How to Tell If Lobster Is Bad?

Don’t know how to define whether your lobster is ok to eat? No worries, we will tell you what to pay attention to in order to not get sick!

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on How to Tell If Lobster Is Bad

Lobster is a very nutritious and beneficial food that is good to have in your diet. However, since we don’t consume it daily, we may not be well aware of certain nuances and specifics of this type of meat. In particular, nuances that refer to lobster’s meat storage and spoilage.

Surely, those of you who eat lobsters now and then in restaurants or at home, have already wondered how to define bad lobster in order not to consume bad meat and get badly sick.

However, you might also have related questions, such as whether lobster meat spoils the same way as fish does, or whether the signs of lobster’s meat spoilage are similar to those that other seafood has.

So in this article we are going to tell you more about how you can tell that your lobster is already spoiled. You will learn how to define bad lobster if it is frozen, cooked, or fresh.

Also, we will teach you how to figure out whether lobster claws and tail are spoiled, and whether those parts of this sea creature spoil the same way.

Finally, we will answer the most thrilling question that sounds like “Can I get sick if I consume bad lobster?”. So stay with us and read on! It is going to be very informative!

How to Tell If Lobster Meat Is Bad?

When it comes to seafood, usually it is pretty easy to tell when fish, for example, is already spoiled. You just need to give it a good sniff! In the majority of cases, the heavy pungent odor will clearly tell you that this meat must go to the trash bin instead of your stomach.

But we eat fish more or less regularly so we are well aware of how to define its quality and level of freshness. But what about lobsters?

This seafood is way less common on our tables, and usually, you can have a nice juicy lobster in a restaurant which means this happens not so often.

So if, for instance, one day you decide to cook it yourself at home, you need to know how to tell if it is good or not!

You might have heard that people ask how to tell if lobster is bad by its color. And yes, it is really possible to do so. But lobster’s quality and freshness must be determined not only by this single aspect!

So if you want to know how to tell for sure that the lobster you are going to enjoy is fresh and of a good quality, we recommend you take two major factors into consideration:

  1. Its texture
  2. Its smell

See, if you have a bad lobster on your plate, you will see that the meat has a very soft consistency that can even remind you of cottage cheese!

Pungent odor is another key factor that you must pay close attention to.

If the scent seems weird to you, then you should not eat that lobster for your own good. So if, for instance, you are dining out somewhere, and you are concerned about the quality of your lobster, you should ask a waiter for a replacement.

All right, you may say, that is how I can define that my cooked lobster is bad. But what about the frozen or raw one?

Are there any signs that can tell me they are not safe to consume? Well, in fact, there are such signs, and below, we are going to share a few with you.

How to Tell If Lobster Meat Is Bad
Credits: c_yung, via

How to Tell If Lobster Tail Is Bad?

Lobster’s tail is the most commonly consumed part of this sea creature along with its claws. Naturally, you need to be aware of how to define that the tail of your lobster is in good condition for you to eat it!

Fortunately, it is pretty easy to define when a tail of this sea creature is not supposed to be consumed. Just look for the following signs:

  • Odor
  • How does the meat feel to the touch?
  • Meat consistency
  • Its color

Now let’s see in detail what each of these aspects means. Let’s start with the odor.

How to Tell If Lobster Tail Is Bad (2)
Credits: christian_sutheja, via

If you are not sure whether or not the lobster’s tail you have in your plate is fresh enough to eat it, give it a good whiff. If you sense anything that smells pungent or really bad – throw that lobster away immediately!

The way lobster’s meat feels to the touch also matters. If you touch it and it feels slimy, the chances are that your lobster has already gone bad and must go to the trash bin.

In addition, we would recommend you pay attention to the consistency of lobester’s meat. That’s if all the previous signs are not present or you are not sure about their accuracy.

If you see that the meat of your lobster resembles cottage cheese and it feels nearly the same soft, this is a clear sign that the seafood is spoiled and must not be consumed. See, a fresh lobster must always feel tough and solid when you touch it!

Finally, the color of your lobster’s meat is another way to tell whether or not it is spoiled. If you see that your lobster is discolored, or if it has turned green or white here and there, then it has definitely gone bad!

How to Tell If Lobster Tail Is Bad
Credits: Dynamocfoto-PedroCampus, via

How to Tell If Cooked Lobster Is Bad?

With the cooked lobster’s meat, it is the same simple to define whether or not it is safe to consume. How to tell if cooked lobster is bad based on its color? Simply examine the lobster closely and thoroughly.

If you find any discolored areas, or you notice that the meat has turned green in certain areas, discard it immediately since this lobster should not be consumed!

Another method is to check its odor. If the color is fine, but you are still in doubt whether your lobster is ok, give it a good sniff! Do you sense any pungent or sour odor? If yes, your lobster must go to the trash bin right now!

How to prepare a cooked lobster - BBC Good FoodHow to prepare a cooked lobster – BBC Good Food

How to Tell If Frozen Lobster Is Bad?

Sometimes, we may buy several lobsters to cook for the party later, and thus we toss them into the freezer to keep safe until then. But since seafood is rather tricky when it comes to storage, you might want to be sure that your lobsters are still doing well.

So how do you check that? It is pretty simple to do, but for that purpose, you will have to thaw the lobsters first. So basically, you will be able to define whether or not they are spoiled only right before cooking them.

But as for the signs of spoilage, you should look for the same ones as are true for the fresh and/or cooked lobster’s meat:

  • smell
  • texture
  • color

And remember that, even though lobsters can stay frozen for quite a long period of time, it does not mean they will remain of a high quality by the time you need to use them! So always give them a proper check before consuming!

How to Tell If Frozen Lobster Is Bad
Credits: Pack-Pot, via

How to Tell If Raw Lobster Is Bad?

When trying to define whether a raw lobster is still good, pay attention to its smell mostly. If you sense any pungent, sour odor that makes you draw back immediately, this is definitely the sign that this lobster is far from being fresh!

We would not recommend you rely on a raw lobster’s meat color though, since it initially differs from the color of cooked meat. The same is true for the meat texture and consistency.

So the scent is your best significator of quality in this particular case.

Now you know in detail how to define whether your lobster is ok to eat or not. And since you are aware of how to figure this out when dealing with frozen, cooked, and even raw lobster meat, we are sure that you will never have problems with defining that!

How to Tell If Raw Lobster Is Bad
Credits: Josfor, via

Can You Get Sick If You Eat Spoiled Bad Lobster Tail?

Those who love seafood and lobsters in particular tend to wonder whether it is possible to get sick if you eat bad lobster tail or claws. Unfortunately, eating spoiled seafood will not pass unnoticed for your health and body!

If you happen to eat bad lobster, you are most likely to have what is called paralytic shellfish poisoning. About half an hour after you consume spoiled lobster meat, you may feel numbness or tingling in your mouth. That feeling can also spread down to your arms and even legs!

In addition, eating bad lobster meat can lead to dizziness and headaches.

In rare cases, your arms and legs may even become temporarily paralyzed! So always check your lobster, even if it is cooked, for the quality signs.

And in case you have even the slightest doubt, ask a waiter to replace it or throw it away if you cooked it yourself.

Can You Get Sick If You Eat Spoiled Bad Lobster Tail
Credits: Josfor, via

How to Tell If Lobster Is Done Cooking?

Lobsters can be cooked in different ways depending on your taste and preference.

Some people steam them, while others prefer to boil or even have them broiled. Either way, determining when a lobster is done cooking is important.

No matter what method of cooking you are going to use, there are a few general rules that can help you to tell when a lobster is fully cooked and can be safely consumed.

Consider them when preparing this seafood yourself at home, and you will always have perfectly cooked lobsters for dinner!

  • Pull the lobster out of the pot that it is cooking in with tongs. Hold it up in the air and examine its body. Pay especially close attention to its color. If the lobster is not bright red, it needs to cook more.
  • Pull on one of its antennae or yank off one of its small walking legs. Both the walking leg and the antenna must come off easily if the lobster is done. Continue cooking if the legs or antennae do not come off easily.
  • Examine the meat inside the lobster to see whether it is white and firm. Check to see if it has an opaque color, and verify that the meat inside most of the body cavity is a greenish-yellow color.
  • One more tip is to check the underside of the lobster. The roe will be orangish-red if it is completely cooked and a dark greenish-black if it is undercooked. The roe is found only on females though, so consider this nuance when buying your lobsters!
  • Finally, you can just stick a thermometer inside the lobster to find out its temperature. A properly cooked lobster has an internal temperature of 180 degrees F.

Also, when cooking lobsters, be very careful to not overcook them!

When it happens, their meat will lose its juiciness and become less tasty which can ruin the whole dish.

How to Tell If Lobster Is Done Cooking
Credits: luoman, via

How to Store Lobster Meat to Keep It Fresh

To be able to always enjoy lobsters fresh, you need to know how to store their meat correctly. Fortunately, doing this is not something extremely complicated! With a few easy tips, you will be able to make your seafood delicacy remain tasty much longer.

  • Cooked lobsters must be refrigerated in a shallow airtight container. As an option, you can wrap them tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or even a plastic wrap.
  • Raw live lobsters will last for a very short period of time. Hardshell ones will remain fine for 24-36 hours, and softshell ones will have to be cooked within two or four hours once removed from water.
  • If you decide to freeze lobsters’ tails, they will stay ok for more than half a year in the freezer.

To make it easier to remember how long this seafood will last under different storage conditions, check out the chart below.

Cooked Raw
Fridge 3-4 days -
Freezer 3 months 6-8 months
How to Store Lobster Meat to Keep It Fresh
Credits: yasuhiroamano, via

Consider this information when buying, storing, and cooking lobsters, and you will always enjoy the most delicious meat!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Why is it bad to cook dead lobster?

Because dead lobsters tend to spoil faster.

⭐ Are large lobsters tougher?

No, the size has nothing to do with the texture of the meat.

⭐ Can I microwave lobster tails in shells?

Yes. Just cover them with plastic wrap and place the tails on a plate with the fans to the center.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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