Crab Cakes With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Homemade Crab Cakes are absolutely out of this world delicious. With large chunks of sweet crab meat, the patties are flavored with bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic. The creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is just the thing to serve with them.

Crab Cakes with large chunks of crab served with a roasted red pepper sauce

I always feel so fancy whenever I eat crab cakes. That’s probably because crab cakes are on the menu at most high end restaurants. Ever since I tried my first crab cake a few years ago, I knew why they were so popular. Crab cakes tastes so fresh, with juicy morsels of crab and flavored with peppers, onion, celery and garlic. Making them at home is so easy.

Since fresh crab meat is quite expensive, I wanted to make sure it really shined in this recipe. I only added enough ingredients to add flavor and to bind everything together. The whole point of crab cakes is for you to be able to enjoy the crab, not have to hunt through your whole crab cake and only find a few tiny pieces of crab here and there. Crab reminds me so much of the sea. It has that lovely sweet flavor that brings to mind crashing waves and hot summer breezes. 

What Kind of Crab To Use and Where To Buy It

jumbo lump crab meat in a bowl

Fresh crab meat is pricey, but it is the absolute best choice for crab cakes, especially since it’s the main ingredient. You can usually find fresh crab in the refrigerated section right next to fresh seafood in your grocery store.

Lump crab meat is the best. It is made up of large pieces of crab that are taken from the body of the crab. Backfin and claw crab meat are smaller pieces that are taken from he fins and claws of the crab. You can use this type of crabmeat as well, but the pieces are much smaller, so you won’t get big flaky pieces of crab meat, like you would if you used lump crab meat.

If you can’t find fresh or pasteurized crab meat, you can also use canned crab meat in a pinch.

Imitation crab meat is not crab meat at all and will not work for this recipe.

What Aromatic Vegetables Work Best?

Ingredients for Crab Cakes

I use onion, celery, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic. These flavor complement the sweet and tender crab meat really well. Sautéing them first will soften them, caramelize them and give them more flavor. Since crab cakes cook really quickly, it is important that the vegetables be completely cooked through before being added to the crab mixture, since they will not cook through if you add them raw.

Tips To Keep Crab Cakes From Falling Apart

  1. Use enough binder. Even though I didn’t want to use too much binder to create mushy and flavorless crab cakes, it is important to use enough to hold it all together. The binder ingredients I use are egg, breadcrumbs and mayo. If your crab cakes are falling apart too much, add a bit more mayo.
  2. Refrigerate the crab mixture before shaping them into patties.
  3. Cook the crab cakes in a non stick skillet and avoid turning them (flipping them over) more than necessary. Wait until they are golden brown and turn over only once.

How to Prep and Cook the Crab Cakes

Homemade Crab Cake Tutorial
  1. In a skillet, cook the onion for about 3 minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables – celery, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic, seasoning with salt and ground black pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and completely cooked. Cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, place the crab meat in a large bowl, carefully picking through the crab meat and getting rid of any shell pieces. 
  3. Add the sautéed vegetables, panko breadcrumbs, egg, mayonnaise, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and ground black pepper. Mix gently to combine, being very careful not to break apart the crab meat.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can even make this a day in advance. If you don’t refrigerate the crab mixture, it will be too fragile to work with.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup, make the crab cakes.
  6. Dredge them in the flour. You can also use bread crumbs to coat the crab cakes in instead of the flour.
  7. Cook the crab cakes in a nonstick skillet. Heat 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet. Add half of the crab cakes to the hot oil and cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes per side until the crab cakes are golden brown on both sides. Repeat with the remaining crab cakes.
Cooking Crab Cakes in a Skillet

How to Make the Roasted Rep Pepper Sauce

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce in a blender

Place all the sauce ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Taste the sauce. If you want it to have a little more acidity, add more lemon juice. You can add more or less hot sauce, etc. Refrigerate until ready to use. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

 Homemade Crab Cakes on a plate, with lots of flakes of sweet crab
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Crab Cakes With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 12 crab cakes 1x
  • Category: Entree, Appetizers

Description

Homemade Crab Cakes are absolutely out of this world delicious. With large chunks of sweet crab meat, the patties are flavored with bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic. The creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is just the thing to serve with them.


Scale

Ingredients

Crab Cakes

  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • 4 Tablespoon oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt, ground black pepper
  • 1/21 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 34 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup flour, for dredging (you can also use breadcrumbs instead)

Roasted Rep Pepper Sauce:

  • 1/2 of a small roasted red pepper, about 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoon Greek yogurt
  • 1/21 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha or any hot sauce, optional
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced shallot (you can use red or yellow onion)
  • 1/21 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 1/2 Tablespoon parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • salt, ground black pepper, to taste
  • lemon juice, optional

Instructions

  1. Heat 1/2 – 1 Tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the onion, cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes and then add the bell pepper, jalapeño, celery and garlic. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Cool slightly.
  2. Place the crab meat in a large bowl, carefully picking through the crab meat and getting rid of any shell pieces.
  3. Add the sautéed vegetables, panko breadcrumbs, egg, mayonnaise, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and ground black pepper. Mix gently to combine, being very careful not to break apart the crab meat.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can even make this a day in advance. If you don’t refrigerate the crab mixture, it will be too fragile to work with.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup, form the crab mixture into balls and flatten them out slightly to make your crab cakes.
  6. Dredge them in the flour. You can also use bread crumbs to coat the crab cakes in instead of the flour.
  7. Heat 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet. Add half of the crab cakes to the hot oil and cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes per side until the crab cakes are golden brown on both sides. Repeat with the remaining crab cakes. Serve with the Red Pepper Sauce or any other sauce that you like.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Taste the sauce. If you want it to have a little more acidity, add some lemon juice.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

13 Comments

  • Maria

    Recipe looks great – will be trying shortly.

    Can the crab cakes be browned for a bit and then baked in the oven? If so, at what temperature and for how long?

    • tspressly

      AFTER PREPAIRING CRAB CAKES, REFRIGERATE FOR 30 MIN. TO AN HOUR, TO ALLOW THEM TO FIRM UP. PREHEAT OVEN TO 425 DEGREES. LINE A COOKIE SHEET PAN WITH PARCHMENT PAPER, BRUSH CRAB CAKES WITH BUTTER ON BOTH SIDES, BAKE
      FOR 7 OR 8 MIN., SWITCH OVEN FROM BAKE TO BROIL FOR ABOUT 2 MINUTES, OR ‘TILL BROWNED, DO NOT TURN, EASY, WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT BREAKING WHILE TURNING.

    • rkt10

      I’ve made this recipe a number of times and it is terrific.
      I would’t bake them either. But one thing you can do is cook them the day ahead of when you want to serve them. Then refrigerate. Just before serving, pan fry them at a low heat just to warm them. Because it’s a low heat you don’t have to watch over them as carefully as you do when you’re frying them initially. Obviously you need to flip them over half way through the re-warming process.
      But if you were making these for a party and didn’t want to worry too much with everything else you’re doing, making them a day in advance is a good idea.
      Even if you aren’t crazy about the idea of frying them the day before, I would actually recommend you do all the prep and assembly the day before. It gives the ingredients a chance to meld a bit and the flavor of the crab cakes improves as a result.
      Then at the last minute pick up from the point in the recipe where you form the crab cakes and then dredge them in flour (definitely dredge only at the last minute before frying)

  • Masha L

    I made the crab cakes and the red pepper sauce. Me and husband both enjoyed it. Thank you for a great recipe!

  • Mady

    Hi Olga, I so enjoy your recipes , what is old bay seasoning? I am in Canada and have never seen this, so if you could tell me the ingredients I could make my ow. Thanks for a great site.

    • olgak7

      Hi Mady!
      Old Bay is a popular seasoning blend here in the US. The seasoning mix includes mustard, paprika, celery salt, bay leaf, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, mace, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger.

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