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Crab Cakes

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posted: 12/16/23

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

These Crab Cakes will blow your mind! Unlike what you get at restaurants, these are packed to the brim with crab and have a great flavor. This is the perfect appetizer or dinner!

Crab Cakes on a plate with lemon wedges. Sauce and a glass of wine beside. Fork for eating.

One of my favorite things to get when I go out to eat is Crab Cakes. They are absolutely delicious and not something I typically think to make at home. But this homemade recipe for them is so easy, and it is far better than any I’ve had in restaurants. These delicious seafood bites are filled to the brim with crab meat and delicious flavor from my homemade Old Bay Seasoning.

Crab Cake Ingredients

Aside from the key ingredient and star of the recipe, crab meat, the other ingredients contribute the perfect union of flavors and binders that make this the best crab cake recipe! For the full recipe including all measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Panko breadcrumbs: Helps the crab cake crisp up and gives the binders something to stick to. Panko breadcrumbs provide a bit more crunch than regular breadcrumbs.
  • Mayonnaise: Adds some creaminess and moisture to the crab cakes while also acting as a binder.
  • Dijon mustard: Adds some tang and moisture to the mixture. I do not recommend using yellow mustard.
  • Old Bay Seasoning: Adds a flavor profile that compliments the crab perfectly. It is easy to make your own old bay seasoning to keep on hand.
  • Worcestershire sauce: A little goes a long way and adds great flavor.
  • Egg: Helps to bind the ingredients together when baking.
  • Lump crab meat: The star of the recipe, see my note below for what crab meat to use.

Homemade Old Bay Seasoning Recipe

This Homemade Old Bay Seasoning is easy to throw together! We have so many great recipes that uses this delicious seasoning mix.
homemade old bay seasoning in a small jar

How to Make Crab Cakes

Here is a brief overview of how to make crab cakes. For the full recipe including all measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Combine the crab cake ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, egg, salt, and crab meat. This is easiest to do with clean hands.
  • Form into patties. Form the mixture into four patties using your hands, then put them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Bake the crab cakes. Put the crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with foil and oil and broil them for 10 minutes. While they are baking, make your remoulade sauce. Enjoy!
Overhead of Crab Cakes on lettuce with lemon wedges beside. Dipping sauce beside.

How to Cook Crab Cakes

While some crab cake recipes use a hot skillet on the stove, I prefer baking them in the oven. This makes them a little healthier because we aren’t frying them.

Using the broil setting, your oven gets hot to achieve the crispy outside of the crab cakes and keeps the cooking time low at around 10 minutes. By lining a baking sheet with foil and brushing it with oil, the bottoms as well as the tops of these delicious crab cakes crisp up. Baking them also helps the cakes keep their shape and plumpness.

As far as how long to bake crab cakes, if they are about an inch thick I would plan on 10 minutes on the middle rack of your oven. Keep a close eye on your crab cakes so they do not burn.

Cooking Temperature for Crab Cakes

These are done when they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. While the crab is fully cooked, we are using ingredients that need to be cooked through. Ten minutes should be perfect under the broiler, but if you want to be sure, use an instant read thermometer that can be left in the cakes while they bake.

TOP PICK

Instant Read Thermometer

I love this instant rad thermometer. It can be left in meat dishes while they bake so you can remove it from the oven at the perfect moment.
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Real Crab vs. Fake Crab

I have many recipes I choose to use imitation crab meat, including my Crab Pasta Salad. In this baked crab cakes recipe, I recommend using real lump crab meat. While it is more expensive than imitation crab meat, it is worth it for this recipe.

You need 12.75 ounces lump crab meat for this recipe. This is the dry weight after it has been drained. This typically translates to 18 ounces of canned crab meat. Be sure to drain it and then comb through the meat to remove any shells. If real crab isn’t in your budget, use the fake crab. It will work in this recipe and still be delicious.

Crab Cakes on a plate with lemon wedges and sauce. Dipping sauce and glass of wine beside.

Remoulade Sauce For Crab Cakes

This remoulade sauce recipe is the best combination of creamy and tangy, and with just enough spice, it complements the crab cakes in such a delicious way. Coming together quickly and with the option to make it ahead of time, it is the best crab cake sauce!

With a mayonnaise base, the unique flavors of pickle relish, sugar, hot sauce, lemon juice, and more make this the perfect crab cake sauce. Not only is this a delicious sauce for crab cakes, but it can also be enjoyed with Blackened Shrimp and even dipping for Air Fryer Potato Wedges. Store the sauce in the refrigerator and use within four days of making it. Enjoy the sauce cold.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Store the sauce separately from the crab cakes and store both in the refrigerator for up to four days. Leftover crab cakes are delicious right out of the fridge or can be reheated once if you prefer them warm. To reheat the crab cakes, place them back in the oven or use the air fryer until heated through. Always use your best discretion with leftovers.

Making Ahead and Freezing Crab Cakes

These crab cakes can be prepared ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a day in advance. If you want to make them further in advance than a day, they can be frozen. Make the mixture and form into patties. Place them in the freezer for 30 minutes as the recipe directs. After 30 minutes, transfer the crab cake patties to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. They can be baked from frozen.

For either way you prepare them ahead of time, I recommend baking them only when you are ready to eat them.

FAQ

Is it better to pan fry or bake crab cakes?

Baking them yields a crispy exterior without the extra grease of oil.

What causes crab cakes to fall apart?

We prevent this by whisking an egg which helps to bind the ingredients together. Freezing the patties before baking also helps the crab cakes set, which will prevent them from falling apart.

Can I make crabcakes in the air fryer?

Yes!

Crab Cakes on a plate with lettuce and lemon wedges. Glasses of wine and dipping sauce beside plate.

What To Serve With Crab Cakes

This recipe can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a meal. Serve with some fresh lemon slices and remoulade sauce or Cocktail Sauce. If you are making them as a meal, Coleslaw, a Caesar Salad, or Tomato Bisque are great ways to round out the meal. Here are some ideas for other easy appetizers to serve.

If you make this old bay crab cake recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!

Crab Cakes on a plate with lemon wedges. Sauce and a glass of wine beside. Fork for eating.
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Crab Cakes

Serves: 4 crab cakes
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
These Crab Cakes will blow your mind! Unlike what you get at restaurants, these are packed to the brim with crab and have a great flavor. This is the perfect appetizer or dinner!

Ingredients

Crab Cakes

  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (12.5 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg whisked
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (if using table salt use 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 12.75 ounces lump crab meat (361.45 grams) drained and picked through for shells (see note)

Remoulade Sauce

  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise (113 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon dill pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove minced

Instructions

Crab Cakes

  • Mix together the panko breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce, egg, salt, and crab meat.
    1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 12.75 ounces lump crab meat
  • Form the mixture into 4 patties that are approximately 1 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. Place onto a wax paper-lined plate. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat your broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush it liberally with vegetable oil.
  • Place the crab cakes on the prepared baking sheet. Place on the middle rack of the oven and broil for 10 minutes. Serve with remoulade sauce.

Remoulade Sauce

  • While the crab cakes cook, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce.
    1/2 cup light mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon dill pickle relish, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Notes

You need 12.75 ounces lump crab meat for this recipe. This is the dry weight after it has been drained. This typically translates to 18 ounces of canned crab meat.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Crab Cakes on a plate with lemon wedges. Sauce and a glass of wine beside. Fork for eating.

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Crab Cakes

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Deb says

    Can I make these and then put them on a warming tray. Have a large Christmas Eve party and do not want to be cooking when guests are here.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yes, that should work great.

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