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simple crab cakes

Dungeness Crab Cakes

A few herbs, a lot of crab and little else make these simple crab cakes feel decadent.

  • Total Time: 30 minutes



1 egg

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

½ tablespoon Meyer lemon juice

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chervil, finely chopped

1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chives, finely sliced

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup panko, divided (¼ cup for cakes, reserve the rest for breading)

810 ounces crabmeat, picked from 1- to 2-pound crab, cracked and cleaned

Olive oil for cooking

Meyer or Eureka lemon wedges for serving


Mix: In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg, mayo, lemon juice, herbs and salt. Add ¼ cup of the panko bread crumbs to the egg mixture. Once well combined, gently fold in the crab. Put the remaining panko on a plate, to dredge the crab cakes.

Test: Make a quick tester for seasoning. Take a spoonful of the crab mixture, and make a mini crab cake. Dip the cake lightly into the panko on both sides. Heat a drizzle of olive in a skillet (nonstick is great for this, if you have one). Once the oil is hot, add the tester cake and cook on both sides until golden, just a couple minutes in total. Test and adjust seasoning as needed, adding more salt or lemon, etc.

Rest: Form the crab patties out of the crab mixture, roughly 1½ inches by ¾ inch. About 14 in total. Dredge in panko, and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up (this keeps them from falling apart).

Saute: If you have a nonstick skillet, this is a great time to use it. Either way, heat 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet, enough to coat the bottom. When oil is hot, add the cakes, turning after a couple of minutes when golden brown. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel between batches, so the panko doesn’t burn.

Serve: with lemon wedges.


How do you keep crab cakes from falling apart?

To keep Dungeness crab cakes from falling apart, be sure to refrigerate them for at least 60 minutes before cooking.

Can you freeze Dungeness crab cakes?

Yes! Crab cakes (and crab meat) freeze well with no discernible loss in flavor or texture. Put the crab cakes on a sheet pan and freeze for an hour until the cakes are hard. Transfer the frozen crab cakes to a freezer proof container or bag. Be sure to defrost slowly in the fridge for a couple hours before preparing.

How do I cook frozen Dungeness crab cakes?

Take frozen crab cakes out of the freezer and place on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Put the pan in the fridge until the cakes are defrosted. If baking, slide the pan directly into a 400ºF preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes until their internal temperature should reads 145° F. If pan frying, gently push a wide spatula under the cakes and slide into a hot pan.



  • Author: Kathleen Korb
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Pan Fry
  • Cuisine: California


  • Serving Size: 4

Keywords: crab cakes