These deviled crab cakes are better than anything you can get in a restaurant
Serve up these deviled crab cakes for Mardi Gras and let the good times roll! My family makes these deviled crab cakes on Christmas Eve as part of our main course. These delicacies are good for New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or Mardi Gras, too.
My family has been making these deviled crab cakes since at least the 1960s. I am not sure how far back this retro recipe goes. Maybe the 1950s?
We used to make Alaskan King Crab crab cakes. But as Alaskan King Crab became harder and harder to find in our area, we had to search out other crab meat.
We used to order the crab from the seafood counter at our local full service grocery. In the last several years we have been advised by the seafood counter to just buy canned lump crab meat.
This year we used this Phillips brand of crab meat. It was good. I don’t like crab that has a fishy taste, and this didn’t. It had a light taste and worked well in the crab cakes.
Phillips Premium Crab meat says “special” on it. It comes in an 8 ounce plastic container. Ready to eat, it is fully cooked. That way you don’t have to worry at all how long you cook your crab cakes.
Preparing your crab meat for deviled crab cakes
On the side of the container it says this crab meat is hand-picked and virtually shell-free. I remember in the old days picking through the crab meat to pull out the pieces of shell. That never bothered me. It was just an extra step.
I used one 8 ounce container for a full recipe of crab cakes. I am always careful to drain my crab meat well. You want as little moisture in it as possible. I usually spread it out on paper towels or cheese cloth to air out after I strain it.
What makes a crab cake deviled?
The deviling in these crab cakes, I think, is in the Worcestershire sauce, celery seed, and dried parsley. One wouldn’t think these bland flavorings would make the recipe “deviled,” but they do.
The recipe calls for saltines or panko for the breading. I think saltines are better, but you have to be sure to get them crushed pretty fine.
The best part about making crab cakes is forming the balls, dipping them in egg, and then rolling them in cracker crumbs. I like to squish them down onto a pan so I can see what I am about to cook up.
Light lemon drizzled over the crab cakes completes the flavor experience.
Remnants of the deviled crab cake eating frenzy. Let the good times roll!
- 4 Tablespoons flour
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup milk (room temperature)
- 1 egg yolk (room temperature; save white)
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley (fresh can be too pungent; use fresh for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed (or a bit more)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cans crab meat (or one 8 oz. container Phillips crab)--get as much water out of it as humanly possible
- egg whites, beaten
- crushed saltines or panko, finely crushed
- Cooking oil for frying crab cakes
- Melt butter over medium low heat and add flour; stir to combine.
- Add milk and egg yolk, stirring constantly until really thick.
- The mix will change as you stir and do this step. Go until it seems like the butter is starting to separate out a bit. This texture is what makes the crab cakes soft and hold together.
- Add all seasonings including the Worcestershire sauce
- Add the crab and combine it with the mixture with a spoon.
- Taste test to make sure salt and Worcestershire is right. Can add more.
- Spread the mixture into a pan or glass dish.
- Chill at least 3 hours.
- Once chilled and set, portion into balls, dip in beaten egg white, and roll in crushed saltines.
- Set out onto pan and press down to form into cakes.
- Cook in a skillet in several inches of oil. Turning frequently until outsides of cakes are crispy and brown. Remove onto plate lined with paper towel for just a few seconds and then place on serving plate garnished with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.
- Serve with cole slaw or creamy salad and fruit salad of mandarin oranges, pineapple, and maraschino cherry.
Do not double this recipe. If you would like to make more crab cakes, make a new batch.
This recipe takes a little practice and turns out a little differently each time. Moisture in the crab can cause the crab cakes to not stick together and form correctly and may cause the cakes to fall apart when cooked, so try to get as much moisture out of the crab as possible. Draining the crab in a strainer and pushing down on it in the strainer with a towel or cheese cloth will help squeeze out water in the crab meat.