Lazy Lobster Casserole with Buttery Ritz Topping – a New England classic. Lobster in garlic butter sauce topped with crunchy cracker topping.
Lobster Casserole or Lazy Lobster as it is often called at the seafood shacks here in New England. I love lobster, but I don’t always love being covered in lobster juice. This is how you can eat a whole lobster without wearing it.
There are a few different ways that you will see Lazy Lobster served, but typically it is a baked lobster casserole, chunks of lobster served in a small aluminum pie plate in a GENEROUS amount of butter and topped with a Ritz cracker crumble on top. A lemon wedge, a piece of parsley, and a sprinkling of paprika round it out. It is absolutely divine.
Any time I see this delicacy on a menu, I have to order it, and my favorite versions always have some sherry and a little garlic.
I started ordering my meats from ButcherBox this year and they sometimes offer lobster. I know that I wanted to try to make my own lobster casserole at home. If I pretend I am sitting at a picnic table with seashells under my feet and the distant sound of seagulls, I would not know that I was eating this in my home.
Ingredients for Lobster Casserole //
Ritz crackers. This buttery and slightly sweet cracker is a must-use ingredient. It’s a New England classic and makes a perfect topping.
Oyster crackers. I like to mix my Ritz with oyster crackers because I think that it adds saltiness and cuts a little of the sweetness of the Ritz. This you can omit, but not the Ritz.
Butter. There is a lot of butter in this recipe, but butter and lobster are meant to be together. This is a special occasion dish, so don’t skimp on the butter.
Parsley. I like to add parsley not only for color but also for its bright notes and freshness.
Sherry. I LOVE sherry. It’s the flavor in the background of lobster bisque and it is so delicious in this lobster casserole.
Lobster. I used ButcherBox cold-cracked lobster, it’s a mixture of knuckle and claw meat. You can use lobster tail or whatever you like, but for this, I think you don’t need to.
Lemon. Can you eat lobster without lemon? I like to add it to the sauce and give my finished casserole a good squeeze of lemon before I take the first bite.
How to Make Lazy Lobster // The Steps
Add the crackers to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until it is coarse crumbs. I like some larger texture, so I don’t take it all the way. Pour out into a bowl.
Add butter and parsley, mix well. Set aside.
Let’s start on the lobster. Heat butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sherry and lemon. Season with salt and pepper.
If cooking from raw, add the lobster and cook until the lobster begins to firm and change color. (If using steamed lobster, I skip this and just pour the sauce over the lobster meat.) Take off the heat.
Divide the lobster evenly between the ramekins or dishes.
Top generously with the crumb mixture.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven and cook until the lobster is cooked through and the crumbs turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Serve with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.
Tips & Tricks //
If you are in a hurry or don’t want to deal with raw lobster, buy steamed lobster from the seafood market, just be careful to not overcook. Lobster can get chewy and tough when it is overcooked.
You can make one big lobster casserole, but I prefer individual ramekins or dishes. The ones I used in the photos were my grandmother’s and are the perfect vessel for this meal.
Why Is Lazy Lobster Casserole So Good? //
Lobster. Lobster feels so fancy and extravagant. It instantly feels like summer when I see a lobster on my plate and it makes me so happy.
Butter. Lots and lots of butter. This dish is everything you loved about eating lobster in one bite.
Ritz crackers. They add a little sweetness and a whole lot of buttery goodness to the top of this casserole. I think that everything is better with a little crunch and texture, and this crumb topping is divine.
Variations of Lobster Casserole //
You can make this with shrimp and it is also incredible. I had something very similar in a restaurant recently, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Sub shrimp and keep everything the same.
If you don’t have sherry or want to buy a bottle (although I use sherry all the time, saute some mushrooms with it) you can use white wine or even clam juice.
To make a lobster appetizer, skip the crumbs and pour the buttery lobster over a crostini for lobster toast.
You can also use this method to make hot lobster rolls. Add the sauteed lobster meat to New England-style hot dog buns.
Lobster pasta would be amazing. This would be a really delicious lobster scampi pasta situation.
How to Store and Reheat Lobster//
I think that this dish is best made and eaten immediately. If you are going to reheat it, cover the dish with foil and put it in a 300° oven for about 10 minutes.
Make Ahead Options //
You can make the crumb topping ahead of time, stored in an airtight container. Wait to add the parsley until you are ready to use it.