Difference Soft Shell Lobsters Vs Hard Shell Lobster

Difference Soft Shell Lobsters Vs Hard Shell Lobster

Lobsters are known as the king of seafood because of their nutritional level. In addition, dishes made from lobster are always popular with many people. Lobsters are a good source of protein and are not as high in saturated fat as other high-fat meat products. All types of lobsters will come in 2 main forms: Soft Shell Lobsters and Hard Shell Lobster. We're sure you've heard of them and wondered which one to buy better. How much did you understand about Soft Shell Lobsters and Hard Shell Lobster? We will help you make a choice after reading this article below!

 soft shell lobster

Lobster Molting Facts

Canadian lobster is American lobster, they grow through molting (Lobster molting is the process of shedding the shell to grow in size). After each molting, the size and weight of the lobster increased a lot, maybe gain 20% more weight. The lobster body is very soft and it takes a few months for the shell to harden again. However, the molting cycle of the stage in the life of a lobster is not the same: In the young stage, the molting cycle is short, the bigger the lobster, the longer the molting cycle.

About the time before the molting process, underneath the lobster's hard shell, a thin layer of skin will form and gradually separate from the hard shell. When molting, the lobsters separate from their shells along with the inner tendons. A molting process of lobster will take about 30 minutes.

It takes about 20 molts over 5 - 7 years for a lobster to mature, it will weigh about 1 pound and measure about 3.25 inches in length from the eye to tail. With this size, lobster is also known as chicken lobster. 

Once out of the old shell, the lobster will drink a lot of water into the body to stretch wrinkles on the new soft shell. The more water the fibers contain, the less meat there will be in a soft shell lobster. Over time the muscles will develop and fill in the gaps. The soft shell will also become a hard one and wait for the next molting.

View more how lobsters are graded and what size lobster should you buy?

Each molting like that, the lobster will face many dangers because the hard shell protecting it is lost, leaving "skin" wrinkled, soft. That is why lobsters will eat their old shells in return for their calcium and phosphorus. After a few days, the lobster shells begin to harden.

* To avoid misunderstanding, shedding is nature's way of preparing the animal for seasonal changes, while molting prepares the animal for a new stage of growth.

What Is A Soft Shell Lobster?

 soft shell vs hard shell lobster

Soft shell lobsters are the lobsters in a new shell after peeling. The new shell is always soft and weak. It is called soft shell lobster to distinguish it from lobsters that have not undergone a hard shell, they still possess a tough shell.

Lobster molting does not have a pre-scheduled schedule, but they usually happen in early July and in September. That is why there are often many soft shell lobsters in the summer and fall.

Soft shell lobster meat has more water, is softer and more bright red in color than hard shell lobster meat. Its soft shell is also more easily cracked.

What's The Difference Between Soft Shell and Hard Shell Lobsters?

Summary of the difference between hard shell and soft shell lobster


Price Ease of Cracking

Hard shell lobster

Contains a lot of delicious, thick and firm meat
Cost more per pound
Lobster utensils are required for safer shelling


Soft shell lobster

The meat is tender because more water released during cooking, and is loved by the locals The cost is less per pound, especially at times of low yield of soft shell lobster. Easy to crack, especially when separating the meat from the claw


The difference between Soft Shell and Hard Shell Lobsters is mainly the appearance, taste, and whether the meat is worth it or not.

 soft shell lobster vs hard shell

External Characteristics

Lobster is one of the crustaceans with hardened shell lobsters and the shell is already hardened. The shell of the lobster is shiny and we can observe this. In particular, we will see clearly the color spots of each types of lobster.

Soft shell lobsters have gone through a shell change process to grow. So they have a soft shell, cracking easily and not as shiny as a hard-shell lobster.

Easy cracking off

The soft shell of lobster is easy to peel, especially when the meat is separated from the claw. With hard-shelled lobsters, you need specialized tools, such as a knife or a pestle, to peel the shell, and it takes more effort to separate the meat at the base.


This is something that is still debating. Some people think that the softer and tastier lobster shells are, the sweeter meat is. And they also think that lobster with hard shells has a distinct flavor of lobster.

In fact, soft shell lobsters will not be as firm as hard shell lobsters, they are quite soft because they are soaked in water. The taste is also not very strong as the inside contains more water.

Value Meat

Perhaps this last factor will be more interested in people. Lobster prices are not cheap, so soft shell vs hard shell lobster, which has more meat. At this point, clearly the win is inclined to the hard shell lobster! Soft shell lobsters have up to 30% less meat than hard shell lobsters, and this 30% is water. So would you lose 30% of the money to buy "water" instead of buying meat? If a hard-shell lobster has a fuller flesh, then a lobster has a soft shell, the meat is only 1/2.

soft shell lobster



Why Are Soft Shell Lobsters Cheaper?

As we shared above. Soft shell lobsters have up to 30% less meat than hard shell lobsters, and this 30% is water. In addition, the amount of meat is also less, tender meat is no longer firm. These are the minus points of soft shell lobster that makes its price lower. For the same price, would you choose soft shell lobster or hard shell lobster? We bet you will choose hard shell lobster, if you choose soft shell lobster you are just wanting to give it a try!

Which Lobster Travels Best? Go For The Hard Shell!

There is no doubt that hard shell lobsters can survive better abroad than soft shell lobsters. Soft shell lobsters are considered to be of a low quality not because their meat is not delicious, but because they cannot be transported raw because of their impaired condition after molting. Crustaceans can live for about 24-36 hours outside the water, but soft shell lobsters can only live anywhere less than 20 hours outside of the water.

When Are Hard Shell Lobsters Available?

Depending upon the lobster season, you can buy lobsters as hard shells or soft shells. Hard shell lobster season typically runs from November/ December through June/ July, while soft shell season runs July/ August through October/ November.

During the winter months, lobsters move offshore, requiring lobster boats to travel longer distances, and inclement weather makes fishing more difficult for fishermen. Since then, the price of lobster has also increased.

April and May are usually one of the best months of the year to buy fresh hard-shelled lobster, and supplies are plentiful. Lobsters are generally in the most toned and healthy state after the cold months.

Especially in April when the lobsters move closer to the coast, fishermen will catch more and the cost of lobster will be much cheaper. You should choose the right time to enjoy delicious lobster dishes!

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Are You Getting Your Lobsters Worth?

The market for fresh lobster is often volatile seasonally. It is very difficult to have hard shell lobsters to supply all year round because fishermen often stop fishing around the time the lobster molts. Therefore, the supply of lobsters is not uniform, the price also fluctuates strongly.

Although it is difficult to find out lobster online suppliers in terms of both quality and freshness. However, Fishermen's Net is a reputable site. You can get good quality fresh lobsters. Delicious dishes from lobster such as grilled, steamed, and cooked lobsters will be made after receiving the goods at home.

Fishermen's Net online working system will finalize and deliver to your door. The delivery system ensures fresh lobsters of all sizes.

Soft or Hard Shell Lobsters: Which Should You Order?

This is probably the question that you most look forward to answered. Please pay attention to the following:

  • Crustaceans have about 20% more meat than their total body weight.
  • The shelled lobster meat is firmer, while the shelled lobster meat is softer and has more water.
  • Crustaceans are stronger and can live abroad for 30-40 hours. Lobster shells can be transported overnight and arrive in good condition.
  • Soft shell lobsters are weaker and live less after 20 hours while abroad, possibly dying during transport

So you can see that hard shell lobster is the best choice. It has firm meat, perfect taste of healthy living outside of water to ensure freshness.

Actually, in our opinion, whether it's soft shell lobster or crayfish, they all have delicious meat. But if placed on the scale, the hard shell lobster will be a little more valuable. Through the above sharing, we hope that you were able to make your own choice and learn more about soft shell lobster.

Watch this short video below to have a look at lobster.

Visit our blog for more useful tips related to the lobster. Feel free to contact us via the below contact information if you have any further questions or requests.

Website: www.mualobster.com
Address: 849 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04103.
Tel: +1 (207) 772-3565.

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