Live and Love to Eat

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Lightened Up – Crab Cakes

I’m not sure when I first tried a crabcake.  It was probably at a seafood restaurant at the beach.  It was amazing.  I consequently began to order them at lots of diferent restaurants, only to be disappointed by their bland, greasy flavor and bready fillings. 

The one place in Pittsburgh that does them really well is the Duquense Club, but I’m pretty sure about 4 sticks of butter is involved somewhere.  And I don’t go there very often (duh).

I’ve determined that a few crucial components can make or break a crab cake:

  • good quality lump crab meat – this isn’t tuna salad, friends, we’re talking pieces the size of marbles (and bigger)
  • minimal “filler” – whether it’s plain breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, or panko, you don’t want too much
  • not too much seasoning – yes, Old Bay can add some flavor, but when spending your money on the good crab meat, you don’t want to not be able to taste it

Don’t order crab cakes at any restaurant that has a $4.99 dinner special.  You’ll get a prefrozen patty that they throw in the deep fryer.  It will turn you off forever.

These crab cakes have a lot of flavor, but let the crab shine through.  And they come in at 75 calories a piece! 

Picture of Crab Cakes Recipe

No, that’s not one of my crabcakes.  That’s one of Paula Deen’s, according to Food Network’s website.  I had always intended to post this as a “lightened up” recipe, but realized her’s really isn’t too different (until you fry them in peanut oil as suggested).  I think mine would be just as golden brown and shiny if fried in peanut oil, too.  Let’s leave that option open.




Not quite Paula Deen, but not too shabby.



16 oz can crabmeat, lump or jumbo lump, picked through to remove any shell pieces

2 Tbsp light mayo (you could also sub greek yogurt)

1/3 cup crushed oyster crackers (I like the flavor of these, but had intended to use Panko, which I think give the best texture)

1/4 cup bell pepper, diced and sauteed until soft (I used half green, half red)

3 scallions, finely chopped

1 whole egg (you could reduce the calories even more by using only whites)

1/2 tsp Old Bay

1 tsp smoked paprika

1) Combine ingredients, mixing well, and chill for at least 30 minutes for mixture to set.  Add more breadcrumbs if soupy, more mayo the mixture is not holding together.

2) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3) Using 1/4 cup scoop, form in to patties (I had10 cakes).

4) Bake 8 minutes on a greased baking sheet, flip, and bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until browned.

A good crab cake holds together but flakes apart easily with large pieces of crab meat in each bite.  Check!


Approximate nutrition information: 75 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams carbs, 10g protein.

Salad on the side (too much iceberg, but I didn’t make it so I won’t complain).


As a side dish I made a modified version of Jessica’s broiled tomatoes.  I used mozzerella since I didn’t have asiago, but these tomatoes (straight from my neighbor’s garden) were still spectacular.


Also had half a sweet potato with sunflower seed butter and a ton of cinnamon.  Have you tried that combo yet?!


Is there something that you make at home because you don’t want to take a chance of being disappointed at a restaurant?


25 responses to “Lightened Up – Crab Cakes

  1. Alicia at AliGirl Cooks August 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I love crab cakes! I’m headed to the shore in a few days so this is the perfect recipe to try there!

  2. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance August 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Great recipe– I’m a HUGE crab fan 😀

  3. Emily Clawson August 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    That meal looks delicious! There’s a place in the South Hills called Capstone Grill that has some pretty excellent crab cakes if you ever feel like venturing there!

  4. Katie @ Peace Love and Oats August 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I’ve never had a crab cake that I really liked, they always seem to be too dry! I’ll have to give this recipe a try!

  5. kristina@beancakes ❤ August 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    claire ~ i have tried the sweet potato with earth balance and cinnamon combo ~ it’s one of my faves!! and yum to your crab cakes ~ love crab cakes!!
    xo ~ kristina

  6. Meredith @ food, shoes, and booze August 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I looove crabcakes and I have an awesome dipping sauce for them!! I’ll try out this recipe 🙂

  7. Lauren @ Sugar Coated Sisters August 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Crab cakes are one of my favorite choices at seafood restaurants. It would be interesting to use the oyster crackers instead of panko…. Thanks for sharing the recipe… Baking them is key!

  8. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    These sound great Claire! Restaurant salads can be pretty disappointing, so I usually save those for meals at home. Usually when I go out to eat, I choose something like salmon or cod – yes, I could make it myself, but lately I’ve had some AMAZING restaurant dishes too. Here’s to Omega 3’s!

  9. LizAshlee August 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I prefer to eat almost EVERYTHING at home bc I know just the way i like it and I can add ingredients as needed! 🙂

    Tasty recipe!

  10. pbbrittany August 18, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    This is a good recipie! I started laughing when you said that the picture was Paula Deen’s because I thought it was yours! I was thinking “dang! That girl can cook really good and take great pictures!” 😛
    I’ve never actually had a crab cake…it looks really good though!

  11. Alexa @ Simple Eats August 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I love crab cakes, but I hate when they’re all bread and no crab! These look awesome, as do the tomatoes!

  12. Errign August 18, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I’m actually the opposite usually – if it’s something I really love, like Thai food, then I leave that to the professionals, but I will tackle most things at home just because I’m cheap 🙂

  13. char on a mission August 19, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Looks really yum! Sunflower seed butter on a sweet potato – I would honestly have never thought to try that! And to be more honest, I have never even tried sunflower seed butter yet…who am i!

  14. Kris | August 19, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Yum! I used to rock the crab cakes all the time…now that i think about it, I probably liked the dipping sauces more than the cakes themselves…..hmmm


  15. healthycollegegirl August 19, 2011 at 6:18 am

    umm…YUM!!! i haven’t had crab cakes in ages but i am seriously adding these ingredients to my grocery list to make this week. they look so good. that whole meal looks amazing.

  16. Allison @ PickyEatingRD August 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I love lightened up recipes! While I don’t like crab myself, I do have a lot of clients who enjoy it. I love sharing recipes like this with them!

  17. emily (a nutritionist eats) August 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I LOVE crab cakes – but rarely order them in restaurants because they are always fried which I think is such a shame – it makes it hard to taste the actual crab!

  18. Tessa @ Amazing Asset August 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Mmm crab cakes, it’s been far too long! this recipe looks great and I like that they are actually healthier 🙂

  19. Holly at Greek Yogurt and Apple Slices August 19, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    YUM!! Those crab cakes look delish! That is one of my favorite meals…ever!

  20. Kelsey August 20, 2011 at 2:57 am

    these look like fun to make too! bet they would go so well on the BBQ as well.. im enjoying everything on the bbq nowadays to soak up every last bit of summer i can lol

  21. Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food August 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I think you know that I am all about the crab cakes Claire and this recipe looks delish! 🙂

  22. Paige @ Running Around Normal August 22, 2011 at 1:32 am

    I had the BEST crab cakes this weekend in Philadelphia. Seriously the best! I love making them at home, too though. This recipe sounds delicious – I think oyster crackers would taste great in them!

  23. Pingback: Leftovers Don’t Have to be Lame « Live and Love to Eat

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