How To Cook Imitation Crab Cakes In 30 Minutes – All You Need To Know

If you live in or around the oceanic fairylands of the States, I bet eating a lot of crab cakes is probably your favorite summer pastime: fried golden brown patties served with homemade dips, salad, buttered corn, French fries and the unmistakable scent of Old Bay.

As it’s about the time to welcome “that time of year” and what’s a better way than a delicious batch of homemade imitation crab cakes with a dash of your favorite aioli dip.

Typically (and sadly) most of the crab cake recipes generally end up with a lot of bad crab patties: rubbery and filled with just bread crumbs or mashed potatoes for fillers. It’s a downcast truth that these recipes try to stretch a bit of the imitation lump crab meat by bulking out with irrelevant stuffing.

I, however, have my own custom crab stick cake recipe which is just as delicious as it can get and is super easy to prepare. I love my crab cakes with my homemade aioli sauce, but you could also serve them with lemon wedges or crab sauce. (Recipe Below)

So what are you waiting for? Let the party begin!

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The Ingredients You Will Need To Cook Imitation Crab Cakes

​All The Ingredients That You Need To Cook The Best Crab Cakes

​Before you kick it off, here are all the ingredients that you need to cook the best crab cakes:

● 1 pound imitation crab meat (The most important thing when you’re making crab cakes is to use fresh, good quality imitation lump crab meat)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (Kosher Salt, preferably)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup green onions
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (Can be easily made at home. Grab about 4 to 5 slices of white bread, remove the crusts and finely grind them using a grinder or food processor)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 lemon, Cut into wedges (For garnishing) Sauce For The Crab Cakes:
  • 1/2 cup seeded, chopped tomatoes
  •  2 teaspoons minced shallots
  •  2 teaspoons minced garlic
  •  3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly prepared chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Black pepper (for garnishing)

Sauce For The Crab Cakes:

  • 1/2 cup seeded, chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly prepared chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Black pepper (for garnishing)

Garlic Aioli Dip with Celery Root:

  • 2 cups shredded celery root (Shredded using the grater attachment of a food processor or a mandoline)
  •  2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives

Along with the above ingredients, here are some of the basic tools you need to cook the perfect imitation crab cakes:

  • A large non-stick thick walled skillet
  • Large mixing bowls
  • Mixing spoons and spatulas
  • Tongs or slotted spatula for turning the crab stick patties
  • Paper towels or kitchen napkins

Caution!

I suggest caution in consuming raw or even lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne diseases. To reduce this risk, I’d advise you to use only fresh and clean, properly-refrigerated, grade A or AA eggs with their shells intact. Plus, it is recommended to avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Ready for a feast? Let’s go!

My Step-by-Step Imitation Crab Cake Cooking Guide

Hot Tip:

My secret sauce to add perfection to this imitation crab cake recipe is to prepare the cakes first so that they have time to firm up in the refrigerator before you cook them.

It is important for the prepared crab cakes to keep their shape during the frying or searing process to cook through evenly. That’s why you have to start the crab stick cakes cold, so they're firm enough to hold their shape and would not scatter while searing.

1. Heat up the Skillet

Place your skillet on the burner and turn it up to the maximum level. Now, toss in ½ of oil and maintain the heat.


2. Prepare the Vegetable Mixture

Add the finely chopped onions in the skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until they get kind of caramelized. Saute bell peppers, garlic, salt, white pepper and about 15 turns of fresh ground black pepper for about a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients - green onions and Old Bay seasoning and cook for another minute.

Hint: Rather than using table salt, I would suggest going for either kosher salt or flaked salt. These salts have lesser salt-intensity per volume as compared to the common table salt and will help you keep the salt intake in control as our dip and sauce will also have salt.


3. Time to Prepare Some Fat Crab Cake Patties

Remove the skillet from the heat and put the mixture in a bowl. Cool it for a few minutes. Stir in 2 eggs, Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

Then add the imitation crab meat (in pieces or shredded, however you like) depending on the size of the crab cake you would like to make.

Now fold in the whole mixture together and form into crab cakes. Gently put them on a plate, cover and stick them in the refrigerator to chill for not more than 15-20 minutes.

​Hint: Aluminum foil can be used to cover the food as to keep the food moist which helps in cooking it evenly and make the clean-up easier.


​4. The Final Touch: Cooking the Crab Cakes

Once nicely chilled, remove the crab cakes from the refrigerator. Now dip both sides of your crab patty in the flour, then in egg and water wash (Made using 1 large egg and 1/4 cup water whisked together). Cover in breadcrumbs.

Now heat up the remaining olive oil in the skillet and fry the crab cakes for about 2 to 3 minutes, then turn them over. Sear the other side for about 1 minute. The first side takes longer to sear because of the temperature drop when you first lay them in the pan.

Now, lower the heat to medium and fry the crab cakes for another 1 to 2 minutes. Tilt the pan towards you and spoon up some of the oil then pour it over the tops of the crab cakes once or twice during cooking.

Once you are sure that both the sides of all your crab cakes have golden browned perfectly, put out the heat. With the help of your tongs or a slotted spatula, put the crab cakes on a plate lined with paper towels and let them cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

Hint: Don’t leave your crab cakes in the oil for long, if the outer layer of both sides have browned properly. If the patties are cooked from the outside, the interior also gets heated through because the inside steams during the searing process. If you over sear your patties, it will not only burn the exteriors but will also spoil the interior stuffing.

Your delicious crab cakes are ready. It's time to reveal your secret weapons - the sauce and the dip.


For the Crab Cake Sauce:

  • Dump all the crab cake sauce ingredients list above in the skillet except egg, oil and black pepper over high heat and bring to a boil for about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let it cool down for 15 minutes.
  • Put in a blender and add the egg.
  • While blending, add remaining ingredients - oil and black pepper - about 10 turns.

For the Garlic Aioli Dip with Celery Root:

  • Mince the garlic cloves and make into a fine paste.
  • Hint: To make this go faster, add a bit of salt to the garlic and mash the cloves using the side of your knife.
  • Transfer the fresh garlic paste in a large bowl and add the sour cream, mayonnaise, celery seed, lemon juice and oil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Now fold in the shredded celery root and chives. Give it your own final taste and adjust the salt and pepper seasoning, if required.

Plate and Serve

​Now, that your mouth watering sauce and dip are ready, it's time to dig in.

​Place the crab cakes on a nice dish plate and atop a small dollop of the garlic Aioli celery root dip. Side it with a small bowl of crab cake sauce and some fresh lemon wedges. ATTACK!!!


The Bottom Line

Cooking the imitation crab cakes is easy but getting them perfectly made can be tricky. I hope that my cooking guide and tips will help you master the art of cooking the perfect crab cakes.

If you follow my instructions step by step and won’t skip out on all the hints, you can rest assure that your perfect imitation crab dream will be a reality. All you have to do is team these with homemade crab sauce and a nice garlic aioli celery dip and watch your friends and family go to it like a swarm of locusts. MY GUARANTEE!

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