Gluten Free Crab Cakes made with crab meat, green onions, gluten free crackers, and a blend of spices pan-fried until they’re golden brown and crispy, ready in under 30 minutes! 

Seafood is perfect for a weeknight because cooks fast and has a ton of flavor. For more ideas check out this Oven Fried Fish, Crispy Air Fryer Salmon, and Low Country Shrimp Boil!

A hand holding a gluten free crab cake over a skillet.

Gluten Free Crab Cakes are a family favorite, made with simple ingredients and refrigerated canned crab meat. They’re coated in gluten free breadcrumbs and pan fried over medium heat until golden brown and crispy.

This recipe doesn’t have big lumps of crab meat, but you can use ‘lump crab meat’ to get that texture with bigger bites of crab. This will be your new favorite crab cakes recipe, and a go-to in the weekly recipe rotation!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make gluten free crab cakes on a marble table.

Crab. I use refrigerated canned crab for crab cakes, because it’s a lot more cost effective. They key here is that it’s the refrigerated kind, so it’s fresher than the shelf stable, but cheaper than the lump crab meat. You won’t have big pieces of crab with this type, but the flavor will be great. 

Olive Oil and Butter. I use unsalted butter to add some flavor to the crab cakes, and use extra virgin olive oil for frying. I add more olive oil as needed when pan frying. 

Eggs. The eggs help hold everything together.  

Mayonnaise. One or two tablespoons mayonnaise adds flavor and also helps give the crab cakes a nice creamy texture and helps hold everything together. 

Dijon Mustard. Dijon adds flavor to the crab cakes. You can add mustard powder to the seasoning if you don’t have dijon.

Gluten Free Crackers. Try using a softer more buttery type cracker, closer to Ritz or Saltines, but the gluten free version.

I pulse these a few times in the food processor to break them up. These act as a filler and add a really nice flavor. 

Gluten Free Bread crumbs. I like plain unseasoned bread crumbs, but the seasoned ones would be good, too. 

Green Onions. Green onions add a lot of flavor. You can leave these out if you don’t have them, or substitute with chives. 

Spices. I use red pepper flakes to add some heat. Then a blend of garlic, paprika, and celery seed. Salt and pepper to taste. These are the main flavor components to Old Bay seasoning.

How to Make Gluten Free Crab Cakes

Step by step instructions for how to make gluten free crab cakes.
  1. In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and green onions. Cook until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine crab meat, spices, crackers, eggs, mayo, dijon, and green onions. Mix together until well-combined. 
  3. Use your hands to make 8 even patties. Place each one in breadcrumbs, coating evenly. 
  4. Add butter and olive oil to a large skillet. When butter is melted, place crab cakes into the skillet and pan-fry for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. 

Jacqui’s Tip! Stir together a cup mayonnaise, a teaspoon of yellow mustard, and some pickle relish for an easy tartar sauce to serve with the crab cakes!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do crab cakes contain gluten?

Normally, crab cakes contain gluten because they have breadcrumbs and crackers. We’re using gluten free ingredients only for this version. 
Imitation crab has gluten, so avoid this.

What can I use instead of bread crumbs for my crab cakes?

You can lightly coat the crab cakes with cornmeal or more crushed crackers instead of bread crumbs. You can also leave the bread crumbs off entirely, but they may not be as golden brown or crispy when they’re done. 

What do you eat with crab cakes?

Crab cakes are fried, so I suggest serving them with lighter options like a summer salad, roasted vegetables, corn, or coleslaw. The also go well with soup or potatoes.  

What kind of crab is used in crab cakes?

Here are a few options in terms of crab meat. All of these options should come fully cooked already, but it’s always good to double check. Do NOT use imitation crab, because it contains gluten.

  • Fresh Lump Crab Meat. This is the best option for crab cakes, but honestly it’s not totally cost effective for a recipe that you make really often. My local grocery store currently has this at $25 for 8 ounces. I pull out the lump crab meat on holidays and birthdays. This is the meat that recipes are using when you see the big pieces in the crab cakes.
  • Claw Meat. Claw meat is the next best option, coming in at about half of the price of the lump meat. You’ll still get some good chunks of crab in the cakes. The flavor won’t be as sweet as the lump meat.
  • Backfin Meat. Also known is flake crab meat. This can include some broken up pieces of lump meat, and some smaller pieces from the body of the crab. It flakes easily, as the name suggests.
  • Canned Crab Refrigerated. This is what I used. I had a big can from restaurant depot, and the flavor turned out great. The only downside is that the pieces are more broken up, like canned tuna. You can do a mixture of this type of crab and the lump meat, so you still get big pieces but it cuts down on the cost.
  • Canned Crab Shelf Stable. This is the least recommended because of the texture and flavor, but it’s also the most cost effective. And honestly, it still works. It’s not going to be restaurant quality, the flavor will be different, but it’s fine for a regular quick dinner. You can get this in lump and regular meat.

How to Bake Crab Cakes

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a baking sheet and set aside. 
  2. Add all ingredients (except for the breadcrumbs, leaving butter and oil out of the list) to a medium sized bowl and gently combine. If you’re using lump crab meat, be careful not to break up the pieces. 
  3. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop out the crab mixture and gently form into patties. Place each one in the breadcrumbs, coating evenly, then onto the baking sheet. 
  4. Lightly spray each crab cake with cooking oil, then bake with 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Storage

Store these in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. 

Freeze these on a baking sheet with parchment paper, then transfer to an airtight container in the freezer after they are completely frozen. They’ll keep for 2-3 months. Reheat in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer. 

Jacqui’s Tip! Make these smaller and serve them with toothpicks as an appetizer!

What to Serve With Crab Cakes

Tips and Tricks

  • The amount of cakes you get can vary depending on what size you make them.
  • Keep all of the cakes about the same size using a half-cup measuring cup as a scoop, or a large ice cream scoop. 
  • Add a dash of hot sauce to the crab mixture for a medium heat level. Also include cayenne pepper and extra red pepper flakes for more. 
  • If you’re going to freeze these, wrap the container in an extra layer of plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. 
  • I serve these crab cake with lemon juice or lemon wedges on the side, and tartar sauce. 
  • Imitation crab meat is NOT gluten free, stick with real crab meat.
  • Line a plate with paper towels to transfer the crab cakes over to after frying, to help absorb some of the oil and avoid soggy cakes. 
  • Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce to the crab mixture for extra flavor. Make sure it’s gluten free, some brands are not.  
A skillet with gluten free crab cakes and lemon wedges.

If you loved this recipe, be sure to leave a 5 Star review below, and tag me with a photo of your finished recipe on Instagram @Jacqui_DishingDelish!

A hand holding a gluten free crab cake over a skillet.

Gluten Free Crab Cakes

Gluten Free Crab Cakes made with crab meat, green onions, gluten free crackers, and a blend of spices pan-fried until they're golden brown and crispy, ready in under 30 minutes! 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Jacqui
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 ounces refrigerated canned crab meat
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces gluten free crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup plain gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Equipment

  • 1 skillet

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and green onions. Cook until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, gently combine crab meat, spices, crushed gluten free crackers, eggs, mayo, dijon, and green onions. Use your hands to make 8 even patties, using a 1/2 cup measure to keep them around the same size.
  • Add breadcrumbs to a separate bowl. Place each crab cake in breadcrumbs, coating evenly.
  • Over medium heat, add butter and remaining olive oil to a large skillet. When butter is melted, place crab cakes into the skillet and pan-fry for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Notes

Click on the time in the instructions to start a timer!
Storage
Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. 
Freeze in an airtight container for 2-3 months. 
How to Bake Crab Cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease a baking sheet as set aside. 
  2. Add all ingredients (except for the breadcrumbs) to a medium sized bowl and gently combine. If you’re using lump crab meat, be careful not to break up the pieces. 
  3. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop out the crab mixture and gently form into patties. Place each one in the breadcrumbs, coating evenly, then onto the baking sheet. 
  4. Lightly spray each crab cake with cooking oil, then bake with 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcal (17%)Carbohydrates: 31g (10%)Protein: 13g (26%)Fat: 17g (26%)Saturated Fat: 5g (31%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 110mg (37%)Sodium: 779mg (34%)Potassium: 186mg (5%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 288IU (6%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 66mg (7%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
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