Hard Shell vs. Soft Shell Lobsters: Which is better? - Pine Tree Seafood

Hard Shell vs. Soft Shell Lobsters: Which is better?

Hard Shell vs. Soft Shell Lobsters: Which is better?

There’s a big misconception when it comes to hard shell versus soft shell lobsters. Even though there are some benefits to eating soft shell lobster, the winner is clear (and may even surprise you).

So…hard shell versus soft shell lobsters: which is better? Read on to find out exactly why we feel hard shell lobster is superior to soft shell. 

First: A Few Lobster Facts

To better understand the difference between hard and soft shell for lobsters (and most crustaceans), it’s important to understand a few key facts:

  • The exoskeleton is the lobster’s armor against the outside world, acting as a shield. It’s also the mold where the lobster grows and develops. The exoskeleton is what is shed during the “molting” process.
  • Over the first 5 – 7 years of its life, a lobster molts approximately 20 times before being considered an adult. At which time, it can finally vote and buy alcohol. (Just kidding.)
  • Every time a lobster molts, it increases in size by 20% (kind of like humans do during the holidays!).
  • A lobster sheds its old shell, revealing its new soft shell that has been forming underneath. The lobster practically busts out of the old shell by splitting open the hard shell.
  • A lobster molts in just 30 minutes!
Maine lobster next to a pumpkin

Hard Shell Lobster: Pros

  • While it’s personal preference, most people enjoy the texture of the hard shell lobster. It tends to be more dense and beefy.
  • Hard shell lobsters have significantly more meat. When a lobster shell is hard, that means they are full of meat…meaning more bang for your buck!
  • Since the lobster is more full of meat, it isn’t filled with water. Not only do you get more meat, but there’s also less mess while eating. That’s what we call a win-win!
  • Thanks to that hard shell, these lobsters have built-in armor and can better handle temperature fluctuations, which makes them far better suited for transit (or live lobster delivery). 
Shipping live Maine lobsters
Shipping Live Maine Lobsters from Pine Tree Seafood – we only ship Hard Shell lobsters!

Hard Shell Lobster: Cons

  • The shell is harder to crack, which may require some tools.
  • Some people – we won’t name names – claim the meat isn’t as sweet. (But you’ll have to be the judge of that!)

Soft Shell Lobster: Pros

  • With more room in their shells, soft shell lobsters have more water inside. This is known to marinate the meat more, making it more tender.
  • Additionally, with more water inside, it makes the lobster meat taste sweeter.
  • Soft shell lobsters are cheaper per pound.
  • Thinner, softer shells are much easier to crack and remove meet.

Soft Shell Lobster: Cons

  • Less meat. Who wants less meat?!
  • Soft shells can be messy to eat due to all that water inside their shell. It’s really a love-hate relationship.
  • 20-40% of soft shell lobsters don’t make it to the customer alive. That will definitely kill the mood during your romantic dinner.

And there you have it: hard versus soft shell lobster. While the choice is yours (and certainly a personal preference!), we think the favorite is pretty clear.

Ready to find out whether you prefer hard or soft shell lobsters? Order today or come into our Scarborough, Maine location to purchase fresh caught Maine lobster.