Most seafood cakes contain wheat flour. But, this easy keto crab cakes recipe will delight your taste buds without the unnecessary gluten and carbs. With a touch of lemon and old bay seasoning, these moist seafood patties will be a hit at your next get-together!
Crab cakes make amazing lunch ideas or side dishes on seafood night. If you want the best authentic crab cakes, then you have to go to Maryland.
I live in Connecticut, which isn’t that far away, but even if you’re one state away from MD (like in Pennsylvania), finding a restaurant that serves the real-deal crab cake is difficult.
When I see Maryland crab cakes on a menu in Connecticut, I know that it’s not going to taste anything like those blue-collar shacks that serve it in the Baltimore and Chesapeake Bay region.
If you don’t live near the Chesapeake and love crab cakes, this easy keto crab cake recipe is second best. And, it’s certainly healthier than most restaurant versions as it contains no flour fillers.
To make low-carb crab cakes, you will use lots of the same ingredients that are in traditional crab cakes.
If you have access to it, use fresh crab meat. If not, canned will work just as well.
You only need one yolk for this entire recipe. It binds all the ingredients together. If you leave it out, the crab cake will just fall apart.
Use your favorite type of mayo. I used avocado mayo since it has so many healthy fats (which are important on a keto diet).
You could also make your own homemade mayo too.
Old Bay Seasoning
If you are trying to make Maryland-style crab cakes, then Old Bay Seasoning is required. It is a staple in seafood in this state!
In addition to salt and pepper, I used both lemon juice and my homemade Worcestershire sauce.
I used pork rinds as a keto breadcrumbs substitute. This keeps the crab cakes gluten-free and keto-friendly. If you'd rather not use pork rinds, a mix of almond flour and coconut flour can be used instead.
Please note: Check out the recipe card at the bottom for a full list of ingredients used to make this low-carb recipe.
- I like to pre-crush the rinds and keep them in the freezer as it helps remove some of the pork flavor and odor. Then, I have them ready to use in recipes like nearly no-carb bread!
- Alternatively, you can take whole pork rinds and place them in a ziplock baggie and roll over them with a rolling pin to crush them.
- Remember to remove any pieces of crab shells if you used fresh crab. Even if you are careful, pieces of the shell end up in the meat.
All of the step-by-step directions for the low carb crab cakes are written out in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. First, here are some additional tips.
Prepare The Crab Meat
To begin, if you have fresh crabs, steam them. (If you used canned crab meat, you can skip this step).
Boil water, vinegar, and seafood seasoning. Then, layer the crabs in the steamer insert, generously sprinkling the salt and remaining seafood seasoning on each layer of crabs. Cover the pot and steam for about 30 minutes.
When it is fully cooked, set it aside.
Combine Crab Mixture
Next, in a large bowl, combine the egg yolk, mayo, crab meat, pork rinds, and seasoning. Also, add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
Be careful, however, not to over mix. I find that just a couple of minutes, max, does the trick.
Fry The Cakes
After a couple of minutes of mixing, you’ll want to create some patties out of the gluten-free keto crab cakes mixture. Then, take a skillet and, over low-medium heat, ever so delicately lay the cakes in the frying pan.
It only takes 3-4 minutes for each side to develop that golden griddle color.
But, don’t eat it right away – it’s way too hot at this point. To make it less oily, drain the cakes.
All that’s left is drizzling some lemon juice and the garnish.
️ Serving suggestions
These are delicious as a light lunch so just serve some cauliflower rice with them.
If you would rather eat them as a seafood side dish, then serve them with keto-baked cod. It is both light and filling!
These crab cakes also work fantastically as a party appetizer. They taste fantastic with gluten-free coconut shrimp too.
Before we get to the recipe card, here are some questions people often ask about keto crab cakes.
Yes, it's always better to make your food at home whenever you can. This easy keto crab cakes recipe has far less cholesterol than the non-keto, regular version. Furthermore, many businesses that ship crab cakes around the country add preservatives to the cakes, such as sodium benzoate.
Store-purchased crab cakes can also contain corn syrup. That's an obvious no-no if you're trying to cut down on your net carbs.
So why have pork rinds been making their way into Paleo-approved crab cake recipes? The simple answer is that pork rinds make for an excellent high-carb breading surrogate. Sure, pork rinds don't sound healthy.
When you think of the term, you might think back to old-school vending machines that sold them in bags. Of course, those pork rinds were unhealthy.
If you can buy some organic pasture-raised pork rinds, you'll be sticking to a Paleo-approved ingredient.
So how do you get pork rinds looking like bread crumbs? In this recipe, I just add the pre-crushed rinds to the other ingredients and mix them in a bowl.
The serving size for these low-carb crab cakes is about one 2-inch cake.
Some people think that you need crab cake sauce like tartar. But as I mention in the intro to this recipe, if you do them up the proper way, you certainly won’t need any tartar sauce.
Plus, if you become an expert at making this easy keto crab cakes recipe, you probably won't need any lemon juice to top it off either.
If you enjoyed these crispy crab cakes, then I have more low-carb seafood recipes you should try next. They are some of my go-to's!
- Shrimp Lettuce Wraps are the perfect lunch - especially with this creamy Cajun sauce!
- Keto Tuna Casserole is a creamy recipe, fortified with spinach, and makes enough for a filling dinner.
- Low-Carb Clam Chowder is easy to make in an Instant Pot and is incredibly rich and creamy.
- Shrimp Spaghetti Squash is covered in alfredo sauce - add some broccoli for a filling dinner.
- Fish Tacos are a fun party food or a delicious lunch that wakes up your taste buds.
Follow us on FACEBOOK, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM for even more tasty keto-friendly recipes!
Easy Keto Crab Cakes with Pork Rinds
- 2 ½ cups crab meat boiled fresh crabs or can
- 1 large egg yolk see note
- ½ cup crushed pork rinds
- ¼ cup avocado mayonnaise
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice divided
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- olive oil or coconut oil for frying
- fresh parsley & lemon slices for garnishing
- In a bowl, combine cooked crab meat, egg yolk, pork rinds, mayonnaise, seasoning, worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and ground pepper. Do not over mix.
- Form crab meat mixture into patties.
- In a skillet or non-stick pan with low to medium heat, lay crab meat patties gently and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden in color.
- Drain crab cakes, drizzle the remaining lemon juice, garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
Low Carb Sweeteners | Keto Sweetener Conversion Chart
Array ( [serving_size] => 1 [calories] => 79 [carbohydrates] => 0 [protein] => 8 [fat] => 4 [saturated_fat] => 0 [cholesterol] => 39 [sodium] => 394 [potassium] => 90 [sugar] => 0 [vitamin_a] => 35 [vitamin_c] => 3 [calcium] => 22 [iron] => 0.3 [serving_unit] => patty )
Notes on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
© LowCarbYum.com - Unauthorized use of this material without written permission is strictly prohibited unless for personal offline purposes. Single photos may be used, provided that full credit is given to LowCarbYum.com along with a link back to the original content.
First published August 30, 2018. Post updated on August 5, 2021, with clearer images and additional recipe information.
Made these yesterday and they were a hit! I didn’t have any mayo, so I left that out, could be why they didn’t bind as well, but they held up good enough to gently flip with a spatula. So delicious, thanks for this recipe!!
One question though, is there a reason why we only use the yolk and not the whole egg? Someone asked me 🙂
I changed the seasoning and added more than 2 cups crushed rinds (yes measured after crushed) and two eggs. Still got the fall-apart "hash" mentioned in comments above. Will prob swap for the coconut flour. The pork rinds and egg did nothing to bind these together. Will keep on the hunt for a CC recipe that binds that is low carb.
You can add another binder like xanthan gum to help keep them holding together better. When you add more pork rinds, you will need to add more egg to bind as well.
I have noticed that the pork rind crumbs tend to be a bit…..soggy.
Would air frying the rinds either whole or already crumbled help? Maybe a little while in a convection oven?
What are your thought?
Thanks for your time
I don't have that issue as I store mine in the refrigerator or freezer. They are already fried and it's the oils at room temp that may be causing the sogginess.
Thank you for this post. I’ve always believed that chicken had to be cooked to 180 using an instant read thermometer to be safe. Always dry. I do more grilling outdoors, but I’ll definitely have to look for one of those pans. Should be good for any type of meat.
hello lisa, what i'm about to say isn't criticism just helpful advice. being from the chesapeake bay, i think i know why for you "it’s almost impossible to replicate this seafood delicacy." #1 do NOT use canned crab - it is the nastiest thing ever, the taste is wrong & the texture is wrong. #2 do NOT over mix! add all ingredients EXCEPT the crab. add that last, fold (not mix) as gently as possible so the meat doesn't fall apart. now you should be golden! you can thank me later, lol. 🙂
I totally agree about NOT using canned! Here in Connecticut, we have blue crabs and it's a lot of work to shell them, but so worth it. Thanks for your tips!
Delicious. Actually I have never attempted to make crab cakes myself but enjoy them at restaurants. I added about 1 cup crushed pork rinds because it seemed to stick better.
I wonder if parmesan cheese or something else could be used in place of the pork rinds? I am allergic to mammal meat and can't use pork.
You can try a mix of almond and coconut flour instead.
Can I bake them in the oven?
I've made them in an air fryer so it should work in the oven too. I would recommend baking on a non-stick silicone mat or use parchment paper.
When you used your air fryer how long and what temp?
It's 360°F for 10 minutes and sometimes I flip halfway.
Hi! Can I swap shrimp for the crab? Would anything else need to be adjusted?
If you chop/shred the shrimp meat, it should be okay. You might want to use the whole egg as the egg whites may help bind it better than just the yolk.
The flavors are good, but I couldn’t get the cakes to form. The first couple I made turned out to be “crab cake hash”. I had to add twice as much pork rinds to help make it somewhat form in the shape of a crab cake. Once I doubled the pork rinds (maybe even 1-1/2 ) It helped to keep its form. Although, I still had to be extremely careful when flipping them over, so they wouldn’t break apart. Not sure I would go through all of this trouble (and mess) again.
Are you measuring the pork rinds after they are crushed?
Marrietta, I had the exact same issue last night. Mine also turned into hash. Taste was fine. Next time I would probably add two eggs.
Added a note to the recipe. Two eggs should help things bind together better.
I do not have avocado mayo. What replacement do you suggest ?
Any mayo works, it doesn't have to be avocado oil based.
Lisa, these look amazing. I take it the carb count is nil, or else you would have provided it?
Correct. The calculator did not have a number for carbs so it's essentially zero.
Looks great! But we don’t have the Old Bay Seasoning here. Any suggestions for a sub? Thanks!
Try this: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/homemade-old-bay-seasoning-recipe-52622321
Haven't tried this one yet but your Fantasy Fish Cakes recipe is one of my favorites!!! I'm in California but visit my daughter in Maryland often so I do know good crab cakes.... For those not finding Old Bay it is in almost every grocery store usually on a lower shelf under the seasonings by the salt and pepper... we live in a very small farming town and we have it at our local Safeway and the nearby Wal-Mart.
I love your recipes and like to save them. When I print them the Nutrition Facts always
print out on a second page. It would be so much easier if they could print out on page 1 when there is room. Thanks for letting me leave a comment.
I wish I had an easy fix for that. You could just print out only the recipe and skip the second page. I have a printer that does double sided so it's all on one paper.
The recipe looks wonderful but you have no measurement for the pork rinds in both the U.S. and the metric versions. I assume it is 1/2 cup but 0.5 what in the metric?
It's a 1/2 cup which is roughly 20 grams.
Yum! This is such a great idea! Looks like dinner for tonight is sorted!
It makes a great dinner entree!
One of these days I might get to one of those crab shacks, but I agree in the meantime making your own is the way to go. These look and sound great!
Hope you give them a try!
Lauren Vavala @ DeliciousLittleBites
I love that you made these crab cakes keto friendly! I'm always on low carb/keto - can't wait to try them!!
Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Such a great way to still enjoy it while keeping to your diet. Very creative!
Yes they are! They are just as tasty as high carb ones.
I used to live in the Chesapeake Bay area, and you're right, the crab cakes are the BEST! I periodically go back to Maryland and always look forward to the crab cakes.
They are definitely a "must-have" when in the area!