Crab Cakes Recipe
Homemade Crab Cakes are better than any restaurant version because they are loaded with lump crab meat. This is the ultimate crab cake recipe with very little filler and seasoned to perfection.
Learn how to make the best crab cakes! They are easier than you think, especially if you buy already hand-picked or fresh-picked crab meat. If you pick the meat yourself, it takes a little more time but it’s well worth the effort. read all of our tips below then try this crab cake recipe for yourself.
The Best Crabs for Crab Cakes:
As we shared with our Crab Legs Tutorial, crabs must be sold live or pre-cooked and will be either frozen or thawed from frozen. Since the meat is already cooked, all you need to do is remove it with a crab cracker then cooking crab cakes is quick and easy. I use the meat from the legs, claws, and even the loaded pockets of crabmeat in the body of the crab. As long as you can get the lump crab meat out of them, a variety of crabs would work.
- Blue Crab – from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. The famous Maryland Crab Cakes are often made with Blue Crab Meat.
- Stone Crab – from Florida and are common in that area for crab cakes.
- Snow Crab – from the North Atlantic and North Pacific and are typically sold in clusters of legs and can be more expensive.
- King Crab – from North Pacific waters – is the most expensive crab meat, although it is easier to remove from the crab leg.
- Dungeness Crabs – (from the Pacific Coast). These are the most readily available inland and tend to be the least expensive per pound so it is what I use. Per my request, the fish counter is always kind enough to clean the crab for me, which makes the process easier.
Cooks Tip: 2 Dungeness crabs can yield 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs of crab meat. I used 2 crabs for this recipe.
Can I Use Canned Crab Meat?
It’s best to use crab meat that is as fresh from the crab as possible and lump crab meat is important. If the crab meat is pre-packaged, it should come from the refrigerated section of the store. I have tried with crab meat from an aluminum can which resulted in overly salty, fishy-smelling crab meat and was a major disappointment.
Tips for Making Crab Cakes:
- Check for Shell Pieces – before adding the crab meat, I like to pick it apart to check for any stray shell fragments.
- Refrigerate – chill the mixture for 30 minutes before forming your patties and they will hold together better. It also gives a chance for the flavors to meld.
- Ice Cream Scoop – a trigger release scoop makes it easier to portion even crab cakes.
- Wet hands – Keep a bowl of water for dipping while forming patties. Crab cake mixture won’t stick to your hands.
- Non-Stick Pan – a good nonstick pan will keep the cakes from sticking to the pan and breaking apart. It also requires less oil and butter to saute.
Can I Substitute Old Bay Seasoning?
Old Bay Seasoning is classic with crab and seafood. It can be found in the spice section of the grocery store (and may also be near the seafood department). If you aren’t able to find it locally, you can also get old bay seasoning online.
Cajun Seasoning is the best substitute I have found which compliments crab and seafood well, just like our Cajun Shrimp Skewers. Cajun seasoning can be spicier depending on the type you get so I recommend using 1 tsp of cajun seasoning or add to taste.
The Best Dip for Crab Cakes:
- Lemon Aioli – the simple combination of 1/2 cup mayo, 1 tsp lemon zest, 2 Tbsp lemon, and 1 pressed garlic clove is simple and excellent! It’s the same one we love with Shrimp Cakes.
- Tartar Sauce – you’ll love our homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe on all of your seafood. We use it on our Salmon Cakes.
- Cocktail Sauce – this red sauce is popularly used on a Shrimp Cocktail Ring but also pairs well with Crab Cakes if you love those subtle spicy flavors.
Crab Cakes Recipe
Homemade Crab Cakes are better than restaurant versions because they are loaded with fresh lump crab meat. We love this crab cake recipe because it has very litter filler and is seasoned to perfection.
Crab Cake Ingredients:
- 1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 medium onion 1 cup, finely diced
- 3 Tbsp olive oil divided
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter divided
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp mayo
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp old bay seasoning or 1 tsp cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 lb lump crab meat from 2 Dungeness crabs
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cups parsley finely chopped
Lemon Aioli Dip:
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove pressed
How to Make Crab Cakes:
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp oil and sautee diced bell pepper and onion until golden and soft (7-9 min) then remove from heat and let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 3 Tbsp mayo, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 tsp old bay seasoning or 1 tsp cajun, 1 tsp garlic salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
Drain and pick over the crab meat to make sure there aren’t any stray shells, lightly breaking up big pieces of meat. Transfer to the large bowl with egg mixture.
Add cooled bell pepper and onion, panko crumbs and parsley and stir until combined and moistened. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Divide mixture into about 15 cakes. With wet hands, lightly shape into 1/2” thick patties. Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat with 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter and sautee crab cakes in batches for 4-5 minutes per side (reduce heat if browning too quickly). Transfer to a serving platter and repeat with remaining crab cakes adding more oil and butter.
How to Make Crab Cake Dip:
In a small bowl, stir together the lemon aioli dip ingredients until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with the warm crab cakes.