Dungeness Crab Cakes


Dungeness Crab Cakes

I Love Crab Cakes! That’s the name of the Tom Douglas cookbook Joy and Toby gave me for Christmas back in 2006. It’s a great little book filled with 50 unique crab recipes from around the world. While I love reading all of the recipes and looking at the pictures, there is one recipe that I turn to the most – Etta’s Classic Dungeness Crab Cakes.

Crab cakes are a popular appetizer at steakhouse restaurants, so we’ve included them in our Steakhouse Dinner at Home menu. Check out the entire menu here.

Dungeness Crab Cakes

Fresh Dungeness Crab Meat!

Dungeness crab, a Northwest favorite, is really a must for this recipe, but if you can’t find it and need to make a substitution, lump crab meat will do.

Mixing the Crab for Dungeness Crab Cakes

Mixed with homemade mayonnaise, fresh herbs, onion, peppers and homemade bread crumbs.

This is my version of Etta’s Classic Dungeness Crab Cakes. Of course, I’ve changed things up a bit to suit my taste – fewer bread crumbs and more fresh herbs.

Crab Cake Balls

Crab mixture formed into balls.

Serve them with a dollop of Spicy Remoulade for the perfect start to your meal.

Crab Cakes cookingA note about the cost… you can expect to pay $30 per pound or more for fresh Dungeness crab. It’s a bit of a splurge, but the flavor is totally worth it.

Dungeness Crab Cakes
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Classic American
Author: A Passionate Plate – Adapted from I Love Crab Cakes cookbook
Serves: 8 – 2 oz. crab cakes
These classic Dungeness crab cakes are bursting with flavor and light on the breading – so the taste of the crab comes shining through! What a perfect start to a steakhouse dinner at home or any special meal.
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups homemade toasted bread crumbs*
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 pound Dungeness crabmeat, drained, leg meat broken up
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • To make bread crumbs, place slices of white bread in the oven. Toast until dry. Place in a food processor and process to small crumbs.
  1. Combine the egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabsco, mustard and black pepper in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture forms a loose mayonnaise. Set aside.
  2. Place the bread crumbs in a small bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of chopped parsley.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the onion, bell pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup parsley, basil and rosemary.
  4. Add the homemade mayonnaise and crab meat and mix lightly to combine.
  5. Gently fold 1 cup of the bread crumbs into the crab. Be careful not to overwork the mixture.
  6. Gently form 8 patties and dredge them lightly in the remaining bread crumb mixture to coat. Set aside the leftover bread crumbs.
  7. Cover the crab cakes with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour.
  8. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, add the crab cakes.
  9. Cook, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and the crab cakes are heated through.
  10. Serve with the sauce of your choice and a wedge of lemon.
  11. (If you do not have a very large non-stick pan, cook in two batches, using 2 and 1/2 Tbsp. of butter and 1 Tbsp. butter for each batch.)



  1. Queenie says:

    I am having Your crab cakes for a party and was wondering if I can use store-bought unflavored bread crumbs instead of toasting and processing my own?

  2. amy kohrman says:

    My crab cakes did not bind properly. They crumbled to pieces. Not sure how think mayonnaise needs to be to sufficiently hold everything together. I ended up salvaging the dish with regular mayo. Not sure what I did wrong.

  3. Brenda says:

    Finally got some good crab here at the mouth of the Columbia after the domoic acid hold. Great recipe. So tasty. So many crab cakes are too plain and depend on the remoulade sauce to taste good….yours stand on their own.

  4. Katrina says:

    Mary, thank you so much for this great recipe. The loose mayonnaise grabbed me! I had to deal with 20 crabs and needed an appealing recipe and your was it. I used it two weekends in a row now, 20 crabs each time. I think we have enough crab cakes for the year. they are delicious!

    • MaryMiller says:

      Hi, Katrina –

      I am so glad you found (and enjoyed) my crab cake recipe! 20 crabs in one weekend… that’s a lot of crab cakes! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for the feedback on our recipe.
      – Mary

  5. Rokssana says:

    Thank you for the recipe! I made crabcakes for the first time last night and with the help of your recipe they came out beautifully. I wouldn’t change the recipe at all! Big hit with my family.

  6. LMacMurchie says:

    I am, quite proudly, Joy’s cousin. Great, amazing blog here. We are crabbing a lot this summer, so I will try this recipe.

    • JoyAldrich says:

      Thanks for that sweet compliment, Laurie. I’d love to get up there for a visit in September. Maybe I could document Isabelle’s egg business for this blog?! And I’d love to eat some crab with y’all, too!

  7. […] Steakhouse Dinner at Home. We feasted on all of our steakhouse favorites like creamed spinach, crab cakes, and steakhouse corn – but the real star of the the evening was the steak: Bone-in New York […]

  8. Marilyn Gordon says:

    One of my favorite things! Crabcakes! One of the best things about the east coast. Other than the history which I love too! Those look delicious!

  9. milton pierce says:

    I love crab cakes too.. being from Baltimore.. the best crab cakes for me is the recipe on the Old Bay Seasoning box…

    • MaryMiller says:

      Hi, Milton – We just finished watching all five seasons of The Wire. Hopefully someday we’ll be able to visit and try some of those Maryland Blue Crab Cakes in Bal-more ourselves.:-)

  10. […] ← June Giveaway – Get Ready to Grill! Dungeness Crab Cakes → […]

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