Storing and handling leftover lobster is a sensitive and challenging kitchen task because cooked lobster, like most seafood, is highly perishable. To avoid spoilage and maximize the shelf life, you have to take action quite fast.
Luckily there are few good ways you can store cooked lobster so that your expensive, delicious, and delicate seafood won’t go to waste.
To extend the shelf life of cooked lobster for quality and safety, refrigerate the lobster at 40°F (4°C) in an airtight container. Cooked lobster and other seafood can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
Can You Leave Cooked Lobster Out Of The Fridge Overnight?
No, you should always store cooked lobster inside the fridge. Cooked seafood is not as durable as raw, and it will spoil quickly if left at room temperature for too long. Do not leave it out at room temperature for more than two hours.
Suppose it is leftover from the restaurant. In that case, it should go to the fridge as soon as you get home, considering that it has already been on the table, plus the time it took to get back home.
Can You Store The Whole Cooked Lobster, Or Is It Better To Remove The Shell?
It depends on what you want to do with it later and how you plan to store it.
If you want to make the lobster bisque, salad, or risotto, it is best to remove the meat from the shell before storing it. It is not only easier to use it the next day, but it will also keep better this way and won’t spoil as quickly.
Just scoop out the meat from the shell using a fork, scissors, and claw cracker. Remove any remaining meat from inside the tail, head, crevices, and claws. Carefully remove any remaining small bits of broken shell from the meat.
Now you can store the lobster meat in an airtight container with some melted butter to keep it moist.
With the shell on, lobster should not be stored for more than two days in the fridge. If you remove the shell, you can increase the storage time to up to 4 days.
However, it is always better to eat the lobster sooner rather than later, but removing the shell affords you a longer shelf-life.
Freezing the lobster, however, is a different story altogether. When freezing, leave the meat in the shell or leave the lobster whole. This is by far the best method as the shell actually protects the delicate meat from drying out and from freezer burn.
Storing Cooked Leftover Lobster Meat In The Fridge
- After cooking the lobster, remove it from the shell and allow it to reach room temperature. Don’t leave it out for more than two hours.
- Wrap the lobster meat in aluminum or plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container.
- Store lobster in a sealed container inside the fridge. Make sure your refrigerator is set at below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees celsius to keep food cool and safe from bacteria growth.
- Place the sealed container at the back of the fridge to keep it cool and safe from temperature fluctuation when opening the fridge door.
Properly stored, lobster meat will be good to eat for up to 4 days in the fridge, but eating it sooner is recommended.
How To Store Cooked Whole Lobster In The Freezer?
- Once the whole lobster is cooked, place immediately into an ice bath for 15 – 30 minutes.
- Dry it off and place it into a ziplock bag, forcing out all the air and seal tightly. Do it carefully so that the sharp shell or claws won’t pierce the freezer bag.
- Place it into another ziplock bag, forcing the air out once again, and seal tightly.
- Take tape and seal the ends to reinforce the seal.
- Clearly mark the package with the date and place it in the freezer.
For best quality, cooked lobster can be frozen for up to 6 months. You can freeze for a long time; however, the taste and quality will deteriorate significantly, so it is recommended to consume it within 3 to 6 months.
After a longer freezing time, it probably won’t taste that good to eat on its own, but it is still a great addition to soups, stews, and chowders.
Freezing The Leftover Lobster Meat
- Once boiled, allow the lobster to cool completely. Do not leave the lobster out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. One hour if it is a sweltering day.
- If you store the meat without the shell, place it in a bowl and cover it with fresh milk.
- Pour the contents of the bowl into the bag and force as much air out as possible before sealing tightly.
- Place it in the other bag; just to be safe.
- Lable the bag and mark it with the date and place it in the freezer.
It is not just an ‘old wives’ tale. Freezing cooked crab and lobster meat in milk has shown much better flavor preservation, protection against freezer burn, and prevention from becoming chewy and rubbery.
When you thaw the frozen lobster meat later, just put it in a stainless steel mesh or colander so the milk will just rinse off as it melts.
If you don’t feel like messing around with the milk, then vacuum bags are also a great option if you have them.
Can You Refreeze Previously Frozen Lobster Meat?
Cooked lobster should not be refrozen again once it has been fully thawed. To retain the flavor and texture, make sure to freeze only freshly-cooked lobsters that have never been frozen before. However, if it still contains ice crystals or the temperature of the meat is 40°F (4°C) or below, only then it is safe to refreeze. 
Does Freezing Affect The Taste Or Texture?
Somewhat. Freezing cooked lobster does affect the flavor or texture of the meat. Being frozen and thawed out isn’t really the only culprit here. It’s actually the reboiling of the meat, which also changes the texture and saps some of the flavors from the delicate meat.
Also, the duration of freezing and how well you wrapped and prepared the meat before storage will affect the end result.
However, suppose you have taken every precaution and not left the lobster in for too long. In that case, the effect shouldn’t be too noticeable. But that said, you probably would not be able to hide the fact from Gordon Ramsay.
How To Thaw Frozen Cooked Lobster?
Frozen lobster can be thawed safely and gradually in a refrigerator overnight at a temperature of 40°F (4°C).
If you need to thaw it faster, melt it in a bowl of cold water instead.
Once your lobster is thawed, simply place it in boiling water or for around 15 minutes, or add it to whatever dish you are preparing.
If you are planning to cook it immediately, microwave it on the “defrost” setting but stop the defrost cycle while the lobster meat is still icy but workable. Make sure you cook it to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
Can Frozen Lobster Go Bad?
As long as the temperature of the freezer is consistent, the lobster will not go bad. Lobster meat could even be eaten over a year after it is adequately wrapped and prepared before freezing. However, the longer you leave it frozen, the more the quality of the meat will diminish.
Lobster meat will spoil quickly once it has thawed. Once you thaw it, used it within 2 hours before it spoils.
Read Also: 2 Ways To Store Boiled Potatoes (Simple Instruction)
Lobster is a delicacy and relatively expensive, so naturally, you would not want to waste it. Hopefully, you will feel comfortable storing it at home.
When stored well, it will last up to one 3-4 days in the fridge and about 6 months if stored in the freezer.