Rich, crispy, and luscious Air Fryer Crab Cakes satisfy your need for umami and take you back to the beach with each bite. You won’t believe how perfectly these cook in the air fryer.
🍽️ Why This Works
Air Fryer Magic. The brilliance of this machine is that it will crisp up foods with very little oil. Hot air circulates around the food to cook it evenly and quickly.
Brilliant Flavor. Be gone bland crab cakes! We packed so much flavor into this recipe everyone will beg for it.
Favorite Party Appetizer. Bring in the New Year or celebrate the Super Bowl with these amazing crab cakes and remoulade. Your guests and family will fall all over themselves to get the last one.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Egg – An egg or egg substitute is necessary to hold everything together.
Mayonnaise – This adds creaminess to the mixture.
Dijon Mustard – A good quality dijon makes a huge difference.
Hot Sauce – Franks, Tabasco, or any Hot Sauce you have on hand will do the trick.
Seafood Seasoning – Old Bay Seasoning, Creole seasoning or any will work.
Lemon – You’ll just need the juice from this one and a different lemon for wedges.
Chunk Jumbo Lump Crab Meat – Good quality crab meat is the best option for flavor. If you prefer, you can use imitation crab.
Saltine Cracker Crumbs – You could use different crackers if you have a favorite. Many people like to use buttery crackers. I think the neutral flavor of saltines makes them perfect. Panko breadcrumbs are a popular alternative.
Diced Green Onions – Dice all of the white and part way up the green stem.
Lemon Wedges – for garnish.
Ingredients for the Remoulade
Creole Seasoning – If you can’t find this pre-mixed, you can make your own.
Paprika – Make sure you replace this dried spice every six months for freshness.
Minced Garlic – Use fresh minced garlic or minced garlic from a jar.
Minced Ginger – We really love the jarred form of minced ginger.
Dijon Mustard – Adds just the right tanginess to complement the crab cakes which also include this ingredient.
Hot Sauce – Any brand of hot sauce will work.
Greek Yogurt – Sour cream would also work.
What is a Remoulade?
Remoulade is a cold sauce similar to tartar sauce which is chilled before serving. A traditional remoulade is an emulsion of eggs and oil and is basically a seasoned homemade mayonnaise. Ours is healthier as it uses greek yogurt to form the base.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Mixing Bowls. You will need two different bowls for this recipe.
Whisk. A must-have kitchen tool! This is a tool we use more than once every single day.
Air Fryer. A basket air fryer is our favorite kind.
Step One: Add all the ingredients for the remoulade in a bowl, and mix well. Place this in the fridge to chill while you prepare the crab cakes.
Step Two: In another mixing bowl, crack and whisk the large egg. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, seasoning, and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly.
Step Three: In a large bowl, add the Saltine crumbs and crab meat. Toss until mixed. Add the sauce from step two and mix by hand. This process will create a bound meat mixture. Refrigerate the mixture for one hour to allow the cracker crumbs to soak up the binder sauce. This will make it much easier to form the crab cakes.
Step Four: With a ¼ quarter cup, scoop out the mixture and form it into a ball into equal portions. You can compress the cakes or leave them in a ball. I prefer the cakes to be round into patties as they stay moist more than if they were compressed.
Step Five: Place the crab cakes on parchment paper in the air fryer basket. Spray with cooking spray and cook at 375°F for 12-15 minutes or until the cakes crisp and turn golden. Flip the cakes halfway through and spray with oil a second time.
Step Six: Remove the crab cakes and cook more as needed.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Never crowd the air fryer. Air circulation is required for this method of cooking. You may need to cook in batches.
Using a scoop keeps all of the air fryer crab cakes at a uniform size so that they will cook evenly.
For best results, we prefer high-quality lump crab meat as fresh as you can find.
Crab meat can be very delicate. You want nice chunks of tasty crab meat, not shredded bits, so overmixing is not a good idea. Fold the ingredients together by hand instead of using an electric mixer.
The better the quality of the crab meat, the better the flavor of your crab cakes. Buy the best you can afford.
Do not overcook them. The meat will dry out very quickly. We recommend using an internal meat thermometer to make sure they have reached 145ºF.
Buy parchment paper made for an air fryer, with holes punched in the paper for air circulation. Place the parchment paper in the air fryer and add the crab cakes before you turn on the machine. Never preheat your air fryer with parchment paper inside and nothing to weigh it down. I guarantee it will go flying and hit the heating elements.
The thicker your crab cakes, the longer the cooking time will need to be. Adjust accordingly. I recommend no more than one inch thick. For mini crab cakes, cooking for 6-8 minutes, depending on your machine.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
Keep leftover crab cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one or two days. If they sit out for hours at a party, they should be discarded. Reheat in the air fryer for 4-6 minutes, in the microwave, or on a hot skillet. Make sure the reheated crab cakes reach a safe temperature throughout.
Freeze leftover crab cakes in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw and reheat in the air fryer.
Mix the recipe and freeze the raw crab cakes. Then you can pull them from the freezer and cook them at any time. Just plan for a few extra minutes of cook time.
If you prefer, you can make the crab cakes up to 48 hours in advance and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to pop them in the air fryer.
Additions and Substitutions
Fresh crab meat is definitely the best choice for both flavor and texture. However, you can make this recipe with canned crab, frozen crab, imitation crab, Surimi, Lobster meat, or salmon. Imitation crab is made from Alaskan pollock. Canned crab meat needs to be thoroughly drained. Crab meat found in a tub is already salty enough without adding the salt found in this recipe. If you want to use frozen crab, make sure you thaw it first.
If you don’t love the flavor of hot sauce, you could try a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, or adobo sauce for the heat instead.
Unable to find saltine crackers? Try panko bread crumbs, crushed pork rinds, or a buttery cracker.
Add in some minced red bell pepper for color and a touch of flavor.
When entertaining, sprinkle fresh parsley for presentation.
Serve our crispy crab cakes at your next big event to wow the guests. This dish makes a great appetizer or main dish for a formal dinner. It’s also a nice snack when friends are over, and the game is on. Serve with our remoulade and lemon wedges.
❓ Recipe FAQ
12-15 minutes at 375ºF. If your air fryer has set temperature options, you will have to adjust the time as needed.
375ºF is our target temperature for crab cakes that are thoroughly cooked but not dried out.
Place the crab cakes in the basket of the machine and set it to 375ºF. Check after four or five minutes. They just needed to be heated through, so add time as needed, but don’t overcook them.
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Air Fryer Crab Cakes
- Mixing Bowls
- 1 tsp Creole Seasoning
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tbsp Garlic minced
- ½ tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp Hot Sauce Tabasco or any other brand
- ¼ cup Greek Yogurt or sour cream
Crab Cake Mixture
- 1 Egg
- ⅓ cup Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp Hot Sauce
- 2 tsp Seafood Seasoning we used Old Bay
- 1 Lemon squeeze the juice of one lemon
- 1 lb Crab Meat chunk
- 1 cup Saltine Crackers crushed
- 3 tbsp Green Onions diced
- Lemon Wedges garnish
- Add all the ingredients for the remoulade in a bowl and mix well. Place in the fridge to chill while you prepare the crab cakes.
- In another mixing bowl, crack and whisk the egg. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, seasoning, and lemon juice. Mix well by hand to create the binder sauce
- In a large bowl, mix the cracker crumbs and crab meat. Add the binder sauce and continue mixing by hand. This process will create a bound meat mixture. Refrigerate the mixture for one hour to allow the cracker crumbs to soak up the binder sauce. This will make it easier to form it into cakes in the next step.
- Use a ¼ cup scoop and form the mixture into a ball. You can compress the cakes or leave them in a ball form. I prefer the cakes to be round as they stay more moist.
- Place the crab cakes on parchment paper in the air fryer basket. Spray with oil and cook at 375°F for 12-15 minutes or until the cakes crisp up and turn golden brown. Turn it over halfway through and spray with oil.
- Remove the crab cakes and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve with the Remoulade.