Crab Cakes

Friday is Ryan’s birthday, and it’s kind of a big one. He may not appreciate me saying his age, but he’ll be turning 29. I always tease him about being old, which I can get away with since he will always be older than I am. I don’t think either of us can believe how old we really are; I still think of us as 21 and 23, like nothing has changed since we met. For his birthday dinner, he requested that I make barbecue burgers. We will have those on Friday, but I decided to pack the week with things I know he loves to make it a week-long celebration.

When we visit my family in Illinois, my uncle usually takes us out to a local country club for dinner. He is friends with the chef so we always get exceptional service and amazing food. I am pretty sure that it was on one of these visits that Ryan first tried crab cakes, and he’s been obsessed ever since. I am also a fan of crab cakes, but they tend to be very expensive so it’s more of a treat than something we eat regularly. After seeing someone else make canned crabmeat from Trader Joe’s into a crab cake, I decided to give it a try because it seemed like an economical alternative to going out or using the $20 tubs of lump crab meat.

Having never used canned crab before and being a little skeptical of canned meats in general, I was a little freaked out to open the can and find some sort of plastic-like paper over the top of the crab. In my grossed out state, I don’t think I drained the first can enough. Once I realized the paper was just sitting on top of the meat, not a bag containing all the meat, I was able to better deal with the second can. Unfortunately, I think the wetness of the first can in conjunction with the texture of canned crab versus lump crab made for a really crumbly cake. I also didn’t use a nonstick pan so the bottom layer of the patties stuck to the pan instead of really browning up like it should have. While they were cooking, I was really nervous that it was a disaster. I kept thinking, “Hmm… what’s my backup plan?”

Even though the texture wasn’t quite what we expected, the flavor was awesome. I scraped out all the crumbly, brown bits from the pan and sprinkled them on top of the cakes to give it a bit of crunch which helped a lot. We will more than likely make these again, but I might spring for lump crabmeat next time. Then again, considering the canned version was about 1/4 the price, maybe it was fine as-is. It all comes together very quickly so it was a great weeknight meal.

My only real disappointment with this recipe was how high in POINTS it ended up being. For some reason, I expected them to be much lighter, especially considering they were pretty small. I’m sure I could have used light mayonnaise, as suggested in the original recipe, to save some calories, but the list of ingredients on light mayo scares me. I never it eat on its own, only in recipes, so I feel like it’s something I can splurge on calorie-wise; I’m just not sure it was worthwhile in this dish for the amount of food you get for the number of calories you consume.

Crab Cakes

12 ounces canned crabmeat
1 egg
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
¾ tablespoon dried chives
¾ tablespoon spicy brown mustard
¾ tablespoon lemon juice
¾ teaspoon celery seed
¾ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 dashes hot sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons light butter

Mix crab, egg, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, chives, mustard, lemon juice, celery seed, onion powder, pepper and hot sauce in a large bowl. Form into 4 patties.

Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the butter stops foaming. Cook the patties until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.

Source: adapted from Eating Well’s Crab Cake Burgers
4 servings | 6 POINTS


June 30, 2009. recipes.


  1. nick replied:

    Stick with buying the (more) expensive stuff. Use backfin meat or a mix of backfin and lump, it is just as good (my father actually prefers claw meat which is even cheaper, but I digress).

    As played, NEVER add mayo to crab cake. EVER. Here is a list of acceptable ingredients:

    Salt (or celery salt)
    Mustard (scant)
    Onions (scallions/whatever)
    Roasted peppers
    egg and enough breadcrumbs to hold it together

    Possibly my favorite food of all time, I actually prefer them baked to fried, in my old age (haha he’s 2 years older than me!!!)

  2. Sara replied:

    You should check out Ellie’s recipe for crab cakes. They have been my go to crab cake recipe for years. I just pour a few drops of oil over each one before they go into the oven. Also, bake them on a silpat if you have one, so there is no sticking.

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