A lobster roll is a popular New England sandwich made with lobster meat served on a toasted hot dog bun. The classic preparation features chunks of cooked lobster meat lightly dressed with mayonnaise or butter and seasoning. It’s a delicious way to enjoy fresh lobster meat in a handheld sandwich.
But like many indulgent foods, lobster rolls can be high in calories, especially when loaded up with butter or mayo-based dressings. So how many calories are actually in a buttered lobster roll? Let’s take a closer look.
Calories in Lobster
To determine the calories in a lobster roll, we first need to know the calorie content of lobster meat itself. Here are some key facts about lobster calories:
- A 3 oz serving of lobster contains about 90 calories.
- Lobster is a lean source of protein and relatively low in fat and calories compared to other protein foods.
- Cooked lobster meat contains about 20 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat per 3 oz serving.
- The total calories can vary based on the specific lobster part. Claw and tail meat tend to be slightly lower in calories than body meat.
So a standard lobster roll made with 3-4 oz of lobster meat contains roughly 90-120 calories from the lobster alone.
Calories in Hot Dog Bun
In addition to the lobster, the hot dog bun used to make the lobster roll also contributes calories and carbs.
- A typical commercial hot dog bun provides about 120 calories.
- Whole wheat or multigrain hot dog buns may range from 100-140 calories.
- Brioche or potato hot dog buns can be slightly higher around 140-170 calories.
- So the bun adds about 100-170 calories to the total lobster roll calories.
When combined with 4 oz of lobster meat, the lobster roll bun puts the base calorie range at 190-290 calories before any additional dressings or toppings are added.
Calories in Butter
To make a buttered lobster roll, soft butter is often slathered onto the toasted bun before the lobster meat is added. This adds a nice richness and flavor to balance the delicate sweetness of the lobster. But butter is high in fat and calories, so it also significantly increases the total calorie count.
- Each tablespoon of butter contains about 100 calories and 11 grams of fat.
- A basic lobster roll may use around 1-2 tablespoons of butter on the bun.
- So the butter can add roughly 100-200 extra calories to the lobster roll.
With a 120 calorie bun and 100 calories of melted butter, you can see how the bread and butter alone tally up 200-300 calories before even factoring in the lobster meat.
Total Calories in Buttered Lobster Roll
Putting it all together, here is an estimate of the total calories in a standard buttered lobster roll:
- Lobster meat (4 oz) = 120 calories
- Hot dog bun (1 regular bun) = 120 calories
- Butter (1-2 Tbsp) = 100-200 calories
- Total Calories = 340-440 calories
So a typical buttered lobster roll made with 4 oz of lobster meat contains about 340-440 calories, depending on the exact size of the bun and amount of butter used.
Of course, the calorie count can be higher or lower based on the specific ingredients and preparation method. Here are some factors that can increase calories:
- Using more butter, mayo or other high-fat dressings
- Frying the bun in butter rather than just toasting
- Larger hot dog buns
- Addition of extra ingredients like cheese or bacon
And here are some ways to lighten up a lobster roll and cut down on calories:
- Use a lighter hand with the butter and mayo
- Choose a whole wheat bun over white bread
- Load up on lettuce, tomatoes and other veggies
- Use Greek yogurt instead of mayo-based dressing
- Skip the butter and drizzle lemon juice over the meat
So a simple buttered lobster roll clocks in around 400 calories, but you can easily both add or subtract calories based on preparation styles and ingredient choices.
Nutrition Information for Buttered Lobster Roll
Beyond just calories, here is the full nutrition breakdown for a standard buttered lobster roll:
4 oz Nutrition Facts
As you can see, the butter adds a significant amount of fat and saturated fat. But a lobster roll still provides lean protein from the lobster, along with some carbohydrates from the bun. The overall nutritional value can vary based on preparation, but in general a buttered lobster roll makes for a filling, protein-rich meal.
Calories in Restaurant Lobster Rolls
If ordering a lobster roll from a restaurant or seafood shack, be aware that the calorie count may be higher than a homemade version. Some factors that can increase calories:
- Restaurants may be more generous with butter and dressings
- Large restaurant hot dog buns can have up to 300+ calories
- Fried lobster rolls add more fat and calories
- Additional toppings like bacon and cheese boost calories
To keep restaurant lobster rolls relatively light, opt for ones dressed simply with lemon or a touch of mayo. Or ask for the butter and dressing on the side so you control how much is added. Getting a side salad instead of fries can also help balance out the meal.
Some examples of typical lobster roll calories at U.S. restaurants:
- Red Lobster: Lobster Roll – 490 calories
- Legal Sea Foods: Crab & Lobster Roll – 580 calories
- Applebee’s: Lobster BLT Roll – 530 calories
- Culver’s: Lobster Roll – 560 calories
At sit-down seafood restaurants, lobster rolls on brioche buns topped with melted butter can easily exceed 600-700 calories. Going lighter on the dressings and avoiding fried rolls are your best bets for lowering calories when dining out.
Low Calorie Options
If you’re looking to slim down your lobster roll, here are some easy ways to cut calories while still enjoying the delicious lobster flavor:
Use Leaner Dressings
Skip the butter and heavy mayo and instead flavor your lobster salad with lighter options like:
- Lemon or lime juice
- Hot sauce or sriracha
- Greek yogurt
- Chopped celery and fresh herbs
You can also use reduced-fat mayo or mix regular mayo with plain Greek yogurt to make a healthier dressing.
Choose Lower-Calorie Buns
Avoid oversized, fried or butter-grilled buns. Opt for a whole wheat or multigrain hot dog bun to trim about 20-40 calories per bun. Lettuce wraps are also a low-carb alternative.
Load Up On Veggies
Add lots of crunchy veggies like lettuce, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach or peppers to fill up your roll with minimal calories.
A lobster roll is very rich, so consider splitting one sandwich between two people. Or order it as an appetizer or side to eat along with a healthy salad entree.
Bake vs Fry
Fried lobster rolls can add up to 200 extra calories from cooking oil. For lower-cal options, look for grilled, broiled or baked lobster rolls instead of deep fried.
Healthy Lobster Roll Recipes
Here are some delicious, lighter lobster roll recipes to try at home:
Baked Lemon-Dill Lobster Rolls
- 1 lb lobster meat
- 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp fresh dill
- 4 whole wheat hot dog buns
- 1 cup arugula
- Mix lobster meat with lemon juice, salt, pepper and chopped dill.
- Split and toast whole wheat buns until golden brown.
- Fill buns with lobster salad and top with arugula.
This simple preparation skips the butter and mayo for a fresher, lighter lobster roll.
Lobster Salad Lettuce Wraps
- 1 lb lobster meat
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Lettuce leaves
- Mix together lobster, celery, yogurt, lemon zest and mustard.
- Spoon lobster salad into lettuce leaves.
Using lettuce wraps instead of bread saves calories and carbs.
Lobster & Avocado Salad Rolls
- 1 lb lobster meat
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 4 whole wheat buns
- Gently mix together lobster, avocado, tomato, green onions and lime juice.
- Divide between buns and enjoy!
The healthy fats in avocado complement the lobster beautifully.
A buttered lobster roll can range from 340-440 calories for a modest 4 oz portion. Using restraint with high-calorie dressings and opting for lighter buns and veggie toppings can help keep the calories down. For lowest calorie options, get creative with lettuce wraps or salads using fresh lemon, herbs and avocado instead of mayo. Lobster rolls from restaurants often have more butter and toppings and exceed 500+ calories, so be mindful of preparation methods and portion sizes when dining out. Overall, enjoying this iconic New England treat in moderation can still be part of a healthy diet.