What is a Lobster Roll, Exactly?

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW ENGLAND STYLE LOBSTER ROLL

The Crabby Shack Lobster Roll Kit
The Crabby Shack Lobster

It’s not summer in New England without a lobster roll, made by piling heaps of fresh lobster meat into a toasted New England-style hot dog bun. There is a lobstah to love about these shellfish sandwiches, which are synonymous with the region, especially Maine. 

While the lobster roll is often associated with Maine, likely because it is typically made with Maine lobster and can be found t seafood shacks throughout the state, the first version was actually made in Connecticut in the 1920s. Many credit the now-shuttered Perry’s restaurant in Milford, Connecticut, as inventing the iconic sandwich with hunks of lobster meat on a buttered grilled bun, served warm drawn butter.

What is a Lobster Roll Made of?

A lobster roll is typically made with lobster knuckle, claw meat, and tail meat. The meat is stuffed on a white split-top roll that resembles a hot dog bun. They are made with the following ingredients:

  • Lobster
  • New England-style, split-top buns
  • Butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon juice

Lobster rolls are served either cold or hot. Cold versions are made with mayonnaise and lemon juice and sometimes Old Bay Seasoning or celery. The hot variation is doused with melted butter. These famous sandwiches are commonly served with potato chips, coleslaw, or pickles.

Pauli’s North End Lobster Roll Kit
Pauli’s North End
Pike Place Chowder Lobster Roll Kit
Pike Place Chowder

What Does a Lobster Roll Taste Like?

This crave-worthy crustacean-filled sandwich is a New England staple that tastes like summertime on a bun. With the addition of mayonnaise and lemon or warm butter, lobster rolls have a salty, briny flavor with a touch of sweetness.

Lobster is a meaty crustacean that lacks a “fishy” taste if it’s fresh. Fresh lobster has a sweet, light taste and melts in the mouth. The lightness of lobster makes this sandwich a refreshing option for summer. Typically, the lobster meat falls out of the bun as you take a big bite of the hand-held sandwich. Some modern interpretations of lobster rolls include lobster meat drizzled with nutty brown butter.

What Are the 2 Types of Lobster Rolls?

There are two classic types of lobster rolls: Maine lobster rolls and Connecticut lobster rolls:

  • Maine lobster rolls are cold lobster rolls made with cooked lobster that is chilled and mixed with mayo.
  • Connecticut lobster rolls are hot lobster rolls made with cooked lobster that is drenched in clarified butter. Sometimes, the butter is served on the side for dunking.

Both types of lobster rolls are served on the same kind of grilled split-top bun.

Read More: What is a Lobster Tail Pastry?

LUNCH Lobster Roll Classic Lobster Roll Kit
LUNCH Lobster Roll
Beal's Lobster Pier Beal's Famous Lobster Roll Kit
Beal’s Lobster Pier

Is a Lobster Roll Hot or Cold?

Lobster rolls can be served hot or cold. Both kinds are served on soft and fluffy buns that have been sliced on top, forming a pocket for the lobster meat.

Hot versions are made with warm drawn butter. The warm sandwich variation is called Connecticut lobster rolls. Cold lobster rolls are made with lobster meat that is mixed with a touch of mayonnaise and, oftentimes, salt, pepper, seasoning, lemon, and, sometimes, celery. These simple sandwiches are also known as Maine lobster rolls.

Is the Lobster Cooked in a Lobster Roll?

Yes, the lobster in a lobster roll is cooked. The whole live lobster is dropped into a large pot of salted boiling water. Once fully cooked, the boiled lobster is cracked open and the meat is picked out. Then, the warm lobster meat is stuffed into a roll or the meat is chilled and made into a lobster salad with a touch of mayonnaise for a cold lobster roll.

Most Famous Lobster Rolls

Some of the most shell-abrated lobster rolls are made with fresh-from-the-boat lobster from the wicked coast of Maine.

McLoons Lobster Shack Maine Lobster Roll Kit

Named #1 Lobster Roll in Maine: McLoons Lobster Shack

McLoons Lobster Shack is a hidden gem in South Thomaston, Maine. Founded in 2012, the family-run lobster shack is on Spruce Head Island, a privately owned island in Penobscot Bay, Maine. McLoons Lobster Shack makes its signature lobster rolls with sweet lobster meat from lobsters caught just steps from the restaurant.

Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co Lobster Roll

Authentic Maine Lobster Experience: Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co.

Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. is “Maine From Scratch.” Topsham, Maine’s Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. sources its lobster from local lobstermen and the cream and butter used to make the lobster rolls comes from local dairies. One bite of this taste of Maine, and you’ll be hooked.

Luke's Lobster Lobster Roll and Clam Chowder

World-Class Lobster Rolls: Luke’s Lobster

Straight from the Gulf of Maine, Luke’s Lobster is a family-run restaurant making legendary lobster rolls. The Portland, Maine restaurant was started by third generation lobstermen Luke Holden in 2009. Each of Luke’s lobster rolls is made with Luke’s Secret Seasoning and overflowing with fresh, succulent lobster meat.

We’re cray cray for lobster rolls. Seas the day and enjoy the freshest lobster rolls shipping straight from the dock to your door nationwide on Goldbelly!

Lauren-Mack
Lauren Mack

Lauren Mack is a journalist who writes about all things food for Goldbelly. She is passionate about exploring the world one meal at a time. Her favorite things to Goldbelly include cakes, biscuit sandwiches, and ice cream.

Lauren has been a journalist for more than two decades and has specialized in writing about travel and food for much of that time. Her work has appeared in 150+ websites, magazines, apps, and guidebooks, including Cheapflights, CultureTrip, INSIDER, Lonely Planet, Newsweek International, Savory Traveler, Seeker, The Daily Meal, ThoughtCo (formerly About.com), Thrillist, Time Out, TripSavvy, and Zagat.

A lover of Taiwan's night markets, Singapore's hawker centers, and New York City's food trucks, Lauren has never skipped a meal or dessert. She has an insatiable appetite for exploring the world's best food and will try — almost — anything. Her favorite foods are pizza, ice cream, dim sum, sushi, and Taiwanese braised pork rice, and she can't resist a chef's tasting menu.

From backpacking across Europe and Asia to circumnavigating the globe by ship to living like a local in multiple cities, her travels have taken her on food explorations to 60+ countries on five continents. She has called Miami, Beijing, Taipei, and New York home.