Lobster Shell Stock Recipe

Lobster Shell Stock

Lobster Shell Stock Recipe

It is always a good idea, whenever you cook lobster, to save the shells for making stock. Some lobster stocks can be quite complex, employing many additions such as garlic, celery, tomato paste and various aromatics, for example, but it is also possible to make a simple stock with nothing but the shells from a couple of Lobsters and some white peppercorns and a bay leaf. The result will be simple enough to be highly versatile, and can then be used as the base for all sorts of soups, stews and sauces.

Ingredient Notes

The shells from two cooked Lobsters
The shells from two cooked Lobsters

These are the shells leftover from a couple of 1 1/2lb. lobsters. You can certainly aim for a bigger batch if you have more leftovers, but you can make a decent simple stock for sauces and the like with just this amount.

With small lobsters, it is harder to get the flesh out of the smaller legs and tails sections, and this, along with the other softer tissues still remaining will also add flavor to your stock. Just be sure that you remove the stomach, which is just behind the mouth parts at the front to part of the body shell.

If you do not eat the Tomalley, which is the liver of the lobster, and is the greenish, paste-like substance at the back of the main body section before the tail, then it is recommended you clear away as much of this as possible. It has lots of lovely flavor, but it might make for a cloudy stock.

The Method

Roasted Lobster shells
Roasted Lobster shells

Roasting the broken shells will not only improve the flavor, it will also help keep the resulting stock nicely clear. To do this, heat your oven to 425 degrees and then pop your shells inside to roast for about 30 minutes or so.

When you remove them, the aroma will be very rich and delicious and the shells will be quite fragile, with a bleached appearance. At this point, it is a good idea to crush them into even smaller fragments with a pestle or other heavy object so as to create maximum surface area.

Simmering Lobster shells in the stockpot with Aromatics
Simmering Lobster shells in the stockpot with Aromatics

Place the shell pieces in a pot with the water and the aromatics and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to a gentle simmer.

Finishing a Lobster Shell Stock
Finishing a Lobster Shell Stock

Continue to simmer, skimming as necessary, until the volume has reduced by about half, then strain and cool. Freeze if not using right away.

Your Recipe Card:

Lobster Shell Stock

Making a Lobster Shell Stock is a way to get the most out of Lobster. The technique is simple and provides a useful base for soups and sauces.
Course: Stock
Cuisine: General
Keyword: Lobster Shells, White Peppercorns, Bay Leaf
Author: John Thompson


  • Shells from two Lobsters
  • 2 Quarts of Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. White Peppercorns


  • Clean the Lobster pieces of any remaining Tomalley, and remove and discard the Stomach from inside the front of the main body section.
  • Place the shell pieces in a roasting pan and roast at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes and, when cooled, break up into smaller fragments with a pestle or similar instrument.
  • Place the shell pieces in a pot with the water and the aromatics and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and simmer, skimming as necessary, for about 2 to 3 hours.
  • Strain, and, if desired return to the heat and reduce to concentrate the flavor if necessary.
  • Freeze if not using immediately.


  1. I love lobster stock to make bisque. The stock will have even more flavor if the stock is made sous vide (because the aromas can’t evaporate), although it is a pain to vacuum seal the shells without puncturing the bag. To get the meat out of the small legs of even a 1 lb lobster: use a rolling pin and push the flesh towards the open end.

    1. Author

      I’ve used the rolling pin trick too. I generally just use scissors to snip them into 1 inch lengths.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!