Gluten-Free Crab Cakes {Dairy-Free}

4.83 from 23 votes
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An easy recipe for gluten-free crab cakes. These are classic Maryland-style crab cakes and can be either baked or fried. This gluten-free dinner recipe is also dairy-free.

gluten-free crab cakes on a white platter with lemon slices and parsley

Gluten-Free Crab Cakes

It’s easy to make restaurant-quality, gluten-free crab cakes at home! With only ten simple ingredients and in only one hour, you can enjoy Maryland-style crab cakes made gluten-free.

I know all about Maryland-style crab cakes because I lived in Maryland for thirteen years. For ten of those years, I lived in Baltimore, the home of award-winning crab cakes. So trust me when I say that I know how to make the best Maryland-style crab cakes!

I have included two ways you can easily cook crab cakes. The most popular way to cook crab cakes in Baltimore is to bake them, but I have also included the instructions on how to fry them as well.

You can see just how easy it is to make gluten-free crab cakes in the recipe step photos and the recipe video.

How To Make Gluten-Free Crab Cakes

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, gluten-free Dijon mustard, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, lemon juice, and salt. (photo 1)
  • Add the parsley, gluten-free bread crumbs, and then the crab meat on top. With a rubber spatula or large spoon, very gently fold together the ingredients so you do not break up the crab meat. (photo 2)
  • Cover the crab cake mixture with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. (photo 3)
  • Spay a baking sheet with gluten-free cooking spray. I used olive oil spray.
  • Using a ½ cup measuring cup, portion the crab cake mixture into 6 mounds on the baking sheet. If you are baking the crab cakes, do not flatten them. Use your hands or a spoon to compact each crab cake. If you are frying the crab cakes, you will need to flatten them into patties. (photo 4)

For Baked Gluten-Free Crab Cakes:

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • For extra flavor and browning, lightly brush each crabcake with melted butter (or dairy-free butter). This is an optional step, but I highly recommended it!
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges and on top or at an internal temperature of 165°F. (photo 5)
  • Store the leftover crab cakes in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat in the microwave or in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 325°F.

For Fried Gluten-Free Crab Cakes:

  • Add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large nonstick pan or cast iron pan. Heat the oil on medium heat. I recommend peanut oil as the best oil to fry crab cakes. 
  • When the oil is hot, carefully place the crab cakes in the pan and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side, or the internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Place the crab cakes on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Types of Crab Meat

  • Jumbo Lump crab meat is off-white and is the most expensive type. It is firm in texture and is the largest piece of crab meat. It is often served alone or as a topping for dishes or salads.
  • Lump crab meat is also off-white but a little smaller than the jumbo lump. It is also firm in texture. Lump crab meat is best for making chunky crab cakes.
  • Backfin crab meat is off-white and has a flaky texture. The term “backfin” can also include broken pieces of lump crab meat.
  • Claw meat is darker than the other types of crab meat. It has a stronger flavor and is not as sweet as the other types of crab meat. Claw meat is the least expensive and is best for soups and dips.

gluten-free crab cake on a baking sheet

What Is The Best Type Of Crab Meat For Crab Cakes?

For the absolute best crab cake, I recommend using lump crab meat. Using the lump crab meat to make your crab cake guarantees that you will get big bites of crab.

Lump crab meat is expensive, so I have a money-saving tip for making crab cakes. You can combine lump crab meat and backfin meat for making crab cakes. That way you still get some lumps of crab meat in your crab cakes.

If fresh lump crab meat is not available, the second-best option is refrigerated crab meat which is readily available year-round at the grocery store.

I do not recommend shelf-stable canned crab meat. It has a different taste and texture compared to refrigerated crab meat.

two gluten-free crab cakes on a white plate with a lemon slice and crackers with a platter of crab cakes and lemon slices in the background

Easy Gluten-Free Crab Cakes

These gluten-free crab cakes can be served for dinner or made into mini crabcakes as an appetizer. Homemade crab cakes are best topped with freshly squeezed lemon juice and served with a side of cocktail or tartar sauce.

I promise no one will know that these Maryland-style crabcakes are gluten-free. They taste just like the crab cakes you would order at your favorite seafood restaurant but are gluten-free!

More Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes To Try!

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4.83 from 23 votes

Gluten-Free Crab Cakes {Dairy-Free}

Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
chilling: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
gluten-free crab cakes cakes on a white platter with lemon slices
An easy recipe for gluten-free crab cakes. These are classic Maryland-style crab cakes and can be either baked or fried. This gluten-free dinner recipe is also dairy-free.
 

Ingredients 

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, I used Lea & Perrins.
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, I used the brand 4C gluten-free panko bread crumbs. I buy 4C gluten-free bread crumbs at Walmart.
  • 1 pound (16-ounces) lump crab meat
  • Optional: 2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter or Smart Balance butter for dairy-free.

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, gluten-free Dijon mustard, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, lemon juice, and salt.
  • Add the parsley, gluten-free bread crumbs, and then the crab meat on top. With a rubber spatula or large spoon, very gently fold together the ingredients, so you do not break up the crab meat.
  • Cover the crab cake mixture with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  • Spray a baking sheet with gluten-free cooking spray. I used olive oil spray.
  • Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, portion the crab cake mixture into 6 mounds on the baking sheet. If you are baking the crab cakes, do not flatten them. Use your hands or a spoon to compact each crab cake. If you are frying the crab cakes you will need to flatten them into patties.

For Baked Gluten-Free Crab Cakes:

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • For extra flavor and browning, lightly brush each crabcake with melted butter. This is an optional step, but I highly recommended it!
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and on top, or an internal temperature of 165°F.

For Fried Gluten-Free Crab Cakes:

  • Add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I like peanut oil for frying) to a large nonstick pan or cast iron pan. Heat the oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully place the crab cakes in the pan and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side, or an internal temperature of 165°F. Place the crab cakes on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Store the leftover crab cakes in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat in the microwave or in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 325°F.

Video

Notes

  • I recommend making crab cakes with fresh crab meat or refrigerated crab meat found with the seafood in the grocery store. I do not recommend using canned crab meat that is shelf-stable.  
  • Lump crab meat is recommended for the best crab cake. But I also have a money-saving tip. Mix the lump and backfin crab meat together to make the crab cakes. That way you still get some chunks of crab meat in your crab cakes. 
  • I recommend peanut oil as the best oil for frying crab cakes. 
  • Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • Mama says, "check all of your labels!"

Nutrition

Serving: 1crab cakeCalories: 184kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 16gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 839mgPotassium: 188mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 81IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @mamaknowsglutenfree or tag #mamaknowsglutenfree!

 

About Audrey Roberts

I'm Audrey Roberts, a busy mama of four and I love sharing the recipes that I make for my family. I make gluten-free family-friendly recipes that are simple and delicious that you can too! I use easy to find ingredients that won't break your budget. You will also find dairy-free options and Paleo recipes. I am also the author of The Everything Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cookbook, which is an Amazon Best Selling Cookbook in the US and Internationally. Living gluten-free since 2010. I hope by me sharing my journey it may help you with yours.

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35 Comments

  1. I have tried many a gf recipe for crab cakes but I believe I’ve found my one and only. I only put 3/4 tsp of Old Bay and skipped salt as suggested by some reviewers but otherwise followed instructions.I brushed with butter and baked. Served with a garlic aioli. They were delicious!

  2. This says dairy free in the title and is the main hit on Google “dairy free crab cakes”. Definitely click bait as the recipe calls for eggs Mayo even butter lol.

    1. Hi Tammy, both eggs and mayonnaise are dairy free, and we provide the option for dairy-free butter in the recipe card! Many of our recipes are written with both dairy-full and dairy-free modifications to fit a wide array of diets!

  3. These were easy to make, and tasted delicious! I used a large ice cream style scooper to make them uniform. The only ‘issue’ was having a bit of a hard time shaping them so they would stay together. I baked them and the results were amazing.

  4. This recipe makes perfect crab cakes! As a native Marylander, I have tried many crab cake recipes over the years and many were good, but none were fantastic. Finally, I found THE ONE! The only modification I made was to reduce the GF panko from 3/4 cup to 1/2. My friends and I thank you!!

  5. I have been looking for a good gluten free crab cake recipe for years…now the search is over. Thank you so very much!!! Delicious!!!!

  6. This is a fantastic recipe, but I highly recommend backing off on the salt. The recipe calls for a whole teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning, which already has a lot of salt in it, and then an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt. The first time I made them, I could hardly eat them, but I made them for the second time today and put only 3/4 tspn of Old Bay, and deleted the salt altogether. They were excellent! This will be my go-to crab cake recipe. Thanks Mama Knows GF!

  7. This is my new go to crabcake recipe. As a lifetime Maryland resident, I am a crabcake snob and this recipe creates the unicorn – crabcakes that taste like all crab and no cake. I made a slight change and used 1/2 cup of gluten free panko instead of 3/4 cup of GF breadcrumbs and omitted the salt – the Old Bay has enough salt for my taste. Thank you!!!

  8. Definitely a family favorite! The only problem is there are never any leftovers…, no matter how many I make!

  9. I just made these for dinner tonight. They were delicious!!! Best crab cakes I’ve ever made and tasted. Cooking the crab cakes in the oven is a GAME CHANGER !!! They were fluffy, tender and light. Love Love Love them !!! Thank you for this great recipe.

  10. these are VERY good! best homemade crab cake recipe, I’ve tried. I will be making these again with this recipe!!

  11. Awesome recipe! I’ve used both leftover salmon & whitefish (my husband loves to fish) & both have turned out delicious! I added 1 C chopped celery, 1 C chopped pickles, & 2 T rehydrated minced onion. Adds a nice crunch. LOVE the baked version (make sure to top with butter)! Thanks for sharing delicious gf recipes!

  12. looks like a great recipe! Can I use sour cream or cream cheese or plain yogurt in place of the Mayo? My son is allergic to mayo.

    1. Hi Hillary! I have not tried a substitute for the mayo. The mayo acts as a binder, so maybe the other options would work, but I have not tested it.

  13. You nailed it, Mama! Great recipe- I got a pound of lump crabmeat at Costco for a (relatively) good price. I did add red pepper flakes and celery seed to the recipe and the crabcakes were a huge hit. Thank you! (A great part of the instructions were to firm up the blob of “batter” with your hand. I love seemingly obscure but important details like that. Makes a recipe SO much more successful, so thank you!)

    1. Hi Sara. Th recipe calls for 3/4 cup of gluten-free bread crumbs. I use the brand 4C gluten-free Panko bread crumbs. I buy the 4C gluten–free bread crumbs at Walmart.

  14. I had guests for dinner and had these as a first course. Everyone loved them and asked for the recipe! Can these be made with an egg replacer?

    1. Hi Adrienne! I am so happy that everyone enjoyed the crab cakes. I have not tired my recipe with an egg replacer. If you try it, will you please let me knowhow they turnout?

    2. Outstanding! I’ve made these a couple times and this time, I made enough to share with our adult kids (not for their kids but for a grown up meal!). They all loved them – only my oldest daughter and I are GF, but my husband loves these and thinks they are better than any he’s tasted! I did completely forget to put in the egg today (I was babysitting 4 grands!) but they were still wonderful! They are one of my favorite “treat” meals. 😃

  15. Audrey, I am a very experienced cook and I’m so happy I found your blog. this recipe is the best! I didn’t change a thing because it’s perfect as it is😊
    I am wondering, since I have some cans of clams here, maybe I could substitute those for the crab for a different treat. have you ever tried this?

    1. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the gluten-free crab cakes! I have never tired using clams in my recipe. If you try it with clams, please let me know how it turned out. Thank you for the wonderful 5-star recipe review.

  16. SO good. I made this recipe last night and followed it to a T. They came out perfect and I’ll for sure be making it again!

  17. Excellent! Used Full # lump crabmeat from seafood counter. Followed recipe exactly. It made 6 good sized patties. The cakes were pretty loose but they stayed together with a little TLC. Be sure to pre-heat skillet and don’t turn initially for 4-5 minutes. Used thermometer to check they were done

  18. Our go to recipe for Crab cakes. These are so delicious! We have also made them with chopped shrimp!

  19. I have been using diamond almond nut crackers “hint of salt” The almond flavor adds a delicious touch to the Maryland crab cake. 12 crushed up cracker per pound!!

  20. This recipe is easy to follow, quick to prepare, and delicious. I switched out the old bay to a Cajun spice blend to kick it up a notch and it turned out great!

    1. Hi Nancy! I have made a low fat version by just leaving the mayonnaise out (and used egg whites). You may need to add a 1/4 cup less gluten-free bread crumbs. If the mixture seems too wet, you can always add the gluten-free bread crumbs back in a little at a time. I hope you enjoy the crab cakes!

  21. I made this recipe last night & my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed it! Great taste! He’s not as fond of seafood as I am, but he said these were really tasty. I just wish I’d had a full pound of crab meat to make more.

  22. Yes, I made these and they were delicious! I couldn’t find frozen crab meat anywhere and didn’t want to use imitation, so I used 1 lump crab and 1 backfin crab and mixed them. It’s pricey, but sure tasted yummy. I want to make them for a potluck party with 17 adults. Will have to make them smaller than 1/2 cup.

  23. Yes, I made these and they were delicious! I couldn’t find frozen crab meat anywhere and didn’t want to use imitation, so I used 1 lump crab and 1 backfin crab and mixed them. It’s pricey, but sure tasted yummy. I want to make them for a potluck party with 17 adults. Will have to make them smaller than 1/2 cup.

  24. These were exceptional! We used lump blue crab. I would put these up against the best restaurant crab cakes and they would win