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Crab Cakes with Cilantro, lime and jalapeño with a red pepper Vinaigrette

Crab Cakes with Cilantro and Lime

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: main, appetizer
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


These zesty crab cakes are the best! Made with fresh crab, lime zest, cilantro and jalapeño, served up with a red pepper vinaigrette. Feel free to use lemon and parsley instead. Makes 6 large crab cakes, or 12 small “appetizer” crab cakes. 


Units Scale
  • 1 lb fresh, cooked Dungeness crab meat (or fresh lump crab), strained, drained WELL.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • zest from 1 large lime, finely chopped, 2 tablespoons (or sub-lemon zest)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/21 tablespoon fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (or ground mustard)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or sub-flat-leaf parsley)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, very finely chopped,
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko- plus 1/2 cup to 1 cup more for dredging. (Panko is MUCH better than breadcrumbs here) Feel free to use GF panko. as needed for searing.
  • 23 tablespoon ghee (or a blend of olive oil and butter) for searing.

Garnishes- lime wedges, cilantro or microgreens

Red Pepper Vinaigrette (or make our Chipotle Aioli) 

  • 1/2 cup pickled red cherry peppers- Peppadew or Juanita (or sub roasted peppers in a pinch). These are easily available in the grocery aisle near pickles & olives, or often in an “olive bar”.
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or AC vinegar, or champagne vinegar)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (optional, to taste)


  1. Place the crab in a strainer over a bowl, and let it drain, pressing out any excess liquid. Feel for shells or cartilage and discard. Tear any extra-large pieces into smaller pieces so crab cakes hold together better. The crab should smell fresh and taste sweet and like the ocean. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, mayo, lime zest, lime juice, jalapeno, mustard, salt and pepper until smooth. Stri in the cilantro and red bell pepper.  Fold in the crab. Then stir in the 1/2 cup panko. Refrigerate in the bowl for 30-60 minutes.  
  3. Make the Red Pepper Vinaigrette ( see notes)  or Chipotle Aioli.
  4. Preheat to the oven to 350F.
  5. Place a piece of parchment paper on a small sheet pan. Place 1/2-1 cup panko in a bowl or on a plate ( for dredging). Divide crab mixture into equal portions  (6 x 1/2-cup portions for entree-sized, 12 x 1/4-cup portions for appetizer-sized) and then compress with your palms into balls, about 1 1/2 inches-2 inches thick, slightly flattening them. Carefully dredge the balls into the panko, again pressing them together. 
  6. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Using a delicate hand, working in small batches, carefully sear each side for 3 minutes, or until perfectly golden, and place on the sheet pan in the oven to keep warm and cook the egg all the way through (which will help them bind even more). A small thin metal spatula works wonders here. 
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed, and internal temp is 145F. 
  8. Plate and serve with the Red Pepper Vinaigrette or Chipotle aioli, a wedge of lime, and a cilantro sprig. 


Red Pepper Vinaigrette: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. If using roasted peppers instead of pickled peppers- taste and perhaps add a little more vinegar and honey. The dressing should taste sweet, and tangy with a little kick of heat. I often add more chili flakes. If you like smoky flavors, add a 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika. You can also use this to dress salad greens. 


  • Serving Size: ½-cup serving of crab cake (no sauce)
  • Calories: 250
  • Sugar: 1.7 g
  • Sodium: 620.4 mg
  • Fat: 13.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Fiber: 1.4 g
  • Protein: 17.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 118.4 mg