Plated crab cakes with roasted red pepper and pineapple salsa | appetizer | gluten-free | filler free | pescatarian | fish and seafood dish
Appetizers,  The Main Dish

Crab cakes with roasted red pepper and pineapple salsa

With Valentine’s day just around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to finally share one of my crab cake recipes. Since it’s not looking like we’ll be able to do much out this year, it’s the perfect time to make a nice dinner at home.

I have always loved crab, ever since I was a kid.  We didn’t have it often, and when we did it was usually from Red Lobster, cue 80s nostalgia; but it was always such a treat. So it’s no surprise I would come up with a crab cake recipe.  Truthfully it’s not my favourite way to enjoy crab, I much prefer to have big chunks dipped in garlic butter and lemon, but crab cakes are a great appetizer and a fantastic menu item for entertaining.

I first developed a recipe for catering – mini crab cakes with roasted red pepper and pineapple salsa and it was always a huge hit, so I figured I would work with the recipe and recreate it for home.


The way I made them originally didn’t include breadcrumbs of any sort, because I wanted them to be full of crab flavour, have no filler and be gluten-free; and for bite size cakes it is SO much better.  I always hated going to a restaurant and ordering crab cakes only to find out they’re mostly potato or bread crumbs. That being said, if you’re used to a really crunchy crab cake, you may enjoy it more with the addition of breadcrumbs. I have given you the option of both in the recipe, you can add panko to the mix, and then coat the outside, just the mix or just the outside. It’s completely up to you, the recipe is versatile enough that it can handle any option.

The cookie cutter I used is 3 inches in diameter and the size I use for bite size hors d’oeuvres is 11/2 inches in diameter. Here they are in their miniature format.

The crab cakes in my photos do not use any panko, so you can see how you still get a nice crisp on the outside; but you do not get a crunch like you do with the addition of panko.

Roasted red pepper and pineapple salsa on homemade crab cakes
Roasted red pepper and pineapple salsa on homemade crab cakes

Crab cakes with roasted red pepper and pineapple salsa

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

These delicious and simple crab cakes are easy to make, ready in no time, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. 


  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 lb (16 oz) lump crabmeat
  • 2-3 chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2/3 cup + 2 cups panko bread crumbs *optional
  • Neutral oil for frying - vegetable or canola oil


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, egg, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together crabmeat, chives, and parsley. If you want to add panko into your crab cakes this is the time to do it, add 2/3 cup to the crab mix. Fold in mayo mixture, then add seasoning (black pepper, seasoning salt and garlic powder) and stir until combined.
  3. Next we will form the patties, I use a large cookie cutter (you can use whatever size of cookie cutter you want your crab cakes to be). Place the large cookie cutter over a piece of paper towel. Fill with the crab mix and push down to pack the mix tightly (this will remove some of the moisture, but also help keep the crab cake together at the time of frying). Then you will gently push them through the cookie cutter. If you want a crispy coating, you can gently press your crab cake into more panko bread crumbs. Put the crab cakes on a parchment paper lined tray. Refrigerate the crab cakes for 30 minutes. If you want to freeze these for another day, now is the time to do it. See notes below for directions.
  4. In the meantime make the salsa, click here for the recipe.
  5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, coat the pan with a neutral oil so it's about 1/2 inch deep and heat until shimmering. Add crab cakes and cook, in batches of 3 or 4, until golden and crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes per side (depending on how big you made them. If they're smaller, it will be less time and if they're bigger it will be more time). Remove from the pan and put onto a paper towel to let any excess oil drain off. Serve over a bed of your favourite greens, topped with the roasted red pepper and pineapple salad.


*I do not often use the bread crumbs unless I want them to be extra crispy. Using the cookie cutter method - you don't require any filler to keep the cakes together, especially when they are smaller. So it is totally up to you.

*I have also drizzled these ones with a little cheater red pepper aioli. Just blended up some roasted red peppers from a jar and some mayonnaise.

*If you want to freeze the crab cakes, once you have formed the patties, you can lay them on a parchment lined tray and put them into the freezer for about 2 hours. Once they're frozen you can pop them in a freezer bag and into the freezer for up to a month. When you cook them, you can cook them straight from frozen. Preheat oven to 350F, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, coat the pan with a neutral oil so it's about 1/2 inch deep and heat until shimmering. Add crab cakes and cook, in batches of 3 or 4, until golden and crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Because these were frozen they may need a little extra cook time depending on how big you made them. So just pop them on a parchment lined tray and into the oven for about 5-7 min per side.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 185mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators and not from My Sweet Mess. Although we do attempt to provide as accurate nutritional information as possible, these figures are only estimates.

Many of you knew that I used to own a catering company, what you might not know is that we specialized in hors d’oeuvres and cocktail style receptions. So what I’m saying is I have TONS of one-bite appetizer recipes, like tons. I have never really ever shared any, because I always thought I would put a cookbook together about entertaining. But I’m thinking I may share one or two, here and there.

What do you think, would you be interested in more recipes for entertaining? Would you be interested in a cookbook of this nature? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to comment below or send me an email or message on Facebook or Instagram.

Till the next recipe,

Kristen xo


  • sugarlovespices

    I like the crispy coating of panko, but I have to say that your crab cakes look undeniably crispy even without! They are a fabulous appetizer!

  • Vijitha

    I love crab! I can totally relate to what you said about many restaurant crab cakes – I get so annoyed when it’s mostly just potato with a hint of crab flavor. These crab cakes are perfect, and combined with your salsa – it’s to die for!

  • Wanda

    These look fantastic and like such a treat! We are ordering some fresh crab soon so I will save some to make these cakes!

  • Bernice Hill

    I didn’t know you used to have a catering company! Keep these bite sized appetizers coming…I am drooling over here. I might actually make these for Valentine’s Day. Where do I get the lump crab meat and what brand do you use?

    • kmysweetmess

      Yeah I did for 7 years. I absolutely loved it, but the long hours and working all holidays just wasn’t conducive to starting a family. I get most of my seafood from North Sea Fish in Willow Park, they are one of my favorite places. You can also try Market Seafood at Calgary Farmers Market or Boyd’s Lobster Shop. I use Phillips brand often as it is easily found (you can get it at Superstore and Co-op too)

    • kmysweetmess

      Oh that’s too bad Mimi but I totally understand because it is just NOT the same. So glad you like the salsa.

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