how to cook crab cakes in cast iron skillet

how to cook crab cakes in cast iron skillet-5 easy tricks

To cook crab cakes in a cast iron skillet, preheat the skillet, mix the ingredients, form the cakes, and cook until golden brown and crispy. Cooking crab cakes in a cast iron skillet is a simple and delicious way to enjoy this seafood delicacy.


Flavorful and crisp crab cakes can be made with only a few simple steps. Whether cooking for a crowd or just treating yourself, this cooking method ensures that the crab cakes turn out perfectly every time.

A cast-iron skillet and some basic cooking skills are all you need to make this famous dish at home. So, could you put on your apron, and let’s get cooking?

Page Contents

Choosing The Best Crab Meat For Crab Cakes

Learn how to choose the best crab meat for delicious crab cakes. Learn the secret of cooking crab cakes in a cast-iron skillet so they come out crispy and flavorful.

Fresh Vs. Canned Crab Meat:

When making mouthwatering crab cakes in a cast iron skillet, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the best crab meat. There are two main options to consider: fresh or canned crab meat.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each:

  • Fresh crab meat:
  •  Unmatched flavor: Fresh crab meat has a delicate, sweet taste that can elevate your cakes to a new level of deliciousness.
  •  Texture: Fresh crab meat tends to have a firmer texture, which gives your crab cakes a nice bite.
  •  Versatility: You can select the type of crab you prefer, such as Dungeness, blue crab, or snow crab.
  •  Higher cost: Fresh crab meat can be more expensive than canned options, mainly if you use premium crab varieties.
  •  Seasonality: Depending on your location, fresh crab meat might only be available during certain seasons.
  •  Canned crab meat:
  •  Convenience: Canned crab flesh is widely available, making it a simple and quick ingredient for creating crab cakes.
  •  Longer shelf life: Unlike fresh crab meat, canned varieties have a longer shelf life, allowing you to keep a stock of crab meat on hand whenever the craving strikes.
  •  Price: Canned crab meat tends to be more affordable, making it an economical choice if you’re on a budget.
  •  Varieties: Canned crab meat is typically available in lump or claw options, with variations in flavor and texture depending on the brand.
how to cook crab cakes in cast iron skillet
how to cook crab cakes in cast iron skillet

how long does crab cakes last in the fridge

Different Types Of Crab Meat Available:

When selecting the best crab meat for your crab cakes, knowing the different types available and their characteristics is essential. Here are some common types of crab meat you can choose from:

  • Lump crab meat:
  •  Large, whole pieces of crab meat sourced from the crab’s body.
  •  Known for its delicate texture and sweet flavor.
  •  Perfect for showcasing the crab meat in your crab cakes.
  •  Claw crab meat:
  •  Obtained from the crab’s claw, this meat is slightly darker and has a meaty texture.
  •  Provides a more robust flavor and chunky texture to your crab cakes.
  •  Backfin crab meat:
  •  A mixture of both lump and small broken pieces of crab meat.
  •  Offers a balance between texture and flavor, making it a versatile option for crab cakes.


Recommendations For Selecting The Best Crab Meat:

To ensure you’re using the highest quality crab meat for your crab cakes, consider the following recommendations:

  • Read labels: When purchasing canned crab meat, carefully read the labels to ensure it is of the highest quality and sourced responsibly.
  •  Freshness: If you opt for fresh crab meat, look for firm, moist, and devoid of any solid fishy odor.
  •  Sustainability: Choose crab meat from sustainable fishing practices to support environmentally responsible choices.
  •  Brand reputation: Research reputable brands known for providing high-quality crab meat.
  •  Personal preference: Consider your taste preferences and the desired texture when selecting the best crab meat for your cakes.

Now that you’re familiar with fresh and canned crab meat options and their variations, you can confidently embark on your crab cake cooking adventure. Remember, choosing the best crab meat is the first step towards creating a memorable crab cake experience in your cast iron skillet.

Preparing The Crab Meat For Crab Cakes

Crab cakes cooked in a cast iron skillet require properly prepared crab meat. Learn how to prepare the crab meat for delicious crab cakes.

Picking Through The Crab Meat To Remove Any Shells:

  • The crab meat must be carefully inspected to rule out the presence of any shells or cartilage. Here’s how you can pick through the crab meat:
  •  Spread the crab meat out on a clean surface or a large plate.
  •  Feel the meat with your fingers or tweezers, and look for any shell pieces with your eyes.
  •  Remove any shells or cartilage you find, taking care not to remove any meat.

Draining Excess Liquid From Canned Crab Meat:

  • Canned crab meat may not be ideal for making crab cakes due to the high moisture content of the meat. Follow these steps to drain the excess liquid:
  •  Open the can of crab meat and pour its contents into a colander or fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl or sink.
  •  Allow the crab meat to sit in the colander, allowing the excess liquid to drain away for a few minutes.
  •  Press down on the crab meat with a spatula or the back of a spoon to release any remaining liquid.

Gently Patting The Crab Meat Dry:

  • Before incorporating the crab meat into your crab cake mixture, removing any excess moisture is crucial. Here’s how you can gently pat the crab meat dry:
  • Spread out a clean dish towel or sheet of paper towel.
  •  Transfer the drained crab meat onto the towel, spreading it out evenly.
  •  Use another towel or layer of paper towels to gently press down on the crab meat, absorbing any remaining moisture.
  •  Be careful not to apply too much pressure, which may break up the delicate crab meat.


When preparing the crab meat for your delicious crab cakes, remember to follow these essential steps for optimal results:

  • Picking through the crab meat to remove any shells: Carefully inspect the crab meat to ensure no shell fragments or cartilage remain. Remove any shells you find to ensure an enjoyable dining experience.
  •  Draining excess liquid from canned crab meat: Canned crab meat often contains excess liquid that can impact the texture of your crab cakes. By draining the liquid, you can achieve a better consistency. Follow these simple steps:
  •  Open the can of crab meat and strain the contents in a colander or fine-mesh sieve.
  •  Allow the crab meat to sit for a few minutes, giving it time to release any excess liquid.
  •  Gently press down on the meat to remove any remaining liquid.
  •  Gently patting the crab meat dry: Excess moisture can impact your crab cakes’ overall texture and binding ability. By gently patting the crab meat dry, you can enhance its quality. Take these steps:
  • Spread out a clean paper towel or dish towel on a table.
  •  Transfer the drained crab meat onto the towel and evenly spread it out.
  •  Using another towel or layer of paper towels, carefully press down on the crab meat to absorb any lingering moisture.

By diligently following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating crab cakes that are both delicious and visually appealing. Preparing the crab meat is crucial in achieving the perfect texture and flavor in your crab cakes.

Creating The Perfect Crab Cake Mixture

Learn how to cook delicious crab cakes in a cast iron skillet with the perfect ingredients for a mouthwatering dish. This comprehensive guide will ensure that your result is consistently crisp and flavorful.


Crab cakes are a delectable seafood dish that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a larger meal. The key to a delicious crab cake lies in the perfect crab cake mixture. From choosing the suitable binder to adding flavorful herbs and incorporating additional ingredients, here are the essential steps to create a mouthwatering crab cake mixture:

Choosing The Right Binder For The Crab Cakes:

  • Panko breadcrumbs: These Japanese breadcrumbs are lighter and crispier than regular breadcrumbs, resulting in a delicate texture for your crab cakes.
  •  Crushed crackers: Opt for saltine crackers or any similar type that will satisfy your crab cakes’ crunch.
  •  Mayonnaise: The creamy texture of mayonnaise helps bind the ingredients together while adding a rich taste to the mixture.
  •  Dijon mustard: Add a tangy flavor and a hint of spice to your crab cake mixture with Dijon mustard.

Adding Flavor With Herbs And Spices:

  • Old Bay seasoning: A classic choice for crab cakes, this blend of spices adds depth and a distinct savory flavor to your mixture.
  •  Fresh parsley: Finely chop this herb to add a fresh and vibrant taste to your crab cakes.
  •  Worcestershire sauce: A few splashes of Worcestershire sauce will enhance the umami flavor of the crab while adding a hint of tanginess.

Incorporating Additional Ingredients For Texture And Taste:

  • Red bell pepper: Finely dice a fresh red bell pepper to add a satisfying crunch and a touch of sweetness to your crab cakes.
  •  Green onion: Chop some green onions to contribute a mild flavor and a pleasant pop of color to your mixture.
  •  Celery: Finely minced celery adds a subtle crispness and a refreshing taste to complement the crab meat.

Mixing The Ingredients Thoroughly:

  • Start by squeezing the crab flesh to eliminate extra moisture to prevent a soupy mixture.
  •  Combine the crab meat, chosen binder, herbs, spices, and additional ingredients in a large bowl.
  •  Gently fold the ingredients using a spatula, ensuring that each component is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  •  Be careful not to overmix, as this can break down the crab meat and result in a dense texture.
  •  Once everything is combined, form the mixture into compact patties, ready to be cooked in a cast iron skillet.

By carefully selecting the binder, adding the right amount of flavorful herbs and spices, incorporating additional ingredients for texture, and mixing everything thoroughly, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect crab cake mixture. The next step is to cook your crab cakes to golden perfection in a cast iron skillet, which we’ll explore in the next section.

Forming And Shaping Crab Cakes

Crab cakes can be quickly cooked in a cast iron skillet by carefully forming and shaping them. This technique ensures a crispy exterior and a tender, flavorful filling that will impress your guests.

Using A Cookie Cutter Or Mold To Shape The Crab Cakes:

  • Using a cookie cutter or mold can make the process of shaping crab cakes easier and more consistent.
  •  Place a cookie cutter or mold on a flat surface or directly in the cast iron skillet.
  •  Spoon the crab cake mixture into the mold, pressing down lightly to fill it.
  •  Remove the mold carefully, leaving a perfectly shaped crab cake ready for cooking.
  •  Repeat the process with the remaining crab cake mixture, ensuring each is the same size and shape.

Hand-Forming The Crab Cakes For A More Rustic Appearance:

  • Hand-forming the crab cakes gives them a more homemade and rustic look.
  •  Take a portion of the crab cake mixture and gently shape it into a ball with your hands.
  •  Flatten the ball between your palms to create a patty shape about 1 inch thick.
  •  Place the formed crab cake directly onto the cast iron skillet, gently pressing it down to ensure it holds its shape.
  •  Repeat the process with the remaining crab cake mixture, adjusting the size and thickness to your preference.

Tips for preventing the crab cakes from falling apart during cooking:

  • Please ensure the crab cake mixture is well chilled before shaping and cooking to help it hold together.
  •  Use egg as a binding agent by adding beaten egg to the crab cake mixture, which helps hold the ingredients together.
  •  Avoid overmixing the ingredients. Gently fold the crab meat and other ingredients together until just combined.
  •  Be gentle when shaping the crab cakes, as applying too much pressure can cause them to fall apart.
  •  Allow the crab cakes to cook undisturbed for a few minutes on each side before flipping to ensure they are correctly set and hold their shape.

Using a cookie cutter or hand-forming, you can perfectly shape your crab cakes. Using a mold ensures consistent size and shape, while hand-forming creates a more rustic appearance. Chilling the dough, using an egg as a binder, not overmixing, and handling gently will all help keep them together while cooking.

These tips will guarantee beautifully formed crab cakes every time.

Cooking Crab Cakes In A Cast Iron Skillet

Cooking crab cakes in a cast iron skillet is a tasty and flavorful method to create this famous seafood meal. Every time, the crab cakes come out of the cast iron skillet with a flawlessly cooked interior and crispy exterior.

Follow the recipe and enjoy the mouthwatering results.


Crab cakes are a delicious seafood delicacy that can be enjoyed in various ways. One popular method of cooking crab cakes is pan-frying them in a cast iron skillet. The cast iron skillet combines even heat distribution and a crisp exterior, resulting in mouthwatering crab cakes.

If you’re eager to try this cooking method, here are a few essential steps to follow:

Preheating The Cast Iron Skillet For Optimal Cooking:

  • Ensure that your cast iron skillet is clean and dry before preheating.
  •  The skillet should be heated up on a stovetop over medium heat for a few minutes.
  •  Preheating the skillet ensures the crab cakes cook evenly and develop a beautiful golden brown crust.

Adding Oil Or Butter To Prevent Sticking:

  • Once the skillet is heated, add a drizzle of cooking oil or a pat of butter to the pan.
  •  Swirl the oil or butter around the skillet to ensure it coats the bottom evenly.
  •  This step helps prevent the crab cakes from sticking to the pan during cooking.

Pan-Frying The Crab Cakes Until Golden Brown And Crispy:

  • Gently place the prepared crab cakes into the preheated cast iron skillet.
  • Uninterrupted cooking for 3 to 4 minutes on each side is recommended.
  •  Avoid overcrowding the skillet, which can affect the cooking process and produce less crispy crab cakes.
  •  Flip the crab cakes carefully using a spatula and cook them on the other side for 3-4 minutes.
  •  Keep a close eye on the crab cakes as they cook, adjusting the heat if necessary to avoid burning.
  • The crab cakes should be removed from the skillet and placed on a plate with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Pan-frying crab cakes in a cast iron skillet impart a beautiful sear and crispy texture that elevates the dining experience. Whether serving them as an appetizer, main course, or in a sandwich, these golden gems will surely be a hit.

So, grab your cast iron skillet and create delicious crab cakes that impress your guests!

Tips For Flipping And Cooking The Crab Cakes Perfectly

Cooking crab cakes in a cast iron skillet can be a breeze if you follow these tips! Achieve the perfect crispy exterior and moist interior with these expert techniques.


Crab cakes are a delicious and popular seafood dish quickly cooked in a cast iron skillet. To ensure that your crab cakes turn out perfectly golden brown and flavorful, here are some tips for flipping and cooking them just right:

Using A Spatula To Carefully Flip The Crab Cakes:

  • Gently slide a spatula under each crab cake, ensuring it is fully supported to prevent it from falling apart.
  •  Carefully lift and flip the crab cakes swiftly, using the spatula to guide them.
  •  Avoid pressing down on the crab cakes while flipping to preserve their shape and texture.

Adjusting The Heat As Needed To Prevent Burning:

  • To begin, heat the cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is warm but not smoking.
  •  Once the crab cakes are in the skillet, monitor the heat closely to ensure they don’t burn.
  •  Adjust the heat throughout the cooking process, lowering it slightly if the crab cakes are browning too quickly.

Cooking The Crab Cakes Until They Reach An Internal Temperature Of 165°F:

  • Check the crab cakes’ interior temperature with a kitchen thermometer.
  •  Insert the thermometer into the crab cake’s center, ensuring it reaches the middle.
  •  To guarantee that the crab cakes are adequately cooked and secure for consumption, Heat them until they reach a 165°F internal temperature.

Cooking crab cakes in a cast iron skillet provides a nice crispy exterior while maintaining a moist and flavorful interior. Following these tips and techniques, you can cook perfect crab cakes that impress your family and friends.


Serving And Garnishing Crab Cakes

Serving and garnishing crab cakes in a cast iron skillet is a delicious and impressive way to cook this seafood delicacy. The skillet adds a crispy texture to the cakes, while the garnishes like lemon wedges and tartar sauce provide a burst of flavor.

Perfect for a seafood lover’s dinner.

Choosing The Right Accompaniments For Crab Cakes

  • Crab cakes are a delicious dish that can be enjoyed independently or paired with complementary sides and sauces. Here are some ideas for choosing the perfect accompaniments:
  •  Tartar sauce: The tangy and creamy flavors of tartar sauce complement the richness of crab cakes. Its combination of mayonnaise, pickles, and herbs adds a refreshing touch to each bite.
  •  Lemon wedges: Your crab cakes will taste better with the zesty flavor of a fresh lemon slice squeezed over them. It also helps cut through any richness from the crab cakes.
  •  Coleslaw: The coleslaw’s tangy, cooling texture counterbalances the richness of the crab cakes. Its creamy dressing and crunchy vegetables create a delightful contrast.
  •  Mixed greens: Serving crab cakes on a bed of mixed greens adds a fresh element to the dish. The greens provide a light and refreshing taste, making each bite more enjoyable.
  •  Corn on the cob: Grilled or steamed corn makes a delightful side dish for crab cakes. The natural sweetness of corn complements the savory flavors of the crab cakes.

Serving Suggestions For Different Occasions

  • Whether you’re hosting a fancy dinner party or enjoying a casual meal at home, here are some serving suggestions for different occasions:
  •  Dinner party: Serve the crab cakes on individual plates with a drizzle of sauce and some fresh herbs for a fancier presentation. Accompany them with a side of roasted vegetables or a creamy risotto for an elegant and flavorful meal.
  •  Outdoor gathering: If you’re having a backyard barbecue or picnic, consider serving the crab cakes as sliders. They should be put on tiny buns with a slice of tomato, lettuce, or a splash of tartar sauce on top. It’s a handheld option that is easy to eat and perfect for casual outdoor events.
  •  Brunch: Crab cakes can be a delightful addition to a brunch menu. Serve them on a toasted English muffin with a poached egg on top and hollandaise sauce drizzled over. It’s a brunch classic with a seafood twist that will impress your guests.
  •  Family dinner: Keep it simple and family-friendly by serving the crab cakes with a side of fries or potato salad. For a delectable and hassle-free family lunch, add a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of tartar sauce.

Popular Garnishes And Sauces To Enhance The Flavor Of Crab Cakes

  • Elevate the flavor of your crab cakes with these popular garnishes and sauces:
  •  Old Bay seasoning: Sprinkle a dash of Old Bay seasoning on top of your crab cakes before or after cooking. This classic Chesapeake Bay seasoning adds a savory and slightly spicy kick that enhances the natural flavors of the crab.
  •  Fresh herbs: Sprinkle some fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives, or dill, on top of your crab cakes for decoration. Not only do they add a pop of color to the dish, but they also contribute a fresh and aromatic element that complements the seafood taste.
  •  Remoulade sauce: This tangy and slightly spicy sauce made with mayonnaise, mustard, capers, and herbs is the perfect accompaniment for crab cakes. Its creamy and flavorful nature enhances the overall taste and adds a delightful tang.
  •  For those who enjoy a bit of heat, a Sriracha aioli drizzle can take your crab cakes to the next level. Creamy aioli and spicy sriracha sauce create a flavorful and zesty experience.
  •  Microgreens: Sprinkle a handful of microgreens, such as micro cilantro or micro arugula, on top of your crab cakes for added freshness and a touch of elegance. These delicate greens enhance the visual appeal and provide a burst of flavor.

Remember, the choice of accompaniments, serving suggestions, and garnishes depends on personal preference and the occasion. Experiment with different flavors and find the best combination that suits your taste buds.

Storing And Reheating Crab Cakes

Learn how to store and reheat mouthwatering crab cakes in a cast iron skillet, ensuring maximum flavor and crispiness every time. With simple steps, you can enjoy these delectable treats whenever you desire.

Properly Storing Leftover Crab Cakes For Later Consumption

  • Place the cooked crab cakes on a wire rack to cool down completely.
  •  Once cooled, wrap each crab cake in plastic or aluminum foil.
  •  Store the wrapped crab cakes in an airtight container or zip-top bag to prevent freezer burn.
  • To maintain track of freshness, write the storage date on the container’s label.
  •  Place the container in the coldest part of the refrigerator or freezer.

Tips For Reheating Crab Cakes To Maintain Their Crispy Texture

  • Then, place a baking sheet inside and heat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
  •  On the baking sheet, arrange the crab cakes, allowing space between each.
  •  Brush the crab cakes lightly with melted butter or oil to help crisp the exterior.
  •  The crab cakes should be baked for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and thoroughly cooked.
  •  Use an air fryer or stovetop pan with some oil on medium heat for a quicker option.
  •  As a microwave can make the crab cakes soggy, avoid using one.

Creative Ways To Use Leftover Crab Cakes In Other Dishes

  • Crab cake Benedict: Top a split English muffin with a reheated crab cake, poached egg, and hollandaise sauce.
  •  Crab cake sliders: Serve a warm crab cake on a mini bun with your favorite toppings like coleslaw or remoulade sauce.
  •  Crab cake salad: Crumble up leftover crab cakes and toss them with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and a lemon-herb dressing.
  •  Crab cake dip: Mix crumbled crab cakes with cream cheese, sour cream, shredded cheese, and spices. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers after baking till bubbling.
  •  Crab cake stuffed mushrooms: Remove the stems from button mushrooms, fill the caps with crumbled crab cakes mixed with cream cheese, and bake until mushrooms are tender.

Remember, storing leftover crab cakes properly and reheating them correctly will help maintain their crispy texture and delicious flavor. Get creative with using extra crab cakes in various dishes to enjoy them in new and exciting ways!

how to cook crab cakes in cast iron skillet
how to cook crab cakes in cast iron skillet

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Cook Crab Cakes In Cast Iron Skillet

Is It Better To Pan Fry Or Bake Crab Cakes?

Pan-frying crab cakes are better than baking them. Pan-frying helps create a crispy exterior and a moist, flavorful interior. It also allows for faster cooking, which helps retain the natural sweetness of the crab meat. The heat from the pan brings out the delicious flavors and enhances the overall taste.

Additionally, pan frying gives the crab cakes a beautiful golden-brown color, adding visual appeal to your dish. Pan frying is the preferred method for cooking crab cakes as it provides a delightful texture and enhances the taste.

How Long Does It Take To Pan Sear Crab Cakes?

Pan-searing crab cakes typically take around 4-6 minutes per side.

What Is The Best Oil For Frying Crab Cakes?

The best oil for frying crab cakes is one with a high smoke point, such as vegetable or canola oil. These oils have a neutral flavor that won’t overpower the delicate taste of the crab. Their high smoke point means they can withstand the heat needed for frying without breaking down or becoming rancid.

Peanut oil is another good option, as it also has a high smoke point and adds a subtle nuttiness to the crab cakes. The use of olive oil and other low-smoke-value oils is discouraged since they can burn and impart a bitter flavor.

Oil should be heated to roughly 375°F (190°C). Fry the crab cakes till golden brown on both sides for crispy and delectable results. Before serving, drain them on paper towels to soak up extra oil.

What’s The Best Way To Cook Pre-Made Crab Cakes?

Pre-made crab cakes should be baked in a 400°F oven with a baking sheet underneath. Cook thoroughly and until brown in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can pan-fry them in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes per side until they are crispy and heated.

Avoid overcrowding the pan. Remember to handle the crab cakes gently to prevent them from falling apart. Once cooked, serve them with your preferred sauce or accompaniments. Enjoy!


Cooking crab cakes in a cast iron skillet is a delicious and flavorful way to enjoy this seafood delicacy. The inside remains moist and supple, while the surface of the food has the ideal crisp texture. Following a few straightforward procedures, you can prepare a cuisine fit for a restaurant in the convenience of your home.

Start by preparing your crab cake mixture, gently forming them into patties, and refrigerating them to firm up. Then, heat your cast iron skillet on medium heat, adding a generous amount of oil for frying. Place the crab cakes in the skillet, allowing them to cook until golden brown on each side.

Serve them hot with your preferred dipping sauce or more fresh lemon juice for extra zing. With the versatile and reliable cast iron skillet, you can elevate your crab cake game to new heights. Happy cooking!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *