Crab cakes were originally made by fishermen, who would take live crabs from their traps and mix them with eggs, bread crumbs, and spices until they formed into patties.
These days, you’ll usually see them served as an appetizer at restaurants or on special occasions like Christmas Eve.
They tend to be rather large because it takes a lot of crab meat to fill out a crusty bun or slice of toast, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from making your own!
What Are The Ingredients In A Crab Cake?
A traditional crab cake will have some sort of breading, such as seasoned flour or cornmeal, along with some kind of filler, such as mayonnaise or egg whites, cheese (usually American), or even finely chopped vegetables.
If you want to get really creative, you can also add bacon bits or other meats like chicken or shrimp.
The filling itself is where things start getting interesting.
Crab cakes are typically filled with lump crab meat, which has lots of flavor and texture.
But there are other kinds of crab meat available too — jumbo lump, snow crab, backfin, Dungeness, king crab, etc.
The type of crab used depends largely on what part of the world the restaurant is located in, so if you don’t know what variety you prefer, ask before ordering.
You may also find crab meat encased inside a hard shell called “canned claw” or “fake crab.” This isn’t real crab meat though — it’s actually just crab shells stuffed with something else.
You might think this sounds gross, but canned crab claw meat is actually quite popular in Asian cuisine, especially Korean food.
Finally, there are several types of seasoning that you can use to jazz up a crab cake.
These include cayenne pepper, Old Bay, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian herbs, paprika, salt, black pepper, and white vinegar.
Some people even throw hot sauce into the mix!
Once you’ve got all those components together, you can form them into a patty shape using whatever method works best for you.
A common technique involves layering pieces of breading over the top of the mixture then rolling the whole thing around to coat everything evenly.
Once the crab cake is shaped, you can either bake it directly onto a baking sheet or fry it in oil or butter.
How Do You Make Crab Cakes?
The key ingredient here is lump crabmeat, which comes from the body (or “body cavity”) of a blue crab.
If you’re lucky enough to get fresh lobster, this will work just fine too.
You can find canned crab meat if you don’t have any luck getting hold of fresh stuff.
Just know that canned crab meat tends to lose its flavor quite quickly after opening so use it up soon.
Next, grab some flour and crackers—I prefer Wheat Thins for crunchiness, but whatever works fine! Also add about half a cup of mayonnaise, a quarter-cup of sour cream, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Mix everything together well before adding more seasonings.
You want these to taste good, so feel free to experiment with different kinds of seasonings.
Now, let’s talk about how to shape those crab cakes…
What Is The Best Way To Cook Crab Cakes?
The key to cooking any seafood dish is always in the preparation method.
If you put raw seafood directly onto the grill or fry pan, then there will be no flavor left behind when you eat it.
The same goes for most casseroles where you can get some good results if you simply follow the directions on the box.
If you want to really enhance the flavors of your food, however, then you need to use one of these methods instead:
- Deep-frying – this process involves putting the entire piece of seafood into hot oil and allowing it to cook until it turns golden brown.
- While deep frying does give you amazing texture, it also leaves all of its original nutrients intact.
- Baking – baking is another common way to prepare seafood dishes.
- You place the pieces of fish in a greased pan and bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) until they are cooked through.
- Baked crab cakes are generally smaller than fried ones, which makes them easier to eat without too much effort.
- Broiling – broiling is a technique used to cook foods while still keeping them warm.
- To broil something, you set up an oven rack near the top and lower the temperature down to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius).
- Then, you turn off the heat source so that you don’t burn anything.
- Broiling can help preserve more vitamins and minerals than other techniques, such as simmering, poaching, grilling, or frying.
- Poaching – poached seafood is a great option for people who enjoy eating fresh fish but aren’t sure how they feel about having dead creatures swimming around inside of them.
- Steaming – steamed seafood is similar to poached seafood except that you steam it instead of boiling it.
- Steaming helps retain moisture within the food, which keeps it nice and tender even after long periods of time have passed since it was prepared.
What Is The Difference Between A Crab Cake And A Fish Cake?
If you think about it, there are two main differences between these two types of seafood cakes: texture and flavor.
The former refers to how dense and moist they are, while the latter is determined by what type of ingredients are used in each particular recipe.
A typical crab cake will have a solid consistency, which means its density is more similar to that of ground beef than to that of tuna salad.
If you want something closer to the latter, try this simple recipe for fish cakes instead.
The second major distinction lies in the seasoning.
A traditional crab cake is dusted with Old Bay before frying, whereas most fish cakes are seasoned with fresh herbs such as parsley or chives.
You can also find recipes featuring both crab and fish meats together, although the result won’t taste quite as good as if you had made separate batches of both kinds of cakes.
How Many Crab Cakes Can You Make With One Pound Of Crab Meat?
You may have heard people say that there are only so many ways you can stuff a whole piece of seafood inside a sandwich, wrap in bacon, or serve on top of pasta salad.
Well, this isn’t true when it comes to crab cakes, especially if you buy the right kind of crabmeat.
When shopping for crab, look for the words “fresh lump” or “frozen lump” in the ingredient list.
The former means the meat was picked up off the ocean floor just minutes before being packaged, while the latter indicates that the crab has been frozen already.
Frozen lump will save you time when it comes to thawing.
To get started, you’re going to need two pounds of lump crabmeat (about six cans).
If you don’t want to go through all that work yourself, you can find pre-made mixes online that contain everything you need except the seasoning.
Just follow the instructions carefully and taste test along the way.
If you decide to use a premade mixture, you might also want to add some more ingredients such as onions, peppers, celery, parsley, and other herbs.
You can even try adding ground beef, sausage, or chicken to give the crabcake extra flavor.
The next step is to measure out enough flour and baking powder/baking soda to form a thick batter.
Once you reach this point, you can start mixing together the wet ingredients, which include egg whites, milk, sour cream, mayonnaise, and oil.
Afterward, fold in any additional ingredients you added earlier.
Once everything is mixed well, you can begin forming little cakes using a measuring cup, rolling pin, or whatever tool works best for you.
When you’ve finished shaping each cake, let it rest for about ten minutes before frying.
What Is The Difference Between Fresh And Canned Crab Meat?
There are several differences in how different types of seafood are handled before they reach your kitchen.
For example, shrimp and lobster are flash frozen right after being caught so they remain tender throughout cooking.
On the other hand, bluefin tuna has been kept alive in captivity for months, which means its flesh becomes tough when cooked.
In short, if you want to use raw ingredients in your recipes, choose fish that have been caught recently (or buy frozen ones) while shellfish will work better once they’ve had time to “cook off” some of their moisture.
You may also find that some fish have more flavor than others depending upon where they’re sourced from, so keep that in mind when buying.
Frozen Crab Meat
If you plan to use both fresh and canned crab meat, then you need to know what kind of crab you’re working with.
Canned crab meat is often loaded up with filler ingredients such as corn meal, potato starch, or bread crumbs, but there are exceptions.
Some brands actually do contain only the actual body of the crab, which helps retain all of its deliciousness.
On the other hand, you might notice that some brands of fresh crab meat don’t even include any type of filler ingredient.
If this sounds appealing to you, look for crabmeat labeled “100% pure crabmeat,” since this ensures that every last bit of meat is edible.
The good news about using either form of crab meat is that most recipes won’t require much preparation.
Just drain the water from the cans and pat dry the meat, cut it into bite-sized pieces, and add it directly to whatever dish you’re making.
For those recipes that call for baking, sautéing, or frying, you can simply toss the crab meat with seasonings instead of adding anything else, and cook it according to the instructions provided.
What Is The Best Way To Serve Crab Cakes?
There are several ways you can serve these tasty treats.
The easiest method is to simply heat up some oil in a pan over medium-low heat and cook them one by one, flipping them when they start to brown.
If your pan isn’t big enough, you might want to make sure you have two pans so you don’t overcrowd the pot.
You could also bake them using aluminum foil, which will help keep them nice and crispy.
You can even use a microwave if you prefer not to dirty up any pots and pans.
The most important thing to remember when cooking crab cakes is to add more flour than usual.
Flour acts as a thickener to hold together all of those delicious bits of crabmeat and other ingredients.
To avoid soggy cakes, try this simple trick: put a few tablespoons of flour in a bowl and slowly pour 1 cup of milk into it.
Mix it together well then gradually stir in another 2 cups of flour.
Continue adding the flour mixture while stirring until you reach the consistency you desire.
If you plan to freeze your cakes before baking, just wrap each cake individually in plastic wrap first.
Then place in a single layer inside a freezer bag.
When ready to eat, remove the frozen cakes from the bag and let thaw completely before heating in a skillet.
Or, if you want to enjoy your crab cakes immediately, just pop them straight into the oven.
When you’re cooking crab cakes, it’s tempting to get too excited about how quickly the batter turns golden brown on top.
But this only means that your cakes need to stay moist—don’t panic if they don’t turn perfectly brown right away! As long as there are no burnt edges, your crab cakes are good to go.
After heating up both sides, allow the cakes to cool slightly before serving.
If you find yourself with leftover crab cakes, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for three to four days.
Just reheat gently in a 350°F (180°C) oven for ten minutes or until heated through before serving.
Are Crab Cakes Healthy?
While we don’t recommend you eat these things every day, there are some health benefits to eating them regularly.
- They offer protein.
- A good source of vitamin D.
- Vitamin B12 helps maintain a healthy nervous system and may help prevent depression.
- Low levels of iron can cause fatigue and irritability in people who work long hours.
- Eating one serving (about three crab cakes) daily provides about 200 calories, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 20 milligrams of calcium.
The biggest drawback to crab cakes is that they contain high amounts of cholesterol.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting dietary intake of saturated fats, which include animal products such as red meats, whole milk, butter, and cheese.
If you choose to make crab cakes at home, opt for low-fat versions instead.
What Is The Nutritional Value Of A Crab Cake?
If you want to make sure you aren’t getting too many calories in one serving, stick to plain old crab cakes instead of ones stuffed full of cheese, bacon, peppers, etc.
You’re better off eating two crab cakes than three or four servings of anything else.
A single crab cake contains about 150 calories, which isn’t bad considering most other foods are much higher.
The protein content is also pretty high at 7 grams per 1/4 cup (6 ounces).
If you don’t eat any seafood, just know you could get those same numbers in a chicken breast.
The fat content however, is where things start to go downhill.
Crab cakes contain more saturated fats than any other food you will ever eat, so if you’re trying to stay trim, steer clear unless you have no choice.
On the flip side, crab cakes do have some beneficial nutrients including vitamins B12, D, E, K, A, C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and vitamin B3.
Where Can I Find A Good Recipe For Crab Cakes?
The easiest way to make crab cakes is to buy premade ones in the grocery store.
You’ll often find them in the frozen section near other seafood items.
The main advantage of buying pre-made crab cakes is cost savings – they are definitely easier than making your own version.
If you want to try making your own, there are several recipes online that will work just fine.
For instance, this one from Food Network has everything you need to know about how to make your own crab cakes.
This website also includes tips on storing homemade crab cakes so they don’t get soggy too quickly.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below!
In addition to being tasty, crab cakes are healthy.
They contain omega 3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels.
And since most people eat these kinds of foods during the colder months when the sun isn’t shining brightly outside, they provide some vitamin D, which helps regulate calcium absorption.
- 1 stick butter softened
- 6 ounce cheese spread
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounce lump crabmeat drained
- 6 English muffins split
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, cheese spread, mayonnaise, garlic salt, and salt on medium speed. Toss in the crab meat gently with a fork.
- Spread the mixture on top of the muffins to make 12 crabbies.
- Each crabbie should be cut into 4-6 pizza-like triangles.
- Skip to the next step for do-ahead instructions. Place the crabbies on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until bubbly and crisp, if serving immediately. Serve and have fun!