanks for reading.