What Do Crab Cakes Taste Like?

As a home cook who has spent countless hours experimenting with different ingredients and recipes, I can assure you that crab cakes are a dish that will leave you and your guests wanting more.

The sweetness of the crab meat, the tang of the lemon, the subtle heat from the spices, and the crunch of the breadcrumbs all come together in a perfectly complex and comforting harmony.

In this guide, I will delve deeper into crab cakes’ taste and texture, sharing my experiences and insights to help you understand what makes this dish so special.

How Do Crab Cakes Taste?

When it comes to the taste of crab cakes, the star of the recipe is undoubtedly the crab. The crab meat imparts a sweet, slightly briny flavor that is reminiscent of the sea. It’s a delicate flavor that is enhanced, not overshadowed, by the other ingredients.

What Do Crab Cakes Taste Like

Using seasonings like Old Bay, mustard, and parsley adds depth and complexity to the flavor profile, creating a savory, slightly spicy, and utterly delicious dish.

The texture of crab cakes is just as important as the taste. The exterior is typically crisp and golden, satisfying each bite’s crunch.

Inside, the crab meat is tender and juicy, offering a delightful contrast to the crunchy exterior. The breadcrumbs or crackers used as a binder also contribute to the texture, giving the crab cakes their characteristic firm yet delicate structure.

Do Crab Cakes Taste Good?

As a home cook who has prepared and savored crab cakes numerous times, I can confidently say that crab cakes taste good.

The sweet, slightly briny flavor of the crab, combined with the savory seasonings and the satisfying crunch of the exterior, creates a taste experience that is both delightful and memorable.

However, like any dish, the taste of crab cakes can be subjective and depends on several factors.

One common complaint is that some crab cakes can taste too “fishy.” This is often due to the use of lower-quality crab meat or crab meat that is not fresh. Fresh crab meat has a sweet, delicate flavor that is not overly fishy.

On the other hand, frozen crab meat can sometimes develop a stronger, fishier flavor, especially if it is not properly thawed and drained before use.

Another misconception about crab cakes is that they are heavy and greasy. This can be the case if the crab cakes are not cooked properly. The key to avoiding this is to use a moderate amount of oil or butter for frying and to ensure that the oil is hot enough before adding the crab cakes. This will result in a crisp, golden exterior without excessive oiliness.

High-quality frozen crab meat can also produce delicious cakes, especially if properly thawed and prepared. The most important thing is to use the best quality crab meat you can find and afford, as this will significantly impact the taste of your crab cakes.

How To Make Crab Cakes Taste Better

Enhancing the taste of crab cakes is all about using quality ingredients and balancing flavors. Here are some tips from my kitchen experiences on making crab cakes taste even better.

The quality of the crab meat is crucial. Fresh lump crab meat is ideal, as it has a sweet, delicate flavor that is the star of the dish. If fresh crab meat is not available, high-quality canned or frozen crab meat can be a good substitute. Just make sure to drain it well to avoid any excess moisture that could make your crab cakes soggy.

crab cakes with seasonings for dinner

Don’t skimp on the seasonings. While the crab should be the star, seasonings like Old Bay, Dijon mustard, and fresh herbs can elevate the flavor of your crab cakes. However, be careful not to overpower the delicate flavor of the crab. The goal is to enhance, not mask, the natural taste of the crab.

Adding a bit of finely diced bell pepper or celery can also add a nice crunch and a hint of sweetness that complements the crab. Similarly, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can brighten up the flavors and cut through the richness of the crab meat.

Don’t forget about the sauce. While crab cakes are delicious on their own, a good sauce can take them to the next level. A classic tartar sauce, a spicy remoulade, or even a simple squeeze of lemon can add an extra layer of flavor that matches the crab cakes beautifully.

What Do Crab Cakes Look Like?

Crab cakes are typically round or slightly oval in shape, similar to a small burger patty.

what do crab cakes look like outside

The size can vary, but they are usually about 3” to 4” in diameter and about an inch thick. However, the size can vary depending on the recipe or the restaurant where you’re ordering them.

Crab cakes have a beautiful golden-brown crust on the outside when cooked to perfection. This is achieved by pan-frying or broiling them until they reach the desired color. The exterior should be crisp, providing a satisfying crunch when you bite into it.

Inside, you should see chunks of crab meat mixed with the other ingredients.

what do crab cakes look like inside

The color of the crab meat can range from a bright white to a slightly off-white or even a light pink, depending on the type of crab used. The crab meat should be the star, so it’s not a good sign if you cut into a crab cake and see more filler than crab.

When buying crab cakes from a store or ordering them at a restaurant, look for ones that list crab as the first ingredient, indicating that they contain more crab than any other ingredient.

They should also feel relatively heavy for their size, which suggests a good amount of crab meat. Avoid crab cakes that look excessively oily or greasy.

How To Eat Crab Cakes

Straight Up With a Squeeze of Lemon

One of the simplest and most traditional ways to enjoy crab cakes is straight up with a squeeze of fresh lemon. The tartness of the lemon juice enhances the sweet flavor of the crab, creating a perfect balance. This method allows you to fully appreciate the delicate taste of the crab without any other flavors getting in the way.

Paired With a Sauce

Crab cakes are usually served with a sauce on the side. This could be a classic tartar sauce, a spicy remoulade, or even a simple aioli. The sauce adds an extra layer of flavor and can complement the taste of the crab cakes beautifully. Just remember, the sauce is there to enhance, not overpower, the flavor of the crab cakes.

As a Sandwich

Crab cakes can also be enjoyed as a sandwich, often served on a soft bun with lettuce, tomato, and a dollop of sauce. This is a popular way to enjoy crab cakes in many seafood restaurants, and it turns crab cakes into a satisfying, hearty meal.

In a Salad

Consider serving your crab cakes on a bed of fresh greens for a lighter option. The crispness of the lettuce, the sweetness of the crab, and the tanginess of a vinaigrette dressing can create a delightful contrast of flavors and textures. This is a great way to enjoy crab cakes in the warmer months when you might prefer a lighter, fresher meal.

Remember, the best way to enjoy crab cakes is the way that you like them the most.

Crab Cake FAQs

What should crab cakes taste like?

Crab cakes should primarily taste like crab, with a sweet and slightly briny flavor that is reminiscent of the sea. The other ingredients, such as breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, and seasonings, should complement the crab flavor without overpowering it.

How can you improve upon the taste of crab cakes?

Seasonings like Old Bay, Dijon mustard, and fresh herbs can enhance the flavor of your crab cakes. Adding a bit of finely diced bell pepper or celery can add a nice crunch and a hint of sweetness, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can brighten up the flavors.

How To Make Crab Cakes That Taste Like Crab?

To make crab cakes actually taste like crab, the key is to use a generous amount of crab meat and keep the filler to a minimum. The crab should be the star of the show, so avoid using too much breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, or other ingredients that could mask the flavor of the crab. Seasonings should be used to enhance the crab flavor, not overpower it.

What is the best way to serve crab cakes?

Crab cakes can be served in a variety of ways. They can be enjoyed straight up with a squeeze of lemon, paired with a sauce like tartar sauce or remoulade, served as a sandwich on a soft bun, or even served on a bed of fresh greens for a lighter option.

About Justin Micheal

Hey, I’m Justin and the home cook behind Food Meets Flavor. I have a passion for cooking and making food delicious. So, I started this blog to help others understand what different types of food taste like and how to make everyday meals taste even better.