Yesterday I broke out my grandma’s little red recipe book in search for her crab cake recipe.

Simple Light Crab Cakes I howsweeteats.com

It is filled was quite the array of recipes, including this lime ham salad above which I can promise will not be making it on to the blog. Eeeek.

That’s all I have to say about that.
So… the secret ingredient for the crab cakes? Saltines. But only eight saltines. No more, no less. That’s it!

Simple Light Crab Cakes I howsweeteats.com

There is nothing more disappointing than ordering crab cakes in a restaurant, only to bite in and discover they are filled with junk.

No fear, you won’t have that problem here. No junk in the trunk.

Simple Light Crab Cakes I howsweeteats.com

See, I have this little issue of rarely ever being able to make the same recipe twice. This is true almost always when it comes to cooking – I would say 98% of the time I have no recipe in mind and just throw things together until they taste good. I get bored quite easily.
However, I followed this recipe nearly to a T. I already have a favorite baked crab cake recipe that includes peppers and onions sauteed in olive oil and butter, with entire said mixture being poured into the crab cake ‘dough.’ They are buttery and melt in your mouth. But they are a bit more complicated, and include a few steps such as chopping and sauteing veggies before even making the cakes.

Some days, I just crave simple.

Simple Light Crab Cakes I howsweeteats.com

And I’ve been dying to try this recipe for months. It is one of my brother’s favorite meals. They are just too easy and too quick not to love them.

Simple Light Crab Cakes I howsweeteats.com

The outside is crispy and the inside is filled with tons of crabmeat. I loved the different textures. The only issue I had? The recipe claims it yields 4 to 6 servings. Really? Maybe back in 1965. Maybe for normal people. Maybe for those of us who aren’t gluttons.
I can tell you one thing. You will absolutely not get 4 to 6 servings if you live with Mr. How Sweet. In fact, you will get no servings. He will get one.

Simple Light Crab Cakes I howsweeteats.com

And he will eat them with 2 side dishes: macaroni and cheese and leftover 3 meat pizza. Because that sounds about right, no? Funny, when I put a call out on Facebook a few months ago suggesting side dishes for crab cakes, neither one of those came up. I wonder why?

Simple Light Crab Cakes I howsweeteats.com
Easy Light Crab Cakes

serves 1-2

1 pound lump crabmeat

8 saltine crackers, crushed

1 egg

1 tablespoon mustard

1 tablespoon greek yogurt (her recipe called for mayo, I was out)

pinch of cayenne pepper

salt & pepper to taste

1 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl except oil and stir until thoroughly combined. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add olive oil. While it’s heating, form the crab mixture into small patties – you will get about 5 to 6 cakes. Place them in the skillet and cook until lightly golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
Simple Light Crab Cakes I howsweeteats.com

Moral of the story? These rock. They taste incredible. You can make them in less than 20 minutes. And they’re healthy. Now get in the kitchen!

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140 Responses to “Simple, Light Crab Cakes.”

  1. #
    51
    Leandra @ Snacks and the City — January 21, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

    YUMMMM!!! It’s not even lunch time but I am wanting those!! Love this site.

    Reply

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    Jessi @ Quirky Cookery — January 21, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    Mmm, crab cakes. I make a very similar variation with canned salmon or canned jack mackerel…same saltines and all…for a super fast, but still good meal. Crab cakes sound even better right now, though.

    Reply

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    Jamie — January 21, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    Want. They look like perfect little golden cakes from above.

    Reply

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    Leslie — January 21, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

    Hi Jessica- These look great. I’m adding them to my menu plan. What was the response, or what suggestions do you have, to side dishes that go with crab cakes?

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 21st, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

      From what I can remember, most people suggested cole slaw and fries. Most times I serve them with sweet potato fries! You can also make sandwiches out of them.

      Reply

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    Ari @ ThE DiVa DiSh — January 21, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

    Love it! crab cakes are my favorite! I think I have exactly 8 saltines in my pantry =] We are in luck!

    Reply

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    RhodeyGirl — January 21, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

    I’d love to make this since crab cakes are my favorite! A few questions…

    1- do you pick through the crab meat to check for shells? The reason why I’ve never made my own crab cakes is this reason!

    2- is the crab canned or fresh?

    3- How do you keep them together? I am impressed that they are the perfect shape with the perfect amount of crisp!

    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 21st, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

      I don’t pick through the crab meat. I do buy canned lump crab, but try to pick the best and most fresh if I can. It is really expensive but we don’t eat them often so that is how I justify it! I have been making crab cakes for about 8 years and have never found any shells… knock on wood.

      And I find that this recipe has been the easiest I tried in keeping them together. It must be the perfect combo of egg + mustard + yogurt. There weren’t even any pieces broken off in the pan, which almost always happens!

      Reply

      • RhodeyGirl — January 21st, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

        Awesome thanks! I’m going to make these next week as a surprise for PB!!! Thank you!

        • Jessica — January 21st, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

          I hope you guys like them!

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    erin — January 21, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

    i have to say this is perfect except my grandmother used old bay instead of cayenne pepper. Growing up, I spend the summers on the beaches of Ocean City, MD…we caught our own crabs. My grandparents would steam them and what we didn’t eat we picked for crab cakes and crab soup. Nowadays, when I go out I refuse to order crabcakes because they are filled with more filler then crab meat…these look perfect and remind me of my gmom’s cakes.

    Reply

    • Donna — February 23rd, 2012 @ 10:20 am

      Yes – Old Bay!!! I was looking at the comments to see if anyone mentioned it. I’m a MD girl too (although transplanted to TX almost 5 yrs ago) and Old Bay rocks!!!! They even sell it here in TX now, so hopefully everyone can get it. It’s manufactured by McCormick (in MD) and was mostly sold on the East Coast when I was a child. But that was a long time ago. :-D

      Reply

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    Heather from Snacktive — January 21, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    That is so special that you have your grandma’s old handwritten recipes. Cracked crab is my favorite meal and I love crab cakes!! I must make these!

    Reply

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    Jennifer — January 21, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

    Ok so you had me at Crabcake! I cannot believe how simple these look and I’m trying them next week with the fiance. I’m drooling on my keyboard right now and it’s all your and your Grandma’s fault!

    Reply

  10. #
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    Ashley — January 21, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

    Chris looooves crab cakes!! These definitely look like the real thing and are the most perfectly browned cakes I’ve ever seen. Also love that they’re nice and thick!

    Reply

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    Abby — January 21, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    Hmm I’ve had crab once. It was ok. I’m willing to give it another try. Maybe these??

    Reply

    • Abby — January 21st, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

      Oh, and mac and cheese is ALWAYS an appropriate side dish!

      Reply

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    Salah@myhealthiestlife — January 21, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

    those crab cakes look amazing!!!!

    Reply

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    thehealthyapron — January 21, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

    I adore crab cakes! I almost always order them when we get seafood! These look delicious! ps. making your brie soup recipe this Sunday! Can’t wait! I think the hubs is goign to love it!

    Reply

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    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — January 21, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    omg i want these soooo badly!

    when i was younger i used to eat shellfish alll the time and loved it. then in my early 20s, sudden random anaphalatic shock reaction to shrimp. And any time i come near shrimp or crab now, major allergic reactions. gah.

    I want one of these! So much! They look PERFECT

    Reply

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    Aimee Shugarman — January 21, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    I man how I love crab cakes. It’s a favorite here at our house, even my youngest, who is 6 loves them and has been eating them for years! My question is, my recipe makes them a bit more crumbly (especially since I like to bake not fry them), did you have any problems with crumbling? Maybe I need to add more “wet” ingredients. I bet the greek yogurt was good!

    Reply

  16. #
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    Lauren-HungryDancer — January 21, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

    I LOVE crabcakes!!! You make the best recipes I wish you were my personal chef!!

    Reply

  17. #
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    Lauren from Lauren's Latest — January 21, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

    These look picture perfect! Yum!

    Reply

  18. #
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    Holly@Life as a Lofthouse — January 21, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

    I am so NOT a seafood lover..but dang girl, your making me want these bad! Everything you post makes me drool : )

    Reply

  19. #
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    vanillasugarblog — January 21, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    yes i’ve heard that too, saltines work perfectly in crabby cakes.
    they came out great!

    Reply

  20. #
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    Tracey — January 21, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

    I love crabcakes and these look delicious! You had me at saltines… ;)

    Reply

  21. #
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    Jess@atasteofconfidence — January 21, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

    I’ve been searching for a good crab cake recipe. My boyfriend and I had them on our first date, so we make them for special occasions:)

    Reply

  22. #
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    Mary @ Bites and Bliss — January 21, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

    Yummm!! I love crab cakes!! Even better that these are lighter than the original ones. :)

    Reply

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    Alexandra — January 22, 2011 @ 12:36 am

    I’m dying to see the day when you put up a recipe I don’t drool over. They always look so good! It’s to the point where my friends and I are posting them to each other daily via twitter, facebook, whatever, begging to have some occasion to make them. Our favorite guilty pleasure :-)

    Reply

  24. #
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    Katrina — January 22, 2011 @ 2:25 am

    Great appetizer! These look lovely.

    Reply

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    teresat — January 22, 2011 @ 3:00 am

    be still my heart, i love crab cakes, especially when they are light! wonderful recipe!

    Reply

  26. #
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    Stacey Kay — January 22, 2011 @ 4:19 am

    OMG these look delicious. I am absolutely HOOKED on crab cakes and will have to get the boyfriend to try your recipe. (I’m no cook myself!)

    xoxo
    Stacey Kay
    “Runway Inspiration, Vintage Decoration”
    http://www.GoodwillHuntingg.com
    Women’s Fashion Examiner-Cleveland

    Reply

  27. #
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    marla {family fresh cooking} — January 22, 2011 @ 4:50 am

    I love a good, healthy crab cake. How cute you are using your grandma’s recipe.

    Reply

  28. #
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    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — January 22, 2011 @ 8:09 am

    If there’s one thing I can’t resist, as a Maryland native, it’s crabcakes! These look delicious, Jessica, and you can’t beat a family favorite. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  29. #
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    Heather @ Side of Sneakers — January 22, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

    These look insanely delicious. I love how simple they are- plenty of chance to actually taste the crab! ;)

    Reply

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    Tracy — January 22, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    These look delicious Jessica! Love how simple they are too. I’ll be trying them for sure.

    Reply

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    StarkRavingFad — January 23, 2011 @ 2:28 am

    “Salad! Salad! Salad!” Is what the crabcakes say. Simple spring mix with a handful of baby spinach and thousand island dressing=Shiyeah! Extra points for health as well. Fantastic for sack-lunch leftovers (can you make a quadruple batch and freeze some for weeknights?)

    Reply

  32. #
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    Ashley — January 23, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

    My grandma has tons of scary jello recipes too. I’m so glad that fad in cooking didn’t last! Yikes!

    Reply

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    stephchows — January 24, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    Simple recipes are the best. It just shows the time age by the serving size for sure! Now I’m craving crab cakes…

    Reply

  34. #
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    Kathy Robey — January 24, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

    Made these the other night added some celery and red pepper SO delicious!

    Reply

  35. #
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    amy — January 26, 2011 @ 12:01 am

    makin’ these babies tonight!!

    Reply

  36. #
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    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 26, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

    These look wonderful! It’s been a very long time since I made crab cakes. Adding these to the menu very soon.

    Reply

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    a frog in the cottage — January 27, 2011 @ 11:43 am

    these crab cakes of yours make my stomach jump like crazy !!! i want them !!

    Reply

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    crab_gulch — February 2, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    made your crabcake recipe tonight–got two whole cooked dungeness crab. cleaned and picked them–not a single shell. What a simple and delicious recipe! Served Martha Stewart’s Watercress and Grapefruit Salad with Olives and Fried Sage on the side–poured a Loire Valley Vouvray. yum and yum. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Reply

  39. #
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    Jennifer S — February 6, 2011 @ 2:24 am

    I made these tonight and they were amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and I’m so happy I paid the obscene price for the quality crab meat!

    Reply

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    Jess — March 6, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    Just made these for lunch! Yummm! They’re super good!!

    Reply

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    ali — December 11, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

    omgeeeeeeeeeee these are great!! I had no mustard, but did have mustard powder so made my own mustard, had no eggs so used Hellmans (3tbs) to bind, and seeing as i’m from NOLA, we like it spicy so i used about 1 tsp of Cayenne! OH and i cooked down 2 tbs of garlic and 3 tbs of onion and added em to the mix! Man that was TASTY!!!

    Reply

  42. #
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    Stacie Hanna — January 18, 2012 @ 3:06 am

    This recipe is exactly what I was looking for! Thank u!! Every other recipe I’ve found loads up on the fillers, which takes away from the wonderful flavor crab meat has!!

    Reply

  43. #
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    Andrea B — February 9, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    I made these last night for dinner. They were delicious! My husband, who says he doesn’t even like crab cakes, went back for seconds! He thought they were awesome. Thanks for the recipe! :)

    Reply

  44. #
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    Rachael — April 20, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    What kind of mustard do you recommend using for this receipe?

    Reply

    • Jessica — April 20th, 2012 @ 11:08 am

      I like dijon!

      Reply

  45. #
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    maya — April 21, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

    These were great and just like you said simple! They didn’t even fall apart because I refrigerated them

    Reply

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    marybeth and bill — April 21, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

    what a pleasant surprise. Easy and good tasting crabcakes in 20 minutes. who woulda thought?

    Reply

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    themeaniongofme — July 6, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

    Thanks to you and your grandma for a great recipe. Had to substitute Panko for the saltines. These are so light and I love the tang of the Greek yogurt.

    Reply

  48. #
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    Sandy — July 23, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

    I dipped them in panko before frying and gave them an extra crunch. Yummy!

    Reply

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    Hayley — December 2, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

    Just made these! Thanks for the great recipe!

    P.S. I LOVE YOUR BLOG. Seriously. Makes me feel at home. You have a great way of connecting to your readers; you’re everyones best friend!

    -Hayley

    Reply

  50. #
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    Marilyn in Alaska — January 19, 2013 @ 4:27 am

    HI. I thought these were great. My first time to ever make a crabcake and I was surprised and how easy they were. I had to improvise tho. I used Red King Crab from Adak, Alaska, which I hand cracked from a leftover crab leg dinner last Friday. I don’t think I had a pound though. Maybe 1/2 a pound. I didn’t have saltines so used a big flatbread rosemary cracker instead. I used mayo as I didn’t have greek yogurt. And I think I used too much mustard, because there was a definite predominant mustard flavor. Looking back, I should have cut that in half because I used half the crab meat. So, at the end of the day…. very little junk filler, excellent crab… they bound together well, and cooked up just so perfectly. And they were delicious. My side was fresh eggs just laid and one goose egg, cooked over easy, fried rice, and green salad. Served it up with a wonderful Ravenswood Cab Sauv. A wonderful dinner. I run a bed and breakfast and I am going to make these crab cakes and serve them as a base in an Eggs Benedict. Still thinking about what to call it. What was your grandmother’s name? Thanks for sharing this stellar recipe.

    Reply

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