The recipe for the best baked crab cakes is packed with fresh crab and pairs perfectly with a homemade lemon mayo sauce! Use fresh lump crab and skip the time over a frying basket.
As someone who grew up in Maryland, my love for crab cakes runs deep. I take them (and all my fresh seafood recipes) very seriously, which is why I’m excited to share this easy recipe with you!
Crab cakes are a classic dish that can be found all over the East Coast of the United States. They are made from lump crab meat, bread crumbs, herbs and spices, and other ingredients that vary depending on your preference. The result is an irresistibly crunchy outer layer and a deliciously tender center with bursts of flavor from the herbs.
What makes these homemade crab cakes extra special is the 3-ingredient crab cake sauce: lemon juice, mayo, and salt! This gives the crab cakes a hint of tartness and brightness that will just make your mouth water!
Watch how easy they are to make
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This baked crab cake recipe is incredibly easy to make and can be prepared in just 30 minutes or less.
- It uses simple ingredients like lump crab, spices, herbs, cornflake crumbs, and more that you may already have in your kitchen.
- The homemade lemon mayo sauce gives it a zesty tartness and brightness that takes the crab cakes to a whole new level of deliciousness.
- It’s perfect for entertaining or just a simple family dinner that can be served with your favorite side dishes!
Ingredients you’ll need
- Shallot – A chopped shallot gives the crab cakes a mild onion flavor that pairs well with the rest of the ingredients.
- Garlic Cloves – Adds bold garlic flavor to brighten up the crab cakes.
- Fresh Lump Crab Meat – You can find this at your local seafood market, or in the seafood counter at your grocery store. You can use canned crab meat for a cheaper option. Make sure what you purchase is high quality and fresh for the best results.
- Mayonnaise – Gives a nice moist texture to the crab cakes while allowing the flavors to blend nicely.
- Salt – Helps balance and enhances the natural flavors in the dish.
- Egg White – Binds everything together, so they are set properly when baked.
- Corn Flake Crumbs – This gives the crab cakes a nice crunch and helps elevate the texture.
LEMON MAYO SAUCE
- Mayonnaise – Makes up the creamy base of the sauce.
- Lemon Juice – Gives the crab cakes a tart and fresh citrus flavor that pairs well with seafood.
- Salt – Brings out the flavor of the lemon and adds flavor to the sauce.
The Home Cook’s Guide to Salt
Learn about the basics of salt, plus the best salt for cooking (hint: it’s Kosher salt!) with this easy-to-understand guide to salt for home cooks.
How to make baked crab cakes
Cook the shallot: Add a small amount of cooking oil to a skillet and cook the shallot and garlic over low-medium heat until they are soft and release their flavor. Set aside and let cool.
Assemble the crab cakes: To a large bowl, add the crab meat, mayo, salt, egg white, and cornflake crumbs. Use a fork to break up the crab meat gently until the mixture is well combined. If the mixture is too wet, add additional cornflake crumbs. If it’s too dry, add a bit more mayo. Then, mix in the cooled shallot and garlic.
Form the crab cake patties: Use your hands to form four individual crab cake patties and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for up to one hour. While chilling, preheat the oven to 375F.
Bake the crab patties: Bake for 15-20 minutes on one side, then gently flip. Continue baking for an additional 10 minutes or until the crab cakes are cooked through and have a golden brown color.
Make the lemon mayo sauce: While the crab cakes are baking, scoop the mayo into a small bowl, then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until well combined. Top the crab cakes with a dollop of sauce. Enjoy!
- Make sure you use high-quality fresh lump crab meat for the best results.
- Ensure that the crab meat is fully drained in order to keep the patties from getting too wet.
- If the mixture is too wet, add additional cornflake crumbs to absorb the extra moisture and help shape the patties better.
HOT TIP: Spend the extra buck to get really good quality lump crab meat. It makes all the difference!
What kind of sauce to serve with crab cakes?
These crab cakes are topped with a dollop of my 3-ingredient crab cake sauce, which makes me a very happy girl. It’s so easy, so good, and in my opinion, totally necessary.
What goes with crab cakes?
This dish is versatile because there are so many sides it pairs well with. Try these serving suggestions below!
- Grilled veggie platter
- Crispy smashed potatoes
- Sauteed greens
- Creamy coleslaw
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- Baked beans
- Rice Pilaf
- Caesar salad
- Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Cauliflower mac and cheese
Storing and Freezing
Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freezing: Place any baked crab cakes in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until hard. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container or bag and keep frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat, bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
Reheating: The best way to reheat crab cakes is in the oven on a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 375F and bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in a skillet over low heat, but this will take longer, and they may break apart in the skillet.
What is the best way to form crab cakes?
The best way to form crab cakes is with your hands. Make sure the mixture has enough moisture, so it holds together but is not too moist, or else it will be hard to shape. Use a light touch when forming, and do not over-pack the patties.
How can I customize this recipe?
This baked crab cake recipe is very versatile, and there are many ways to customize the flavor. Try adding fresh herbs, spices, or other seasonings to the mixture for a unique twist. You can also try adding chopped bell pepper, celery, or onion for some extra crunch and flavor.
How can I tell when my crab cakes are done?
The best way to tell when the baked crab cakes are done is by looking at their color. They should have an even golden brown color on both sides. You can also insert a toothpick into the center of one of the patties; if it comes out clean, then they are done cooking.
More Seafood recipesPrint
This baked crab cake recipe is packed with fresh crab and pairs perfectly with a homemade lemon mayo sauce. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees.
- 1 shallot (chopped)
- 2–3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 16 ounces fresh lump crab meat
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg white
- ½ – ¾ cup corn flake crumbs
Lemon Mayo Sauce
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- Juice from 1–2 lemons
- Salt to taste
- Sauté shallot and garlic over low heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Combine crab meat, mayonnaise, salt, egg white, and corn flake crumbs into a large bowl. Mix together using a fork, slightly breaking up the crab meat until the mixture is well combined. If mixture is too dry, add a little more mayonnaise. If the mixture is too wet, slowly add a little more corn flake crumbs.
- Add the sautéd shallot and garlic to the crab mixture.
- Form crab cakes into individual patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. About a half cup for each patty, or a handful. Place formed patties in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes on one side, then flip and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Cakes should be a nice golden brown color.
Lemon Mayo Sauce
- Scoop mayonnaise into small bowl. Mix in freshly squeezed lemon juice until you reach the consistency that you like. Add salt to taste.