Fried Crab Balls

Crab balls recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Chill : 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
639 Calories
63g Fat
7g Carbs
13g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 639
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 63g 80%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 104mg 35%
Sodium 465mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 78mg 6%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 192mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Crab balls are a perfect appetizer, a great light lunch or dinner, and also a delicious addition to a brunch spread. Versatile, filling, and wonderful for freezing and having at hand for impromptu gatherings or last-minute meals, our crab balls need just a few pantry ingredients and a pound of crabmeat. The balls are a great make-ahead dish because they can be kept in the fridge overnight until it's time to fry them.

Of a similar texture to crab cakes, these delicious balls are deep-fried to golden perfection and go well with different dipping sauces like rémouladetartar, or cocktail sauce. Serve with a salad for a light lunch or alongside a bowl of soup for a more filling meal. Use them in wraps or a crab sandwich between crusty slices of bread. These crab balls are great on rice or quinoa and make tasty additions to salads or as a side to simple pasta dishes.

Crabmeat is a great source of protein—just a 100-gram serving has almost 20 grams of protein—and it's a good seafood alternative to include in your menu as it also has other healthful components and vitamins like B 12, selenium, copper, and phosphorus, vital for the proper functions of the thyroid, and the immune and neuro-skeletal systems.


  • 1 pound fresh crabmeat

  • 2 large eggs, well beaten

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons onion, finely chopped, optional

  • 1/2 cup cracker crumbs

  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs

  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for crab balls
    The Spruce
  2. Pick the crabmeat, discarding any bits of shell.

    Crabmeat picked over for shells
    The Spruce
  3. Gently combine the crabmeat with the beaten eggs, onion, if using, cracker crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

    Crabmeat mixed with beaten eggs, onion, cracker crumbs
    The Spruce 
  4. Add the salt and pepper and gently shape the crabmeat mixture into small balls.

    Add salt and pepper and form crab balls
    The Spruce
  5. Place the crab balls on a large platter or baking pan, cover them in cling wrap, and chill until firm—or at least 30 minutes. Keep them in the fridge for longer and up to one day if you don't need them right away.

    15 crabmeat balls on a baking tray
    The Spruce 
  6. Once chilled, roll the crab balls in the fine breadcrumbs. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a medium-sized frying pan with 3 inches of oil. Heat the oil to 365 F. Carefully add the crab balls to the hot oil and fry to a golden brown, around 3 to 4 minutes. Don't overcrowd the pan; fry in batches if needed.

    Taking the temperature of the frying oil
     The Spruce
  7. Remove the balls with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

    Remove crab balls with a slotted spoon
    The Spruce 
  8. Serve hot with your favorite sauce or side dishes.

    Serve crab balls hot
    The Spruce
  9. Enjoy.

How Many Crackers or Slices of Bread Do I Need to Make Enough Crumbs?

  • You need around 30 saltines to make 1 cup of cracker crumbs. For our recipe, you need 12 to 15 saltines: pulse in the food processor or place in a plastic bag and crush going back and forth on top with a rolling pin.
  • You need four to five slices of bread to make 1 cup of breadcrumbs. Simply toast the bread in the toaster until very dry and golden brown. Allow to cool before breaking it with your hands into smaller chunks and pulsing it in the food processor until you've achieved the desired consistency for your crumbs.

Pan-Frying or Baking Crab Balls

If you'd rather skip the added oil of a fried recipe, you can still enjoy these crab balls fried on the stove or baked in the oven:

  • For pan-frying: Add 1 tablespoon of oil into a frying pan and add 3 to 4 crab balls into the hot oil, gently pressing them down with the back of a spoon or spatula to form a small patty. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on both sides. Alternatively, make bigger patties, converting the mixture into 4 larger crab cakes and frying them in a pan. These make the perfect patties for crab burgers, served with sliced fresh veggies and the sauce of your choice.
  • For baking them in the oven: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the crab balls in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly spray them with cooking oil. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown, turning the pan halfway through the baking process. If frozen, bake at 425 F for 12 minutes, turn the balls, and bake for an additional 4 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • Panko crumbs are a Japanese-style breadcrumb made out of crustless white bread. They are lighter and absorb less grease when used as the outer layer for fried foods. For our recipe, you can use panko crumbs for rolling the balls before frying for an extra-crispy coating.
  • Switch from regular salt to seasoned salt or Old Bay seasoning.
  • Finely chopped red or green bell pepper added to the crab mixture gives the balls flavor and texture.
  • Cajun seasoning adds some spice to the mix, just 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon is enough to give an amazing kick to the crab balls.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Crabmeat. FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture.