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All About Spiny Lobster

How to Buy, Cook, and Eat Pacific Lobster


Spiny lobster is clawless and has a remarkable sweet tail. It is not as meaty as a Maine or Atlantic lobster, but is beloved in Southern California and Florida, if lesser known in the rest of the country.

Spiny Lobster Season

Photo © Emilio Simion/Getty Images (used with permission)

Spiny lobster is in season in Southern California from October to January, to much local delight. Caribbean spiny lobsters is harvested all year round. Look for spiny lobsters from California, Florida, or the Baja. Imported Caribbean spiny lobster is not as well managed a fishery.

For more information, see Seafood Watch.

How to Buy Spiny Lobster

Look for lively specimens! Very lively! Unless they've been super-chilled to put them in a stupor, you want them moving. Or frozen tails that are vacuumed sealed, which keep extremely well. Above all, avoid spiny lobsters that are dead - as with other shellfish, enzymes start to break down the flesh pretty much immediately.

How to Cook Spiny Lobster

Spiny lobster can be grilled, broiled, or steamed. Because they are different from Atlantic lobsters, don't just substitute them in recipes that call for Maine or other Atlantic lobster. These recipes are meant specifically for spiny lobster, so they're a great place to get started:



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