Crab cakes are a staple item at most seafood restaurants, and for good reason, they are easy to make and quite delicious.
This recipe makes my favorite crab cakes. They have a lot of lump crab meat and very little filler. They are seared for just a couple of minutes to give them a golden brown crust and then finished in the oven. Ready in about 40 minutes, they are perfect for an easy main course or special appetizer. If serving as an appetizer, just form smaller crab cakes. The cooking process is the same for both.
Depending on where you live, fresh crab meat can be difficult to find. It's also expensive and a lot of work to clean. I always seem to find little bits of shell in my crab cakes whenever I use fresh lump crab meat. Fortunately, canned jumbo lump crab meat works just fine for crab cakes. Canned Dungeness crab is fantastic, but, like fresh crab, can be hard to find. For this recipe, I used imported canned crab meat that worked well.
- Jumbo lump crab meat
- Beaten egg
- Lemon juice, zest and wedges
- Dijon mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
- Old bay seasoning
- Cayenne pepper
- Red bell pepper
- Panko bread crumbs
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
To make the very best crab cakes, start by combining the beaten egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, bell peppers, Dijon mustard, old bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the panko breadcrumbs and chives. Next, gently fold in the lump crab meat while keeping the big pieces of crab whole. Refrigerate the mixture for 10 minutes.
Form each crab cake with ½ cup of the crab mixture. Use a food press if you have one. It allows you to lightly compress the crab cake which helps it hold together during the cooking process. Carefully place the formed crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or parchment and refrigerate for another 5 minutes. They hold hold together better when chilled before cooking.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, carefully dip the crab cakes in panko breadcrumbs then sear for 2 minutes until they are golden brown. Carefully turn them over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove them from the pan and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining crab mixture. Bake for 10 minutes and serve with aioli and lemon wedges.
A food press is a handy thing to have in the kitchen. It's basically just a metal sleeve with a small plunger that fits inside. This inexpensive tool is easily found online and can really help with certain recipes like this one. The crab cakes in the picture above were made with a food press.
Leftover cooked crab cakes can be refrigerated for 2 days and reheated in a 300°F oven in about 10 minutes.
If the crab mixture is a little dry, just add more mayonnaise a tablespoon at a time. The crab cakes need to be moist to bind together during the cooking process. Dry crab cakes will just fall apart in the pan.
Looking for other great seafood recipes like this? Try these:
- 1 Food press optional
- 1 egg beaten
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ lemon juice and zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seafood seasoning
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon red bell pepper chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives finely chopped
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 pound lump crabmeat remove any bits of shell
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ lemon sliced in wedges, seeds removed
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- To make the aioli, whisk the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic and kosher salt together in a small bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 400℉. In a large bowl, add the mayonnaise, egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, Old Bay seasoning, garlic and red bell pepper. Stir until combined.
- Add panko and stir to combine. Gently fold in crabmeat without breaking up lumps. Refrigerate crab mixture for 15 minutes.
- Place ¼ cup of panko bread crumbs onto a small plate.
- Measure out ½ cup of the crab mixture and form into patties about 2 ½ - 3" wide and press them together. This is best done with a food press. Gently press the crab cake into the panko bread crumbs. Flip the crab cake over and press the other side into the panko and set aside. Repeat with the remaining crab.
- Heat the oil and butter together in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the butter has melter starting to sizzle, add several crab cakes to the pan and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the crab cakes over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the crab cakes from the pan and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining crab cooks and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedges and aioli.