Mini Crab Cakes with Cajun Sauce


These mini crab cakes are perfect appetizers for all your seafood-loving friends. The crab cakes can be prepared up to five days in advance; cover and chill. Since these are mini cakes, it's best to use lump crabmeat instead of jumbo lump because it holds together better. Serve them in small lettuce leaves to make them easier to grab and eat.

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Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
24 mini crab cakes


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, drained and picked over

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 1 lemon), divided

  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, divided

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 teaspoons Mexican-style hot sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided

  • 24 large gem lettuce leaves (from 4 heads)

  • Lemon wedges


  1. Place 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH until melted, about 30 seconds. Gently stir together melted butter, crabmeat, egg, chives, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, 3/4 cup of the panko, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper in a medium bowl. Shape into 24 (1 1/2-inch) cakes. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup panko on a large plate. Transfer cakes, in batches, to plate; dredge both sides in panko, pressing to adhere. Place cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover; chill 15 minutes or up to 8 hours.

  2. Stir together mayonnaise, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; set aside.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons each of the butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add 12 cakes; cook until golden brown and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer cakes to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Wipe skillet clean. Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons oil, and 12 cakes.

  4. Place each crab cake on a lettuce leaf. Top each with about 1 teaspoon of the sauce. Garnish with chives and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

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