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What I remember most about summer parties as a child is eating Old Bay seasoned crabs on a picnic table covered in newspaper, swimming in the backyard pool, and my aunt taking candid Polaroid pictures and camcorder videos that we would come to cherish years later.
Those who know me have long accepted that crab is the only exception to my otherwise plant-based diet. While I can no longer bring myself to sit at the picnic table, crack open a crab leg, and pick out the meat with a little metal poker, I do still enjoy lump crab. Unfortunately, I am rarely impressed by crab dishes at restaurants, no matter how much I want to be. This disappointment has motivated me to perfect my crab cake recipe, and it has been a crowd pleaser for years.
Every restaurant, food blogger, and home chef claims to have “the best” or “world-famous” crab cakes, so I know those tag lines won’t convince anyone to try this recipe. Instead, consider the following description. These crab cakes are… farm-to-table fresh; made with more crab than any other ingredient; moist on the inside and lightly crunchy on the outside; low in fat and sodium; high in protein and flavor; easy to prepare and clean up; guaranteed to earn the chef compliments at your next dinner party.
You will need…
- Cupcake tin and liners
- Chef’s note: Paper liners are fine, but foil liners like these allow the crab cakes to get extra deliciously crispy on the outside!
- 1/3 cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs + ½ cup for coating
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder (1 clove if using fresh minced)
- ½ tsp dried tarragon
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- 2 scallions (minced, with greens)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise (light or original)
- 1 16-oz can of lump crab meat
- Chef’s note: Lump is preferred to special or super lump because it is the perfect balance of price and texture for crab cakes. Super lump costs more and will fall apart since this recipe has minimal “fillers” to bind the larger pieces. Special is more affordable and will bind together even better than lump, but it lacks the “wow factor” of lump crab cakes. We’re all about the wow factor when we host and entertain guests!
- Pinch of Old Bay seasoning for sprinkling on top after baking
- Chef’s note: Did you know Old Bay is available a low sodium blend? It retains 100% of the flavor of the original blend with 30% less sodium!
Let’s do it!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F).
- Fill a cupcake tin with eight or nine liners depending on your desired size. The recommended serving size is two crab cakes per person if they are the main protein. Alternatively, you could allot one per person if the crab cakes are an appetizer or served as part of a surf and turf meal where additional protein is available.
- Combine all ingredients except crab and mayo in a small mixing bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup bread crumbs in a bowl just large enough to contain them. I typically use a cereal bowl.
- Combine all the crab and mayo in a medium or large mixing bowl. Gently fold the crab with either a silicone spatula or your hands to prevent the lump crab meat from separating into smaller pieces.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients. Integrate until an even consistency is achieved.
- Form rounded crab cakes with your hands. Squeeze the cakes just firmly enough to bind the ingredients without crushing the lump crab meat.
- Coat the crab cakes by rolling them in the bowl filled with the reserved bread crumbs. Place one crab cake in each liner.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
- Sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning and serve!
Chef’s note: Store leftover crab cakes in the liners for easy reheating in the toaster oven.
If you try the recipe, please come back after the table is cleared to share your feedback in the comments below. Don’t forget to pin the recipe from our Pinterest board and add it to your meal plan for the upcoming week!