This easy crab cake recipe has just 7 simple ingredients. Packed with lumps of juicy crab meat, savory seasonings, and flaky breadcrumbs.
Crab cakes started as a staple dish in Maryland and Virginia but have become famous all over the United States. This family favorite is loaded with sweet and tender crab meat, Old Bay Seasoning, and breadcrumbs.
Whether it’s fried, baked, broiled, or grilled, the end product is a soft and flaky cake that is absolutely to die for. I used to think crab cakes were super fancy and hard to make. But they’re surprisingly simple!
Want to try your hand at making one yourself? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
How to Make Crab Cakes
I promise you; they are not that hard to make.
- First up, combine crab meat, bread crumbs, Old Bay Seasoning, and parsley. Mix until well incorporated. But do not overmix. Crab meat should be lumpy.
- In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, and egg.
- Combine the egg mixture with the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
- Form patties from the mixture and refrigerate for about half an hour. This will allow the crab cakes to firm up and prevent them from cracking or breaking up in the pan.
- Put the patties into a lightly greased baking sheet. Place in the center rack of the oven and broil for 10 to 15 minutes (or until lightly brown).
There you go! You should be able to get crab cakes that are crisp on the outside and tender and moist on the inside.
1 pound crab meat
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons fresh parsley (chopped)
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1. Preheat oven broiler.
2. Combine crab meat, bread crumbs, Old Bay Seasoning, and parsley. Mix until well incorporated. But do not overmix. Crab meat should be lumpy.
3. In a separate bowl, beat together mayonnaise, mustard, and egg. Combine with other ingredients and mix well.
4. Form into patties and refrigerate for about half an hour. This will allow the crab cakes to firm up and prevent them from cracking or breaking up in the pan.
5. Put the patties into a lightly greased baking sheet. Broil for 10 to 15 minutes (or until lightly brown).
Best Type of Crab Meat to Use for Crab Cakes
Did you know there is more than just one type of crab meat? Like any recipe, the key to a great meal starts with the best ingredients. Here are the 4 different types and which one’s you should choose to make the very best crab cakes!
- First up is the jumbo lump. It has an off-white shade and is harvested from crabs’ swimmer fin muscles. Since crabs only have two fin muscles, it requires a LOT of crabs to form one serving of this crab meat. So, don’t be surprised when you see how expensive this meat is! They’re astoundingly delicious, though, and may be eaten on its own or as a salad topping.
- Next is the lump crab meat. It has the same shade as the jumbo lump, albeit a tad bit smaller. It’s packed with flavor, comes from the body of a crab and makes for an excellent crab cake! This is one of the most popular options.
- Third on the list is the backfin or the flake crab meat. It is also harvested from the crab’s body, but also includes some shreds of lump meat. As for its consistency, it’s a bit flakier than the jumbo lump. Combine a few portions of backfin with lump meat and you’ve got yourself the best combination of crab meat for your crab cake.
- Last is the claw. It has a darker shade than the rest on the list. The claw isn’t as sweet, but definitely more flavorful. It’s the most affordable out of all the crab meats and is perfect for stews and soups.
As for the crab variety, many argue that blue crabs make the best crab cakes. They have this irresistible buttery flavor that no other crab possesses. However, some prefer the gigantic Dungeness crabs of the west coast. But at the end of the day, it’s not the crab variety as much as the freshness that matters most.
So, always ask your grocer where you can find the freshest crab meat in their store. Out-of-the-shell crab meat is usually sold cooked and ready to eat. You’ll rarely find stores that offer them raw. Some sell them canned, while others sell them frozen, and none of the two is ideal for crab cakes. Your best bet is fresh refrigerated crab meat.
Also, be sure to get the ones labeled “fresh-picked” or “hand-picked.” This means the crab meat is (almost always) free from shells and cartilage.
Crab Cake Ingredients
Apart from the crabmeat, this crab cake recipe calls for basic pantry ingredients.
- Crab meat. While other recipes recommend shredding the meat, don’t! Believe me, your crab cakes will taste much better with lumps!
- Bread crumbs. They serve as the cakes’ filler. I prefer Panko crumbs because they give the crab cake a nice crispy texture. Aside from bread crumbs, you may also use cracker crumbs.
- Egg. Another crucial binding ingredient in crab cakes.
- FRESH parsley. I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to use fresh parsley. Trust me, you will taste the difference.
- Old Bay Seasoning. Don’t substitute this for any other seasoning because it’s what gives the Maryland crab cakes their signature flavor.
- Mayonnaise. Mayo also serves as a binder – so don’t leave this ingredient out in case you are not a fan. Worry not, because you will not notice even a slight hint of mayo once the crab cakes are cooked. It will even help bring out the crab meat’s heavenly flavor even more. But, if you really can’t stand mayo, Greek yogurt makes for a good substitute.
- Ground dry mustard. If you don’t have this on hand, Dijon mustard works fine as well.
What to Serve with Crab Cakes
Sure, crab cakes are delightful on their own. But, you can transform this tasty treat into an unforgettable meal by pairing it with any of the sides below.
A simple green salad with creamy or vinaigrette dressing is a refreshing way to round out your meal – the lightness of the salad will balance out the richness of the crab cake.
If you want something more filling, serve the crab cakes with some cornbread. They are soft and sweet, just like crab cakes, which is exactly why the two make a fantastic pair.
Want something refreshing on the side? Creamy coleslaw is a tried and true side dish that goes well with pretty much all seafood. But especially crab cakes.
To make, combine a bag of pre-shredded bag of coleslaw mix, sunflower seeds, creamy salad dressing, and sugar. Drizzle with white vinegar dressing.
Tips & Tricks
- Do not over-mix the ingredients, or the crab meat will break apart. Gently and slowly fold the ingredients together to keep all the yummy lumps intact.
- Before forming your crab cake patties, refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes. This will make it a lot easier to form and will also prevent it from falling apart.
- For the best crab cakes, use fresh lump crab meat and Old Bay Seasoning. The right ingredients can make all the difference. And these two are the “secret” when it comes to making truly great crab cakes!
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