Light, golden, and delicate, crab cakes are a flavorful little luxury! This delicious recipe makes them a breeze to prepare at home!
Crab Cakes, 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 of 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.
And because they were served with a couple of lemon wedges and a creamy sauce on the side, each bite had a burst of savory bright flavor.
They were so elegant and irresistible, and something I longed to be able to learn how to prepare at home!
This crab cake recipe is one that I came up with many years ago, and is pretty classic in that it doesn't have a lot of “fillers”, only a sprinkle of fresh chives and parsley.
And while a traditional crab cake recipe typically calls for saltine cracker crumbs, I actually prefer to use panko breadcrumbs, as these are a bit lighter, in my opinion.
These crab cakes are flavorful and delicate on their own, perhaps with a little squeeze of lemon. But if you'd like a simple and delicious sauce to serve alongside, then I've got you covered with a creamy, tangy, and mildly spicy chive mayo sauce for your dipping pleasure as well!
A Simple Crab Cake Sauce
A good quality store-bought tartar sauce is a perfectly fine option to serve with a homemade crab cakes recipe; but if a sauce is super easy to prepare from scratch, why not go that route?
I personally really enjoy a creamy, citrusy sauce, one that has a good amount of lemon. And fresh herbs are something that I love to use a lot, especially in sauce making, so 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!
This tasty crab cake sauce is made with only mayo, lemon, garlic, chives and a bit of seasoning; and it goes perfectly with the sweet-savory flavors of the crab cakes—super easy, it comes together in just a few minutes.
You simply whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to serve alongside your hot and crispy crab cakes!
Tips & Tidbits for Crab Cakes
- Jumbo lump crab meat: Jumbo lump crab meat can be a bit expensive, but it is the best to use for crab cakes because of the flavor and texture. Totally worth it if you're going to put in the effort to prepare these!
- Handle 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. Start by whisking together the wet ingredients, then add those to the crab and fold together. Finish by sprinkling in the breadcrumbs and herbs, folding those in as well.
- Chill before frying: Chilling the crab cake mixture for 1-2 hours before shaping into cakes really is essential. This makes the delicate crab cakes easier to work with, especially when it comes to shaping and frying.
- Do 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. You can also prep the lemony chive mayo sauce ahead as well!
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by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus 1 hour for chilling)
Cook time: 15 minutes
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
Crab Cakes Ingredients:
• 1 egg, beaten
• ¼ cup (slightly heaping) mayo
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• ½ teaspoon salt
• Pinch black pepper
• Pinch cayenne pepper
• 1 pound lump crab meat, picked through for shell pieces
• 1 tablespoon finely minced chives
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
• ½ cup (slightly heaping) panko breadcrumbs
• Peanut or vegetable oil for frying (about ¼ cup)
• Lemon wedges, for garnish
-To make the crab cakes, whisk together the beaten egg, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, salt, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl, and set aside for a moment.
-Place the crab meat into a medium-sized bowl, and pour this wet mixture over the crab, gently folding it in to combine; next add in the chives, parsley, and the panko breadcrumbs, and carefully fold together taking care not to overwork it.
-Cover the crab cake mixture and chill for at least 1 hour; then, shape into 8 crab cakes by taking a ⅓ cup portion and gently pressing it to form a patty shape (mixture will be a bit delicate).
-To fry the crab cakes, add enough peanut or vegetable oil (about ¼ cup) to the bottom of a large pan to shallow fry the patties, and allow the oil to become hot; once oil is hot, add 4 crab cakes to the hot oil (working in batches), and fry for about 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 sauce on the side.
Looking for more crispy seafood recipes? Check out this recipe for Crispy Fish Sticks!