Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor has a cheesy lobster sauce on top of sweet and delicious lobster tails. This thermidor sauce has claw meat in it so there’s double the amount of lobster which is perfect for Father’s Day.
I received sample products from Lobster Anywhere for use in this recipe, but all opinions are my own.
I know. It sounds super fancy. Lobster Thermidor! Heck, I think anything with lobster sounds fancy. I even used lobster to make a grilled cheese fancy! We didn’t have a lot of opportunities to eat lobster when I was growing up. The most memorable was the all you can eat lobster buffet when we went to in Puerto Rico. Yes. All you can eat lobster. And what did I eat? All the claws because I wasn’t a huge fan of tails. At least not yet.
What is lobster thermidor?
Lobster thermidor is a dish where lobster meat cooks in a rich wine sauce. This combination of lobster meat and sauce are put back into the tail and cooked again. It’s topped with cheese and cooked until browned and bubbly. Yes. It’s twice baked lobster like twice baked potatoes. But way better!
This Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor doesn’t remove the tail meat and add it into the sauce. I used claw and knuckle meat in the sauce. This means there’s like double the lobster meat in this recipe. And the tail stays intact. It doesn’t get chopped up and added to the sauce which has the potential for making the tail meat tough.
Nope. I want to keep the tail meat nice and tender in my Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor. But I wanted the sauce to have that whole lobster experience, too. That meant I par cooked the lobster then topped it with the sauce. And then topped it with cheese for that extra delicious crust of cheese on top. I think Fathers deserve to be spoiled with double the lobster! Because dads are awesome. At least mine is.
The history of this dish is pretty vague, too. There’s at least 4 theories. Some attribute it to a play called Thermidor by Victorien Sardou. I must confess. I’m reading the theories on how this dish came into being and it’s all names and places I remember from my college days. The play was in the Comédie Française theatre. There’s mention of Robespierre and Auguste Escoffier. It’s a sordid history, for sure. But one that is definitely imbedded in France.
What’s in Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor?
Lobster, of course. Lobster tails don’t really take that long to cook. It’s the whole lobster that takes the longest to cook. But tails in an air fryer, cook for 10 to 12 minutes depending on your air fryer. And since I usually like to elevate my recipes, I kicked my lobster tails up with some Thermidor sauce.
There’s not just lobster but the Thermidor sauce has lots aromatics like tarragon, thyme, shallots, and garlic. There’s dried mustard, cayenne, and rosemary. I have two types of cheese in mine. I have Gruyere in the sauce and Parmesan cheese on top. Because Parm adds that salty richness that is so great with cream sauces like this one. Finally, there’s mushrooms that bring earthiness to the whole dish.
All of these ingredients come together on top of succulent and sweet lobster tails. The traditional recipe calls for cooking the tails, removing them from the shell, chopping them up, and adding them to the sauce. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted these sweet tails to stand out on their own. For the sauce, I used delicious claw and knuckle meat. Let me tell you. That was the best decision I could have made with this yummy Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor. Like I said, it’s double the lobster to celebrate Father’s Day!
How do you make Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor?
First, I prepped the tails. I took my kitchen shears and cut the shells of the tail. Usually, I would use a sharp knife and cut them, but my shoulders have taken a beating lately. So, I used shears to get through the shells and then took the knife to cut through the meat. I arranged them in a bed of aluminum foil to make sure they lay face up in the air fryer. I used salt once to do that. I won’t do that again. Foil is the best way to go.
The longest part of this Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor recipe is making the sauce. I say “hard” but it’s really not difficult to make. But definitely well worth the effort. I started with the mushrooms. I like my mushrooms to get some nice caramelization on them. So, I typically start mine in a very hot pan. Then I add in the butter and mushrooms almost at the same time. That way the butter doesn’t burn and the mushrooms will brown.
When I was happy with the color on the mushrooms, I add in the aromatics. I didn’t add the garlic and shallots at the start because I didn’t want them to burn as the mushrooms cooked. This is a hard lesson to learn for some. I mean, all my life the recipes I’ve read start with sautéing the garlic and onion in the pan. For some recipes, that’s not the best way to start. This is one of those recipes.
Along with the garlic and shallots I added the fresh thyme. Thyme and mushrooms are so delicious together. Next, I carefully added the cognac. If you have brandy use that. If you don’t have either and have some sherry, then try that. Finally, use some vegetable or chicken stock if you don’t want to use alcohol. Then the butter and flour go into the pan to create a roux. I stirred the roux until it was a golden brown before adding in the tarragon, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper. Omit the cayenne if I you want, but it doesn’t make the sauce overly spicy.
I combined the egg yolks and milk and slowly stirred them into the pan with a whisk. You want to be slow and steady with this. You don’t want to cook the eggs. You just want the sauce to be thick and creamy. When the milk mixture is stirred into the pan, the stir the sauce with a spoon until it begins to thicken. I switched to a spoon because I got tired of banging the mushrooms out of the whisk.
Once the sauce thickens, stir in the Gruyere cheese and the chopped lobster claws and knuckles. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I don’t like to add measurements for salt and pepper because it varies so vastly based on your taste buds. For me, that’s way less than what the hubs thinks is adequate seasoning.
I turned the sauce down to as low as I could get it while I preheated the air fryer at 380 F for 2 minutes. Once preheated I added the tails and let them cook for 8 minutes. I carefully removed the rack from the air fryer and spooned the Thermidor sauce on top of the tails. I sprinkled the Parmesan cheese no top. The tails went back into the air fryer and cooked for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until Parmesan cheese is golden and bubbly.
What does Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor taste like?
The sauce is rich and delicious. It has the earthy flavors of the mushrooms and thyme. The salty cheeses complement the succulent and sweet lobster tails, claw, and knuckle meat. A hint of the cognac flavor is there with the vibrant tarragon. Finally, there’s the hint of heat from the mustard and cayenne.
But the star of this Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor is the lobster. This is the main reason I wanted to keep the tails intact. The lobster is super sweet and delicious. And the rich sauce really brings out the sweetness of the lobster tails. Putting the claw and knuckle meat in the sauce means there way more lobster in this dish than you’d anticipate. And I don’t hear anyone complaining about it! I cannot wait to make this recipe again for Dad on Father’s Day! He’s going to love diving into this dish and I’m going to love how easy it is to make.
Air Fryer Lobster Thermidor has a cheesy lobster sauce on top of sweet and delicious lobster tails. This thermidor sauce has claw meat in it so there’s double the amount of lobster.
- 8 ounces mushrooms
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup diced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup chopped lobster claw meat
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese
- 2 lobster tails
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they begin to brown. Stir in the thyme, shallots, and garlic and cook until the shallots begin to soften and the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Carefully add the brandy or cognac to the pan and cook until reduced by half scraping up any bits of mushroom stuck to the pan.
- Add the remaining butter and stir until melted then stir in the flour. Cook the rue until golden brown.
- Stir in the tarragon, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
- Combine the milk and egg yolks together with a whisk and then slowly add the mixture to the pan stirring with a whisk. Continue stirring until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Stir in the lobster and cheese and cook until the cheese melts. Turn the heat to low to keep warm.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the lobster tails in half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Line your air fryer rack or basket with foil and create indents for the tails to sit with the cut side facing up. Preheat the air fryer at 380 for 2 minutes before adding the tails and cooking for 8 minutes.
- Spoon the sauce on top of the tails. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly on top.
- Serve with roasted potatoes and a tossed salad.
Amount Per Serving Calories 1238Total Fat 71gSaturated Fat 38gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 27gCholesterol 532mgSodium 1344mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 4gSugar 14gProtein 89g
I did not use all the sauce so I'd half that count.