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We don’t often eat crab – it’s expensive and high in cholesterol.  But when I catered, I made thousands of mini-crabcakes for cocktail parties.  They’re popular, easy to prepare ahead of time and freeze well.  Dick and I both love them so they’re a treat.

Here’s my recipe:


  • 1 #crabmeat (lump or claw)
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1-2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 pepper, diced (red, yellow or orange)
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, cleaned, picked and chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 4-5 tablespoons mayonnaise (vegenaise is fine)
  • 1/4-1/3 bread crumbs – unseasoned is best
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper



  • Assemble ingredients (wearing kitchen latex or nitrile exam gloves is a good idea when working with crab – saves the hands a bit)
  • Pick through the crabmeat, discard any small pieces of shell, squeeze out excess water and place in mixing container.


  • Dice the onion, pepper and celery fairly small, consistent size, add to crab.
  • Add the chopped parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper and combine ingredients.


  • Mix the egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice and mustard and add to the crab, along with the crumbs.
  • Stir to combine but don’t over mix.  This is where a little finesse is involved.  You want to be able to press the mixture into a shape which it retains… so you may need to make it a little wetter )with more mayo/vegenaise) or drier (with a few breadcrumbs) – use your judgement and it will be fine.



  • Shape the crabmeat into preferred size (if you’re making hors d’oeuvres they should be bite size, otherwise you will probably get about 5 entree size cakes.
  • Dust each side with a little bread crumb if you like – the crumbs will brown nicely when you sauté them.
  • At this point, you can either: 1) refrigerate them for use later 2) freeze them for use later 3) saute and eat!
  • When you are ready to serve, heat a sauté pan large enough to hold the cakes, without crowding, to medium high heat.
  • When hot, add 2-3 tablespoons butter (yes, I use butter for these because I think it taste better and I’m ready to throw caution to the wind several times a year for a good crab cake!) and add cakes.  Sauté 4-5 until nicely browned, turn and brown the other side.
  • Remove and serve.  If the meal is not quite ready, you can place the cakes in a preheated 350 oven for 5-10 minutes to reheat.

Tip for using as hors d’oeuvres:  Shape into small bite-size cakes.  You can freeze at this point if you like.  To complete, just remove from freezer (you can stack them in freezer container if you place parchment paper between the layers), and brown on each side – you don’t have to let them thaw out completely before you do this.  Place browned cakes on baking sheet (again, on parchment paper) and they are ready to pop in the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving on cracker or small toast rounds, perhaps with a horseradish/remoulade.


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