Made with hearty lump crab meat, spicy chipotle peppers, sweet corn, and zesty lime, this Mexican Crab Cake recipe are packed with flavor! They are great as a snack, appetizer, or main dish!
Mexican Crab Cake Recipe
If you’ve never made crab cakes at home before, you’ll be surprised to find how easy it actually is! Crab cakes are the perfect seafood treat, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. By using fresh lump crab meat, flavorful ingredients and the perfect sauce, you will have a meal that everyone will enjoy.
This recipe takes the traditional crab cake and substitutes lime juice, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and sweet corn for the typical herbs and spices, giving them a Mexican-style flavor. Just by changing a few ingredients, you end up with a fantastic twist on a classic.
How To Make Mexican Crab Cakes
There is nothing more savory and filling than this Mexican crab cake recipe! This easy recipe comes together in just about an hour, making for a super simple appetizer or family meal.
- Jumbo Lump Crab Meat use lump crab from the refrigerated section of your grocery store. It’s a little pricier than canned crab but it tastes much better.
- Canned Sweet Corn – the bursts of sweet, juicy corn throughout the cakes are such a delicious surprise! You could also use defrosted frozen or fresh corn if it is in season.
- Poblano Pepper- poblanos taste similar to a green bell pepper with a little more kick. Cooking poblanos mellows them even more, making them slightly sweet. You could use jalapeno but it will make things a lot spicier.
- Lime- citrus brightens and enhances flavor. I’ve had success replacing it with orange or lemon juice when I needed to.
- Cilantro – herbs add a much needed freshness to these cakes. If you don’t like cilantro, try parsley instead!
- Chipotles in Adobo Sauce- These come in cans (varying in size) that you can find in Mexican aisles at the grocery store. Smoky, saucy and sweet-spicy, these peppers make for an incredible addition to crab cakes.
- Panko Breadcrumbs- you can use regular breadcrumbs if need be, but I find that panko absorbs moisture better and keeps the crab cakes nice and light.
- MAKE CRAB CAKE MIX. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the panko breadcrumbs. I suggest using a fork to mash everything together. Don’t overmix though!
- Add the breadcrumbs in small increments—you might not need it all and if you add too much you’ll end up with dry, crumbly cakes.
- FORM THE CAKES. Once the crab cake mix has reached a consistency that will hold together, use your hands to form 6-8 patties. That’ll require ⅓-½ cup of the mixture. Press each patty down with your palm to even out the thickness a bit. Don’t worry too much if they’re not fully sticking together just yet.
- CHILL. Transfer the cakes to a plate or baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. A full hour is ideal. This will help the cakes set and stay firm as they cook.
- PAN FRY IN SMALL BATCHES. Preheat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat and coat the bottom with oil. Once it’s nice and hot, add a few crab cakes to the pan and let them be. Do not overcrowd the pan— it will make for soggy, undercooked cakes. Cook just until they’re warmed through and both sides are nicely browned.
- PREPARE THE AIOLI + SERVE. While the crab cakes cool for a moment, or while they’re sitting in the pan, toss all the aioli ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper!
What To Serve These With
Most crab cakes are served with a side of homemade rémoulade: a European cold sauce, similar to tartar sauce, based on mayonnaise. But, because these are Mexican-inspired in flavor, I chose to make a sauce that would compliment the seafood cakes a bit better.
Jalapeno Aioli is a quick, easy sauce made with jalapeño peppers, mayonnaise, cilantro, and lime. The cool, creamy, and spicy sauce adds texture and flavor in the best ways possible. Feel free to adjust the measurement of jalapeño according to your spice tolerance. Leave in a few of the seeds for an aioli with a heavier kick!
What are Good sides?
Crab cakes are typically served with a lemon wedge and some crackers, potato salad, or fries. Personally, I like to use slider buns to make mini crab cake sandwiches or use them to top a southwestern-style salad! The options are endless, so feel free to dress up this recipe however you’d like.
Here are a few other sides that pair well with sweet corn crab cakes:
Leftovers should be completely cooled and stored in an airtight container. Crab cakes can keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. I’d recommend consuming the leftovers as soon as possible.
Can crab cakes be frozen?
Yes! If you decide not to cook them up today and wait for a few days or a week or so, then you should keep them in the freezer.
To do so, place the cakes into either a heavy-duty freezer bag, a Ziploc bag, or an airtight container. Seal well, and label. You can keep frozen, cooked crab cakes for up to about three months.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and lay the crab cakes on a foil-covered baking sheet to prevent sticking. Add a skinny layer of butter on top of each crab cake to keep them moist during reheating. Heat for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp and warmed through.
Best Seafood Recipes
I am dubbing this the Summer of seafood! Okay, so maybe I eat a lot of seafood every Summer but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ll be dishing out my FAVORITE fish recipes all season long!
Check out a few for yourself:
- Salmon Croquettes
- Shrimp Caesar Salad
- Orange Honey Glazed Salmon
- Shrimp Po’ Boy
- Salmon Cakes
- Crab Stuffed Salmon
- Classic Crab Cakes
Mexican Crab Cakes
For the Crab Cakes
- 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sweet corn can be canned, frozen or fresh
- 2 tbsp poblano diced
- 2 tbsp red bell pepper diced
- 2 tbsp sweet onion diced
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce pureed
- 1 tsp chili powder or chipotle powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 cup panko crumbs go up to 2 cups if needed
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the Jalapeno Aioli
- 1/2 jalapeno cored and seeded
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp cilantro minced
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1 tsp lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Crab Cakes
- Place the crab meat into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, mayo, corn, poblano, red bell pepper, onion, lime juice, cilantro, chipotle purée, and seasonings. Mix until well combined.
- Add the panko crumbs in ½ cup increments until the mixture reaches a consistency that will hold together when formed into a patty.
- To form the crab cakes, gently pack some of the mixture into a ⅓ cup measure that’s been greased with non-stick spray. Tap the crab cake out onto your hand and press it to form a tight patty. Repeat until all the mixture has been used. Place the patties onto a plate, cover it, and refrigerate for 45-60 minutes. While they chill, make the aioli.
- When ready to serve, preheat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan, then cook half the crab cakes in a single layer until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side. Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm while you cook the second batch.
- Serve warm with limes and chopped cilantro and a small bowl of jalapeño aioli on the side!
For the Aioli
- Combine all of the ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, more lime juice, or cilantro.