Crab cakes with Lemon Aioli

These crab cakes with lemon aioli are easy enough for a family dinner and elegant enough to serve a crowd! Made with very little filler and plenty of crabmeat, these authentic Maryland-style crab cakes are mixed with fresh dill, Panko bread crumbs and all your favorite seasonings.

Looking for more seafood recipes? Try my Blackened Salmon Sandwich with Grilled Corn Salsa, Creamy Shrimp and Grits or my Salmon Sushi Bowls!

top shot of cooked crab cakes on white plate

Authentic Maryland-style crab cakes with lemon aioli

Crab cakes have always been a big deal in my family. We live right on the border of Maryland and love catching fresh crabs in the summer, so I am lucky enough to get crab meat from my Dad to make these delicious crab cakes with zesty lemon aioli!

These easy crab cakes make a great appetizer (you can make 16 for mini bite size crab cakes), put it in a sandwich or serve it with mashed potatoes and your favorite vegetable side for an easy family dinner.

top shot of shredded white meat and other ingredients in white bowl

Ingredients

  • Crab meat: For crab cakes lump crab meat is ideal. It has great flavor and large chunks which are perfect for making crab cakes. I ended up using about 1 pound of crab meat for this recipe. You could also use a combination of lump crab meat or claw meat if you prefer.
  • Mayonnaise: I used a good bit of mayonnaise for both the lemon aioli and crab cakes. It is perfect for helping the cakes retain their form and the perfect base for all of the mouthwatering flavors!
  • Panko breadcrumbs: These breadcrumbs are so important for binding the crab cakes, and you can easily substitute your favorite gluten-free brand. The key to making super tender crab cakes is to use as little filler aka panko as possible that is why we only added 1/2 cup for the whole recipe.
  • Mustard: I used stone ground mustard in the crab cakes mixture and added Dijon mustard to the lemon aioli.
  • Other ingredients: I also used Old Bay, an egg, Worcestershire sauce, dried dill, minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, hot sauce, extra virgin olive oil and salt in this recipe.

top shot of uncooked seafood cakes separated as balls on baking sheet

How to make crab cakes with lemon aioli

  1. Make the lemon aioli: First, in a small bowl whisk together minced garlic, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and lemon. Next, season with salt to taste and set aside until you are ready to serve with the crab cakes. I like to make the lemon aioli ahead of time and allow it to set in the refrigerator overnight so the flavors have extra time to fully combine.
  2. Create crab cake mixture: Now it is time to whisk together the mayo, breadcrumbs, mustard, egg, Worcestershire, old bay, dill, lemon juice and hot sauce until combined.
  3. Add crab and form cakes: Next, fold in the crab meat. Then use your hands to mix or with a rubber spatula. Do not over mix. You should be able to put mixture into a ball without it falling apart.
  4. Count your cakes: You should end up with 8 crab cakes, so make sure you’re not making any too large or too small.
  5. Cook crab cakes: Now it’s time to cook your crab cakes. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan, and add in crab cakes. Cook until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side.
  6. Season and serve! Finally, serve the crab cakes with a dollop of lemon aioli and fresh chives for garnish, if desired.

top shot of crab cakes cooking in black saucepan

Tips for making the perfect crab cakes

  • Mix with your hands: The trick to making crab cakes is not over mixing. I have found the best way to mix crab cakes is with your hands to prevent breaking up the chunks of crab. We bought lump crab for a reason!
  • Let your lemon aioli rest: Don’t be afraid to let it sit a couple hours or even overnight. The longer it sits the more time the mayo has to absorb all of the flavors.
  • Change up the sauce: I love to serve my crab cakes with either the lemon aioli, tarter sauce or cocktail sauce. If you know me you know I always have to have something to dip my food in!

top shot of crab cakes with lemon aioli dollop on top arranged on white plate

Storage instructions

If you end up with leftover crab cakes, you can store them in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Make sure you wrap and seal them well, then reheat preferably in an oven when you need a quick snack!

Here are more seafood recipes to try!

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Crab cakes with Lemon Aioli

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

These authentic Maryland-style crab cakes with lemon aioli are easy enough for a family dinner and elegant enough to serve a crowd.

Ingredients

Crab cakes

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp stone ground mustard
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon old bay
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Lemon Aioli

  • 1 clove garlic, minced or 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/8 tsp salt or to taste

Instructions

Images:

How to Make Lemon Aioli:

  • Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt to taste. Set aside until you are ready to serve with the crab cakes.

How to Make Crab Cakes:

  • Whisk together mayo, breadcrumbs, mustard, egg, Worcestershire, old bay, dill, lemon juice and hot sauce until combined. Fold in the crab meat. Use your hands to mix or with a rubber spatula. Do not over mix. You should be able to put mixture into a ball without it falling apart.
    top shot of shredded crab cake mixture in white bowl
  • Form mixture into 8 crab cakes.
    top shot of uncooked crab cakes separated as balls on baking sheet
  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add in crab cakes and cook until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side.
    top shot of crab cakes cooking in black saucepan
  • Serve the crab cakes with a dollop of lemon aioli and fresh chives for garnish, if desired.
    top shot of crab cakes with lemon aioli dollop on top arranged on white plate

Recipe Notes

  • Mix with your hands: The trick to making crab cakes is not over mixing. I have found the best way to mix crab cakes is with your hands to prevent breaking up the chunks of crab. We bought jumbo lump crab for a reason!
  • Let your lemon aioli rest: Don’t be afraid to let it sit a couple hours or even overnight. The longer it sits the more time the mayo has to absorb all of the flavors.
  • Change up the sauce: I love to serve my crab cakes with either the lemon aioli, tarter sauce or cocktail sauce. If you know me you know I always have to have something to dip my food in!
Nutrition Facts
Crab cakes with Lemon Aioli
Amount Per Serving
Calories 555 Calories from Fat 423
% Daily Value*
Fat 47g72%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 100mg33%
Sodium 1266mg55%
Potassium 259mg7%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 120IU2%
Vitamin C 20.5mg25%
Calcium 81mg8%
Iron 1.7mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Aioli, Best, crabcakes, Lemon

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