Air Fryer Crab Cakes – Maryland style crab cakes loaded with lump crab and very little filler. This ultimate easy crab cake recipe makes a simple, but elegant appetizer or main dish.
When I eat out I order food that I may not make at home. Crab cakes used to be one of them until I realized how easy they are to make.
The added bonus is that I can use more crab and less filler – just the way I like them. These crab cakes are air fried using very little oil. They’re crispy outside, cook in less than 10 minutes and are packed with fresh delicious seafood flavor.
Tips for the best air fryer Crab Cakes:
- Use only fresh lump crab meat.
- Refrigerate the crab cake mixture at least 30 minutes to let the flavors blend and the cakes bind so they won’t fall apart when you air fry them. You don’t want to skip this step.
- Preheat your air fryer for 3 minutes.
- Cook time is approximate and may vary with air fryers. The crab cakes are done when they’re golden and crispy outside.
- Spritz the bottom of the air fryer basket with cooking spray so they won’t stick. This also helps give them that gorgeous golden color.
What kind of crab meat should I buy?
Fresh lump crab is best for crab cakes. You can use jumbo lump crab but may have to break down some of the larger pieces.
- Lump – smaller pieces of the jumbo meat and less expensive than jumbo. Ideal for crab cakes.
- Jumbo Lump can also be used. The meat is larger and may need to be broken down a bit.
- Skip the artificial crab meat. Enough said.
The label may say ‘hand picked’ or ‘fresh picked’ (meaning it’s been checked for shells and cartilage) but I still run my fingers through to make sure it’s free from both.
What’s in these air fryer crab cakes?
The crab cakes contain very little filler and just the right amount of spice including Old Bay Seasoning (for classic seafood taste). No salt is needed because of the saltine crackers.
- crushed saltine crackers
- Dijon mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
- Louisiana Hot Sauce
- Old Bay seasoning
- fresh lump crab
- Lemon for serving
- Cooking spray
assembling the crab cakes:
Crush the saltine crackers then set them aside.
Whisk the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Louisiana hot sauce and Old Bay seasoning together in a medium size bowl.
Add the crab meat and crushed crackers to the mayonnaise mix, gently stirring to combine. Some of the crab meat will break down as you stir but try to keep most of the larger pieces intact.
Cover the crab cake mix with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, up to overnight. This lets the flavors blend and the crab and filler bind so the cakes won’t fall apart when you air fry them. This is an important step you won’t want to skip.
how to air fry crab cakes:
Preheat the air fryer to 400°.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the crab mixture into the cup lightly packing into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2″ thick mounds.
Lightly spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with oil/cooking spray then place the crab cakes into the air fryer leaving a little space between them (you may have to cook in batches depending on your air fryer).
Lightly spritz the top of the crab cakes with oil then air fry for 8-10 minutes total turning halfway through and spritzing the opposite side with oil.
Air fryers all cook a little differently. Remove the crab cakes from the air fryer when they’re crispy and golden so they aren’t overcooked.
If you air fry in batches keep the finished cakes warm on a baking sheet in a 200° oven.
how to serve these crab cakes:
Serve the crab cakes warm with wedges of lemon to squeeze over the top and if you like, a dipping sauce.
To make the remoulade sauce shown in the photos whisk the following ingredients in a bowl then chill until you’re ready to eat.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon EACH: lemon juice, finely chopped parsley AND Louisiana style hot sauce (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
can i make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the crab cake mixture and refrigerate up to one day ahead of time then air fry when you’re ready to eat.
I don’t have an air fryer!
If you don’t have an air fryer – and I highly recommend getting one – you can still make this recipe!
To cook the crab cakes on the stove, add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot cook the crab cakes 8-10 minutes total turning halfway through or until they’re golden and crispy on both sides.
what goes with crab cakes?
When I shot these photos I paired the crab cakes with corn and zucchini risotto. Here are a few other suggestions:
Cole Slaw – just 4 ingredients and 5 minutes! Crunchy slaw, creamy tangy-sweet dressing. My family’s favorite.
Potato Salad – the BEST Potato Salad with hard boiled eggs and crispy bacon. Like grandma used to make.
Green Beans – 6 minutes – NO blanching or draining – fresh, lightly crisp, bright green and perfectly cooked in one pan on the stove.
Looking for more easy air fryer recipes? Click HERE to be connected.
If you tried this Air Fryer Crab Cake recipe or any other on the blog then I hope you’ll leave a comment and some stars!
Air Fryer Crab Cakes
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 pound fresh lump crab
- 2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers 20 crackers
- cooking spray
- lemon wedges for serving
- Crush the saltine crackers and set them aside.
- Whisk the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Louisiana hot sauce and Old Bay seasoning together in a medium size bowl.
- Add the crab meat and crushed crackers to the mayonnaise mix, gently stirring to combine. Some of the crab meat will break down but you want much of the larger pieces to remain.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, up to overnight. Don't skip this step as it helps the crab cakes bind so they won't fall apart when you air fry.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400° for 3 minutes. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the crab mixture into the cup lightly packing into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2″ thick mounds.
- Spritz the top of the crab cakes with cooking spray then air fry for 8-10 minutes TOTAL turning halfway through and spritzing the opposite side with oil.
- NOTE: air fryers cook differently. When they're crispy and golden remove them from the air fryer. If you need to cook in batches, keep the finished cakes warm on a baking sheet in a 200° oven until they're all air fried.
- Serve with lemon wedges and dipping sauce (see body of post for Remoulade sauce.