Dig in; it’s crab cake time! Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, or as an appetizer.

These no-fuss crab cakes have a lot of flavor (and a lot of crab) in a one bite. Crab patties are pan fried until crispy on the outside and tender inside.

This classic recipe is a keeper for party food like appetizers, side dishes, or even a light entrée with a side salad!

close up of Easy Crab Cakes

Easy Crab Cakes

  • Fresh ingredients: Experience a jumbo lump crabmeat explosion with minimal fillers and panko breadcrumbs, ensuring each bite is meaty and flavorful with bright herbs and a zesty citrus twist.
  • Easy-peasy Lemon Squeezy: Never made a crab cake? No worries, they’re easy! Mix, shape, and pan-fry (or bake) to achieve that perfect golden brown finish with a quick pan-fry.
  • Versatile: These crab cakes are great as appetizers, side dishes, or even the main course. Pair them with your favorite greens, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or a splash of hot sauce for an extra kick.
stack of Easy Crab Cakes

Ingredients for Crab Cakes

  • Crab Meat: Go for those meaty lumps and claws! Ensure you pick high-quality fresh crab meat, and always check for any sneaky bits of shell or cartilage. While I prefer lump crab meat, you can use canned crab as well.
  • Seasoning: Dijon mustard, a hint of Worcestershire, and fresh herbs add great flavor. for the ideal flavor. And don’t forget the iconic Old Bay seasoning to elevate the taste.
  • Breadcrumbs: I use very little filler, just enough to keep it all together. Panko with a little bit of mayo is my fave choice for the best texture. You can use crushed saltine crackers in place.
  • Variations: Customize to your heart’s content! Add diced red or green onions, bell peppers, or even a touch of cajun seasoning. Watching your carbs? Swap out the panko with crushed pork rinds for a delicious, low-carb alternative.
mayonnaise , seasonings , worcestershire , crab , egg, dijon , panko , parsley , oil and lemon to make Easy Crab Cakes with lables

How to Make Crab Cakes

For the best crab cakes, chill them so they keep their shape while they cook.

  1. In a large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, egg, mustard, and Old Bay seasoning.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (per recipe below), being gentle so you don’t break up the crab too much.
  3. Chill crab cakes and cook them in oil for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through and lightly browned. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

What to Serve With Crab Cakes

Serve crab cakes with homemade tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or light garlic aioli.

Leftover Crab Cakes?

Leftover crab cakes can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat them in a dry saute pan on medium heat to make them crispy again or reheat them in the air fryer. Freeze cooled crab cakes for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. Leftover crab cakes can be chopped and added to a crab salad, or mixed into a cheesy crab dip.

Easy Crab Cakes on a blue dish with lemon wedges

Did you make these easy Crab Cakes? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Easy Crab Cakes with lemon
4.98 from 84 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Crab Cakes

This Crab Cake recipe is easy to follow and makes juicy crab cakes that have meaty crab in every bite!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8 crab cakes

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs unflavored
  • 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • lemon wedges for serving

Instructions 

  • Check the crab meat for any hard and sharp cartilage, remove, and discard.
  • In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, beaten egg, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay seasoning.
  • Add crab meat, bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Gently fold to combine, being careful not to break up the crab.
  • Gently press to shape into 6-8 crab cakes using ⅓ cup each, then place on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick over medium heat. Cook the crab cakes 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  • Serve immediately with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Be gentle with the crab mixture so the crab doesn’t break apart. Don’t skip the refrigerating, or the crab cakes will not hold together.
To bake crab cakes: Preheat oven to 450℉. Place crab cakes on a foil-lined baking tray and bake for 13-18 minutes until browned.
Leftover crab cakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan with a bit of oil over medium heat. 
4.98 from 84 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 232 | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 938mg | Potassium: 153mg | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 6.8mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer, Main Course, Seafood
Cuisine American

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plated Easy Crab Cakes with lemon slices and writing
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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I’m from Baltimore, home of the original Maryland crabcake, and finally, a crab cake recipe that is accurate. I use saltine crackers soaked in milk instead of breadcrumbs. Just tastier. No need for lemon either. But otherwise a good recipe. Do not shred crab meat when you mix. Enjoy!5 stars

  2. Our neighbor gave us a freshly cooked crab last night. We quickly found your recipe for crab cakes, took a few deep breaths and began our first go at cracking a crab! Let’s just say it’s not for the squeamish Boy what an interesting creature! Anyway it only produced about a 1/2 lb of meat so adjusted the recipe to that… 1 egg is 4 TBSP so used 2 TBSPs and went halves on everything else. Didn’t have celery seed which some other reviews said was the key to making authentic crabcakes so just grated a small stalk of celery, squeezed out the excess liquid and mixed all ingredients together except the crab, parsley and panko. Gently folded those in, pressed into 4 patties and popped them in the refrigerator for an hour. Air fried at 350 for 7 minutes each side and they came out absolutely perfect TY for your delicious recipe!

    1. Perfect way to use up extra crab! I am glad you enjoyed this recipe. Thanks for sharing your delicious alterations.

  3. This was my first time making crab cakes, and I was really nervous that mine turned out too “wet,” but after an hour in the fridge, they firmed up and fried perfectly and were delicious! I will never buy premade crab cakes again with this recipe in my arsenal and knowing how easy they are to make.5 stars

  4. I commented on this in February and listed our Eastern Shore of MD recipe. Did you ever get to try it? The celery seed may sound bizarre, but that really is the secret ingredient. Please give them a try so I can see what you think. Family has been using this recipe for 75 years. I gave yours 5 stars because everything you post is outstanding. We’re just real purists when it comes to crab cakes! I’m afraid on this one, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!5 stars

    1. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Susan! I completely understand, there are some recipes I grew up that I just don’t change lol

    1. We haven’t air fried these yet so I am not sure on the exact cook times but they should work well in the air fryer!

  5. I’m from Maryland and ware very possessive of our crab cakes. This is the first one that is the closest to what we do. You really don’t need the hot sauce or lemon. Be very careful when mixing in crab as to not shred it5 stars

    1. We’re from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We have a recipe from a local seafood restaurant that is the ultimate keeper. So simple. Crabmeat (1 lb), grated fresh breadcrumbs (about a slice….just eyeball it), eggs (2), mayo (1 TBS), dry mustard (1/2 tsp), salt (1 tsp or less), black pepper (1/2 tsp) and celery seed (1 tsp). Yes, celery seed is the secret ingredient! Trust me on this one. No extra crab seasoning (we prefer J.O. Spice No. 2 when we use it). Try your next batch with those ingredients. If you love the taste of crabmeat unadulterated, I think you’ll love these! i will not divulge how the recipe was obtained….I will take that secret to my grave!

  6. Was wondering if you can use canned crab meat? If so, how much would you suggest? This is my first go to site for recipes. Thank you for many great meals.

    1. I’ve only made the recipe as written, but I’m sure that would work just fine Cathy! The recipe calls for 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, so I would use an equivalent amount. Let us know if you try it!

    1. I’ve only made the recipe as written, but I’m sure that would work just fine Darlene! Let us know if you try it!

  7. Can you use a can of salmon instead of crab and use the same ingredients? Thanks a bunch, we love salmon patties, but if you have a recipe I would love to have it. Thanks again.

  8. Ugh, I used the whole tsp of salt. Noe I wasted expensive crab meat. Way too salty. I guess I should have used better judgement but no one really mentioned the salt amount.3 stars

    1. Oh no, I am sorry to hear that Steve. Did you use Kosher salt? We enjoyed this recipe as written, but you can definitely adjust the amount of salt if you prefer it less salty.

  9. I see salt and pepper on the ingredient list, but not in the instructions. Do you add for your taste preference, or…?

    1. Hi Natasha, you can add them to taste or in the quantities listed. I would add these in step 3 of the recipe.