Making traditional New England-style crab cakes couldn’t be easier. In this blog post, we’ll show you the best crab cake recipe using canned crab meat. Who doesn’t like a golden brown savory crab cake with homemade tartar sauce on the side?
Maryland style crab cakes, Chesapeake Bay, and Baltimore crab cakes come to mind when thinking of crab cakes. They are such a restaurant staple and a delicacy usually served with remoulade sauce or cocktail sauce.
I like to have them with my Seafood Comeback Sauce. It is a spicy mayo and horseradish dipping sauce with lots of tasty ingredients.
While it would be best to be by the ocean to pick up fresh crab meat, canned crab meat is quite flavorful and available throughout the United States.
Ingredients For The Best Crab Cakes Recipe
This recipe is pretty much just crab meat and binders with very little filler. None of the celery or bell pepper in this one. The result is delicious crab cakes, full of crab flavor.
You will need:
- Crab meat
- Saltine crackers
- Worcestershire sauce
- Dijon mustard
- Hot sauce
Type Of Crab Meat To Use
Let’s face it, crab meat is expensive. But, there are different qualities available which make the crab cakes more affordable. The most readily available crab will be cooked, pasteurized, and canned. It is sold refrigerated.
Blue crabs are the kind of crab meat usually used. The pricing depends on where the meat comes from off of the crab.
Jumbo lump crab meat This is the premium large white muscle connected to the swimming fins of the crab. It takes a lot of them to make a pound so it is the most expensive.
Lump crab meat This is a combination of smaller jumbo lump pieces and other white meat.
Special crab meat Is smaller white meat without any really large pieces. It is more economical and usually a good buy. Perfect for crab cakes or crab salads.
Claw meat Comes from the swimming fins of the crab and has a brown color and stronger flavor. It is good for dips and soups. I have used it for crab cakes and it is totally fine to use.
The prices of the types of crabmeat range from $70.00 a pound to $10.00 a pound. The Sam’s Club lump crab meat in the ingredient picture was $25.00. Use whatever you can find. Your grocery store would probably have only one grade.
Seafood specialty markets may have 2 or 3 different qualities.
How to Make Crab Cakes With Canned Crab
The steps for making these homemade crab cakes are pretty easy.
Mix the mayonnaise, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and hot sauce in a small bowl. Set that aside.
Crush the saltine crackers into fine pieces. Putting them into a gallon-sized plastic zip-bag and using a rolling pin to crush them works well. Otherwise, pulse them in a food processor into fine pieces.
A good substitute for saltines would be panko bread crumbs. If you use panko breadcrumbs, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the crab cake mixture.
The crab meat and cracker crumbs are then folded together in a large bowl. Be careful not to break up the larger lumps of the crab.
Then, add the wet ingredients to the crab mixture in the large bowl and fold to completely coat all the crab.
Then, the best way to divide the mix into balls is to use a #12 scoop or a 1/3 cup measure. You should get 8 good-sized portions.
Place them on a baking sheet and lightly cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the crumbs to absorb moisture and hold together better when they are fried.
To fry them, use a large skillet on medium heat with about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Carefully place 4 of the balled portions into the hot skillet and press down with a fork to form a patty.
Fry for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes until nicely browned. Then turn the patties over using a spatula and a fork and fry the second side for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the golden crab cakes from the skillet onto a platter and cover to keep warm or place them into a warm oven. Repeat for the remaining 4 cakes.
Preparing The Crab Cakes With A Form
This is a new preparation method I tried recently and it worked really well. I made some crab cakes using a cookie-cutter form.
I noticed MaryJo making cookies one day, using just a round metal cookie cutter. It looked like the perfect size for crab cakes.
The form used is about 3 inches in diameter and a #12 scoop of crab meat fits perfectly in the round shape.
Cut a length of waxed paper or parchment paper and use it as a base. Place a scoop of crab batter in the cookie cutter form and press to even it out.
Then, slip the form off of the cake and you will have a neat, round crab cake ready to fry. The waxed paper makes it easy to lift the cake into the skillet.
This worked really well and I think it will be my go-to method for forming crab cakes. Here is a link to Cookie Cutters, (#ad).
Freezing Crab Cakes
It is easy to freeze uncooked crab cakes. Form them into individual patties on a baking sheet and place them into your freezer. Once they are firm, wrap them individually with plastic wrap and place them into a freezer bag or an airtight container. They should keep well for 3 to 4 months.
Thaw them and fry them when desired.
What To Serve With Crab Cakes
Serve the cakes with lemon wedges on the side. And make your favorite seafood remoulade. my Seafood Comeback Sauce, or this recipe for traditional Tartar Sauce to go along with them.
They are also good with coleslaw or a simple green salad.
So that’s the easy-to-make crab cakes recipe with canned crab meat. Simple ingredients that bring out the best flavors of the canned crab.
Be sure to try these tasty recipes:
- Grilled Herb Crusted Chicken Breasts
- Tender Beef Tips on Egg Noodles
- Roasted Cruciferous Vegetables
- Stuffed Cucumber Bites
- Mini Crab Cake Appetizer
- Classic Crab Louie
Best Crab Cakes Recipe Using Canned Crab Meat
- Crush the crackers into fine pieces. Then, mix together the crab meat and cracker crumbs in a large bowl folding gently to not break up the larger crab pieces.
- In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and hot sauce together well.
- Pour the mayonnaise sauce into the crab meat and fold to combine.
- Divide the crab mix into balls using a #12 scoop or a 1/3 cup measure. You should get 8 good-sized portions. Place them on a baking sheet and lightly cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Then use a large skillet and add the oil on medium heat until shimmering. Place 4 of the crab balls into the oil, then press down with a fork to form a patty. Fry for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes until browned. Turn the patties over using a spatula and fork and cook the second side for 2/12 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining 4 crab balls.
- Place the fried patties on a platter and cover them to keep warm or place them in a warm oven. Serve hot with a side sauce if desired.
- Nutrition information is for one crab cake.
- Follow the instructions in the blog narrative to use a cookie form to make crab cakes.
- You could substitute panko bread crumbs for the saltines. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the crab mixture.
- Recipe adapted from Andrew Zimmern.