Crab Cakes with Cocktail Sauce

Crab Cakes with Cocktail Sauce

Crab Cakes with Cocktail Sauce are one of my culinary obsessions! I experimented with many versions until I created the one that was perfect. I like them to have as little filler as possible so you can really taste the sweet crab flavor.

Make your own at home, so there isn’t a lot of filler in these patties, just the delicious taste of crab! The same idea goes into our homemade cocktail sauce with just 5 basic ingredients.

In my many years of catering, as well as hosting parties, these mini crab cakes are the first things to go at any party! Making your own cocktail sauce is easy and comes together in a flash. The taste is superior to the bottled version and you probably have the ingredients on hand.

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How to make Crab Cakes:

Crab cakes are super simple but there are a few basic tips and tricks to achieve the best results.

  • Buy the best crab you can because that is the flavor that counts in this recipe!
  • Pick through your crab to make sure there are no small pieces of shell hiding in there.
  • When combining the mixture use a gentle hand. You want to preserve the lumps to give your crab cakes texture
  • Onions/Shallots and red bell pepper are optional but give it a nice flavor and color.
  • Mix everything together in a large bowl before adding the crab and panko so that you don’t over mix.
  • Add the crab and panko to the mixture and gently combine
  • Make small patties, about 2 Tablespoons for minis and 1/4 cup for large crab cakes
  • Dredge lightly in the extra panko
  • When you make your patties they should hold together without falling apart too easily. Eggs vary in size so that can affect the outcome. If they are too dry add a touch more mayo, or if too loose add more panko.
  • Sear lightly on each side and then transfer to a baking pan to finish in the oven.
  • This recipe can make 10-12 full-size patties instead of minis, which makes a fantastic lunch or dinner with a green salad.
Baked Crab Cakes with Zesty Cocktail Sauce

Make Crab Cakes ahead and Freeze:

The crab cakes can made ahead, cooled and frozen, tightly sealed for up to 3 months. Make the sauce fresh or up to 2 days ahead of time.

Crab Cakes close up

Suggested Wine Pairings

This dish pairs well with medium-bodied white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc. Sparkling wines are always a fan favorite with fried foods. Look for any available vintages of the following:

Your weekday wine:

  • New Zealand Malborough Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

Your weekend wine:

  • Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
  • Domaine Weinbach Reserve Pinot Blanc, France

Special occasion wine:

  • Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne, France
  • Taittinger Brut Champagne, France

Some of our favorite Appetizers:

Perfect Baked Crab Cake Bites with Spicy Cocktail Sauce on a plate
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5 from 6 votes

Crab Cakes with Cocktail Sauce

Crab cakes with zesty homemade cocktail sauce are the perfect appetizer. Great on top of a salad or as a light meal.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 mini crab cakes or 12 full size
Calories: 65kcal
Author: Cyndy Ufkes – The Art of Food and Wine


  • 1 cup red bell pepper finely diced
  • ½ cup onion or shallots finely diced
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Italian parsley, fresh finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb lump crabmeat
  • 2-3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Panko, divided or breadcrumbs, more as needed

Cocktail Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp prepared horseradish, or to taste
  • 1 dash hot sauce, such as Tobasco, or to taste


For the Crab Cakes:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Heat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add red pepper and onion/shallot and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook for about 1 more minute. Set aside to cool.
  • In large bowl combine bell pepper onion mixture, egg, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, mustard, and seasonings. Blend well and add crab and ½ cup panko. Blend gently, but do not over mix as you want crabmeat to retain small chunks.
  • Test to see if the crab cakes will hold together in a small patty. If too dry, add a small amount of extra mayonnaise. If too loose, add a bit more panko.
  • In a shallow bowl add remaining ½ cup of panko or breadcrumbs.
  • Wipe sauté pan clean and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to coat pan. Heat to medium.
  • Scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture for mini’s and about ¼ cup for large crab cakes into a thick patty. Roll lightly in remaining panko to coat.
  • Sauté on medium heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Transfer crab cakes to the prepared baking sheet. Bake crab cakes in the oven for about 15 minutes. They should be lightly browned and firm on the outside.
  • Let cool slightly, remove to a serving platter and serve with cocktail sauce.

Cocktail Sauce:

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl, adjust seasoning to your taste.
  • Cocktail sauce can be made ahead, up to 2 days, refrigerated

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