Authentic East Coast lobster rolls

A delicious summertime favourite to enjoy year-round!

Thanks to my Maritime heritage, I just adore eating all kinds of seafood. Freshly-cooked lobster is a ‘special occasion’ meal in our house, but recently I’ve taken to buying packages of frozen lobster meat at my local fishmonger. These offer great value and are super versatile, plus you don’t have to do all the work of extracting the meat from the shells. Because I like to serve my lobster rolls with potato chips and coleslaw, I find I can make 6 of them out of a pound of lobster meat; if you like your sandwiches really loaded, you may prefer to just make 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (454 grams) cooked lobster meat (thawed and drained, if frozen)
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 6 top-split buns (see my favourite homemade recipe below)
  • Butter (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Method

  • Chop lobster into bite-sized pieces (about 3/4 inch or 2 cm each). In a bowl, combine lobster, mayonnaise, celery, green onion, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • I prefer untoasted buns for lobster rolls, but if you like them toasted, lightly butter the outsides of the buns and carefully toast them in a large frying pan over medium heat.  
  • Line the inside of the bun with lettuce then fill each with some of the prepared lobster mixture.
  • Serve with lemon wedges on the side, to squeeze over top.

Makes 6.

Classic top cut buns

These delicious buns are equally good for hotdogs and sausages. I’ve scaled my recipe to make 6 buns but you can easily double it and bake in a larger pan (or two separate pans) if you want a dozen. I like to let the dough develop slowly in the fridge and bake the next day, but you can absolutely make and bake these on the same day if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) warm milk (about 105F-110F)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) warm water (about 105F-110F)
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) table salt
  • 1 tablespoon (12 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg; beaten and divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) melted butter (or vegetable oil)
  • Extra softened butter or oil for the bowl

Method

  • In a mixing bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one), combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
  • In another small bowl, whisk together the water, milk and half of the beaten egg (reserve, cover and refrigerate the other half of the egg to brush over the buns before baking).
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir well to combine. Knead with the dough hooks of your stand mixer (or with your hands in the bowl), adding up to 1 tablespoon (15 mL) more water, a bit at a time, to create a dough that holds together well and is a bit sticky. Continue to knead for about 3 minutes, until you have a smooth ball of dough.
  • Add the butter or oil to the bowl and knead for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is shiny, smooth and tacky to the touch.
  • Lightly oil a large, clean bowl and place the dough in it, flipping it once or twice to ensure all surfaces of the dough are lightly coated.
  • Cover the bowl with a beeswax cloth or plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight (8 – 24 hours).  Alternatively, if you want to bake it on the same day, you can cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise on the counter until it has doubled in size (about 75 minutes).
  • To shape the buns, turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour as well. If the dough wasn’t chilled, you may need extra flour on your hands and on your work surface to prevent the dough from sticking.
  • Cut the dough into 6 equal sections. Knead each portion for just a few seconds to form a smooth ball. Roll out each portion into a flattened piece of dough that’s about 5 inches long and 4 inches wide, then tightly roll each piece up to form a cylinder. Tuck in the sides and pinch the seams to seal. Place each portion, seam side down, in a parchment-lined baking pan approximately 8 x 10 inches (20 x 25 cm) in size. Space the buns about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
  • Cover the shaped buns with plastic wrap and let rise for 75 minutes (45 minutes if the dough has not been refrigerated), until they have almost doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350F about 30 minutes prior to baking.
  • Brush the hot dog rolls with the remaining lightly beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven until they are golden brown on top and sound hollow when tapped, about 15-18 mins. Remove from the oven let the buns cool down enough to be handled comfortably then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. With a bread knife, slice the top of each bun vertically, taking care to not cut all the way to the bottom. Alternatively, you can make two cuts in a V-shape and remove a slender portion of the bun, to make room for more lobster roll filling.

Makes 6 buns.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

9 thoughts

  1. Boy these look good. I finally had lobster rolls last time we visited my daughter in Brooklyn. We took a ferry to Governor’s Island and had them at a cute little restaurant with a fabulous view. SO good. I’ll never have that much lobster, but I can dream…

    1. I also have fond memories of various seaside places where I have enjoyed lobster rolls – I actually created this recipe last summer which was the first one in my entire (not so short) life when I didn’t get to dip my toes in the ocean at least once. As the recipe mentions, frozen lobster is really terrific and often very economical compared to whole lobsters. Where I live, I can get a pound of frozen lobster meat for $25; that’s enough to make four very generously sized lobster rolls!

  2. We spend New’s Years Eve in Coburg with our friends. She is from down east and we always celebrate with lobsters and potato salad, the next day is lobster rolls, oh so yummy.I must make the rolls to take next time. I love your recipes Paula. As I live an hour south of Ottawa would you be able to provide me the name of your fishmonger so the next time I am in the city I could pick up some frozen lobster meat. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I get all my seafood at Jost Kaufmann, just off Merivale Rd south of Hunt club. Their website makes it easy to preorder for pickup!

  3. When we were in Maine a few years ago, I ate lobster rolls every day for lunch. A little bit of heaven on a roll and your recipe for a homemade roll puts it over the top.

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