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Jul 19, 2007 05:26 PM

Your tips for making GREAT crab cakes

I'm looking for a recipe for crab cakes that has little or no filler -- I want the lump crab meat to be the star of the show. Any suggestions?

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  1. dep on the amt of crab, I use 1 or 2 eggs, 1 or 2Tls mayo, tsp of worscestershire, tsp lemon juice, sprinkle of old bay seasoning and just enough crumbs (preferably from my cornbread) to barely hold together. I usually know that they will be good when I am frustrated trying to make them into a form and into the pan - they fall apart, but then as they cook they come together to a very good crab cake:)

    3 Replies
    1. re: ElsieB

      You are so right. The harder they are to get in the pan, the better they will be! I totally concur with your ingredients, and would only add that if you don't have Elsie's cornbread, try some buttery cracker crumbs.

      1. re: k_d

        Have you ever tried using panko in place of cracker crumbs?

    2. I know it sounds crazy, but I use Wonder bread cubes, not dried, crusts off. I mash it together with an egg or two (depending on amount I am making), it sorta melts. Add my seasonings and crab, finger fluff it to mix and refrig before I fry the cakes. A winner!

      6 Replies
      1. re: Quine

        Do you refrigerate the crab mixture, or do you form the cakes and then refrigerate?

        1. re: CindyJ

          refrig the mix then quickly, with wet hand, form sloppy cakes. :) sloppy is good, make a ball, as it will flatten when cooking.

        2. re: Quine

          If you're crazy, Quine, so are most of my neighbors on Maryland's Eastern Shore. They're watermen, crab pickers, brokers and otherwise involved in the trade. They use Wonderbread too - anywhere from one to four slices, crusts removed, cubed or crumbed. I'd rather have their crabcakes any day over the fancy city variety.
          All the wet ingredients sop into the Wonderbread which disappears into the crabmeat. Same color and you don't even see that it's there. The seasonings are spread evenly through the crabcakes and the tasteless Wonderbread (why we hate the stuff) picks up the crab flavor. The cakes are wet when you form them but they get solid after an hour or so in the fridge. The starch in the bread makes a nice crust when they're sautéed and the inside is light and evenly seasoned.
          Quine, I agree. Wonderbread is a winner this time. HIde the wrapper and enjoy the crabcakes.

          1. re: MakingSense

            ah yep, just about the only use WonderVread has in my book. *smile*

            1. re: Quine

              Two others. The volunteer fire department near my house on the Chesapeake serves fried softshells between two pieces of WonderBread which initially horrified me. But the bread sops up all the juice that squishes out and, since it has NO flavor of its own, all you get is the pure taste of the softshells. It just serves as a handle for eating them. Kinda gross but utterly delicious.
              The other use is as modeling clay. If you mix it with Elmer's Glue, it works for your kids to use like clay and it hardens well. Ick. But it's non-toxic since Elmer's is made from milk. You can add food coloring.

              1. re: MakingSense

                Making Sense mentioned in passing a VFD that cooks softshell crabs. Are those soft crabs pan or deep fried. In any case it sounds like it may be worth a trip. Where is this VFD?

                I enjoyed the thread re crabcakes. My wife has tried white bread and saltines with the Old Bay recipe as a starting point. The important thing is that any homemade crabcake with good fresh crab meat beats a restaurant product any day. I prefer pan fried.

                As my friend Bob says "who makes the best crabcake? --- You do."

        3. There's some great interesting recipes in Tom Douglas's new cookbook "I Love Crab Cakes" - many different funky versions (if you haven't seen it, it's really very cool).

          1. Definitely do not use breadcrumbs. I found the toasted, crumby taste overpowering for something delicate like crab. What about combining with mashed potatoes instead of bread to bind it?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Full tummy

              I like either cracker crumbs or moistened bread. I refrig the cakes after a very loose forming. The crab must stay whole.

            2. See this post for a couple of different versions of low-filler crab cake recipes.


              8 Replies
              1. re: QueenB

                I read this post, and now I'm more confused than ever. I have a feeling that the recipes provided are ALL wonderful, but there are so many variations (cracker crumbs/white bread/panko; onions/no onions; dry mustard, Dijon mustard; Worcestershire/ no Worcestershire; broil/saute, etc.) that, for my first attempt at crab cakes, I don't know which recipe to follow.

                I did find a nice-looking container of jumbo lump crabmeat at Costco, so I'm headed in the right direction, but now what? Decisions, decisions . . .

                1. re: CindyJ

                  Cindy, I think it depends on your personal preference. I don't care for onion or peppers in my crabcakes, I like to taste crab with a bit of seasoning. As for the bread/crackers/panko, the bread or crackers is more traditional for Eastern Shore crabcakes. It's really up to you. I would highly recommend saute over broil though.

                  If you make the recipe I posted, add the least amount of Old Bay. That will give you just enough flavor and not overwhelm the crab.

                  Pick one of the recipes that sounds the best to you and make it. Then, try another one. It's the only way you'll find out exactly which one you like!

                  1. re: QueenB

                    Good advice. I'm from Virginia and like my crab cakes simple....crab and just enough binder to barely hold together & salt and pepper. No onion or other seasonings. And serve them on top of a nice thin slice of country ham and it's perfect.

                    1. re: QueenB

                      I agree that you want to keep strong flavorings out of there. I just throw some fresh bread into the food processor to make fresh breadcrumsb, toss in some old bay, salt and pepper, and mix it with a squeeze of lemon. I like using eggs instead of mayo, but with eggs you want to make sure the entire thing is cooked, while mayo gives a bit more flexibility.

                      Very important is to carefully toss the crab in so that you don't break up wonderful chunks.

                      Also, before you sit down to make the cakes, feel the crab. Has it been picked for cartilege? You can tell because if it hasn't been well-picked, you'll feel bits of shell. If it hasn't been picked, you'll want to do that. It can be time-consuming, so allow for that.

                    2. re: CindyJ

                      Since it's your first time, use the recipe on the side of the can of Old Bay. Do you know how much of that stuff they have sold since they introduced it in the 1940s? It's the traditional recipe from the Chesapeake Bay area where crab cakes originated. Then you can start fine-tuning your own preferred method.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Could not agree more---the Old Bay recipe is a good one. I add shallots and parsley to mine.

                      2. re: CindyJ

                        make a great remoulade and then it won't matter so much!

                        1. re: nissenpa

                          But crab cakes are the wedding... remoulade is just the dress.