Perfect Crab Cakes

August 31, 2009 (Last Updated: April 8, 2020)
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There’s nothing worse than a crab cake with fillers like potatoes or excessive vegetables. These aren’t potato or veggie cakes, they’re called crab cakes for a reason. You want to actually taste the crab meat. After spending a small fortune on good quality crab, why would you want to cover it up with excess? Although I was very hesitant to use canned crab meat, I opted for the most expensive canned crab meat I could find at Trader Joe’s (it was $12, a deal compared to what you’d pay at a fish market, AND this canned version keeps in your refrigerator for much longer than if you bought fresh!). As you can see from the photo, once I opened the lid, I was pleasantly surprised! It wasn’t a can of mush, but a can of succulent, delicious, good-quality crab! I was well on my way to a batch of yummy crab cakes. Next, it’s important to keep it simple, which is what I did. Don’t overdo it with too many spices, seasonings and (ugh) fillers! You want to showcase your crab, and this version does exactly that. These crab cakes are so tender on the inside, melting in your mouth, with a great crust outside. Try them next time you want to impress! You won’t be disappointed.

Crab Cakes

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crab, sauce recipes, seafood
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Author: Victoria


Crab cakes:

  • 1 pound lump crab meat picked over for shells
  • 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons olive oil separated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 4 dashes hot sauce
  • Pinch Spanish paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dried plain bread crumbs plus more for dredging


  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained and chopped
  • Pinch chopped parsley
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • Pinch Spanish paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat up 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until softened and then set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, add the crab meat (pick over it for shells, but don’t break it up too much), egg, mayonnaise, onions, mustard, hot sauce, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper and mix carefully. Add the bread crumbs, and fold the mixture until just combined. Set aside the crab mixture while you prepare the sauce. The moisture in the crab mixture will begin to soften the bread crumbs.
  • In a small bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and taste for seasoning. Set aside until you are ready to serve.
  • Add some bread crumbs to a plate for dredging your crab cakes. Portion out the crab mixture into whatever size cakes you’d like to make. You can make 4 to 6 large to decent-sized crab cakes, or a bunch of minis if you’d prefer. Shape the crab cakes into patties, but don’t flatten them too much as you don’t want to completely dry out the interior as they cook. Dredge each crab cake in bread crumbs and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the prepared crab cakes and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes until nice and brown (beware, if you make smaller cakes they will cook faster!). Remove from the heat and drain briefly on paper towels, just to blot some of the oil. Serve immediately accompanied by the sauce.

Notes & Nutrition

*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*

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  • Reply
    Tasty Eats At Home
    August 31, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Yum, crab cakes. I love crab, but don't get a lot of it. This sounds like a perfect treat.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    I have a tin in my cupboard and was looking for the perfect recipe! Many thanks!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I don't think I've ever noticed the canned crab meat at TJ's!!

    I've been telling my hubby for the longest time I will make him some, but its always been so darn expensive.

    Thanks for posting the recipe, and I totally agree about the fillers!

  • Reply
    The Duo Dishes
    August 31, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Finding a good crab cake at a restaurant can occasionally be hard, so making them is always preferred. Your version with the smokey paprika flavor is nice!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks, it's just a subtle touch 🙂 I'll have to make these again soon! Trader Joe's rocks!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    ohhh yum! I love trader joe's, they have a lot of great and tasty foods there

  • Reply
    August 31, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    You're welcome! I found a few brands there near the smoked salmon and refrigerated cold-cuts by the produce section. Good luck!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2009 at 4:14 am

    These do look perfect! You know it took me quite a while to learn how to make crab cakes just right. After a few times of failure about 10 years ago, I gave up on them altogether for a while, but then tried them again after some time has passed and now have a nice version.

  • Reply
    Jennifer-Eighty MPH Mom
    November 28, 2011 at 6:01 am

    These look amazing! I love using fresh crab when I can, but when it's not in season, I use canned too. I have never seen canned claw meat though – I will look for it next time I'm at TJ's.

    And now I have a hankering for crab cakes 🙂

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