How do you refrigerate lobster tails?

Lobster tails are a delicious and luxurious seafood treat. However, they are also quite perishable and need to be stored properly to maintain freshness and quality. Proper refrigeration is key to keeping lobster tails fresh until ready to cook and eat.

Should you refrigerate lobster tails?

Yes, you should always refrigerate lobster tails after purchasing them. Lobster meat is highly perishable and prone to bacterial growth if left at room temperature too long. Refrigeration helps slow the growth of bacteria and extends the shelf life of lobster tails significantly.

Fresh, raw lobster tails can be stored in the refrigerator safely for 1-2 days. If the lobster tails were previously frozen, they can typically be refrigerated for up to 6 months before deteriorating in quality and flavor.

What is the best way to refrigerate lobster tails?

To properly refrigerate lobster tails:

  • Keep lobster tails stored in their original packaging or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. This prevents them from drying out in the fridge.
  • Place lobster tails on a plate or in a container and cover them. This protects the delicate meat from picking up odors from other foods.
  • Store lobster tails in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is usually the back of the top shelf. The ideal temperature is between 32-40°F.
  • Do not overcrowd the refrigerator shelf. Allow space for air to circulate around the lobster tails so they cool evenly.

Ensure lobster tails are refrigerated promptly after purchasing, even if you don’t plan to cook them right away. The longer lobster meat sits at room temperature, the faster bacteria multiply and quality diminishes.

Can you freeze lobster tails?

Yes, you can freeze lobster tails for longer term storage. Freezing prevents bacterial growth and keeps the lobster meat fresh for several months when stored properly.

To freeze lobster tails:

  • Make sure tails are very fresh before freezing. Previously frozen, thawed lobster tails do not freeze well a second time.
  • Wrap tails individually in plastic wrap or place in resealable plastic bags.
  • Remove as much air as possible and seal wrapping tightly.
  • Label packages with contents and freeze-by date.
  • Freeze lobster tails immediately at a temperature of 0°F or below.
  • Once frozen, transfer packages to freezer bags or containers. This protects against freezer burn.

Properly frozen, the shelf life of raw lobster tails is approximately 6 months. Do not refreeze previously frozen and thawed lobster tails.

How to thaw frozen lobster tails

It’s best to thaw frozen lobster slowly in the refrigerator overnight. To thaw tails quickly, place them sealed in a large bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until they are pliable and thawed. Once thawed, use tails immediately. Do not refreeze.

What temperature should lobster tails be refrigerated at?

Lobster tails should be refrigerated at 40°F or slightly below. This temperature prevents bacterial growth and keeps the delicate lobster meat in optimal condition. The ideal storage location in the refrigerator is the coldest part, which is usually the back of the top shelf.

Be sure to keep the temperature consistent. Fluctuations in refrigerator temperature can hasten deterioration of quality.

A refrigerator thermometer can help monitor that the temperature remains correctly regulated for storing lobster tails.

Can you refrigerate cooked lobster tails?

Yes, cooked lobster tails can be refrigerated safely, but they have a relatively short fridge life. It’s best to eat par-cooked or fully cooked lobster within 1-2 days for maximum freshness and flavor.

To store cooked lobster tails:

  • Let tails cool completely first before refrigerating.
  • Wrap tails tightly in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate cooked lobster tails immediately, within 30 minutes or less of cooking.
  • Only refrigerate for 1-2 days maximum.

Take extra care when refrigerating cooked lobster as it is very prone to bacteria growth. Do not leave cooked lobster tails unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.

What are the signs of bad lobster tails?

Here are some signs that indicate lobster tails have spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Slimy texture and foul, ammonia-like odor
  • Discoloration and graying of the meat
  • Dull, mushy meat that leaves an imprint when pressed
  • Dry, shriveled meat
  • Mold or mildew growing on the meat
  • Unusual bruising and spots on the meat

Always inspect and smell lobster tails before cooking or eating. Any signs of spoilage mean they should be thrown away.

How long do fresh lobster tails last in the fridge?

Fresh, raw lobster tails will maintain best quality refrigerated for 1-2 days after purchasing. Make sure tails are kept at a temperature of 40°F or below.

Proper storage helps raw lobster tails stay fresh:

  • Keep in original packaging or wrap tightly in plastic wrap
  • Refrigerate immediately after buying
  • Store in the coldest part of the fridge
  • Avoid overcrowding so air can circulate

Lobster tails that were previously frozen then thawed can last up to 6 months refrigerated. Handle thawed tails the same as fresh.

If lobster tails have been refrigerated 1-2 days and you’re not ready to use, consider freezing for longer storage.

Can you eat lobster tails after 5 days refrigerated?

It’s not recommended to eat lobster tails that have been refrigerated for 5 days or longer. Even when properly stored, lobster tails only stay fresh for 1-2 days maximum in the fridge before deteriorating in quality and developing higher bacteria levels.

Lobster meat is highly perishable and prone to foodborne illnesses if consumed past its prime. If 5 days have passed, it’s best to discard the lobster tails rather than risk getting sick from spoiled seafood.

For the best flavor, texture, and food safety – cook refrigerated lobster tails within 1-2 days of purchasing or thawing.

How long do cooked lobster tails last in the fridge?

Cooked lobster tails have a much shorter refrigerator shelf life than raw. For optimal flavor and food safety, eat refrigerated cooked lobster tails within:

  • 1-2 days if cooked just until opaque in the center (par-cooked)
  • 1-2 days if fully cooked

Proper storage of cooked lobster tails includes:

  • Cooling tails completely before refrigerating
  • Wrapping tightly in plastic wrap or storing in an airtight container
  • Refrigerating within 30 minutes of cooking

Do not keep cooked lobster tails longer than 2 days refrigerated. Discard any leftovers after this time. The seafood bacteria levels become hazardous after 1-2 days stored in the fridge.

Can you freeze cooked lobster tails?

Yes, it’s possible to freeze cooked lobster tails for longer term storage. However, freezing slightly impacts the texture of the delicate meat. Frozen cooked tails are best used in seafood casseroles or dishes where a perfect texture is not required.

To freeze cooked lobster tails:

  • Cool lobster completely after cooking
  • Package tails tightly in freezer wrap or bags, removing air
  • Label and freeze immediately at 0°F or below
  • Use frozen cooked tails within 2-3 months for best quality
  • Thaw in the refrigerator before using

Avoid refreezing previously frozen cooked lobster. For top quality, it’s best to freeze raw tails then cook only what’s needed.

How do you know when lobster tails have gone bad?

Here are the most common signs that indicate lobster tails have spoiled and should be thrown out:

  • Slimy texture – Slippery, mucus-like feeling over the meat
  • Fishy or ammonia smell – Foul, “off” odor, especially when raw
  • Discoloration – Gray, yellow, or brownish tint to the meat
  • Dull, mushy meat – Lobster flesh feels limp and leaves an imprint when pressed
  • Dryness – Unusual dryness and shriveling of the meat
  • Bruising – Unnatural spots or bruises on lobster meat
  • Mold – Any fuzziness, mildew or slime on lobster

Always rely on your sense of smell and visual cues to determine if lobster tails are spoiled before eating them. When in doubt, throw it out.

Can you eat lobster tails 2 weeks after freezing?

Lobster tails that have been continuously frozen for 2 weeks should still be safe to eat, provided they have been kept frozen solid at 0°F. However, the quality may start to diminish after this time.

For best flavor, texture, and freshness, it’s recommended to cook frozen lobster tails within 1-2 months. Storing frozen for longer periods can result in dryness and freezer burn.

Properly frozen raw lobster tails that remain edible after 2 weeks include:

  • Tails frozen before the sell-by date passes
  • Stored in airtight packaging with minimal air exposure
  • Kept constantly frozen without thawing
  • Free from signs of freezer burn

Inspect lobster tails after cooking frozen for 2 weeks – if they smell or appear spoiled, discard immediately. For optimal quality, use frozen tails sooner if possible.

What happens if you eat bad lobster tails?

Eating spoiled, bad lobster tails can cause food poisoning resulting in unpleasant symptoms. Potential health effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Headache
  • Fever and chills
  • Dehydration

Seafood is especially prone to bacterial growth when old, and lobster meat is particularly perishable. Eating lobster tails past their prime can lead to foodborne illness.

In more severe cases, bad lobster can potentially cause neurological symptoms and muscle weakness. Seek medical care if symptoms are extreme or persist longer than 48 hours.

To avoid getting sick, inspect lobster tails carefully and watch refrigerated storage times. Discard when any rotten odor, slime, or discoloration is noted.


Lobster tails are a luxurious, delicious treat that require proper refrigerated storage. Keep raw tails chilled at 40°F or less and use within 1-2 days for best safety and quality. Cooked lobster needs to be eaten within 1-2 days maximum. Monitor appearance, texture, and smell to determine freshness. With proper refrigeration and handling, lobster tails can stay fresh until ready to cook and enjoy in your favorite seafood recipes.

Leave a Comment