Lobster rolls

I’ve been asked to bring lobster rolls to a birthday luncheon for six people. I’ll get enough lobsters to cook and clean so each roll will have about 6 oz of claw, knuckle and tail meat mixed with a tiny bit of mayo. Easy enough but I’m not sure what to do about the rolls. Peppridge Farm top split ones. Would it be terrible to serve them in plain, untoasted, unbuttered rolls? Would it be better to toast the rolls, fill them and put them in the fridge until I leave for the party?
Party is outside so no way to toast rolls there.
There will be side dishes but i know folks aren’t going to turn down lobster rolls for a plate of cole slaw instead.
I guess what I’m asking is does it matter if the rolls are toasted? If it does, can I successfully assemble the lobster rolls ahead of time and keep in the fridge?
Thanks for reading this far.


Is it possible to toast the rolls in advance and fill the sandwiches on site? So they don’t get soggy.


“Would it be terrible to serve them in plain, untoasted, unbuttered rolls?”

Not at all. By any chance are Martin’s potato rolls available where you live? If not I noticed some brioche rolls at the store today that would be perfect. Just split, a very light film of butter on both sides to keep from getting soggy, fill with chilled lobster salad and you’re ready for transport. Since you’re using a minimal amount of mayo they should hold up just fine. Both rolls are round of course, but that never turned anyone in my New England lobster salad roll loving family off.

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Agree that filling the rolls at the place would prevent a soggy bun. The lobster salad could be separately kept cold in a container. That way the grilled buns would not need to be refrigerated and maybe lose less crispness.
If you prefer to assemble at home some well placed pieces of lettuce will help a bit.


As a native New Englander, I feel like I should have an answer but I don’t (I’ve never made lobster rolls at home nor have I had to transport them). I’ve had lobster rolls at outdoor events - I remember them being chilled and no one complained. But I’m pretty sure they’ve been toasted/grilled split-top rolls. Cold beer or wine as an accompaniment helps to color people’s memories of the food.

I usually go for the un-mayo’ed/undressed or hot butter versions in restaurants.

The only time I’ve had lobster rolls served on buns (as I think you’re planning) it was a little disconcerting…but that was in Maine and they were like, it is what it is. And we were more than ok with it. https://www.perryslobstershack.com/

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I knew I could count on the Onions. Good, top split hot dog rolls done seem to exist any more. The ones available at markets now are soft, squishy and small. Potato rolls seem like a good alternative. I’ll bring lobster meat and toasted rolls in separate containers.


I would toast ahead, keep separate and assemble at the event.

That said, my family regularly does lobster rolls, preassembled in none toasted buns to take out on the boat for picnics at sea … and no one complains at all.


One more thought: brioche buns? (Sometimes we see lobster rolls served on brioche split-top rolls.) Being that classic split-top hot dog rolls aren’t available where you are. You might toast the rolls ahead.

Also you might consider placing the lobster atop a piece of red or green leaf lettuce if you are concerned about the roll becoming too soggy.

None of this is original—simply ideas taken from different lobster rolls I’ve had.


Do you have Whole Foods nearby? They have split top buns. Though I’ve seen them elsewhere as well, especially in the places that you’d likely find a lobster roll.

(PSA - I use Instacart for these kinds of specific grocery item searches and save myself multiple store visits.)

+1 on toast and butter in advance and fill onsite.

Or you could line the buns with Bibb lettuce to prevent sogginess of on-site filling is not ideal.


Finding split top buns is easy but ones from commercial bakeries aren’t very good. I’ll see if Whole Foods sells a more substantial New England style hot dog roll. Thanks for the suggestion.

I’m a greedy lobster roll lover and get the rolls at the grocery store bakery area. I think they are called hero or sub and they are larger and longer than hot dog buns. They aren’t split in half so I carve away the sides and a slit 3/4 of the way down the middle and voila I have large split top buns!



Can I just say, that I want to be at this birthday lunch! Sounds delicious! Another vote to toast ahead and plate on site!

The martin potato rolls (even the round burger rolls) work very well, granted buttered and grilled split hot dog buns are still best but the potato buns are a good trade-off, they add a distinct flavour and chew and can hold together for awhile once filled. I’d still not assemble them til ready to eat, but at least no other steps are needed.

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I can’t help with your question (except that I’d assemble them on site to avoid a soggy mess of whatever roll you use) but are you a very rich person? If not, then you may wish to rethink a bit…

Ha ha- that’s why I’m making them myself.

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My family makes them at home only too. Soft shell lobster at my parents house in Maine is $5 lb right now. But prices are high still. Several years ago we could get soft shell for about $2.50 lb. last year the Giant Eagle (grocery chain in New England) had live soft shell for $4.99 lb - so it’s never really made sense to eat lobster out at restaurants, especially when you see those prices.

Obviously. But the spike in the market price of lobster is what is behind the problem, and there’s no way you’re going to escape that.

At least it’s not as bad as lumber and plywood.

Giant Eagle in New England? That catches my eye because I know that grocery chain from the Pittsburgh area but not from the NE states. Now I’m curious.

Ha. Oh crap you’re right. Giant eagle was in Ohio - I should have said Market Basket. Wow am I getting old or do I blame Covid? Hahahahaha

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