If you're looking for an easy - but elegant - fancy meal that is also low carb, try my keto crab cakes recipe! Perfect for any special occasion.
Originally published on February 26, 2022, updated on 2/7/2023.
That original recipe for gluten free crab cakes were an allergy-friendly version of traditional crab cakes - maryland-style crab cakes, specifically.
It used rice flour in place of bread crumbs or wheat flour, though. So, while it’s a great recipe... they didn’t exactly make for low-carb crab cakes!
I love crab cakes, though, so when I went on the keto diet a few months ago... I knew I’d have to convert the recipe to make the crab cakes keto.
IMHO, these gluten-free keto crab cakes are the BEST keto crab cakes, letting the crab take center stage, with the other ingredients supporting and elevating the crab!
You don’t need access to fresh blue crab for these ones, though!
This low carb version of crab cakes are everything you could want in a good crab cake - flavourful, colourful, very quick and easy to make.
The ingredients come together quickly, and cooking these seafood cakes takes almost no time at all.
The result is a meal that is elegant and impressive for entertaining - It’s one of my favorite recipes for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries - but still suitable as a quick and relatively healthy weeknight meal.
The great thing is that not only are they low carb crab cakes, they’re good for people who are doing gluten-free keto, coming in at only 2 g net carbs per serving.
With 25 grams of protein per serving, they’re perfect for anyone on a ketogenic diet, while also being totally suitable and tasty for people who aren’t low carbbing.
For more nutritional info, see the nutrition facts section in the recipe card.
We serve these as a main dish - usually with a side of asparagus - but smaller crab cakes are also a perfect appetizer.
Instead of forming 4 large patties, you can form into 12 mini portions, for fancy keto appetizers!
Keto Crab Cake Ingredients
This recipe using pretty simple ingredients that should be available in most grocery stores, but there are some things you should know about a few of them...
Real Crab Meat
As the main ingredient, this one is important to get right - the kind of crab meat you use will definitely impact the final product, so get the best crab meat you can afford!
For best results, you’ll want to use the freshest crab meat possible, if fresh is an option.
Fresh lump crab meat is a fantastic option, but claw meat also works - just chop it up well.
If not, aim for a packaged good crab meat - You can usually find it frozen or in premium cans at the seafood counter of your grocery store.
The cans sold at the seafood counter are the best option, when it comes to canned meat.
Lump meat is the best option, if it’s available and in the budget, but there are usually other more affordable options as well.
Note: This recipe was developed using good quality crab meat, and it really isn’t suitable for imitation crab meat... which isn’t even really keto friendly in the first place!
While almond flour or pork rinds / pork rind crumbs were considered, I ultimately decided to use Coconut Flour for this recipe, for its properties and flavour.
Due to the way it absorbs liquid, I don’t recommend swapping this ingredient out.
I originally developed this recipe using a Fresno Chili Pepper, both for colour and flavour. Since moving, they’ve been hard to come by.
So, if you’re unable to find them, try half of a jalapeno pepper (finely chopped) if you want heat.
Alternatively, using a very small piece of a red bell pepper is a great option to get that bit of pepper flavour and colour in there.
The Other Ingredients
In addition to the above, you’ll need:
Mayonnaise (Try my Homemade Keto Mayo!)
1 Large egg
1 Green onion
1 Garlic clove
Vegetable Oil - You can use canola oil if you prefer. (Olive oil has too low of a smoking point)
... plus whatever is required for the dipping sauce you want (more on that in a bit!)
A Note on the Seasonings
While things like Old Bay Seasoning and Worcestershire sauce are common with crab cakes, I didn’t include them here, as I find the muddy the taste a bit.
I like the flavour of the crab to really take center stage. Also, I’m just not a fan of Old Bay in general, TBH.
If you are, feel free to add either or both, to taste - just do so before adding the salt. Add the salt to taste.
(Sorry, can’t give exact measurements on ingredients I don’t use!)
How to Make Keto Crab Cakes
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here is the pictorial overview:
Prepare the Crab
First things first: Prepare your crab meat!
Strain any visible liquid off crab meat, if applicable.
Depending on the type of crab meat and how it’s packaged, you may even want to blot it with paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
Pick through meat to remove shells, discard any found. If using jumbo lump crab meat or fresh crab meat, you might need to break it up a bit, into small pieces. (I used leg meat, and cut it up).
Place crab meat into a large bowl, set aside.
Make the Batter
In another mixing bowl - or a small food processor -, whisk together mayonnaise, eggs, and mustard until smooth. Add coconut flour, salt, and garlic once again whisking until smooth and well incorporated.
Add to the large mixing bowl of crab meat, along with green onions and chopped pepper, gently mix until well combined.
Cover crab mixture with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Form and Cook!
In a large pan - a large nonstick frying pan or large skillet (You can use a cast iron skillet), heat 1-2 tablespoon oil over medium heat.
As oil is heating, shape crab cake mixture into patties. You can use a measuring cup or large cookie scoops to do this, I just divide the mixture in 4 and shape by hand.
As each patty is formed, gently place it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Use a metal spatula to gently transfer crab cakes to oil, being careful not to burn yourself – oil may spatter. Pan fry crab cakes until golden brown – about 4 minutes on each side.
Note: If you have leftovers, allow them to cool to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Best reheated in an air fryer.
Sauce Recipes for Crab Cakes
I created both of these recipes for my Beyond Flour books - the horseradish for my gluten free crab cakes, the remoulade for my gluten free crayfish fritters.
Both go really well with this recipe, and both are keto friendly. Both also make more than you need for a single batch of this keto crab cake recipe, but they’re nice to have on hand anyway!
Makes about ¾ cup
½ Cup Sour Cream
2 tablespoon Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp+ Prepared Horseradish
Whisk all sauce ingredients together until well blended, chill for 1 hour.
Taste, add more horseradish if you’d like more bite.
Zesty Remoulade Dip
Makes about 1 ½ cups
1 cup Mayonnaise
¼ cup Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoon Prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Pickle brine or lemon juice
2 tablespoon Finely chopped Fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Finely chopped green onions
2 Garlic cloves, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon Cayenne
¼ teaspoon Paprika
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth.
Cover and chill until ready to use - ideally for at least 1 hour.
More Low Carb Fish & Seafood Recipes
Looking for more low carb or keto fish recipes? I’ve got you covered!
Keto Spicy Salmon Poke Bowl
Low Carb Keto Chirashi Bowl
Tuna Poke Bowl
Crunchy Keto Coconut Shrimp
Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp
Keto Clam Chowder
Low Carb Shrimp Curry
Keto Fish Cakes & Tartar Sauce
Hot Smoked Sockeye Salmon
Pesto Shrimp Palmini
Low Carb Spinach Feta Salmon Pinwheels
Seared Scallops with Dijon Wine Sauce
Baked Sesame Ginger Salmon [Keto]
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Keto Crab Cakes for 2
- Strain any visible liquid off crab meat, if applicable. Pick through meat to remove shells, discard any found. Set crab meat aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, eggs, and mustard until smooth. Add coconut flour, salt, and garlic once again whisking until smooth and well incorporated.
- Add green onions, chili, and crab meat, gently mix until well combined.
- Cover and chill for 1 hour.
- In a large fry pan, heat 1-2 tablespoon oil over medium heat. As oil is heating, shape crab mixture into 4 patties
- Use a metal spatula to gently transfer crab cakes to oil, being careful not to burn yourself – oil may spatter. Pan fry crab cakes until browned – about 4 minutes on each side.
- Serve warm, with lemon wedges and horseradish sauce.