Gluten-Free Crab Cakes

Gluten-Free Crab Cakes

The Spruce / Ali Redmond

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 9 servings
Yield: 18 small crab cakes
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
182 Calories
8g Fat
15g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9
Amount per serving
Calories 182
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 71mg 24%
Sodium 440mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 22mg 112%
Calcium 75mg 6%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 252mg 5%
*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.)

People new to gluten-free diets have a hard time finding adequate substitutions for their favorite recipes. Wheat and wheat-containing ingredients are a mainstream staple of cooking and are found in myriad recipes. However, most dishes you love can be gluten free with a few simple tricks; our crab cakes are no exception. Flavorful and pan-fried to a perfect golden brown, these crab cakes are a delicious addition to your gluten-free repertoire and make a wonderful appetizer or light dinner or lunch. Serve with lemon wedges or your favorite gluten-free sauces, like tartar, tzatziki, garlic aioli, or spicy mayonnaise.

Crabmeat, as is, shouldn't contain any gluten because it's simply that: picked meat of crab. But imitation crab is packed with gluten, so there is no replacing the good stuff with bland artificially colored sticks—most contain wheat, additives, and sugar. If your pantry is already stocked with gluten-free ingredients like flours and crackers, this recipe is easy to put together.

Enjoy these hot crab cakes right out of the pan. Make bigger batches and freeze them before frying to always have a tasty treat at hand when crab cravings hit.


  • 15 gluten-free crackers

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

  • 1 dash salt, or to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, optional

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying

  • 1 small bell pepper, finely diced

  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, finely diced

  • 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 pound crabmeat, preferably lump

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard (not dry)

  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gluten-Free Crab Cakes ingredients

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  2. Place crackers in a plastic bag and coarsely crush with a rolling pin or bottle. Reserve.

    Crackers in a plastic bag, crushed with a rolling pin

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  3. Place flour in a shallow dish. Add salt, pepper, and paprika, if using. Reserve.

    Flour with salt, pepper, and paprika on a plate

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  4. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from heat and reserve.

    Bell pepper, onion, and garlic in a pan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine crabmeat, sautéed vegetables, and crushed crackers with egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay seasoning. Thoroughly combine using a large spatula.

    Crab cake mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape crab cakes by grabbing 2 spoonfuls of mixture and making patties with your hands. Place each patty on prepared sheet. Repeat process until you've used all the mixture; you should have 9 crab cakes, or 18 small ones if making appetizers.

    Crab mixture shaped into crab cakes on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  7. Dust each cake lightly with prepared seasoned flour. Turn cakes and dust on other side.

    Flour-dusted crab cake on a plate with flour

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  8. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and add 3 to 4 cakes. Do not overcrowd pan. Allow cakes to brown at the bottom, from 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and brown other side. Repeat frying process until you've cooked all the cakes.

    Gluten-free crab cakes in a pan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

New to the Gluten-Free Lifestyle?

  • If you're new to this lifestyle, make a list of things you miss from the old wheat days and hit the store. There's nothing like a proper gluten-free pantry for you to feel you're not missing out. That said, always read product labels, as manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. And buy products that are gluten-free certified. When in doubt, always confirm the product is in fact gluten free.
  • There are many varieties of flours, crackers, cookies, pasta, bread, pizza crusts, and snacks that are delicious and make a great substitution to your favorite wheat staples.
  • If you or the person you're catering for has a severe gluten allergy, always clean and double-check surfaces, utensils, pans, and tools. And keep all gluten-containing ingredients or tools away from your workspace.

Gluten-Free and Egg-Free Crab Cakes

In our recipe, the egg acts as a binder; but the flavor doesn't come from the egg, it's from the succulent crabmeat. If you need this recipe to be egg free as well, there's a simple swap you can make:

  • Substitute the mayo, which contains eggs, with the same amount of vegan mayo.
  • Substitute the egg with either 2 tablespoons of vegan mayonnaise or 2 tablespoons of sour cream.
  • Check the mixture for consistency and, if needed, add more mayo or sour cream.