This Air Fryer Lobster Tail recipe is quick and easy to make. This method produces perfectly cooked lobster with a crispy exterior and juicy, tender meat drizzled in seasoned lemon garlic butter.
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What Type of Lobster to Use
There are two main types of lobster tails available: cold water and warm water.
Cold-water lobster tails are typically considered to be of higher quality and have a sweeter, more delicate flavor. They come from the North Atlantic (often Maine) and are caught in colder waters. Coldwater lobsters are larger than warm-water and have more meat. Because they live in cold temperatures their meat gets a lot firmer than those from warm water, which will produce tender meat when properly cooked.
Warm water lobster tails are less expensive and have a slightly softer texture and milder flavor. They come from the Caribbean, South Africa, and Australia, and are caught in warmer waters. They are not as sweet and delicate as cold-water lobster tails.
Lobster tails are typically 5-8 oz in size.
If you are looking for a high-end meal or celebrating something special, cold water lobster tails may be the best option. If you are looking for something less expensive, then warm water will work.
While shopping, if the display isn’t clear, you should always ask if it’s from warm or cold water. If they don’t know, I would assume they are warm water try elsewhere.
Lobsters are always dark in color when you buy them. They turn bright orange and red once cooked.
How to Thaw
Thaw in the fridge overnight. You can also place them in cold water for 30 minutes. Be sure to check out our guide on How to Clean and Prepare Lobster Tails here.
How to Butterfly Lobster Tails
My favorite way to serve the dish is to butterfly it. If you’ve never done it, it may take some practice. Butterflying involves cutting it lengthwise down the center, leaving the tail fin intact, so that it can be opened like a book.
This method also allows heat from the smoker to penetrate every piece of the tail’s meat. It allows the lobster tail to cook evenly, so you don’t overcook it. It also looks beautiful. Check out our detailed step by step tutorial on How to Butterfly Lobster Tails here.
- Pat the lobster dry.
- Use kitchen shears to cut through the top of the shell, starting at the base of the tail and cutting all the way to the end of the tail. Stop just before the fin of the tail.
- Flip the tail over and then press down onto the ribs. Crack each one. This will work wonders at making it easier to pull the meat out on the other side.
- Carefully open the shell like a book, without cutting through the meat. Slip your fingers under the meat and the shell and lift it out to prop over the shell.
- Remove the vein that runs through the center of the meat.
Lemon Garlic Butter
You can season the lobster however you like. I like to add lemon garlic butter because the sauce complements the delicate, sweet flavor of the seafood perfectly. The fresh, acidic flavor of lemon cuts through the richness of the butter, balancing the flavors and adding a bright, zesty note.
How to Make Air Fryer Lobster Tail
Full detailed instructions are below in the recipe card.
- Butterfly the lobster tails.
- Drizzle the tails in garlic butter sauce.
- Air fry.
Air Fryer Temperature
I recommend 370 degrees.
Cook Time/How Long to Cook
The most precise way to know when the lobster is done cooking is to insert a probe or meat thermometer in the thickest part of the tail. When the internal temperature reaches between 130 to 140ºF the lobster is done. Here are more tips:
- The color of the meat should change from translucent to opaque white.
- The meat should be firm, but not rubbery.
- The tail should curl under and the meat should be easy to pull away from the shell.
Be careful not to overcook the lobster tail. Overcooked lobster is rubbery and lacks taste and flavor.
How to Reheat
The best way to reheat is in the air fryer at 350 degrees until warm or seared in a pan with butter. The more you reheat it, the tougher the texture will become so be cautious.
Pair With These Recipes
Air Fryer Green Beans
Fried Potatoes and Onions
Steakhouse Creamed Spinach
Southern Creamed Corn
More Lobster Recipes
Lobster Grilled Cheese
Smoked Lobster Tail
Lobster Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce
Air Fryer Lobster Tail
- 2 lobster tails About 5-8 ounces each.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter See notes.
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves Minced
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning Feel free to use your favorite seafood seasoning.
- Pat the lobster dry and use kitchen shears to butterfly the lobster tails. Take the shears and slice through the top shell down the middle until you reach the base of the tail (fin). You’ll also cut into the meat, which will butterfly it and cause it to sit better on the shell.
- Then flip the lobster tail over and press down on the ribs until you hear them crack. This will help release the meat when you go to butterfly it.
- Turn the lobster tail over and open up the shell. Remove the vein from the lobster if it hasn’t been deveined.
- Press along the edges of the shell on both sides to loosen up the meat. Keep the meat attached to the shell. Lift up the meat from the shell and lay it over the shell.
- Combine the butter, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and Old Bay Seasoning. Brush it over the tails. I like to use half of the butter sauce for when the lobsters go in the air fryer and then I drizzle the remaining sauce over the lobster tails once they have finished cooking.
- Air fry for 5-8 minutes on 370 degrees. The best way to tell if the lobster is perfectly cooked is to use a meat thermometer. Test the deepest part of the meat and ensure it reads 145 degrees. The tail should be completely white with no grey translucent color.
- Feel free to double the recipe and ingredients. Cook the amount that will fit in your air fryer. Do not stack.
- The amount of butter used in this recipe assumes more dipping of butter once the lobster is cooked. Feel free to reduce the ingredients in half or by whatever suits your taste.
- Every air fryer cooks at varying speeds. Cook time will also vary depending on the size of the lobster you use. You will need to watch it and check on it as it cooks, to avoid overcooking it. If you overcook the lobster it will be rubbery and tough.
- If you’ve never butterflied lobster, it may take some practice. You may not get it right the first or second time.
- You can cook whatever size lobster will fit in your air fryer. Be cautious of cook time.