Being surrounded by the ocean at UC Santa Barbara always makes me crave seafood. However, having an appetite for things like sashimi, oysters and shellfish isn’t always the best for my wallet. I figured I could easily create a less expensive, homemade seafood alternative at home. After waiting for sales at the grocery store and substituting some ingredients, I was able to make lobster rolls! I checked online for sales on lobster tails and I got four lobster tails for around $20, which was definitely a steal. I also substituted New England-style hot dog buns for three Hawaiian sweet rolls, which worked out perfectly because the bread was pillowy-soft and the sweetness complemented the lobster really nicely. This recipe isn’t like the conventional Maine-style or Connecticut-style lobster rolls, but they still turned out great.

Winnie Lam / Daily Nexus

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 4 lobster tails
  • 2 split-top Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • 2 pieces of lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided 
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat until the water is at a gentle boil, and add the lobster tails (1 minute per ounce) until the shells are bright red and the meat is white.
  2. Remove the lobster tails, and let them cool for 10 minutes. Next, use scissors to cut down the shell and remove the lobster meat.
  3. Cut the lobster meat into ½-1 inch chunks, and add them into a large bowl.
  4. Add half of the melted butter into the bowl along with all the mayonnaise, chives, salt and pepper. Combine everything with a spoon until all the ingredients are evenly mixed.
  5. In a pan over low heat, add the rest of the butter and toast your sweet rolls until golden brown.
  6. Remove the rolls from the pan, and assemble your lobster roll by placing a piece of lettuce between the two slices of bread then adding the lobster meat mixture.
  7. Garnish with any extra chives and enjoy!

Before making this recipe, I considered serving the lobster rolls with a side of garlic noodles, but I became lazy and didn’t end up making them. However, the lobster rolls were surprisingly very filling so this recipe could be served with or without carbs — it’s totally up to you. I would highly recommend making this recipe because buying all four of the lobster tails cost me less than if I had purchased a single lobster roll from a restaurant, and they came out delicious!


Winnie Lam
Winnie Lam serves as the 2020-2021 On The Menu Editor. She has an unhealthy obsession with Trader Joe's and she loves all things matcha.