East-Coast-Inspired Crab Cakes
For years, we searched for the perfect crab cake recipe. We wanted a recipe that wasn’t overly filled with breading and had no minced pepper, no parsley, and only a hint of onion flavor so that the taste of the crab comes through.
The best crab cake recipe you will ever find.
East-coast-inspired, this crab cakes recipe came to us after a trip to the Outer Banks, where we enjoyed lunch at a bar and restaurant near the Wright Brothers National Memorial in the town of Kill Devil Hills.
The restaurant’s recipe, our waitress revealed, included cracker crumbs instead of breadcrumbs and the perfectly crisp cakes were convection baked rather than fried in oil. Those clues eventually unlocked our success!
Over time our crab cakes recipe took shape, becoming perfectly golden brown and crispy in one of our favorite kitchen gizmos, the air fryer. Lastly, because what is life without a little sauce, we’ve made a sweet, creamy condiment for dolloping on top using feathery fresh dill from our garden.
We feel it’s the best crab cake (with sauce) recipe you will ever find.
Yes! They are that good, and we’re sure you’ll love them too!
How to Make Crab Cakes at Home
Crab Cake Ingredients
Imitation Carb – We’ve used Morey’s® imitation crabmeat it’s an over-the-top delicious brand of imitation crabmeat that’s budget-friendly. It’s perfectly portioned in a 16-ounce package which is just what you’ll need for this recipe. If you can find it, you’ll LOVE It! TransOcean® brand is our second runner-up but you’ll need two 8-ounce packages to make the recipe. Please note: When shopping for imitation crab make sure to read the package and look for certified gluten-free.
Egg – One large egg is all you’ll need.
Mayonnaise – 1/2 cup is just the right amount for mixing to bring everything together without making things too creamy. Our first choice is always the only “Real” (gluten-free) mayonnaise, Hellman’s,® or Best Foods® if you live west of the Rockies.
Saltine Table Crackers – Light and crispy Schar Table Crackers® is our go-to brand for gluten-free saltines. The taste is just like regular saltines and for convenience, they are packed in individual-size packages so they stay crisp and don’t spoil. You’ll need two packages (1 cup or about 12 crackers) crunched up.
Dijon Mustard – Just one tablespoon of this robust Dijon Mustard sauce adds flavor that goes really well with the crab adding sweetness.
Worcestershire Sauce – Be sure to read the label carefully. Sometimes hard to find, you’ll want to look for a certified gluten-free Worcestershire sauce. If none is available a good stand-in is Bragg Liquid Aminos which will add a slight soy flavor. One tablespoon is all you’ll need either way.
Fresh Chives – One tablespoon of fresh Chives, chopped small, plus a little more for garnishing adds a slight onion flavor without being overpowering, letting the crab taste shine through.
Hotsauce – Texas Pete’s Original Hot Sauce is the brand we’ve used forever with no issues. Please note that it is not certified gluten-free. That said the label reads (peppers, vinegar, salt, xanthan gum, and benzoate of soda – to preserve freshness and flavor). One teaspoon of hot sauce will add a slight amount of zesty to the taste!
Coconut Spray for Air Frying – A light spray of coconut helps to air fry the crab cakes to golden brown perfection.
Serve with lemon wedges and Fresh Dill Sauce (recipe included in the printable card below).
Picture the Recipe Step-by-Step
Cuisinart TOA-65 Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven, 1800-Watt Motor with Digital Display and Controls – Intuitive Programming, Adjustable Temperature Settings and Cooking Presets, Stainless Steel
Secrets to Making the Best Crab Cakes:
- Don’t over-mix the ingredients.
- Chill the mixture for 10- 30-minutes before forming it into cakes.
- Do not pack the crab mixture too tight when forming the cakes.
- Spray each cake with coconut oil spray before air frying.
- Turn the cakes halfway through the air fry cooking.
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How to Make Fresh Dill Sauce
¼ cup Mayonnaise
¼ cup plain Greek or whole milk Yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh Dill, chopped
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Garlic, minced (about one clove)
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
Add the mayonnaise, yogurt, chopped dill, lemon juice, minced garlic, and onion powder to a small bowl. Stir to combine thoroughly. Chill until ready to use.
The sauce will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Crab Cake Serving Suggestions:
Have fun making these easy crab cakes in the air fryer, then serve them with fresh dill sauce to make a perfect summertime meal main dish for kicking back to enjoy on the patio with a cool glass of Riesling or Chardonnay.
Plate them up with a simple green salad, or enjoy any of these delicious ideas for completing your meal:
Zucchini & Summer Squash Grill Packets
How do you like these Easy Crab Cakes made in the Air Fryer?
Let us know in the comments! Share it and rate the recipe – it’s super helpful for other readers and us. Just click the blue-green comment bubble on the bottom right of your screen to jump to the comment area below. And as always, don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #CookingGfreeDeliciously on Instagram. We love seeing what you cook up!
Easy Crab Cakes in the Air Fryer with Dill Sauce
- 1 Large mixing bowl
- 6 Small Prep Bowls
- 1 Cutting Board
- 1 Egg Mold
- Utensils (Cooks Knife, Measuring Cups & Spoons, Rubber Spatula or Large Spoon)
For the Crab Cakes
- 16 ounces imitation Crab chopped into small to medium-size pieces (may substitute lump crabmeat)
- 1 Egg
- ½ cup Mayonnaise
- 1 cup gluten-free saltine table Crackers (2-packages, or about 12 crackers)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh Chives chopped small (+ more for garnishing)
- 1 teaspoon Hotsauce
- Coconut spray for Air Frying
- Lemon wedges and Dill Sauce for serving
For the Fresh Dill Sauce
- ¼ cup Mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain Greek or whole milk Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh Dill chopped
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Garlic minced (about 1 clove)
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
To make the Crab Cakes
- Preheat the Air fryer to 325°F (163°C). Then gather and measure out all the ingredients, so everything is ready to combine.
- Gently mix the ingredients, taking care not to break up the crab meat too much or over-mix. Once mixed, refrigerate for 10- 30-minutes to let the cracker crumbs absorb the liquids and flavors of the other ingredients.
- Divide or scoop the crab mixture into portions; lightly pack into patties about 1-inch thick. Make each crab cake generous (as shown) or into small bite-sized bits. 
- Place the formed cakes onto a parchment paper-covered air fryer rack. Spray each patty with coconut spray, then fry for about 7-minutes or until the top side is deeply golden-brown. Flip, spray the facing side, and continue to fry for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and thoroughly heated.
- Transfer the crab cakes to plates or a serving platter. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives and serve with lemon wedges and dill sauce.
To make the Fresh Dill Sauce ( Makes 4-6 Servings)
- Add the mayonnaise, yogurt, chopped fresh dill, lemon juice, minced garlic, and onion powder to a small bowl, stirring to combine thoroughly. Chill until ready to use.
(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)
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