These light, golden crab cakes are a delicious little delicacy, absolutely mouthwatering with fresh watercress or salad greens on the side. My crab cake recipe is prepared with sweet, flavorful lump crab meat, then seasoned with fresh chives, parsley, a touch of Dijon mustard, and served with a bright, lemony chive mayo on the side!
A Golden and Delicious Delicacy
I was first introduced to golden and delicious crab cakes in my early twenties while doing what so many other twenty-somethings do: waiting tables.
Customers absolutely loved them, and they were one of the most popular appetizer items on the menu at the restaurant I worked at, and for good reason...
These crispy little cakes were made with lump crab, some spices, some herbs, and a few other tasty ingredients carefully folded together, then lightly seared on the hot griddle until golden-brown. They were tender, light and mildly sweet on the inside, and lightly crisp on the outside.
And because they were served with a couple of lemon wedges and a creamy sauce on the side, each bite of these crab cakes had a burst of savory, bright flavor.
They were so elegant and irresistible, and something I longed to be able to learn to prepare at home, which I ultimately did.
Easy to mix up, form, then lightly shallow fry, my crab cakes recipe is the perfect light meal or starter, extra fresh and lovely served with a bit of watercress or arugula on the side!
My Recipe for Crab Cakes with Lemon Chive Mayo
This crab cakes recipe is pretty classic in that it doesn't have a lot of filler ingredients, only a sprinkle of fresh chives and parsley, along with some simple seasonings that compliment the flavor of the crab meat.
And while a traditional crab cakes recipe typically calls for saltine cracker crumbs, I actually prefer to use panko breadcrumbs, as these are a bit lighter and more delicate.
While these crab cakes are a delectable treat on their own, perhaps with a little squeeze of lemon, they're over-the-top scrumptious with my creamy, tangy, and mildly spicy chive mayo sauce to dip into...
I personally really enjoy a creamy, citrusy sauce, one that has a good amount of lemon. And since fresh chives have a terrific, savory little “bite”, I always add in some of those.
I even appreciate a little kick of spice in my sauce, so I like to add a pinch of two of cayenne pepper!
Here's a sneak peek at my crab cakes recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I whisk together my binding ingredients, then gently fold my crab meat to combine.
- Next, I shape the mixture into 8 crab cakes, then chill those for an hour to help them hold together.
- While the crab cakes chill, I prep my lemon chive mayo, and keep that cold.
- To fry my crab cakes, I add a few patties into the hot oil in my skillet, and fry just until golden and lightly crisp on the outside, the drain them for a moment on paper towels.
- I serve the them hot with the lemon chive mayo on the side, as well as some watercress or light greens on the side.
Crab Cakes Recipe
by Ingrid Beer
This golden and delicious crab cakes recipe is made with fresh lump crab meat, and comes complete with a lemony chive mayo sauce on the side!
Yield: 8 crab cakes
Nutrition Info: 508 calories (2 crab cakes with 2 tablespoons mayo)
Prep Time: 30 minutes (does not include 1 hour for chilling)
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Crab Cakes Ingredients:
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ cup mayo
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 pound lump crab meat, picked through for shell pieces
- 2 tablespoons finely minced red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely minced chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Peanut or vegetable oil for frying (about ¼ cup)
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
Chive Mayo Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 cup mayo
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Pinch or two of salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of chopped chives
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your crab cake ingredients according to the ingredients list to have ready and organized for use.
- To make the crab cakes, whisk together the beaten egg, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon in a small bowl, and set aside for a moment.
- Place the crab meat into a medium-sized bowl, and add in the minced red bell pepper, chives, parsley, salt, pepper and cayenne, plus the egg/mayo mixture, and ½ cup of the panko breadcrumbs, and carefully combine taking care not to overwork it.
- Make the crab cakes by dividing the crab mixture into 8 equal portions (⅓ cup each), and gently shape into cakes (the mixture may be a bit delicate, so try your best to shape the patties and press them together to keep their shape). Chill the cakes for about 1 hour.
- While the crab cake mixture chills, gather and prep your chive mayo sauce ingredients according to the ingredient list above.
- To prepare the chive mayo sauce, add all of the ingredients to a bowl, and whisk together to combine. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use.
- To fry the crab cakes, add enough peanut or vegetable oil to the bottom of a large pan to shallow fry the patties, and allow the oil to become hot. Once the oil is hot, add 4 crab cakes to the hot oil (working in batches), and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden-brown in color, and crispy.
- Remove the crab cakes from the oil and place onto a wire rack or onto a paper towel to drain of excess oil.
- Serve with lemon wedges and some of the chive mayo sauce on the side, perhaps with watercress or delicate greens on the side.
Tips & Tidbits for my Crab Cakes Recipe:
- Lump crab meat: Lump crab meat can be a bit expensive, but it is the best to use for crab cakes because of the flavor and texture. Look for something called “backfin”, or if you're willing to spend a bit more, you can purchase jumbo lump crab meat.
- Handle crab cakes with care: When mixing the ingredients together for the crab cakes, take care to do it gently to keep the integrity of the lump crab meat and keep the texture light for the cakes. Do not over mix.
- Chill the crab cake mixture before frying: It helps with the binding when you chill your formed crab cakes for about an hour before frying them; it also gives the flavors a chance to meld.
- How to prepare crab cakes ahead: You can prepare the crab cake mixture and form the cakes ahead of time. Simply place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or tray, cover, and refrigerate until ready to prepare.
Hungry for more cozy seafood recipes? Check out these Crispy Fish Sticks, this Fried Calamari with Spicy Marinara, this Mediterranean Salmon Burger, this Fish Sandwich, or these Seared Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2018, and has been updated with even more love!