This irresistible elevated take on a classic crab cakes recipe will satisfy your seafood cravings and impress your guests! It starts with the perfect combination of crab meat to filler, to create a crispy golden exterior, and a succulent interior that will make you crave more!
Living on the Pacific Coast, we get our fair share of this succulent crustacean every year, and crab recipes like crab boil, crab melts, and seafood boil are a regular around here. Whether you live in Maryland, or the Pacific Northwest, a crab cake recipe is a trusted classic dish to make when you're craving seafood. Which is always in my house! It feels like a treat, but being filled with protein and omega-3s is a big bonus!
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WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE CRAB CAKES
First, its important to pick through the crab meat to remove any shells. We cook our own live crab and often find shells to discard. Next, comes fillers. I use a minimal amount in order to showcase our beloved crustaceans. Though, adding a couple of my go-to trusted seasoning blend to highlight the flavors and elevate it from an old fashioned recipe. And of course, we can't forget our trusted quick and easy tartar sauce that always makes the perfect pairing with seafood.
What's the best crab to use?
Whether you're on the east coast, or west coast fresh crab is always the premium choice, especially when it's a featured ingredient. Like in this classic recipe. We are typically working with Dungeness, but you can also use lump meat, snow, king, blue, or rock. We have out tested cracking and cleaning crab method for you to use if you're working with this fresh crustacean.
HOW TO MAKE CRAB CAKES
Begin by picking through the crab meat for any shells. This is common with fresh caught especially. Then, squeeze and drain some of the juice from the meat. Set the bowl aside for now.
In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, red onion, parsley, lemon zest, old bay, cumin, and parsley. Mix until well combined.
To the mixture, gently fold in the crab meat.
troubleshooting: If your mixture is too wet, this is a good time to place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to allow it to harden. This can happen if the ingredients sit out at room temperature for a while.
Shape the crab cakes into even disks, as big or as little as you'd like. Mine made 8 cakes.
Place the formed cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Chilling helps them hold their shape during the cooking process.
Heat the butter on medium heat in a large skillet or cast iron.
Once the butter has melted, add the cakes to the skillet, ensuring they don't touch. Cook in batches if necessary.
Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy.
Once cooked, transfer them to a cookie cooling rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Serve them hot with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.
This is our tested and perfected 4-ingredient tartar sauce that we use on all things seafood! It's so quick and easy to whip up that even with 4 kiddos running around, I never buy it from the store!
To make the tartar sauce: Grab a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, sweet relish, dill, and a bit of fresh lemon juice. Mix it until it's well combined and it's ready for your dish!
We often use alternatives when there's a gluten-based recipe, like sourdough, gluten-free panko, or dry your own gluten-free bread in the oven. Once the bread is completely crisp and dried, add to a food processor and crush until it resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, use mashed potatoes if you are avoiding breads altogether. I've made it with potato as the filler, and it turned out delicious, though the texture will be smoother and softer.
I have a few tips to prevent the cakes from falling apart. First, make sure you've drained your crab meat well. Excess liquid can water down the cakes and make them easier to fall apart. Secondly, keep your ingredients cold. Avoid them sitting out at room temperature for too long. Lastly, keep the formed crab cakes chilled by placing them in the fridge to completely cool.
Yes. You can absolutely make them ahead of time and keep them on a sheet pan lined with parchment, then cover with foil or plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for as long as you need to, up to a day in advance.
WHAT TO SERVE ALONGSIDE
Enjoy them as an appetizer to share, or as a main course. Here are some options to serve with them:
Crusty bread, or this rosemary parmesan bread.
OTHER RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
Crab Cakes with Simple Tartar Sauce
FOR THE CRAB CAKES
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup red onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 whole lemon zested
- 1 teaspoon Old bay
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 cup breadcrumbs gluten-free or regular
- 2 cups crab meat approx. 1 pound
- 2 tablespoon salted butter for cooking
FOR THE CRAB CAKES
- Begin by picking through the crab meat for any shells. Squeeze and drain some of the juice from the meat. Set the crab aside for now.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the mayonnaise, red onion, parsley, lemon zest, old bay, cumin, and parsley. Mix until well combined.
- To the mixture, gently fold in the bread crumbs and crab meat.
- Shape the mixture into about 8 crab cakes. Make them smaller for appetizers, or larger for a main course.
- Place the formed cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Chilling helps them hold their shape during the cooking process.
- Heat the butter on medium heat in a large skillet or cast iron.
- Once the butter has melted, add the cakes to the skillet, ensuring they don't touch. Cook in batches if necessary.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy.
- Once cooked, transfer them to a cookie cooling rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Serve them hot with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.
FOR THE TARTAR SAUCE
- In a small bowl, mix the mayo, sweet relish, dill, and lemon juice. Serve alongside the crab cakes.