Crab Cakes are an easy treat to make at home, for much less money than what it costs at a restaurant. This recipe has plenty of lump crab meat and lots of flavor!

Crab Cakes - Served on Plates with Dollop of Tartar Sauce and Lemon Wedge

I have never been able to resist crab cakes, to the point where whenever I went to a restaurant that had the dish on the menu, I’d have to order it (ditto with Coconut Shrimp).

There’s something so wonderful about crispy cakes of crab, accented with a bit of old bay seasoning and flavorful vegetables like pepper and celery.

This version in particular is very much about the crab, as in it’s barely held together with binders like bread crumb and egg white, but it has a bit of a creole flavor theme happening.

My mom made them like this when I was a child, and I love how the flavors accent the crab.

A close up of Crab Patties on plates with tartar sauce and greens

However, if you’re looking for the most purist crab cake out there, this is not the one (my friend Jen has a Maryland Style version that might be more suitable).

I actually think that the pre-picked crab you buy in a container at the store is not quite good enough for a completely stripped down version, as the fresh flavor and nuances of the crab aren’t as present as freshly cooked crab.

And that’s exactly what makes this a good opportunity to save a little bit of money and simply get the lump crab meat, instead of splurging on the jumbo lump. There are still plenty of nice morsels of crab meat.

How to Make Crab Cakes:

Start by softening the vegetables, and combine chopped celery, bell pepper, scallion, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and oil in a small skillet:

celery, bell pepper, scallions, garlic, and pepper flakes in a skillet

Cook for 7 minutes or so, until soft, then place in a bowl with egg white, Dijon mustard, worcestershire, and old bay seasoning:

Cooked Vegetables in Glass Bowl with Spices, Mustard, and Egg

Mix that together, then add panko bread crumbs:

Adding Panko Breadcrumbs to the Bowl of Egg Vegetables

Now it’s time to add the crab meat, but first I like to gently squeeze the crab with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel:

Lumb Crap Draining on Paper Towel

Even though I’m using fresh crab from the refrigerated section (not canned from the shelf), there is almost always excess liquid.

Gently fold the crab into the bread crumb vegetable mixture, just enough to distribute the ingredients evenly:

Lump Crab in a Bowl Mixed with Veggies and Egg

Shape the crab mixture into four patties, pressing them firmly.

Then fry them in a nonstick skillet with several tablespoons of olive oil:

How to Cook Crab Cakes - in Olive Oil in Nonstick Skillet Spread Apart

A few minutes on each side should suffice, and I go primarily by color. They should be golden on the edges:

Fried Crab Cakes in Nonstick Skillet with Golden Edges

Drain the crab cakes on a paper towel, then serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges, if desired.

Panko Crab Cake Recipe - served on a White Plate with Lemon, Tartar Sauce, and Greens

Fried Calamari is another one of my favorite seafood appetizers to make at home, as well as Shrimp Salad and a good old Lobster Roll. Enjoy!

Crab Cakes Served on Plates with Dollop of Tartar Sauce and Lemon Wedge

Crab Cakes

These Crab Cakes are made from scratch, with plenty of lump crab meat and just enough flavoring and ingredients to hold it all together.

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil + extra for frying
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp egg white
  • 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 8 oz pasteurized lump crab meat (I buy this in the refrigerated section)
  • tartar sauce for serving


  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan. Add the celery, bell pepper, scallion, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 7-8 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
  • Add the mustard, egg white, worcestershire, and old bay to the vegetables, and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and mix again. 
  • Place the crab meat in a paper towel and gently squeeze to absorb excess moisture. This step prevents the crab cake from being heavy or soggy in the middle.
  • Gently fold the crab meat into the vegetable mixture, making sure you don’t overstir the crab to the point where the morsels fall apart.
  • Divide the crab mixture into 4 portions and shape them into patties, pressing them firmly. 
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Fry the crab cakes on each side for about 2-3 minutes, until golden.
  • Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges, if desired. Enjoy!


Since crab is often somewhat salty, I do not add extra salt to the crab cake mixture. I recommend salting to taste if you enjoy heavier seasoning.


Calories: 155kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 58mg, Sodium: 489mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated in February 2019. Originally posted in July 2011.