The Best Lobster Roll in Maine Is…

New England lobster has an appetizing reputation of its own, but it’s no secret that Maine offers the freshest, sweetest lobsters you’ll ever taste, not just in New England but in the country. That’s why we sent our food editor and her family in an RV, up the Maine coast, to crown the best lobster roll in Maine. This delicious challenge involved eating two to five rolls per day, and the criteria were simple:

Lobster Rolls with Butter on Picnic Table
©Yankee Magazine/Mark Fleming

Learn what our editors deem the best lobster roll in Maine.

New England lobster has an appetizing reputation of its own, but it’s no secret that Maine offers the freshest, sweetest lobsters you’ll ever taste, not just in New England but in the country. That’s why we sent our food editor and her family in an RV, up the Maine coast, to crown the best lobster roll in Maine. This delicious challenge involved eating two to five rolls per day, and the criteria were simple:
    • The beauty of the Maine lobster roll is its simplicity, a perfect marriage of lean, sweet meat with a buttery bun and rich sauces (mayo or butter). Therefore, lettuce, with its bitter, vegetal flavors and tendency to wilt and turn slimy when exposed to heat or mayonnaise, has no place in any lobster roll, ever. Celery, shallots, lemon zest, lobster roe, chives—all may be considered on a case-by-case basis, but tradition runs deep here.
    • On the matter of sauces, mayonnaise should be tossed with the meat just before serving or served on the side. Lobster left to sit in mayo absorbs its flavor and turns flabby. And while butter may be better (or not—we’re neutral on this), it should be poured over warm meat, lest it congeal.
Lobster
©Yankee Magazine/Mark Fleming
  • The roll must be split-top, buttered, and toasted on a griddle.
  • The whole shebang should fit into an average-size mouth, so that each bite is a medley of sweet (not over-salted) meat, buttery bun, and sauce.
  • In the end, don’t we all just want a great roll and a terrific view?
The top-ranked Maine lobster roll on our list comes paired with the lobster shack of your dreams: a tiny red hut perched over the water with a tented patio and picnic tables. Across a small cove, another red building serves as the drop-off point for day boats—and one family does it all, the catching and the cooking. There’s homemade peach pie and coleslaw and the freshest lobster. And here’s the genius part: Not only can you get a half-and-half roll (one side butter, one side mayonnaise, sliced crosswise), but they also put the mayo in the bottom of the bun. Like a condiment! Which is what it is! The lobster tastes like lobster, the bun tastes like butter, and the sauces enrich the lean meat. Find out our favorite Maine lobster roll in The Great Lobster Roll Adventure—one of many great guides in The Ultimate Lobster Collection! Want to discover tips, tales, and trivia starring our favorite crustacean? The Ultimate Lobster Collection discovers the best Maine lobster roll, explains how to cook lobster, and offers tips for making it the same way as one of our favorite lobster shacks. With your Yankee All-Access Charter Membership, you have full access to everything in The Ultimate Lobster Collection, including:
Lobster Roll in Napkin
©Yankee Magazine/Mark Fleming
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