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Culinary Arts

Lobster Boil

Thomas Keller

Lesson time 12:58 min

Chef Keller teaches you how to build the right mix of seafood ingredients and spices for a lobster boil, an ideal meal for a summer evening. Viewer advisory: A live lobster is cooked during this lesson.

Thomas Keller
Teaches Cooking Techniques III: Seafood, Sous Vide, and Desserts
Chef Thomas Keller’s third MasterClass is devoted to preparing seafood, sous vide cooking, and making classic desserts.
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- Lobster boil-- it's a wonderful way to celebrate a summer evening, going from sunlight to dusk to dark, friends around a table just picking at lobsters and shrimps and potatoes and corn and onions. I'm usually eating with my fingers. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of my fondest memories is being on the beach with my brother Joseph in Nantucket and making a lobster boil. We'd have a big propane burner out there, a humongous stock pot with a big strainer in it. We'd have vegetables galore, whether they were onions, potatoes, carrots, whatever we could find in our market. Of course, we'd have summer corn, and then this beautiful array of seafood, whether it was clams, mussels, shrimp, lobsters. Whatever we could find to throw in a lobster boil would be great. We'd also have Andouille sausage, which is something very traditional to put in a lobster boil. Andouille sausage is a sausage from the South, from New Orleans, kind of French-Cajun if you will. It's a little spicy. So these were some of the main ingredients that would be in our lobster boil. And then what's a lobster boil without bay seasoning? We grew up in Maryland with blue crabs, and this was really what made blue crabs blue crabs. So I've got my large stockpot here. It has a strainer inside of it. I've already put my potatoes and onions in there. I always like to bring the vegetables up from cold water. So if I was going to have carrots in there, they would there as well. Any root vegetable would be in there at this time. Right now, we have our big boiler onions in there and our beautiful potatoes. Well, they've already started cooking, and they're going to take the longest. So one of the important things about a lobster boil is timing, when to put the ingredients in there so they don't get overcooked. That's really, really critical. We're going to go ahead and season this with our bay seasoning. And how much do you use? It's all personal. How much do you like it? I like quite a bit, so I'll probably put in this amount, maybe 1/4 cup or 1/3 of a cup. And that aroma-- as soon as it hits that heat, you get that spiciness, the aromas of whatever they put in our bay seasoning. It's obviously a secret. Peppers, sweet peppers, chili peppers, different spices. OK. Some lemons. I'm going to squeeze each one of them as I put it in to get that lemon juice out of there. And then we'll leave them in as well so the rind also perfumes this liquid. It'll come up and down in temperature. Again, it's best to have this on an extremely robust burner so that you're not waiting too long to bring it up to a boil. They don't call it a lobster boil for nothing. Of course, our herbs here-- we have bay leaf, thyme, parsley. And we've wrapped this around leek so it's a very rustic, bouquet garni. That goes in there. Some garlic, just cut in half. I want to be able to see that when we're done. But some of those garlic cloves will fall apart, and they'll cook as well. And when you find one ...

Elevate your cooking

In his third MasterClass, Chef Thomas Keller focuses on preparing fresh seafood like lobster and salmon, making classic desserts such as apple pie and lemon tart, and showing how sous vide cooking can be done at home to enhance flavor and texture. Whether you’re a beginning or advanced cook, you’ll learn the techniques and principles that will give you the understanding and skills to get the most delicious results.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Chief Keller is awesome. I like as much his receipes than the techniques, he really take the time to explain things. I'm really happy you made 3 Masterclass with him. Maybe a fourth on day... !! :)

Loved the class, learned many new techniques and optional ways to cook .

Are you kidding me!! This was a fantastic, unbelieveable experience. Love his teaching style- warmth, humor, passion. So compelling. After COVID, we are definitely visiting French Laundry- to visit 'the place' and maybe get a chance to say hi to Thomas and a child friend of our children who works there. Thank you. Thank you. All the best J&C

It's so inspiring to see a chef of Thomas Keller's caliber. He is meticulous and precise and although I am a very good cook he has taught me some new techniques and inspired me to be even better. Loved the class.



That is so cool! I will treat my friends and family to this dish in summertime, once we get over the coronavirus. :(

A fellow student

I have seen some boils where the water is cooled at completion and allowed to soak for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors. Is that necessary?

Pam S.

I just love Chef Keller—when you find a garlic clove you’ll be delighted! I can’t imagine another of our chefs (maybe Massimo) saying that. Simple pleasures! He is my kitchen God.