These lump crab cakes with Louisiana-style remoulade sauce are packed with succulent crab meat and have little filler. Made with buttery Ritz crackers, a perfect blend of spices and served with a creamy, tangy remoulade sauce, these crab cakes will surely impress your dinner party guests.
Crab cakes are always on the menu at fancy seafood restaurants, but they are surprisingly easy to make at home. So many places pack their crab cakes with cracker crumbs or bread crumbs to cut corners, but to me, it can give them a gummy texture and we’re not about that life. What makes a great crab cake is using just enough binder to hold them together and a perfect amount of seasoning to not overpower the natural sweet flavor of the crab.
My recipe has more of a Louisiana style crab cake flavor profile with the addition of creole seasoning and a minimal amount of celery, red bell pepper and shallot. All of these ingredients come together in perfect harmony to make these crab cakes absolutely amazing. Top them off with a dollop of homemade remoulade sauce and you’re in for a treat.
These are perfect for your next special occasion or dinner party appetizer and the remoulade sauce is the ultimate complement. I swear this is the best homemade crab cake recipe and the only one you’ll ever need!
What kind of crab meat should I use?
Use either lump or jumbo lump crab meat. Jumbo lump is superior, coming from two large muscles it’s bright white in color and has a sweet succulent taste. It’s also the most expensive.
Lump crab meat is just a blend of broken jumbo pieces and I think it’s perfect to make a really good crab cake. The smaller pieces of lump crabmeat are ideal for making perfectly chunky, delicious crab cakes.
All you need is crab meat, a few fresh produce items and some pantry staples to make the best crab cakes you have ever had at home.
- Lump crab meat – you can find this at your local seafood shop or in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. It usually comes in a clear plastic tub. Look for crab meat that’s labeled “hand-picked” or “fresh-picked” which means it’s been picked through for any shells. Canned crab meat off the shelf does not have an ideal flavor for making tasty crab cakes.
- Ritz Crackers – just a few of these crispy, buttery crackers make the best filler. They add great buttery flavor and help bind the crab cake mixture together. You can also use Saltine crackers or unseasoned panko breadcrumbs.
- Celery, red pepper, shallot – a little bit of classic mirepoix flavor just really makes these sing.
- Egg and mayonnaise – both of these ingredients are important binders in helping the crabmeat mixture stay together. Mayo adds just another later of subtle flavor.
- Dijon mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
- Lemon juice
- Creole seasoning – I use Tony Chachere’s (No Salt). You can also use a seafood seasoning like Old Bay.
- Fresh parsley
For the remoulade sauce you will also use mayo, mustard lemon juice, creole seasoning and a few additional ingredient including:
- Relish – dill or sweet
- Prepared horseradish
- Garlic powder
- Sweet paprika
- Hot sauce
How to make crab cakes
You will be surprised to find out how easy it is to make fancy restaurant style crab cakes at home. You may never order them while eating out again!
Start by sautéing finely minced celery, shallot and bell pepper in a little bit of butter over medium heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg, mayo, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, parsley, creole or old bay seasoning and a pinch of salt. Stir in cooled vegetables. Add crushed crackers and crab meat and use a rubber spatula to gently fold together until just combined. You want to do this carefully so you don’t break up the big chunks of crab.
Next, shape crab mixture into eight cakes. I like to use a scoop to portion them out to about ¼ cup each. Gently place crab cakes onto a plate or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and put them in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. This helps them firm up so the stay together when frying.
When you’re ready to cook the crab cakes, heat the butter and olive oil in a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom frying pan over medium-high heat. I like to use a combination of butter and olive oil for flavor. Mixing butter and olive oil also reduces the chance that it will smoke and burn.
Pan fry the crab cakes for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown. I like to use a fish spatula to carefully flip crab cakes. They are pretty delicate so use care when turning them over! Transfer crab cakes to a platter, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with remoulade sauce and lemon wedges.
How to make remoulade sauce for crab cakes
Add all of the sauce ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together. Season with salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
Remoulade sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for about a week so it’s easy to make ahead, especially if you’re prepping for a party. I like to make my remoulade sauce first, then do the crab cakes so that the flavors have time to meld.
If you make yours ahead of time, let it sit out on the counter for about 30 minutes before serving to knock the chill off.
Tips for recipe success
- Don’t skip refrigerating the crab cakes for at least 30 minutes before you cook them. This ensures that they don’t fall apart while pan frying.
- Use a fish spatula to flip the crab cakes. It’s thin and flexible so it can easily slide under the delicate crab cakes without them falling apart.
- Make the crab cakes small. It’s much easier to get a uniform shape and ensure that they stay together while cooking.
No. I would not recommend using unrefrigerated canned crab for crab cakes. It just doesn’t have the best flavor for this recipe. If your local grocery or specialty store sells canned lump crabmeat in a can in the refrigerated section, that should work just fine.
You can make and shape mixture in advance and keep it refrigerated for a few hours before you are ready to cook. For best results would not recommend cooking them ahead of time.
Uncooked crab cakes can be frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet. Wrap each one tightly in plastic and store for up to a month. When you’re ready to cook them, thaw in the refrigerator and pan fry as directed.
If you’re lucky enough to have leftover crab cakes the next day, you can gently reheat them in a skillet with a little bit of butter or oil. Don’t use too much, just enough to coat the pan. Gently cook for 2-3 minutes per side until warmed through. Leftover crab cakes should be enjoyed within 3 days.
Remoulade sauce. But if you’re not into that, you can definitely do a good tartar sauce, simple cocktail sauce or garlic or lemon aioli.
What to do with leftover crab cakes
Have leftover crab cakes from last night’s soirée? They make fantastic leftovers!
- Enjoy them as is with remoulade sauce.
- Top with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce the best crab cake benedict of your life.
- Slather a brioche bun with remoulade sauce and add some butter lettuce and sliced tomatoes to make a restaurant worth crab cake sandwich.
What to serve with crab cakes
Crab cakes make a delectable appetizer or a great main dish. Here are a few ideas:
- A simple green salad or colorful slaw
- Shaved Vegetable Salad
- Asparagus Mimosa
- Golden Beet and Arugula Salad
- Roasted potatoes or these Crispy Smashed Fingerling Potatoes
- Sauteed green beans or Broccolini with Lemon and Garlic
- Corn on the cob or this Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad
Lump Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce
- 1 pound lump crab meat picked through for shells
- ½ of a red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 medium shallot finely diced
- 1 rib celery
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- ½ cup ritz cracker crumbs or substitute saltines or plain panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley plus more for serving
- 1.5 teaspoons creole seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon pickle relish
- 1.5 tablespoons dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon prepared horseradish
- ½ teaspoon creole seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Finely mince the red pepper, celery rib and shallot and sauté for 2-3 minutes in a little bit of olive oil. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mayo, egg, creole seasoning, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
- When the vegetables are cooled, add them and the fresh parsley to the mixture.
- Add the cracker crumbs and picked through crab meat to the bowl and carefully fold with a rubber or silicone spatula.
- Use a measuring cup or a scoop to divide the crab mixture into 16 evenly sized mini crab cakes. Put them in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- When you're ready to cook, heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet.
- Fry the crab cakes on one side for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Use a fish spatula to gently flip them and fry on the other side for another 4-5 minutes. Do this in 2 batches and add more butter and olive oil to the pan for the second batch if needed. Serve warm.
- Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Make this ahead of time and refrigerate to give the flavors time to meld. Let it come to room temperature on the counter before serving with warm crab cakes.