Summer on a Bun: Lobster Roll Recipes and More

Nothing says New England summer like a lobster roll. Try one of these lobster roll recipes, plus where to try some of the best around.
lobster roll recipes

How do you like your lobster roll? Cold and dressed in mayo or warm and drenched in melted butter? Maybe you don’t have a preference, as long as it comes with a waterside view. No matter which lobster roll recipe you enjoy, you have a New England summertime tradition right in the palm of your hand.

Know Your Roll: Types of Lobster Rolls

There are two primary types of lobster roll recipes: Maine- and Connecticut-style. While some variations exist in between, most eaters are loyal to one or the other.

Based on the results of our Northeast Food Fight, the cold, Maine-style lobster salad roll is a resounding favorite. Some will add celery, lettuce and other seasonings to the mix, but purists believe that nothing should come between fresh lobster meat and mayo.

If you are driving through Connecticut and stop at one of the many lobster huts along the shoreline, you are more likely to find a hot buttery Connecticut lobster roll.

If you’re lucky, you may find a spot that serves both and you can decide which option you like better – if your mind isn’t made up already.

One thing remains consistent among all bona fide lobster rolls – the roll needs to be a split-top, New England hot dog bun.

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Find a Lobster Roll Near You

McLoons Lobster Shack
South Thomaston, Maine

If you want to try both types of lobster rolls, take a drive up Interstate 95 to the small coastal town of South Thomaston. Head out to Spruce Head Island and you will find McLoons Lobster Shack, where you can get half mayo and half butter on one roll. This family-owned lobster shack is set near one of the area’s oldest wharfs, where you can sit out and watch the lobster fishermen pull in their catch of the day.

Blue Lobster Grille
Rockport, Mass.

If you’re looking for a classic New England seaside town, Rockport is the place you want to go. Blue Lobster Grille is right in the middle of it all. After walking around town and checking out the homemade candy shop, you can get your roll cold or hot, or try the lobster BLT.

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Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar
Eastham, Mass.

It wouldn’t be a proper Cape Cod road trip without a lobster roll. Named one of the best lobster rolls in Cape Cod, Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar offers both cold and warm lobster rolls in regular or jumbo size. Both are served with a side of famous Cape Cod potato chips made just down the street in Hyannis. After having a bite to eat, you can grab a famous Arnold’s ice cream and play a round at Arnold’s Mini Golf.

Easton’s Beach Snack Bar
Newport, R.I.

Easton’s serves all of the beach snack favorites, from burgers to fried seafood, but it’s known for its twin lobster salad rolls and buttered lobster rolls made with claw and tail meat. Take your meal out to the patio, which overlooks the beach, the Cliff Walk and the Newport mansions.

Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock
New London, Conn.

This quintessential lobster hut on a quiet marina gives you the chance to try both lobster roll styles while watching fishing boats coming in and out of the harbor. While you’re comparing rolls from different areas of the Northeast, why not try the New England and Rhode Island clam chowders, too, and have a full taste test.

Seven Sea’s Restaurant and Pub
Milford, Conn.

Seven Seas is known locally as one of the first places to serve a hot lobster roll. The hot buttered roll originated in Milford in 1929 at a restaurant called Perry’s that no longer exists, according to the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink.

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The Shelly at New York City’s North River Lobster Company.

North River Lobster Company
New York City

Is there a better place to eat a lobster roll than on a boat? Located on the Hudson River and 41st Street at Pier 81, you can hop aboard and sail up the Hudson while enjoying North River’s 28-inch classic lobster roll, The Shelly. At 28 inches (!), it’s oh-so  sharable and very Instagrammable. The restaurant serves other varieties of the classic roll, including one with bacon, one tossed with truffle mayo, and one sprinkled with “everything” seasoning.

Lobster Roll Recipes

Want to host a lobster roll tasting party at home? All you need is enough split-top hot dog buns for everyone and a few lobsters. If you want to try it Maine-style, try this simple, user-friendly recipe from Bon Appetit. If Connecticut-style is more up your alley, saute salted butter and lobster in a pan until it is cooked through. Toast your roll and you’re ready for a feast.

What is your go-to lobster roll spot? Tell us in the comments.


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110 Thoughts on “Summer on a Bun: Lobster Roll Recipes and More

  1. The Barking Crab in the Seaport in Boston! Hot or cold, the best! Great tunes and worth the wait to get in.

  2. Is there a Kosher style Lobster Roll available? I know there is faux- coldlobster sold around town, and would like to try it if it exists.

  3. Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit, ME have very unique lobster rolls, haven’t changed in 40 years and delish, served with chips, ideal with a lemonade!

    1. Clam box in New Britain, CT
      Best lobster roll ever had (huge)
      The owner worked at the original Clam Box in Wethersfield, CT when he was a teen 50+ years ago

  4. I love lobster rolls. Who doesn’t? For me, the best I hve had so far is at the Friendly Fisherman in Eastham MA. They are consistently specacular.

  5. We had great hot lobster rolls, served with fries and cole slaw, at the Danbury , CT “99” Restaurant. I believe they offered cold lobster rolls as well. Strictly a special limited time summer menu item and who knows this crazy covid year? Would check first.

    1. All the 99 restaurants have their lobster rolls now. I agree that it’s among the best I’ve had lately. The price has gone up. $29 for the butter only and 28 for the lister salad ( both with fries and cole slaw. )

  6. One of the best lobster rolls can be found throughout New England at a reasonable price a D’Angelos Restaurants. The best for less!!!

  7. Try Tommy’s Lobster Shack in Warwick, Rhode Island. It’s huge. Not on a hot dog roll. Much bigger. You can also get the Trio; a cup of chiefs, 3 clam cakes and 3/4 of a lobster roll at a reasonable price.

  8. I’ve tried lobster rolls in various states and the best I’ve ever had is at a local spot called the Quahog Republic. It’s located in downtown New Bedford, MA and it’s the only place that I go to for my lobster rolls. They pile perfectly seasoned lobster meat that has NO MAYO and it is absolutely incredible. I strongly urge you to check them out as they really should be on your list of “go to” spots for a lobster roll!!

      1. They definitely have them on the menu, but it’s New Bedford, so we spell it “lobstah” ????. They actually have 2 different sizes.

        1. Yes, I can attest that Quahog Republic in New Bedford is the best! They have 2 sizes– small and big. Most people can only eat the small one because it is packed with so much lobster! The lobster is full of flavor. Butter and mayo comes on the side. Best lobster roll I’ve had in my life!!

  9. Always used to go to Woodmans in Rockport on my birthdays growing up and got a whole lobster. , and sailed on the Maine Windjammers with lobster bakes, so the buttered rolls were always my favorite

    1. I was about to add Anthony’s but you beat me. I grew up in Middletown and they are my favorites for lobster rolls, steamers, and clam cakes. I don’t care if it’s not near the beach!

  10. Thanks for this article. My family members are huge lobster roll fans and we will visit some of the spots suggested.

    1. We are originally from Maine and have visited Rockland/Camden, Maine many times over the past 40 years. We visited McLoon’s for the first time ever when we traveled to Maine this June. It did not disappoint. Lobster roll was great.

  11. The Lobster Shack in East Haven, CT. These folks have run this seasonal bust for years but have recently located to a new location right on the shoreline. Enjoy your CT-style lobster rolls and enjoy the view at the same time. As a bonus, they have a small non-Lobster menu for meat lovers and they take credit cards which not all places do.

    1. Hi Tatiana! Thank you for your recommendation, helps out-of-towners find the right spot! Anyone else have a hidden gem?- MM

        1. If I told you then everyone would crowd the place so badly that I would have to wait and get in for my one pound of lobster meat on a foot-long split-top butter toasted hot dog roll for the same price as you all pay at those prima donna shacks in surf-and-turf towns! $23 w/fries!

          1. Pls, pls,pls tell me. I promise not to give away ur secret! My grown up kids are coming in from out of town n August for their birthdays. We would love to go there for lobster rolls!

      1. Try Salty’s Lobster, Dogs and More near the information booth in Rockport, MA. Pleasant owner and best priced rolls around. Yum.

      2. Yes I do have a place. The Bookstore restaurant Wellfleet MA . You can get it either hot or cold

  12. Stowe’s seafood West Haven CT on the water Very reasonable styles of the lobster including hot rolls. Bj

    1. The Lobster Stop in Quincy MA. They have both kinds with fresh lobster brought in daily.

    2. I live in upstate NY. Salmon Run Fish House in Lee MA has a great lobster roll and is only 2 hrs away.

      1. Yup, my local go to place for sea food. Esp. the lobster roll. Also give the whole fried clams roll at try.

    3. Lunch Lobster Roll in Montauk where the series the Affair was filmed. Been eating there for 30 yrs and have traveled all over and have never had a better lobster roll

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