Thai Crab Cakes

Thai Crab Cakes

The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
458 Calories
29g Fat
34g Carbs
15g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 458
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 38%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 130mg 43%
Sodium 871mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 15mg 74%
Calcium 119mg 9%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 263mg 6%
*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.)

This Thai Crab Cake recipe creates wonderful crisp-on-the-outside and moist-on-the-inside crab cakes. If you can find makrut lime leaves at your local Asian store, add them instead of lime zest - this is a key ingredient that makes these cakes sing! Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) is easy to find these days at most supermarkets, or you can make this recipe gluten-free using crushed-up rice crackers. And, while not strictly Thai, but it the mayonnaise helps keep the cakes moist. If you like seafood appetizers and finger foods, be sure to give this recipe a try!


  • 8 ounces (240 grams) fresh or canned crabmeat, drained

  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced crosswise

  • 3 makrut lime leaves, stem removed, slivered, or zest of 1 lime

  • 1 fresh red chili pepper, minced

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 2 to 3 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise, optional

  • 1 3/4 cups panko breadcrumbs, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

  • 1 cup oil, for frying

  • Thai sweet chili sauce, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai Crab Cakes ingredients

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  2. Place crabmeat, onions, lime leaf slivers (or zest), chili, lime juice, fish sauce, oyster sauce, 1 egg, mayonnaise (if using) and 3/4 cup panko together in a food processor or chopper. Process to combine ingredients.

    Thai Crab Cakes ingredients in a food processor

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  3. Add up to 1/4 cup more panko and briefly process or stir to combine. You want the mixture to be moist enough to form cakes, but not so moist that it falls apart. Add more panko until you can form cakes easily in your hands.

    panko breadcrumbs added to the mixture in the food processor

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  4. Pat mixture into cakes (we usually make them 2 to 3 inches in diameter). Place on a clean plate.

    crab cake patties on a plate

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  5. In a separate, smaller bowl, break 1 large or 2 small eggs and briefly whisk. Pour 3/4 cup panko into a mixing bowl and add the garlic salt, stirring to mix. 

    egg mixture in a bowl, panko in a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  6. Dip the crab cakes first into the egg, then roll in the panko mixture to cover. Set on a clean surface.

    breaded crab cakes on a plate

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  7. Pour oil into a small frying pan or wok set over medium-high heat (oil should be 1-inch deep). Heat for 1 minute or longer. To test if oil is hot enough, drop in a few panko crumbs - if they begin to sizzle right away, the oil is ready.

    oil in a wok

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  8. Carefully place crab cakes in the hot oil. Reduce heat slightly to prevent overheating and splattering. Fry crab cakes 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

    crab cake cooking in a wok

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  9. Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce. You can also serve with a dollop of mayonnaise alongside the sweet chili sauce - take a little of both on your crab cake at once for a wonderful combination of flavors.

    Thai Crab Cakes served with sauce

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the fresh chili pepper with 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili.
  • Instead of garlic salt, use 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  • To make these crab cakes gluten-free, create your own "panko" crumbs. Just place 3/4 package of plain or sesame-flavored rice crackers in a food processor and mix until very fine.

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