The Best Mini Crab Cakes Recipe


Whenever I entertain and serve these mini crab cakes, they are a crowd favorite! They are easy to make and so yummy!

Everyone has a favorite recipe. It’s the recipe that whenever you make it, everyone goes crazy. For me, that is definitely my Crab Cakes Recipe with Lemon Dill Sauce. Trust me, it is that good.

Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce

Every Christmas we host a party for about two hundred friends. I personally prepare about seventeen appetizers and eight desserts.  By far the most popular appetizer served is my Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce. I make almost 500 of them for our party!

Today I am sharing my mini crab cake recipe. If you have been looking for a recipe for a “go-to appetizer” then you must make these crab cakes.

What Makes This Mini Crab Cakes Recipe the Best?

There are a lot of reasons why this recipe is so popular. The crab cakes are mild which I think a lot of people prefer. The fresh basil and other herbs add a lot. But the biggest reason these crab cakes are so popular is the Lemon Dill Sauce.

It is simply amazing.

As you can see, these crab cakes are loaded with basil, parsley, sauteed red peppers, and more.

I always double the Lemon Dill Sauce recipe as everyone always wants seconds. After making these crab cakes a few times, I learned to serve the crab cakes with more sauce.

Dinner with Friends Appetizer Crab Cakes

I love how these crab cakes look on these adorable Rae Dunn “love” plates.

Best Crab Cakes Recipe

Since it is summertime, I’m not going to bore you with details of our Christmas party. The quick story is that thirty-ish years ago when my husband and I were first married we threw a holiday party for our friends (all 40 of them) and I cooked all of the food. Over the years, our list of friends has grown and now our children (and a lot of their friends) come to the party. In fact, it’s probably the biggest party of the year for our sons. Go figure.  

As the crowd has grown to about 230, the menu has expanded to about 17 heavy appetizers and eight desserts. Somehow after all of these years, I still cook the food. But I do have help! My amazing girlfriends come over and help on Thursday and Friday. We also hire bartenders and staff that actually cook all of the food I have prepared. This allows yours truly to enjoy the party. Well, kind of.

My menu has evolved over the years. Yet there are a few recipes that have and will always be a part of our party. (Because if I took them off I think some of our friends would turn around and go home.) The most popular recipe of all is My Mini Crab Cakes Recipe. It’s fairly simple and the Lemon Dill Sauce is the absolute best (and is also really good on grilled salmon, grilled fish, and grilled vegetables).

The Best Crab Cakes Ever

I honestly have friends that stand in the kitchen waiting for these crab cakes to come out of the pan … for the entire party!

Crab cakes are not hard to make. The cakes don’t take long to pull together and then you just cook them in a frying pan with oil. ) You can also make the mini crab cakes the day before and store them in the refrigerator. Then fry them just before serving.)

If you want to learn more about our Christmas party, you can read about it here.

And … if you want a copy of all of my recipes, you can find them all here.

how to make crab cakes

The Lemon Dill Sauce is so good. I also serve it with salmon and you will often find a jar in our refrigerator.

I should probably add that I make these crab cakes year-round. They are fabulous in the summer, especially when served with a salad.

Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce
Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs

I also have a recipe for Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs. It is also amazing!

I hope you will make these. As I said earlier, they really are that good.

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Yield: 25 one inch crab cakes

The Best Crab Cakes Recipe with Lemon Dill Sauce

Best Crab Cakes Recipe

These crab cakes with lemon dill sauce are to die for. They aren't "fishy" and are by far the most popular appetizer anytime I make them.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes


  • Crab Cakes
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 1 scallion, chopped fine
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
  • 2 TBL red bell pepper, chopped fine
  • Ground red pepper (cayenne) to taste
  • 3 TBL heavy cream
  • 1 TBL dijon mustard
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp minced fresh basil
  • 1 tsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBL vegetable oil
  • Lemon Dill Sauce
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 TBL fresh dill chopped
  • 1 TBL minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBL grated lemon peel
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


Crab Cakes

  1. Lightly chop the crab meat in the food processor and set aside.
  2. Melt one TBL of the butter in a large skillet and saute the scallion, garlic and red bell pepper until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the ground red pepper, cream and mustard.
  4. Cool slightly. Add the egg, basil, parsley, 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, and the crabmeat.
  5. Mix lightly. Mold into 25 one-inch wide patties.
  6. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and the parmesan cheese in a shallow dish.
  7. Roll the patties in the crumb and cheese mixture.
  8. Chill for at least one hour. (The crab cakes can be made one day prior and refrigerated, covered, up to this point.)
  9. Combine the oil and the remaining 2 TBL of butter over moderate heat in a large skillet.
  10. Saute the crab cakes 3 minutes on each side.

Lemon Dill Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Chill until the mixture thickens.


The Lemon Dill Sauce in this recipe is also really great with salmon (baked or smoked).

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The Best Mini Crab Cakes Recipe

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  1. Leslie-
    Thank you for generously sharing your yummy Christmas Party recipes. I have made several of them!!! Thinking about having a big party and wonder if you have used different kinds of crabmeat—-ie to make lots of cakes, do you still use really good (expensive) crab or have you found a more economical way to do it???
    I, too, am a ‘global creative’ person but for big events I am a spreadsheet girl, too. Made me smile…
    Love your blog!

  2. Leslie, these look incredible and I can’t wait to make them!! Is it possible to cook the crab cakes in an air fryer instead of in oil? If so, how long would you cook them for?

  3. Im so fortunate as to have had Leslie herself make these fabulous crab cakes! And the lemon dill sauce is what makes the whole presentation, I could eat one right now!

  4. These crab cakes sound delicious. I’m one of those rare people who doesn’t care for dill. Do you think the Lemon Sauce would work with basil instead?

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