Amazing Gluten-Free Crab Cakes that are easy to make at a moment’s notice to really impress your friends and family! This easy recipe includes healthier ingredients, yet you won’t be able to tell the difference!
Whenever my husband and I go out to dinner and we see crab cakes on the menu, we order them 10 out of 10 times.
It dawned on me recently that we don’t need to wait until an evening out to enjoy our favorite appetizer.
So I set out on a mission to make the best crab cakes at home.
While I’ve called out gluten-free breadcrumbs in the ingredients to make gluten-free crab cakes, you can just as easily use regular Panko breadcrumbs if you aren’t gluten free.
And of course, I highly recommend serving the crab cakes with my Chipotle Aioli, or a couple of different sauce options like tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.
The best part is homemade crab cakes are incredibly easy to make.
You can either pan-fry them for crispy crab cakes or bake them in the oven if you’re watching your oil intake.
Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for crab cakes!
Ingredients for Crab Cakes:
Jumbo Lump Crab Meat: In case you’ve never heard of or seen lump crab, no sweat! Most grocery stores carry it in the seafood section near the smoked salmon or other fish or seafood products.
If you have any difficulty finding fresh lump crab meat at the grocery store, you can always ask the person behind the seafood counter where they keep the lump crab.
For the best results, avoid using imitation crab meat because the texture isn’t quite the same.
Mayonnaise and Oil: Used to bring tremendous flavor and moisture to the crab cakes, we use a combination of mayonnaise and oil.
For those of you who are monitoring your cholesterol, stick with the avocado oil mayo and avocado oil. Olive oil works great too!
Egg: One large egg gets whisked up and mixed in with the crab cake ingredients to help keep everything held together.
Dijon Mustard, Hot Sauce, and Worcestershire Sauce: A little mustard, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce give lovely flavor that is reminiscent of iconic Maryland Crab Cakes.
Use your favorite hot sauce such as Tabasco, Cholulua, Tapatio or any hot sauce you love.
Breadcrumbs: The way we make this crab cakes recipe gluten free is by using gluten-free breadcrumbs, which your local grocery store will stock right next to the regular breadcrumbs.
Use Panko breadcrumbs for traditional crab cakes if you don’t need the crab patties to be gluten-free. The breadcrumbs help bind all of the ingredients together and also result in the crispiest crab cakes.
Sea Salt and Black Pepper: Season the crab cakes using sea salt and black pepper to your personal taste. You can also add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or one large clove of minced garlic to bump up the flavor. If you have celery salt on hand, feel free to use it here.
- Add 1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning and ¼ cup of finely chopped celery for traditional Maryland-Style Crab Cakes.
- If you don’t follow a gluten-free diet, use regular Panko breadcrumbs.
- You can replace the gluten-free bread crumbs with 1/2 to 2/3 cup gluten-free flour or rice flour. Just note that they won’t turn out quite as crispy.
- add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne red pepper for more spice.
- For keto crab cakes for a low carb option, use 1 cup of almond flour instead of bread crumbs and reduce the amount of mayo to 3 tablespoons.
Serve your crab cakes with lemon wedges and a homemade aioli as I do or whip up a quick tartar sauce. You can also use store-bought tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.
I like to garnish the crab cakes with a little fresh chopped parsley
Now that we’ve covered all of the simple ingredients, let’s make crab cakes!
How to Make Gluten-Free Crab Cakes:
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, egg, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, sea salt and pepper until the wet ingredients are well-combined.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the crab meat, panko breadcrumbs and parsley until. Stir in the mayonnaise-egg mixture until everything is well combined. Note: you can also combine all of the ingredients in a food processor if you’d like.
Form 8 patties out of the crab mixture.
Add a generous amount of oil (about 3 tablespoons) to a large skillet (I like using a cast iron skillet) and heat over medium heat to medium-high heat. Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes until it is sizzling hot but not smoking.
Carefully place the crab cakes on the hot skillet and pan fry for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until crispy. You will likely need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
Transfer the crab cakes to a serving plate and serve with sliced lemons, cocktail sauce, and tartar sauce and garnish with chopped fresh parsley or green onions.
Serve crab cakes as an appetizer or alongside your main dish for a delicious side dish.
Store leftover crab cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can reheat crab cakes in the air fryer, oven, skillet, or microwave.
How to Make Crab Cakes in the Oven:
Can you bake crab cakes in the oven instead of frying them? Yes, absolutely!
Baked crab cakes are not only easier to prepare but they require far less oil, which is a great option for those who watch their total fat or calorie intake.
If you prefer baking crab cakes instead of pan-frying them, here is what you do.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Follow the instructions above for forming the crab cake patties and place them in a single layer evenly spaced apart on the baking pan.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crab cakes are golden brown and reach your desired level of crisp.
Is It Best to Fry or Bake Crab Cakes?:
Fried crab cakes turn out crispier and let’s face it: more delicious; however, baked crab cakes are lower in calories and easier to prepare. Which cooking method you use depends entirely on what your goals are for the crab cakes.
If you love extra crispy crab cake, the frying method will get you there.
Are Crab Cakes Healthy?:
Crab cakes are high in fat due the mayonnaise and oil content. With a couple ingredient swaps like avocado oil mayonnaise (instead of regular mayo made with canola oil) and avocado oil instead of vegetable oil, the fat content is almost entirely unsaturated.
In this sense you can easily lower the cholesterol and saturated fat by using avocado oil mayo and avocado oil.
Crab is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health and also help lower the risk of heart disease. Consistent intake of omega 3s can help lower your cholesterol, moderate your blood pressure, boost your mood and you can even see improvements in skin health.
In this sense, crab cakes are perfectly fine to eat if you have high cholesterol, provided you stick with the avocado oil mayonnaise instead of canola oil mayonnaise.
Like all foods, it is up to you to determine whether or not crab cakes fit into your diet. The way I see it, all foods can easily fit and it’s just a matter of trying to maintain balance and keep the majority of food consumption unprocessed.
And that’s it! An easy crab cake recipe that produces a restaurant-quality result.
This great recipe is deceptively easy to prepare yet exudes all the fancy vibes.
The next time you’re having guests over for a special occasion or are simply craving crab cakes, whip up this delicious appetizer!
Looking for more healthy appetizers the whole family will love? Try out these reader favorites.
More Healthy Appetizer Recipes:
- Air Fryer Steak Bites
- Crispy Cauliflower Cakes
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers
- Sesame Garlic Air Fryer Salmon Bites
- Creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus
- Garlic Butter Blistered Shishito Peppers
Crab cakes all day every day!
Gluten-Free Crab Cakes
- 1/4 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil or oil of choice
- 1 large egg whisked
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce or sriracha to taste
- ½ tsp sea salt to taste
- ¼ tsp black pepper to taste
- 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat picked over for shells
- 3/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs*
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- Avocado oil for frying or high-temperature cooking oil of choice
- Lemon wedges
- Tartar sauce
- Cocktail Sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, egg, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, sea salt and pepper until the wet ingredients are well-combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the crab meat, panko breadcrumbs and parsley until. Stir in the mayonnaise-egg mixture until everything is well combined. Note: you can also combine all of the ingredients in a food processor if you'd like.
- Form 8 patties out of the crab mixture.
- Add a generous amount of oil (about 3 tablespoons) to a large skillet and heat over medium heat to medium-high heat. Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes until it is sizzling hot but not smoking. Carefully place the crab cakes on the hot skillet and pan fry for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until crispy. You will likely need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
- Transfer the crab cakes to a serving plate and serve with sliced lemons, cocktail sauce, and tartar sauce and garnish with chopped fresh parsley or green onions. Serve crab cakes as an appetizer or alongside your main dish for a delicious side dish.
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