Easy Mini Crab Cakes Recipe

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Easy Mini Crab Cakes Recipe – delicious appetizer sized crab cakes with almost no filler, and tons of juicy crab meat!

picture of crab cakes on a platter with lemon slices and tartar sauce
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picture of crab cakes on a platter

Easy Bite Size Crab Cakes

Delicious tender crab cakes, loaded with blue crab meat and little filler – these easy to pop appetizer sized crab cakes are a huge hit at any party!

If you love crab cakes, old bay seasoning, and are planning a big party, these are the perfect easy appetizer – they feed a crowd, cook quickly, and are easy to serve!

These mini crab cakes are perfect with shrimp cocktail, Crab Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs, Broiled Lobster Tails,Garlic Butter Naked Lobster Rolls, Bloody Mary Oysters, and Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Scallops for a seafood feast!

We’re including notes to make this recipe keto or gluten free below, so please take note of them if you would like to make the simple swaps for these appetizer crab cakes to fit into your keto diet.

We hope you love this recipe as much as we do.

picture of a hand holding a crab cake

How To Make Mini Crab Cakes

To make this recipe, you will need:

  • Crab claw meat – we’re using crab claw meat for this recipe for it’s sweet flavor, large chunks, and easy to mix texture. Always be sure to lightly handle crab to check for bits of shell that might still be present after processing.
  • Egg – egg helps bind crab cakes, adds critical fat and a rich, savory flavor to crab cakes.
  • Garlic – garlic adds an earthy, pungent flavor that helps add a savory and addictive kick to crab cakes!
  • Mayonnaise – mayonnaise is a rich and creamy addition that keeps crab cakes together, gives critical fat, and helps bind them. We like a less is more approach when it comes to mayo – just enough to help keep crab together, without overpowering the shellfish’s delicate flavor.
  • Panko bread crumbs – panko breadcrumbs are white flour bread with the crust cut off and dried out, with a light, flaky texture that give extra crispy crunch to crab cakes.
  • Grainy mustard – mustard gives a tangy, spicy zip to crab cakes. If you’re allergic to mustard (like I am) you can also leave it out.
  • Old bay seasoning – Old Bay Seasoning is delicious with crab, shrimp, and all kinds of seafood – and is great in crab cakes for an extra burst of flavor!
  • Lemon juice – adding fresh lemon gives a bright, tangy, lightly tart, and delicious kick to crab cakes that adds dimension.

Making crab cakes is incredibly simple – you mix, form, and fry or bake – but we have a couple of tips to make these crab cakes even easier.

Mix jumbo lump crab meat, Worcestershire sauce, old bay seasoning, a little bit of bread crumbs, gently fold them together, cover and refrigerate to cook later.

When you’re ready to eat, bake (or you can pan fry for a couple minutes per side), then brush with a little butter and lemon juice, and serve with crackers, tartar sauce, and hot sauce!

picture of a hand holding a crab cake

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Mini Crab Cakes & FAQs

  • Don’t overmix ingredients. This will make crab cakes tough and stiff.
  • Be careful adding salt – crab is already fairly salty. You may opt for unsalted butter to brush on crab cakes to reduce salty flavor.
  • Mustard powder can be omitted if you have a mustard allergy, like me!
  • We like to add more old bay at the end, you can never get enough old bay!
  • For a bit of a flavorful kick, you can add very finely minced red peppers into crab cakes.

Pan fry crab cakes. We’re baking crab cakes in this recipe since pan frying can be a bit of a pain to flip a ton of mini crab cakes – but if you don’t mind flipping a bunch of them, it’s pretty simple.

  • Melt butter in a nonstick pan on medium high and add crab cakes.
  • Cook to golden brown, flipping often, until crispy and browned on all sides – about 8 minutes.

Make keto crab cakes. The carb count in this recipe is naturally pretty low since we’re using a lot less filling already (it only acts as a binder, not as a crucial part of the flavor) – to make an easy swap for these crab cakes to fit into a keto diet, simply swap breadcrumbs for almond flour.

Make gluten-free crab cakes. If you have a gluten allergy, you can swap for a gluten-free breadcrumb.

Make ahead of time. These crab cakes can be prepared ahead of time, making them perfect for parties. There are two ways of prepping these crab cakes ahead of a party – by parbaking (lightly baking to cooked, without overly browning); or by forming and covering, storing in a refrigerator for up to one day until ready to bake.

Freeze prepped crab cakes for parties. Prepped crab cakes can also be individually frozen and then baked from-frozen at party time – pop them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and cook until piping hot and 145 degrees internal temperature.

Recipe FAQs

How long do crab cakes last?

Crab cakes last 3-5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Can I use less filling?

I like to use as little mayonnaise and breadcrumbs as possible when making crab cakes – you want enough they stick together, not so much they overpower the crab flavor.

Can I make a big batch and freeze ahead of time?

These appetizers are perfect to whip up a big batch of and freeze ahead of a party – simply mix, form, and par-bake (bake just enough to let crab cakes form) and then freeze on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, you can transfer crab cakes to a plastic bag and store in freezer for up to four months.

When are crab cakes done?

Crab cakes should be baked until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

picture of crab cakes on a platter with lemon slices

Crab cakes are delicious with all sorts of side dishes, fruits and vegetables – they are great at parties, (we especially love crab cakes at brunch!) and picnics, but we’re sharing some of our favorite seafood dishes we love to serve alongside crab cakes for an epic seafood feast:

You can find our complete seafood recipe archives here.

Find our complete appetizer archives here.

picture of crab cakes on a platter

Easy Mini Crab Cakes Recipe

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A person displaying a mini crab cake appetizer.

Easy Mini Crab Cakes Recipe

Easy Mini Crab Cakes Recipe – delicious appetizer sized crab cakes with almost no filler, and tons of juicy crab meat!
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American
Keyword appetizers, crab, crab cakes, seafood
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 28
Calories 50kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell


  • 16 ounces crab claw meat
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs divided
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • 1 & ½ teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • Fresh chopped parsley for garnish optional


  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, set aside.
  • Pick through the crab meat to make sure there are no shells but try not to break it up too much.
  • In a large egg, mix together the egg, garlic, mayonnaise, half the bread crumbs, mustard, old bay, lemon juice, and black pepper.
  • Add the crab meat in and fold it into the other ingredients.
  • Do not work it too much.
  • Place tablespoon-sized scoops of the crab mix onto the sheet tray, not touching.
  • Top the crab cakes with the remaining bread crumbs.
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F.
  • Brush the butter on top of each crab cake.
  • Garnish with optional parsley and serve with the dipping sauce of your choice. 


These are very flavorful! The addition of the butter on top send them over the top.
The crab meat can be a little salty so I suggest tasting it first before adding any additional salt.
The crab meat is fully cooked in the can.


Serving: 2crab cakes | Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 104mg

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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4.44 from 160 votes (160 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Kaylee says:

    Can you use imitation crab?

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      You can, but it won’t have the same flavor.

  2. April Spain says:

    How many does this recipe make?

    1. Katherine says:

      This should make about 28 small appetizer bite size crab cakes.

      1. Sandie Sullivan says:

        Can I make this 1 day ahead but not bake it

      2. Katherine says:

        Yes, just refrigerate until you are ready to bake them. You can also freeze them individually for up to 3 months.