I think crab should be the primary flavor in Crab Cakes – not mustard or spices or bread crumbs: crab! Well crab and a buttery crisp crust. Do you agree? If so, then this easy Crab Cake Recipe is for you!
In restaurants, I almost never order crab cakes (or Crab Salad). Only if I’ve seen them and know that they actually look like crab on the inside and not like breadcrumb patties. So often crab cakes are loaded with filler ingredients and too many other flavors.
In this easy crab cake recipe, I like to add just a few simple ingredients to hold them together and coat them in panko breadcrumbs so that they have that delicate crunch on the outside once you fry them. (I love to fry them in a mixture of oil and butter because butter and crab are made for each other! )
This is often referred to as ‘Maryland-style’ and I love how the Detroit Free Press defines it: “A true Maryland crab cake has discernible pieces of crab. It’s made with just enough filler to hold it together, and it has a sweet crab flavor.”
What kind of crab meat is best for crab cakes?
Look for high-quality lump crab meat that has a mix of of large and smaller pieces. You can also use jumbo lump crab (without the smaller pieces), but it’s more of a challenge to keep the crab cakes together when frying and is substantially more expensive.
Is canned crab meat good for crab cakes?
I don’t recommend using canned crab for crab cakes. It’s worth the splurge to use fresh lump crab. But if you decide to try this recipe with canned crab, keep in mind that the quality varies a lot by brand. Here is an article that reviews some of the most common.
I tried several recipes, including this one and this too, to come up with just the right ingredients to highlight but not overpower the taste of the crab. Most recipes call for Worcestershire sauce and/or Old Bay Seasoning, two ingredients that I like for some foods, but not for crab cakes as they overwhelm the crab flavor. And I skipped the bell pepper and/or celery that many recipes call for, opting for just some minced green onion. Again, crab should be the star!
There is one challenge to this lump crab cake recipe: you’ll have to be gentle when flipping them – they’re not little hockey pucks, so they require some finesse. But you’ll also find them forgiving.
Once you add the crab cakes to the pan, gently press down on the tops with a spatula to flatten them slightly and if they crumble a little on the flip, you can gently press them back together with your spatula. You’ll get the hang of it, I promise. And the delicately crispy, buttery, crab-forward (is that a thing?) result will be totally worth the effort.
What goes well with crab cakes?
How to Make Crab Cakes
Step 1: Whisk together lightly beaten egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot sauce and green onion. Gently fold this mixture into lump crab meat.
Step 2: Scoop out 1/3 to 1/2-cup of the mixture and shape into a 1/2-inch thick crab cake. Gently coat the crab cake in panko breadcrumbs and place on a parchment lined platter or baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture.
Step 3: Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet (ideally cast iron) until sizzling. Add crab cakes and cook 4-5 minutes; gently flip and cook 4-5 minutes more, until golden brown. Serve with remoulade, a perfect crab cake dipping sauce.
Crab Cake Recipe Video
Easy Crab Cakes
- Set up your breading station: Line a platter or baking sheet with parchment paper and spread panko breadcrumbs onto a medium plate.
- Place crab in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together first 5 ingredients (egg through green onions). Gently fold egg mixture into crab meat until fully combined.
- Scoop out 1/3 to 1/2-cup of the mixture and shape into a 1/2-inch thick crab cake. Gently coat the crab cake in panko breadcrumbs and place on prepared platter or baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet (ideally cast iron) over medium heat until sizzling. Add crab cakes and cook 4-5 minutes, gently press down on the tops with a spatula to flatten them slightly. Gently flip and cook 4-5 minutes more, until golden brown; if they crumble a little on the flip, gently press them back together with your spatula.
- Serve hot with Remoulade Sauce.