Homemade Crab Cakes

Most of us love old-school comfort food, and most of us enjoy the special treat of fancy food, but sometimes there are dishes that have a foot equally in both camps.  Crab cakes are a perfect example of that kind of crossover food.  Luxe in terms of main ingredient (though how luxe is up to you) but so satisfying in texture and substance, plus you even get to pick a favorite sauce if you like!

Crab Cakes

What Kind of Crab to Use in Crab Cakes

You can use any kind of crab successfully in these crab cakes. They work beautifully with almost whatever crab your budget allows for – if you choose between the lump level and the claw meat level, you’ll get great crab cakes. The only reason jumbo lump don’t work is that they are a bit big for the crabcakes. Save this grade for pasta dishes, seafood stews and so on, where they can be enjoyed as the generous chunk that they are.

Types of Crab Meat

Here are the commercially sold types of crab meat, from the most prized and most expensive to the least expensive.

Jumbo Lump crabmeat has gorgeous, fat, big tender white chunks and is the most expensive.

Lump Crab Meat is a mix of Jumbo Lump Crab and Special Grade Crab. This is the ideal crabmeat for crab cakes, and will give you crabcakes that feel super ijndulgent.

Special Crab Meat is smaller pieces of white meat from the body of the crab. It used in a wide range of crab dishes. It’s delicious, just without as many meaty chunks.

Claw meat is brownish in color, quite flaky and the least pricey. It’s kind of like the dark meat of the crab, and when you are looking for a more pronounced flavor, this is the way to go.

Crab Cakes: Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, these indulgent patties can be made with any type of crab meat you like.

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Mini Crab Cakes

This recipe makes 6 dinner-size patties. You can make little 1½-inch patties for appetizers, too; you will get about 12 to 14 mini crab cakes. Cook them for 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Crab Cakes

Make Ahead Crab Cakes

All ingredients can be prepped a day or two ahead, and you can also form the patties a day ahead, but don’t dredge them in the remaining crumbs until just before sautéing so that they get that nice outer crust. 

Crushing Saltines

You can crush saltines in a food processor, or, more satisfyingly, do it yourself: Place them in a sturdy zipper-top bag, press out the air, seal the bag, and smash the crackers with a rolling pin or meat mallet or a can of beans or anything that won’t break and that you can use to beat the stuffing out of those saltines. Don’t pulverize them into dust; you still want a little texture. 

This recipe doesn’t call for salt because the finely crushed saltines have salt in them, but if you happen to use unsalted saltines (which, to me, defeats the purpose and the name), then you may want to add a 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt.

Crab Cakes

What the Kids Can Do

The crushing of the saltines is total fun (see above), and there is plenty of measuring and stirring to do for both the crab cake mixture and the optional sauce. And let them form the mixture into cakes and dredge them in the crushed saltines. Irregular crab cake shapes? Part of their charm.

How to Make Crab Cakes

Pick over the crabmeat, removing any stray shell pieces or bits of cartilage. Pat dry with paper towels and let drain on the towels for a few minutes.
Beat the eggs in a medium-size bowl and add ½ cup of the saltine crumbs, the mayonnaise, onion, parsley, mustard, Worcestershire, cayenne, and black pepper and stir to blend well. 

Add the crabmeat and stir to combine.

Crab Cakes

Divide the mixture into 6 portions and shape each into a patty 3/4-inch thick, using your hand to make the rounds nice and neat. 

Crab Cakes

Place the remaining saltine crumbs on a plate. Dredge the patties in the crumbs to cover completely. 

Crab Cakes

Line a clean plate with paper towels. Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté 3 of the patties until golden brown on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. 

Crab Cakes

Drain briefly on the paper towel–lined plate. Repeat with the remaining patties.

What to Serve with Crab Cakes:

Serve with lemon wedges, and Tartar or Rémoulade Sauce if desired.

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Crab Cakes

Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, these indulgent patties can be made with any type of crab meat you like.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound canned or cooked crabmeat (see Note)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 sleeve saltines , finely crushed (see Note)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper , or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedges , for serving
  • Tartar or Rémoulade Sauce , for serving (optional; storebought or homemade)

Directions

  • Pick over the crabmeat, removing any stray shell pieces or bits of cartilage. Pat dry with paper towels and let drain on the towels for a few minutes.
  • Beat the eggs in a medium-size bowl and add ½ cup of the saltine crumbs (the rest will be used to coat the patties), the mayonnaise, onion, parsley, mustard, Worcestershire, cayenne, and black pepper and stir to blend well. Add the crabmeat and stir to combine.
  • Divide the mixture into 6 portions and shape each into a patty 3/4-inch thick, using your hand to make the rounds nice and neat. Place the remaining saltine crumbs on a plate. Dredge the patties in the crumbs to cover completely.
  • Line a clean plate with paper towels. Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté 3 of the patties until golden brown on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Drain briefly on the paper towel–lined plate. Repeat with the remaining patties. Serve with lemon wedges, and Tartar or Rémoulade Sauce if desired.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 951mg | Potassium: 242mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 309IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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