New England-Style Crab Cakes

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If you love crab cakes, then this is the recipe for you.

You may be wondering what makes a crab cake New England-style. They are crispy on the outside and very creamy and crabby on the interior. They are easy to prepare and truly spectacular. Even non-seafood lovers flip for these cakes. The homemade tartar sauce puts them over the top!

A straight-on view of two New England-style crab cakes that are on a black dinner plate both with a strip of tartar sauce on them and sitting next to lemon wedges.

How To Make New England-Style Crab Cakes

 

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The Ingredients You Will Need

Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand to make these incredible crab cakes:

Breadcrumbs – Panko is best, but you could go with regular breadcrumbs, or even fresh. Toasting them makes the cakes extra crispy. You don’t need to toast the breadcrumbs that you’ll add to the crab cake filling.
Butter – Unsalted.
Onion – Finely chopped.
Red bell pepper – Seeded and finely chopped. You could substitute a green or yellow pepper, if desired.
Garlic – Finely minced.
Seasonings – Salt and pepper.
Parsley – Fresh Italian, flat-leaf, chopped.
Eggs – You’ll need a couple for the cakes and then a few more for the batter. Have an extra one on hand in case you need more for the batter.
MayonnaiseHomemade or store-bought.
Vinegar – Red wine is recommended, but white wine or apple cider vinegar would work, too.
Mustard – Dijon is best. Country or stone-ground is good but will give a more pronounced flavor.
Capers – Drained.
Hot sauce – Tabasco is great.
Worcestershire sauce – Don’t skip this ingredient.
Crabmeat – Lump is recommended. Jumbo lump crab is expensive and not necessary.
Oil – Vegetable or canola oil, for frying.
Lemon wedges – For garnish.
Tartar sauceHomemade is easy and makes these crab cakes restaurant-quality.

An overhead view of a crab cake mixture in a glass bowl with a wooden spatula inserted into the side of the mix.

Tips for Making Perfect New England-Style Crab Cakes

Use Quality Lump Crab Meat – The key to a perfect crab cake is fresh lump crab meat. Jumbo lump isn’t necessary, but quality lump crab makes all the difference. Please don’t use imitation crab.

Binding Agents Are Critical – To help hold the crab cakes together and prevent them from falling apart, use a combination of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and egg. This will also add flavor and moisture to the crab cakes.

Toast the Panko Breadcrumbs – Panko breadcrumbs are larger and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs, which creates a crispy, crunchy coating. To ensure an extra crispy breading, toast the breadcrumbs before breading and then frying.

Fry in Hot Oil – Quickly frying the cakes in hot vegetable (or canola) oil delivers the classic crispy exterior. You can also bake them at 400°F for 20 minutes, or until crispy. Cook them in your air-fryer by spraying the basket with cooking spray and then air-frying them at 350°F for 12 minutes, flipping halfway.

EXPERT TIP: Have an extra egg or two on hand for breading the cakes. You may need to add another one to the egg wash if you don’t have enough. Chilling the cakes makes them much easier to handle during the breading process.

Two images with the first being a crab cake resting in a bowl filled with an egg wash and then the next is the crab cake that is in a bowl filled with toasted breadcrumbs.

How To Serve

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can make small little cakes to serve as a party appetizer, form smaller patties for an appetizer to a meal, or make them full size as a filling entrée.

You will definitely want to serve these with our homemade tartar sauce, which can be made up to three days in advance.

If serving as the main dish, a simple arugula salad dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper is a wonderful accompaniment. If you’re feeling adventurous, whip up a batch of homemade hush puppies!

EXPERT TIP: It won’t take long for the crab cakes to get golden and crispy in the oil. Use a candy thermometer to ensure your oil temperature is 350°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, simply toss in a little piece of bread. When it sizzles and then turns golden and crispy within about a minute, you’re good to go. If it burns quickly, the oil is too hot. If it doesn’t brown within a minute, your oil isn’t hot enough.

A person holding a metal spatula that has a crispy crab cake on it that is being lifted from a cast-iron skillet filled with hot oil.

Other Amazing Seafood Classic Recipes To Try

When seafood is fresh and prepared correctly, it is absolutely amazing and delicious. Here is a collection of some of our favorites that you will want to prepare for your loved ones:

Classic Fish and Chips
Southern-Style Crab Cakes
Crab-Stuffed Shrimp
Crispy Crab Beignets
Fried Oysters and Littleneck Clams
Beer Batter Fried Shrimp
Sautéed Soft-Shell Crabs
Lump Crab au Gratin
Spaghetti Vongole (White Clam Sauce)
Classic Fried Calamari with Homemade Cocktail Sauce
Fried Catfish Po-Boy

All of these are seafood perfection and you need to make them as soon as possible! But, in the meantime, isn’t this dish calling your name?

An overhead view of two black dinner plates that are each holding two crispy New England-style crab cakes next to lemon wedges, a jar of tartar sauce, and an arugula salad.
We need to say this again, if you love crab cakes, this is the recipe for you.

It’s not fishy tasting at all, and the combination of crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside is just unbeatable.

And, we can’t stress enough, homemade tartar sauce puts it over the top.

A close-up view of a half-eaten New England-style crab cake that has a strip of homemade tartar sauce on it all on a black dinner plate.

Ready to make the best crab cakes this side of Boston? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of them, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A straight-on view of two New England-style crab cakes that are on a black dinner plate both with a strip of tartar sauce on them and sitting next to lemon wedges.

New England-Style Crab Cakes

New England-Style Crab Cakes are crispy on the outside and creamy and crabby on the inside. The flavor profile is spot-on and not overly fishy tasting. The homemade tartar sauce is easy and puts them over the top!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer / Entree
Cuisine: New England / Seafood
Keyword: how to make crab cakes, New England crab cakes recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 569kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large sturdy skillet 12-inch cast-iron is ideal
  • Candy thermometer

Ingredients

  • cups Panko breadcrumbs divided
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup red bell pepper seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp Italian flat-leaf parsley fresh, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 5 eggs divided
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp capers drained
  • 2 tsp hot sauce ie, Tabasco
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb lump crabmeat drained and picked over
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • lemon wedges for garnish
  • tartar sauce for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Sprinkle 2 cups of the Panko breadcrumbs over a baking sheet. Toast the breadcrumbs for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden, stirring halfway through. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
    2¼ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and red bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in the parsley and set aside to cool.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, ½ cup onion, ½ cup red bell pepper, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • In a large bowl, add 2 eggs and lightly beat them. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab meat, ¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs (un-toasted), and onion/pepper mixture. Add ½ tsp salt and pepper, each. Use your hands, or a wooden spoon to mix until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.
    5 eggs, ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp capers, 2 tsp hot sauce, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 lb lump crabmeat, salt and pepper
  • Place the toasted breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. In a different bowl, add the remaining 3 eggs plus about 1 tbsp of tap water and mix until combined.
  • Form 3 to 4 oz crab cakes with your hands. Place in the egg wash and flip to cover. Gently shake off excess egg. Dredge the crab cake in the breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (If longer, cover with plastic wrap for up to 5 hours).
  • Place the oil in a sturdy skillet and heat over medium-high heat until a thermometer reaches 350°F.
    vegetable oil
  • Working in batches, fry the crab cakes until golden and crispy all over, about 4 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Serve at once with lemon wedges and tartar sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
    lemon wedges, tartar sauce

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
The crab cakes can be breaded and kept covered (with plastic wrap) in the fridge for up to 5 hours before frying them. 
Reheat leftovers in a 325°F oven (covered) for 15 to 20 minutes. 
The crab cakes can be frozen for up to several months. Thaw and cook as instructed. 

Nutrition

Calories: 569kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 279mg | Sodium: 1642mg | Potassium: 490mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1112IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 4mg
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