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Lobster Rolls

Lobster rolls are a classic summer treat along the eastern seaboard, especially in New England. There are two types of rolls, the Maine Style and the Connecticut style. We will address both in this article. A traditional Maine roll is served cold with the cooked lobster meat in a mayonnaise sauce. Connecticut rolls are served warm with butter as the sauce base.

Two lobster rolls served on a red picnic table with a coastal view in the background.
Maine-style lobster roll, left, and Connecticut style, right. Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

The Maine Lobster Roll

The basic Maine roll is simple. Take a toasted New England top split hot dog bun and add a heaping amount of lobster meat (fresh if possible) and mayonnaise. If you are feeling fancy, substitute brioche or some other high-end bread for the bun. Or, you can add flavorings along with the mayo — celery, lemon zest and shallots or chives are popular. Today you can find Maine rolls with a variety of mayonnaise infusions, including, jalapeno, lime, wasabi, chipotle and curry. In fact, the chef’s imagination is all that limits the versatility of a basic Maine roll.

Many restaurants serve their rolls with the lobster meat on a bed of lettuce. This ingredient adds color and a bit of crunch. However, some folks believe that lettuce, or any other green, has no place on a roll. Their argument is that greens get soggy quite quickly and can ruin the roll. They have a point. So, if you use greens, serve the roll immediately.

Assembling the Maine Roll

Making a Maine roll is pretty simple. This recipe makes four rolls. First purchase a pound of precooked lobster meat or if you want to cook the lobster yourself, follow our guide to cooking a perfect lobster. It will take about five pounds of live lobster to yield a pound of cooked lobster meat. Once the meat is cooked. Cool it in the refrigerator or freezer (if you use the freezer make sure to remove it once it is cold but before it freezes).

A lobster roll served in a paper tray on a red wooden table with an ocean view in the background.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Making your sauce

To make the sauce you combine three flavors, mayonnaise, celery and lemon. For a pound of meat, 1/3 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup of very finely chopped celery and/or celery leaves (you can substitute a half teaspoon of celery seed), the zest of one lemon and the juice of half a lemon (use the other half if you like more zing). Then salt to taste.

In a small bowl, you can experiment with added flavors, like chipotle or wasabi. Go lightly on these additions however, because lobster meat is mild and can be easily overwhelmed. I recommend mixing any flavoring in a very small batch (a tablespoon or two of sauce with a hint of flavorings) and dipping a small piece of meat in to try it. Lobster is expensive; try before you commit a large portion. Once you’re happy with your sauce, mix in the lobster meat and let it marinate in the fridge while you toast the buns.

Finally, toast your roll. A split top hot dog bun is traditional. Once it is toasted, bed it with lettuce if you are using it. Spoon an equal amount (about four ounces) of the coated lobster meat onto each bun and serve immediately with a lemon wedge on the side. Fries or chips and a pickle are traditional accompaniments.

The Connecticut Roll

The first recorded lobster roll on a restaurant menu was at Perry’s in Milford, Connecticut in 1929. Legend has it that the owner was looking for a pleasing to-go sandwich. So, he piled warm lobster topped with a butter sauce into a traditional sandwich. The white bread he used couldn’t hold up under the pressure of the heavy filling, so a bun was substituted. And, voila, the Connecticut roll was born. As with the Maine roll, there can be many variations in the topping. Some simply melt the butter. Others brown it. Still others use clarified butter, or ghee. It really is a taste preference. Personally, I prefer brown butter.

A lobster roll on a red picnic table with a coastal view in the background.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Typically the butter is served plain or lightly seasoned with dill or chives. I typically choose chives. Other popular flavorings include Old Bay or paprika. Just like its northern cousin, the Connecticut roll is only limited by the chef’s creativity, but be sure to try your sauce with a single piece of meat before you commit your whole meal.

Assembling the Connecticut Roll

Like its cousin from the Pine Tree State, the Connecticut roll is pretty straightforward to assemble. Again, this recipe makes four rolls. As with the Maine roll, you’ll want a pound of precooked lobster meat. Remember, if you want to cook the lobster yourself, follow our guide to cooking a perfect lobster. It will take about four or five pounds of live lobster to yield a pound of cooked lobster meat. Once the meat is cooked. Cool it in the refrigerator or freezer (if you use the freezer make sure to remove it once it is cold but before it freezes).

To make the butter sauce melt or brown the butter. Add the chives (or dill, or whatever else you consider). Coat the lobster meat. To prep the buns, drizzle coat them with the butter sauce and toast. Assemble them as you would a Maine roll. Put about a quarter of the meat on each roll (about 4 ounces) and enjoy. Again, lettuce is controversial. Some people like it. On this warm roll, it’s not my favorite. Lettuce or not, serve immediately with a lemon wedge on the side. As with the Maine roll, fries or chips and a pickle are traditional accompaniments.

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A lobster roll served in a paper tray on a red wooden table with an ocean view in the background.

Maine Lobster Roll

This classic New England dish with a mayo-based sauce is a classic. It's even better if you are sitting by the ocean with a cold beverage.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 rolls
Calories 227 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 pound lobster meat Cooked. 4-5 pounds fresh lobster.
  • cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup celery Or celery leaves, very finely chopped. Substitute ½teaspoon celery seeds if need be.
  • 1 lemon Zest of one lemon plus juice to taste.
  • salt Salt to taste.
  • 4 lettuce leaves Optional.

Instructions
 

  • If you are cooking your own lobster visit our article on preparing lobster (https://bagelsandlasagna.com/how-to-properly-cook-lobster/). Cut the lobster meat into cubes between 1-2 inches each.
    1 pound lobster meat
  • Combine the mayonnaise, chopped celery and lemon zest. Add the juice from about half the lemon and salt to taste. Add additional lemon juice to taste.
    ⅓ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup celery, 1 lemon, salt
  • The mayo sauce with simply the celery, lemon and salt is classic and great on its own. Still, if you want to try additional flavorings like wasabi or chipotle In a small bowl, you can experiment with them. Go lightly on these additions however, because lobster meat is mild and can be easily overwhelmed. I recommend mixing any flavoring in very small batch (a tablespoon or two of sauce with a hint of flavorings) and dipping a small piece of meat in to try it. Lobster is expensive; try before you commit a large portion.
  • When you are satisfied with your sauce, add the lobster meat and throughly coat it with the sauce. Let it marinate in the refrigerator while you toast the buns.
  • To toast the buns, split them and lay them face down in a pan or on the griddle. A tiny dab of butter will help them become golden. Alternatively, put them on a baking sheet and pop them in an oven at 350℉ for a couple of minutes.
  • To assemble place the lettuce in the bun, if using, and scoop about a quarter of the coated lobster meat on each bun. Serve immediately.
    4 lettuce leaves

Nutrition

Serving: 4oz filling (plus the roll)Calories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 19gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 611mgPotassium: 331mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1828IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 115mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer

Please note that nutrient values, if included with the recipe, are estimates only. Variations can occur due to product availability/substitution and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of origin, preparation, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Save This Recipe?

Enter your email & we’ll send it to your inbox. Then, when we publish anything new, we’ll send that along as well.

Save Article

By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails from Bagels and Lasagna.

A lobster roll on a red picnic table with a coastal view in the background.

Connecticut Lobster Roll

This classic New England dish with a butter-based sauce is a classic. It's even better if you are sitting by the ocean with a cold beverage.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 rolls
Calories 302 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 pound lobster meat Cooked. 4-5 pounds fresh lobster.
  • ½ cup butter One stick. Substitute ghee if you'd like.
  • 1 tablespoon chives Finally chopped. Substitute dill if you prefer it.
  • 1 lemon Zest of one lemon, plus juice to taste.
  • salt Salt to taste.
  • 4 lettuce leaves Optional.

Instructions
 

  • If you are cooking your own lobster visit our article on preparing lobster (https://bagelsandlasagna.com/how-to-properly-cook-lobster/). Cut the lobster meat into cubes between 1-2 inches each.
    1 pound lobster meat
  • Melt or brown the butter. If you wish to brown the butter, instructions can be found here (https://bagelsandlasagna.com/how-to-make-brown-butter/). Add the chives and the lemon zest. Salt to taste. Sample it. If you want a more citrus flavor gradually add lemon juice until you are satisfied.
    ½ cup butter, 1 tablespoon chives, 1 lemon, salt
  • This basic butter sauce is great on its own. If you want to add additional flavors such a paprika or Old Bay do it here. Go lightly on these additions however, because lobster meat is mild and can be easily overwhelmed. I recommend mixing any flavoring in very small batch (a tablespoon or two of sauce with a hint of flavorings) and dipping a small piece of meat in to try it. Lobster is expensive; try before you commit a large portion.
  • When you are satisfied with your sauce, add the lobster meat and throughly coat it with the sauce. Let it marinate in the refrigerator while you toast the buns.
  • To toast the buns, split them, coat them with the butter sauce and lay them face down in a pan or on the griddle. Alternatively, put them on a baking sheet and pop them in an oven at 350℉ for a couple of minutes.
  • To assemble place the lettuce in the bun, if using, and scoop about a quarter of the coated lobster meat on each bun. Serve immediately.
    4 lettuce leaves

Nutrition

Serving: 4oz filling (plus the roll)Calories: 302kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 20gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 205mgSodium: 669mgPotassium: 320mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 2529IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 118mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer

Please note that nutrient values, if included with the recipe, are estimates only. Variations can occur due to product availability/substitution and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of origin, preparation, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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