Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are a versatile recipe - you can serve them hot or cold; they are suited for an elegant brunch, a delicious appetizer (when made a little smaller) or a hearty dinner with a side salad; and you can serve them simply with some lemon wedges or dress them up with a sauce.

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This recipe for crab cakes goes really nicely with this Sherry Sauce (which is what is pictured here) but if you don’t have time to make a sauce to go along, don’t let that deter you from making these. They’ll be delicious either way. As with all recipes, these crab cakes can only be as good as the ingredients you use to make them, so be sure to use the best lump crab that you can. Jumbo lump would work as well, but is more expensive and makes it a little harder to get the patties to stay together. 

Some crab cake purists will say that there should be as little as possible added to a crab cake to keep it unadulterated. I tend to agree, but also like to find a balance between pure crab and added flavor. In this recipe, the flavor comes from a little onion and celery, along with a pinch of cayenne pepper and some Dijon mustard. It’s simple, with just enough flavor to make it interesting without overpowering the crab.

Panko breadcrumbs are used in this recipe because they absorb moisture well and provide good texture on the outside of the crab cake. The cakes are delicate and can be a little tricky to coat with the crumbs. It’s easiest if you only roughly shape the patty before pushing it into the breadcrumbs and then shape it into a perfect patty once it is coated. 

If you are dressing this crab cake up and serving it for a nice dinner or brunch, the sherry sauce is a quick fix and is nice to flavor and moisten the cakes. If you are serving these as a little appetizer, divide the mixture into smaller patties and cut the cooking time in half. Finally, if you have any crab cakes left over, try them cold with a little salad, sliced tomato and some mayonnaise. 

One crab cake with sherry sauce on a white plate with lemon wedges and mixed greens.

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Crab Cakes - Air Fryer Version

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 10 m
  • Total Time: 25 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • cup finely diced onion
  • cup finely diced celery
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces lump crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and celery until it starts to soften, but not brown – about 2 minutes.
  2. Combine the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, egg, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in sautéed onions and celery. Gently fold in the lump crabmeat and 2 tablespoons of panko breadcrumbs. Stir carefully so you don’t break up all the crab pieces.

  3. Pre-heat the air fryer to 400ºF.
  4. Place the ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Divide the crab mixture into 4 portions and shape each portion into a round patty. Dredge the crab patties in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides as well as the edges with the crumbs.
  5. Air-fry the crab cakes for 5 minutes. Using a flat spatula, gently turn the cakes over and air-fry for another 5 minutes. Serve the crab cakes with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce, or dress it up with the suggestion below.

Crab Cakes - Stovetop Version

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 10 m
  • Total Time: 25 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • cup finely diced onion
  • cup finely diced celery
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces lump crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and celery until it starts to soften, but not brown – about 2 minutes.
  2. Combine the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, egg, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in sautéed onions and celery. Gently fold in the lump crabmeat and 2 tablespoons of panko breadcrumbs. Stir carefully so you don’t break up all the crab pieces.

  3. Place the ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Divide the crab mixture into 4 portions and shape each portion into a round patty. Dredge the crab patties in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides as well as the edges with the crumbs.
  4. Pre-heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

  5. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and gently place the crab cakes into the pan. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, until the crumbs are nicely browned and the cake is cooked through. Serve the crab cakes with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce, or dress it up with a little sherry sauce.

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Comments (14)Post a Reply

  1. Hi Meredith,
    I’m exploring your new website, congrats it looks great. However, I think there was a proof reading mistake in the recipe for Crab Cakes the Stovetop version. In the instructions, step 3 says pre-heat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. I think this should be deleted and the steps then renumbered. Haven’t watched that much of QVC since you left because I miss you there.
    Susan

    1. Thanks for catching that, Susan! I’ve fixed the typo and appreciate you letting me know about it. I’m sure I’m going to find several little proofing typos along the way. 🙂

  2. 4 stars
    Meredith,
    Typos or not…I just love your recipes and these crab cakes were just great.
    I am like Susan, I sure miss you on QVC, no one can ever take your place! Bless all your endeavors!!

    1. Thanks, Shirley. I scoured this recipe for typos, but couldn’t find any. Please do let me know when you see something. Typos are the bane of my existence! 🙂
      ML

  3. Hi Meredith,

    Regarding your need for a heads-up on errors. Your recipe calls for onions and celery only. Instuctions say to mix in sauteed onions and peppers (not celery).

    Your recipe was very tasty — and your typo gave me an idea. On my second attempt, I added 1/2 cup total, of diced red and green peppers and increased the butter to 1 tablespoon. and sauteed them with the celery and onions. The extra butter guaranteed a non-dry saute, due to the added ingredients. I also added some chopped green parts of 2 scallions to the mixture. In my opinion, the supplements added extra flavor to your version. Additionally, I preheated my lightly-oiled air fryer basket for 5 minutes at 400 degrees and used the same frying time. The variations did not not affect the great exterior crispiness of your recipe.

  4. Hi Meredith,

    I just submitted a typo correction to you, but was remiss in rating your recipe. My apology. Your air fryer crab cakes get my 5-star rating!

  5. I do not have an air fryer (or a pressure cooker/Instapot) and cannot afford them nor do I have the counter space. Would it be possible to include regular stovetop (or oven or slow cooker) instructions for your recipes for those of us without these appliances?

    1. Hi Denise. Many of my recipes do have multiple appliance options and in fact if you take a look on this page just above the recipe card title, you’ll see a tab that you can click on called “Stovetop & Oven”. Click on that tab and the recipe will give you the instructions for how to cook the crabcakes without an air fryer.
      ML

  6. 5 stars
    I have made these a handful of times using salmon, always to rave reviews. Everyone can’t get enough! Thanks for such a great recipe.

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