Nothing tastes like a beach vacation quite like a truly delicious crab cake. This No Filler Crab Cake Recipe brings that Eastern Shore holiday to your very own kitchen with no fuss and no muss. It's one of my favorite simple seafood recipes and I can't wait for you to try it!
Before we start cooking crab, let's talk about buying crab!
When choosing your crab for crab cakes, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure you get the best quality and flavor.
- Choose fresh crab: Freshness is key when it comes to seafood. Look for live or freshly cooked crab if possible. If you're buying pre-packaged crab meat, check the expiration date and ensure it is well within the recommended time frame.
- Opt for lump crab meat: Lump crab meat is made of larger, whole pieces of crab meat, usually from the body of the crab. It has a sweet and delicate flavor, perfect for crab cakes. Jumbo lump crab meat, which is even larger pieces from the crab's back fin area, is the highest quality but will be more expensive.
- Check for shell fragments: Whether you're buying whole crabs or crab meat, examine the product carefully for any shell fragments or cartilage. These can affect the texture and enjoyment of your crab cakes. High-quality crab meat should be relatively free from shells.
- Consider the source: If possible, find out where the crab comes from. Different regions produce crab with distinct flavors. For example, Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are known for their sweetness, while Dungeness crab from the West Coast has a rich and slightly nutty taste. Choose a variety that suits your preference.
Now grab your apron and let's create this masterpiece!
Ingredients you'll need to make this recipe:
Before we get into the step by step instructions, a few notes on the ingredients:
Crab meat: On a recent trip back to the US, I found fresh lump crab meat on sale at my mom's local grocery store, so I snapped it up to make these cakes. Jumbo lump meat is another great option, if you have the budget for it! You could also use a combination of jumbo lump crab meat, lump crab, blue crab meat or the meat from Dungeness crabs.
Dipping sauce: I'm including a recipe for simple remoulade sauce in the recipe card - the perfect dipping sauce for these crab cakes. If you prefer traditional Tartar Sauce or Spicy Aioli, we have those, too!
Full ingredients and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions:
1. Make binder
In a small bowl, combine diced parsley, egg, mayonnaise, Dijon, Worcestershire, lemon zest, salt and hot sauce (if using). Whisk thoroughly.
2. Prep crab cakes
Gently move your crab into a medium-sized mixing bowl and pick through the meat to remove any shells or cartilage. Next, add the crushed saltines onto the bowl of crab, then pour the seasoned binder over the cracker crumbs and crab. Fold very gently to combine. Refrigerate the crab cake mixture for 30 minutes.
3. Make remoulade
While the crab cake mixture is chilling, make the remoulade. Combine mayo, cocktail sauce, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Taste and adjust seasoning right before serving.
4. Shape and broil crab cakes
Once the crab cake mixture has chilled, preheat broiler and position an oven rack about 6 inches below the coils. Use a ½ cup measuring cup or a large ice cream scoop to portion the chilled crab mixture into 6 equal mounds. Place them each on a foil-lined and lightly greased baking sheet.
Brush the cakes gently with melted butter (or drizzle over).
Broil for 10 mins or until cakes are golden brown and heated through. (Remember, the crab meat is already cooked. We’re just cooking the savory egg binder and helping the cake to set).
5. Garnish and serve
Remove from oven and serve warm with remoulade and lemon wedges.
Looking for more delicious crab recipes? Try these easy dishes next!
- Healthy Phillips Maryland Crab Soup
- King Crab Legs with Lemon Garlic Butter
- Shrimp & Crab Stuffed Salmon
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions for this recipe:
Yes, you can prepare the crab cake mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight before shaping and broiling. This allows the flavors to meld together and can make the patties easier to handle.
Yes, if you prefer, you can pan-fry the crab cakes in a skillet with a little oil or butter. Cook them over medium heat until they are golden brown on both sides and heated through.
Crab cakes are often served with sauces, such as tartar sauce, remoulade sauce, cocktail sauce, or aioli. They are delicious in a crab cake sandwich, served with a tossed salad, coleslaw, crispy baked fries, or a crusty garlic bread.
While you can use imitation crab meat as a substitute, it will not have the same flavor or texture as real crab meat, and will likely require more filler to hold the crab meat cake together. Real crab meat is recommended for the best results and most authentic taste.
Yes, you can freeze broiled crab cakes. Allow them to cool completely, then place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in a freezer bag and foil. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. For reheating, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then warm gently in a skillet until just heated through.
The purpose of crackers or bread crumbs is to hold the crab cake together, not necessarily add flavor. So you can use panko crumbs, buttery cracker crumbs, or any other relatively neutral flavored binder. If using something salty or savory (such as potato chips), you may need to reduce or eliminate the added salt or other salty components like worcestershire.
To store leftover crab cakes, keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For reheating, warm gently in a skillet with butter until just heated through.