This is a very flavorful mini crab bites recipe, sure to please. The recipe has just the right amount of binders to allow the flavor of the crab meat to be the focal point. The result is very tasty baked crab bites.
Let’s have a party! I’m always looking for a killer appetizer. This crab cake bites appetizer recipe is delicious, as well as killer. It’s full of crab meat with creamy parmesan cheese and fresh chives. It bakes up perfectly to give you bite-sized mouthfuls of flavor! And the recipe makes 24 pieces of party pleasing goodness. And look….the recipe got featured in Southern Living magazine, Savory Crab Recipes for your next Party.
It’s also an appetizer that can be baked ahead of time and reheated just before serving…10 or so minutes in a 350° oven should do it. The panko crumbs become nice and crispy leading to a mouthful of creamy crab meat.
Ingredients Needed to Make the Crab Bites
- 1/2 Pound Crab Meat, (Lump crab meat grade or Special grade). Here are Phillips Foods crab meat grades.
- Cream Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Lemon Zest
- Fresh Chives
- Kosher Salt
- Cayenne Pepper
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- Chopped Chives for Garnish
Special Equipment Needed
You will need a Mini Muffin Pan to make this appetizer. If you don’t have one, you can purchase one here from Wilton Products (#ad). These come in either 24 or 12 muffin sizes and this recipe makes 24 crab cake bites.
Preparing the Mini Crab Bites
To make the crab mixture, place the room temperature cream cheese into a medium-sized bowl and use a hand mixer to beat it until it is smooth. Then add the cheese, sour cream, egg, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of chopped chives, salt, and cayenne pepper. Mix until everything is well combined.
Add the crabmeat a little at a time, feeling for any shells. There usually aren’t any but it is best to check. Fold the crabmeat in using a rubber spatula.
In a separate bowl, add the Panko bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of chopped chives, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Then drizzle in the melted butter and mix the bread crumbs around to coat them all a little with the butter.
Spray the mini muffin pan well with cooking oil. like Pam. Then use a teaspoon to place 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of the bread crumbs into each hole. Use your fingers to form an indent in the crumbs to make room for the crab mixture.
Fill each hole with the crab up to the top of the muffin tin. Then place a bit more of the bread crumbs over the crabmeat.
Bake the crab bites in a pre-heated 350° F. oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the crispy crab bites to cool for 5 minutes.
Use a butter knife to loosen the bites from the muffin tin and they generally will easily pop right out.
MaryJo and I actually had these for supper tonight with a nice salad. I cook it…I get to eat it!
Make a simple remoulade sauce to have with the crab cake bites. I made one using about 1/2 cup of mayo, a teaspoon full of chopped capers, and a bunch of Cholula hot sauce. You could also make a tartar sauce or a sauce made with Old Bay Seasoning.
Special grade canned crabmeat is what I used. While it was baking, you could smell the sweetness of the crab, which is something that can make you start to drool.
This mini crab bites recipe is really easy to make and you’ve got to try it for your next get-together.
Also, try my How to Make Crab Cakes. These are super crabby and delicious too. Or maybe one of these appetizers:
- Smoked Salmon Dill and Capers
- Instant Pot Chicken Wings
- Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
- Caribbean Salt Cod Fritters
- Pepper Jelly with Cream Cheese
(In the newer photos, I made a half batch of the crab bites appetizer recipe. A half recipe made exactly 12 crab bites. To get one-half of an egg, beat the egg well in a bowl, then pour approximately half of it into the cream cheese mixture).
Mini Crab Cake Bites Appetizer Recipe
- 1/2 pound canned crabmeat
- 8 oz . cream cheese at room temperature
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese , divided, 1/4 and 1/2
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp chopped chives , divided 1 tbsp and 2 tbsp
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/8 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 4 tbsp butter , melted
- fresh chopped chives for garnish
- Place softened cream cheese in a medium bowl and use a mixer to blend until smooth
- Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, egg, sour cream, lemon zest, 1 tbsp chives, salt and cayenne pepper and mix together.
- Add crab meat and fold in with a rubber spatula
- Cover and refrigerate until used.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°
- Combine Panko bread crumbs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp chopped chives in a medium sized bowl.
- Drizzle the melted butter into the mix, use a fork to coat all of the panko
- Spray a 24 or 2, 12 cup mini muffin pans with cooking oil
- Place about 2 tsp of the bread crumb mixture into each cup, and use your index finger to form an indent.
- Then, fill the cup with about 1 tbsp of the crab meat mixture. You should make exactly 24 cakes
- Top that with 1 tsp of the panko bread crumbs
- Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, rotating the pan occasionally for even browning
- Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Use a small fork or knife to remove the crab cakes from the pan
- Refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Re-heat in a 350° F. oven for 15 minutes.
This crab bites recipe has been updated on October 28, 2022.
Have you tried in a full size muffin tin? If so, how long do you cook? Thanks.
I have not tried that. I made the mini-muffin pan ones just recently and in 30 minutes they could have used a few more minutes to get completely baked through. In a full-sized muffin tin, I would guess it would take 45 to 60 minutes. In that amount of time, you may have to cover them with foil so that they don’t brown too much. If you have an instant-read thermometer, I would cook them until they are at least 165°F. I hope that this helps. Thanks for asking.
Sounds great. Can’t wait to try it!
I had leftovers so the next day I filled some tart shells with the filling and added some grated cheddar. I liked them even better! Wonderful recipe.
Thanks Trudi for the nice comment. Glad you liked it.
How far in advance can they be made and how should they be stored?
Hi Deb. You could make them 1 or 2 days ahead. To store them, let them cool completely then place them in a plastic container with a lid and refrigerate. Reheat them in a 350° oven…probably 10 to 20 minutes.
Can you use the claw meat from the can?
Hi Melissa. Any canned crab meat would be fine to use.