Baked Crab Cakes

Enjoy the best kind of cake with fewer calories


I’ve had my share of crab cakes in my life. I really love them and they are just so versatile. You can get them as an appetizer or main course. Some of the best I’ve had were in Maryland. These were succulent because they were mostly crab meat with very little filling, and they had that legendary taste of Old Bay seasoning. Of course, they were fried. That’s the way crab cakes are cooked. They’re fried. I don’t eat a lot of fried foods. As good as they taste going down, they don’t look as good on my hips or on the scale.

I love the rich flavor of crab and I don’t want to give up eating them so I made these baked cakes that taste almost exactly like the fried ones. What’s the difference? They’re not loaded with oil.

I made a bunch of them and had both garlic aioli and cocktail sauce on the side. After dinner, I wrapped the leftovers individually and froze them. They’re great for grabbing out of the freezer in the morning to have that night.
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Serve them on buns, over greens or with a side of sauteed kale. Yummy!

Baked Crab Cakes

Serves 8


4 tablespoons light mayonnaise
½ red bell pepper, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
About ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for breading
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Dash of hot sauce
1 pound crab meat, picked over for shells
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place mayonnaise, bell pepper, green onions, mustard, ½ cup breadcrumbs, lemon juice and hot sauce in a large mixing bowl. Stir together to combine.

Gently fold in crab meat and toss together. Add more bread crumbs if mixture does not hold together when squeezed. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide crab mixture into 8 round cakes. Place extra panko in a shallow dish. Dredge each crab cake in panko and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle the tops lightly with olive oil and then bake until golden brown on bottom. Flip cakes over and continue baking until golden brown all over, about 15-20 minutes on each side. 

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Lamebear
    701439 22

    I'm pretty sure that anybody who dedicates a pound of delicious (& expensive) lump crab meat to this recipe is gonna be disappointed. First, as the photo shows, you won't get cakes at all; you'll get crab mush. That's because you can't use mayo & bread crumbs to bind anything together. You need an egg.

    Second, adding a red pepper to the crab & mayo will dramatically change the flavor of the crab cakes. You will never find a bell pepper in any of the great Maryland crab cakes Ms. Lewis mentions. I have adoringly eaten crab cakes at Crisfield's in Silver Spring & O'Brycki's in Baltimore for years (I think O'Brycki's is closed now). Nowhere in these state-of-the-art crab cakes will you find a pepper. Or any Old Bay seasoning, either. Or hot sauce (gasp). What you want to taste is the crab.

    The great crab cakes follow Thomas Jefferson's venerable recipe: crab, mayo, minced shallots, small amount of bread crumbs & egg for binding, bread crumbs for coating & some light vegetable oil (think, Canola Oil) for frying. A little Canola oil never put any pounds on anybody, not even the fried-foods-a-phobic Rona Lewis.

    There's almost nothing you can do to make crab unpleasant to eat, but this recipe may challenge that truism.

    Jul 07, 2012 at 9:08 PM

  • Snooth User: Rona Lewis
    359096 115

    Wow. That was harsh. Actually, I served them as appetizers the other night and people ate all of them. Perhaps i should call them something else besides crab cakes. I'll have to think on that.

    Jul 08, 2012 at 11:44 AM

  • Snooth User: ljsea
    152055 1

    I agree with Lamebear. I've been making Crab cakes for years without all the peppers, onions etc in them. Hot sauce, what's that all about? I use Old Bay seasoning, but in an aoli on the side. Crab, egg, a lit bit of dried mustard and a small amount of bread crumbs. That's it except for frying them in unsalted butter.

    Jul 11, 2012 at 2:09 PM

  • Snooth User: goofyme
    536857 1

    I made them the other night - added one egg overall and i did use some chopped green pepper, hot sauce, old bay, etc. Used mustard instead of dry mustard. I baked - but agree I would fry next time. Was a bit dry for me - although my husband raved that they were the best crab cakes he ever had!

    Jul 11, 2012 at 2:30 PM

  • Snooth User: Rona Lewis
    359096 115

    You know what? You guys are absolutely right. They WOULD taste better fried! Here's the thing. I'm a fitness and lifestyle coach and HEALTHY chef. What I do is re-engineer and invent recipes so they are healthier. They're less caloric, usually have less carbs and sugar and MUCH less fat. I offer an alternative to those who are watching what they eat.

    There's no question frying food can keep it moister and add some flavor. I think 'ljsea' and 'goofyme' added some brilliant ingredients that helped the dish. Bravo! I, myself, am constantly taking recipes and making them my own.

    Bottom line is this. My contributions to this column, except for my chef school diaries, will be healthy alternatives to dishes we all love. That sometimes means sacrificing a little moisture and oil, but keeping as much flavor as possible. If you improve on what I come up with, yippee! I would love to see what you came up with. Thanks for letting me know how you feel....

    Jul 11, 2012 at 4:28 PM

  • Snooth User: Lamebear
    701439 22

    I see two problems in your response to the comments on your recipe for baked crab cakes. First, ljsea & I did not focus mainly on the importance of frying but on the ingredients of your recipe. Was there some healthy reason for omitting an egg? I can't imagine what it would be. I think the truth is that there are holes in your culinary education (I know there are in mine) & the use of an egg as a binding agent is one of them. You just didn't know. Result: crab mush. We both also objected to the addition of peppers, Old Bay Seasoning & hot sauce (on the other hand I'd love to have ljsea's recipe for aioli with Old Bay Seasoning).. Call us purists but we want to taste the crab.

    The second problem is that if you aspire to be any sort of chef, healthy or not, & to publish recipes, then you owe it to both yourself as a matter of your credibility & to your readers as a matter of courtesy not to publish poorly thought-out ones.
    There is a line beyond which dedication to healthy living becomes fanaticism.
    While we all should limit our intake of fried foods, to take what is in its essence a fried food & try to bake it in order to gain a miniscule (& quite debatable) health benefit is to brush up against that line.

    In short, if you want to create a well-thought-out recipe then you have to give careful attention to the nature of the dish you propose to improve & the actual benefit of the proposed improvement.

    If anything I've said here seems "harsh" to you, I apologize. Old LameBear is a gentle little guy, just serious about good food & grumpy with bad recipes.

    Jul 14, 2012 at 7:45 PM

  • Snooth User: Rona Lewis
    359096 115

    Heard and understood.

    Jul 14, 2012 at 8:04 PM

  • Snooth User: httpmom
    352484 5

    Hey, this alternative showed up at the perfect time for me. I am on a calorie reducing plan and it's especially great to have alternative solutions for the food we love to eat. Otherwise I would probably blow my program. Thanks!

    Jul 16, 2012 at 2:27 PM

  • Snooth User: Mylanb
    700327 20

    I always bake my crab cakes. I use very little bread crumbs, really just to coat. If I use bread crumbs its Panko. Do add egg, celery, onion and a bit of red pepper.. ( have used just egg whites or 1 egg and 1 egg white and that has worked great), mayo is a must, Dijon good too, so is Sriracha but you can add that in the sauce, or what ever may move you at the time. Cooking is supposed to be creative. Yes there are some major great purist crab cake recipes around. But, when it come to cooking.. if what you make is better then any restaurant you had the same dish at, you are the winner because yours is a great purist or a variation there of. My crab cakes come out crisp and lovely and they are never greasy or dry. Maybe the big griddle I use brushed with coconut oil has something to do with it?? Just say'n

    Jul 16, 2012 at 4:05 PM

  • I love crab cakes.I agree using red, green peppers,cleryand bread crumbs are nothing more tha fillers to produce a greater yield per one pound of crabmeat.

    There is a resteruant here in S. Jersey that broils the crab cake and all you see are large lucious lumps of crab meat. Yes, the entry is $19 for twoo crab cakes and one side dish.

    Jul 17, 2012 at 10:27 PM

  • Snooth User: gumbogirl
    856586 13

    Wow, I'm from Louisiana and we love crab cakes here, too, yet we do seem to temper our comments about their preparation with a bit more civility. (A disclaimer about being harsh followed by a declaration of being a gentle bear seems disingenuous. However, I'll give the poster the benefit of the doubt.) Those who post who object to the recipe above in the sake of purity should just make the recipe the way they prefer. My family boasts several professional chefs and every adult relative I have could open a restaurant because they are so talented. While our 'pro' kin may put crab cakes on their respective menus they don't all taste the same. Regarding red bell pepper, it adds beautiful color as well as flavor to crab cakes. And Old Bay, old schmay, there are numerous seasoning blends on the market or created in home kitchens that enhance crab cake recipes just as well. The East Coast preference for this wonderful and revered seasoning doesn't mean it's the only one for crab cakes. I really just want to thank Rona Lewis for putting out an option in the recipe department. Geeze Louise, if readers don't like the ingredients don't make the recipe!

    Jul 26, 2012 at 2:38 PM


    Nov 08, 2012 at 5:46 AM

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