Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

For the best crab cakes: more crab, less filler. Simple as that.
TIME 20 to 30 minutes, plus time to chill
MAKES 4 to 8 servings
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
1 egg
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons bread crumbs, preferably fresh, or more as needed
1 cup all-purpose flour for dredging, or more as needed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, quartered, for serving

1 Pick over the crabmeat with your hands to remove any cartilage or shell. Combine the crab, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add just enough bread crumbs to hold the mixture together and form cakes; start with 2 tablespoons and use more if necessary. (Or refrigerate the mixture without the crumbs for up to a few hours until you’re ready to cook and then add the crumbs to form the mixture into cakes.)

2 When you’re ready to cook, put the flour on a plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Shape the crab mixture into 8 cakes (no more than 1 inch thick and about 2 inches across).

3 Put the oil in a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat and heat until the oil is hot. Dredge both sides of each cake in the flour and gently lay them into the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. (Work in batches if necessary and keep the first cakes warm in a 200°F oven.)

4 Cook, carefully turning once with a spatula and adjusting the heat as necessary so they don’t burn, until browned and crisp on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on their thickness. Serve right away with the lemon wedges.

  • Even Richer Crab Cakes: Use butter instead of olive oil for cooking. In Step 3, wait for it to melt and foam before adding the crab cakes to the pan and be ready to adjust the heat so the butter doesn’t burn.
  • Crab Cakes with Vegetables: For more color and crunch. Try chopped red bell peppers, scallions, or celery or grated carrots or celery root. Add no more than 1 cup total.
  • Shrimp or Salmon Cakes: Pulse 1 pound peeled raw shrimp or salmon fillet in a food processor until chopped but not puréed. Use this instead of the crab in Step 1 and continue with the recipe.

  • Try to find lump or jumbo lump crabmeat; the pieces of crab are bigger (better for the texture) and usually higher quality.
  • The recipe offers a guide for making eight cakes, but the overall size is up to you. Four larger cakes are fine for a main course, while mini versions are always a hit at parties.

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