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This easy step-by-step recipe details how to make the most delicious and flavorful Crab Cake recipe, perfect for an upscale dinner or appetizer. Made with succulent chunks of real crab, they are flavorful, crispy, and downright delicious when served with a tasty crab cake sauce.
Why you will love this recipe:
- Easy to make: Although crab cakes are considered upscale and tend to be something you only order in a restaurant, they are extremely simple to prepare and cook.
- Make ahead of time: This is one of those recipes that can be prepared ahead of time and then cooked when you’re ready to eat them. This is always great when entertaining.
- Easy to customize: The recipe is fantastic as-is, however any of the ingredients can be omitted or modified to your liking.
Exact quantities are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Crab: You can use fresh or frozen. Canned crab meat is also an option, however I have never made crab cakes with canned crab. I use Trader Joe’s wild caught frozen crab meat, however fresh Dungeness crab would be my ideal choice.
- Binder: I use both egg and mayonnaise to hold the crab cake together.
- Flavor: Real lemon juice, green onions, roasted garlic, cracker crumbs, Old Bay seasoning, and red pepper flakes all add amazing flavor and texture.
- Coating: Equal parts of panko bread crumbs and freshly grated parmesan cheese are combined to coat the crab cakes and give them that wonderful crispiness.
- Oil: Equal parts olive oil and butter create the best flavor and golden brown color.
How to make Crab Cakes:
Detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Mix ingredients: Add crab meat to medium sized bowl and drain out any excess liquid. Combine with remaining crab cake ingredients in bowl.
- Coat with breading: Coat both sides of each crab cake with the panko bread crumb parmesan mixture. If crab mixture is pretty wet, continue to flip and coat until it holds it’s shape.
- Fry: Place the breaded crab cakes in the hot oil and cook until both sides are a deep golden brown.
Crab Cake Sauce:
I made a homemade remoulade sauce. It’s a mayonnaise base sauce with a Cajun kick and only takes a few minutes to mix together.
These crab cakes are so rich and delicious, they don’t actually require a sauce to full enjoy them. But pass me a good sauce and I’ll never say no!
FAQs and Cooking Tips:
What is a crab cake?
A crab cake is simply a mixture of cooked crab that is held together with some kind of binder and then fried until crispy and golden on the outside. Of course, the ingredients you add to your crab cakes can drastically change the flavor and texture.
Very similar to when I make my salmon patties, everyone seems to find their own technique and recipe that they like best.
They make for a super tasty appetizer to serve before dinner or at parties. Crab Cakes are also delicious as a main course too, especially if you’re preparing a special dinner.
Make ahead directions:
The best way to prepare homemade crab cakes ahead of time is to mix all of the ingredients together, coat them with the bread crumb and parmesan mixture, and keep them refrigerated until they are ready to cook.
Preparing the crab cakes ahead of time like this is always a great idea, especially when you’re entertaining, because all of the prep work, including clean up, is done ahead of time.
Once you’re ready to cook the crab cakes, they only take a few minutes until they’re ready to serve.
Since I consider crab cakes to be on the rich and heavy side, I always prefer to serve them along side a lightly dressed salad of dark micro greens. There’s something about pairing a super nutrient rich salad with a decadent crab cake that makes my mouth sing!
My favorite salad dressing for a light and easy salad is my Lemon Vinaigrette.
Storage and leftovers:
I would recommend enjoying your crab cakes immediately. They always taste best right out of the pan.
I do, however, think cold leftover crab cakes are excellent on salad. In fact, I enjoyed these crab cakes on a giant green salad with homemade ranch dressing. YUM!
If you’re going to be storing leftover crab cakes, they should last about 3-5 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, add a bit of olive oil to a pan over low heat and cook until heated through.
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- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs more if needed
- 1/4 cup parmesan finely grated, more if needed
Oil for frying:
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Mix ingredients: Add crab meat to medium sized bowl and drain out any excess liquid. Combine crab with egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onions, roasted garlic, cracker crumbs, Old Bay seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
- Prepare breading: Combine panko bread crumbs and parmesan on plate.
- Prepare pan: Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
- Coat crab cakes: Divide the crab mixture into four equal portions. Coat both sides with bread crumb parmesan mixture. If crab mixture is pretty wet, continue to flip and coat crab cake until it holds it's shape (that's why you might need to add more bread crumbs and parmesan as needed).
- Fry crab cakes: Place breaded crab cakes in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown, flipping only once, about 3-5 minutes each side.
- Time to devour them: Serve crab cakes hot with remoulade sauce (recipe link in notes). Crab cakes are also delicious cold and leftover on a salad.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
This recipe was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don’t worry – the recipe hasn’t changed!