Crab Cakes for a Crowd

Crab cakes for a crowd are not hard to make and are always so much appreciated. I say “not hard” because they can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until needed. Most recipes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to eight hours. If you have commercial cooking equipment, they are a “breeze” to cook. If that is not the case you can cook them in several large skillets of a large griddle. Some recipes even instruct cooking in the oven. Even the stove top recipes can be baked in the oven on oiled trays.

The origination of crab cakes has been traced back to the original thirteen colonies here in the Northeast United States. Originally this was a very humble fisherman’s recipe. Making crab cakes was a way of using up the excess crab which was caught. Most of the time it was small bits and pieces which people did not want.  When food was of short supply, the settlers could usually get some of this “cheap” food from the fishermen along the coast.

Most people love crab cakes so your guests will love having them served at your gathering. When I cook crab cakes for a crowd, I have found that everyone loves them. It seems like most do not cook them at home so they are happy when I serve them. If you are located near the coast, crab is usually more economical to purchase. If the expense is a problem, I have tried (And many others told me) that they use the imitation crab.  

I never thought I would ever use imitation anything especially when cooking crab cakes for a crowd. Because of other comments, I thought I would try it. Honestly, it is a great alternative. Another great alternative is to mix crab with other seafood or fish like mild cod. Your guests may not even know if you do not tell them. That is if they are not a “crab connoisseur”!

MARYLAND CRAB CAKES FOR A CROWD (Makes 25 to 30 patties) 

Maryland Crab Cakes for a CrowdMaryland Crab Cakes for a Crowd
  • 6 Pounds fresh crab meat
  • 12 finely grated hard boiled eggs
  • 1/3 Cup packed finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Cups mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons white pepper
  • Cracker crumbs
  • Oil for frying

How to make crab cakes

Combine all ingredients except the cracker crumbs; mix lightly and refrigerate.

Shape into 25 to 30 patties and pat cracker crumbs into both sides.

Cook in oil on hot griddle until brown on both sides.

Serve with tartar sauce.


Baked Crab Cakes for a CrowdBaked Crab Cakes for a Crowd

Crab cakes to serve as appetizers with watercress sauce; makes 36.

  • 1/2 Cup butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups finely chopped celery
  • 1 Large finely chopped onion
  • 8 Slices white bread (Trim and cube)
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 2 Pounds fresh crabmeat
  • 2 Eggs (Beaten)
  • 2/3 Cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 Cup fine dry breadcrumbs (I use Panko)

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat; sauté celery and onion for 10 minutes.

Combine bread CUBES and milk in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes.

Drain bread; stir in celery mixture, crabmeat and next 5 ingredients.

Shape into balls using 2 tablespoons of the mixture.

Roll into DRY bread crumbs; cover and chill.

NOTE: To make shaping easier, I chop in the food processor for a couple seconds. (Pressing down on buttom 4 to 5 times.) The mixture becomes smoother for shaping the balls.

NOTE: These can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 8 hours. 

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F degrees.

Place on a lightly greased baking sheet; flatten slightly.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown; serve with watercress sauce.

Makes 50 to 54 appetizers.

Watercress Sauce

  • 2 Bunchs fresh watercress (Wash, drain, stem, chop fine)
  • 2 Finely chopped green onions
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 Cup whipping cream (Whipped)

COMBINE ALL ingredients; cover and chill.


  • 2  2/3 Cups finely minced red bell pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons finely minced onion
  • 4 Teaspoons cooking oil
  • 1 1/3 Cups mayonnaise
  • 2 Large egg yolks
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 4 Teaspoons mustard
  • 4 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 Pounds white crab meat (if canned, drain; needs to be 3 pounds without liquid)
  • 6 Cups fine bread crumbs
  • Oil for deep frying

Sautee red bell pepper and onion in the 4 teaspoons cooking oil until soft.

In a large bowl or pan combine the mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, lemon juice and Old Bay seasoning; whisk together until well blended.

Stir in the pepper and onion mixture and the crab.

Stir in 2 cups of the bread crumbs to make a dry mixture.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Form round walnut size balls and roll each into bread crumbs; chill for several hours or overnight.

Heat oil to 375F degrees and deep fry several balls at a time.


(North Carolina’s Cape Fear Style with lemon dill sauce)

(Makes 24 two inch patties)


  • 1 ½ Cups mayonnaise
  • 1 Cup buttermilk
  • ¼ Cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons grated lemon peel
  • 4 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic

Crab Cakes

  • ½ Cup melted butter (Divided)
  • 2 Finely chopped green onions
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ Cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 6 Tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Large beaten eggs
  • 2 Teaspoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 Teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 Cups fine dried breadcrumbs (Divided)
  • 2 Pounds fresh lump crabmeat drained
  • ½ Cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ Cup vegetable oil

FOR LEMON DILL SAUCE combine first 7 ingredients; blend well, cover and chill.

FOR CRABCAKES spoon 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium high.

Add green onions, 2 cloves garlic and sweet red pepper.

Cook until vegetables are tender crisp; stir occasionally.

Stir in ground pepper, whipping cream and mustard; cool slightly.

Combine vegetables mixture, eggs, basil, parsley and 1 CUP breadcrumbs.

Stir in crabmeat and shape into 24 two inch patties; place on trays.

Cover patties and chill at least 1 hour.

Combine remaining 1 CUP breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Dredge patties in crumb cheese mixture.

Heat oil and remaining butter in several large skillets over medium.

Cook crab cakes about 3 minutes on each side.

Remove from heat and serve with lemon dill sauce.


(Open face on English muffins-serves 12)

  • 2 Pounds crabmeat drained
  • 1 Cup mayonnaise
  • 12 Ounces softened cream cheese
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 Teaspoon mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • 12 English muffins
  • Soft butter

Preheat oven broiler.

Combine crabmeat, mayonnaise, cream cheese, egg yolks, onion and seasonings.

Blend mixture well.

Split muffins and toast; spread butter on each half.

Top each half with crab meat mixture.

Broil about 5 to 6 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes.


  • 6 Pounds crabmeat
  • 4 Cups soft bread crumbs
  • 8 Beaten eggs
  • ½ Cup finely chopped onions
  • ¼ Cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 Teaspoons dry mustard
  • 4 Teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon ground thyme
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 3 Cups flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • Hot sauce

Combine crabmeat, bread crumbs, eggs, onion and green pepper.

Add the, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and salt; blend well.

Shape mixture into 48 two inch patties; chill to firm up patties.

Dredge patties in flour; fry in hot oil until brown turning once.

Drain and serve with hot sauce; 2 patties per serving for 24 servings.

COD AND CRAB CAKES FOR A CROWD with roasted pepper puree


  • 8 Medium red bell peppers (Cut in 2 inch pieces)
  • 8 Cloves garlic (Peel)
  • 2 Small red onions (Peel, chop)
  • 4 Small jalapeno peppers (Seed, coarsely chop)
  • ¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ Cup flat leaf parsley (Chop fine)
  • 4 Teaspoons salt

Cod and Crab Cakes

  • 4 Pounds skinless cod filets
  • Salt/ pepper to taste
  • 2 Pounds lump crabmeat (Pick clean)
  • 6 Cups fresh bread crumbs
  • ½ Cup minced red bell pepper
  • ½ Cup minced celery
  • ½ Cup minced scallions
  • ½ Cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¾ Cup chopped parsley (Divided)
  • 4 cups plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ Cups olive oil
  • 24 Lemon wedges for garnish

FOR PUREE preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Combine all the puree ingredients in large stainless steel roasting pan.

Cover tightly with foil; bake 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Transfer vegetables and any juices to food processor. (Keep oven on).

Process to a smooth paste.

FOR CAKES season cod fillets with salt and pepper.

Arrange fillets on lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake 10 minutes or until it flakes; cool.

Flake cod into a large bowl; add the crab meat.

Add the FRESH bread crumbs and next 5 ingredients to the bowl.

Add ½ CUP of the parsley, salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

On a plate mix the dry bread crumbs with the remaining ¼ CUP of parsley.

Divide cod-crab mixture into 48 equal parts; shape into 1 inch thick cakes.

Coat cakes with dry crumb mixture; place on trays, cover and refrigerate.

READY TO COOK heat several large skillet or griddle; spread with a little oil.

Cook over moderate high heat until golden on both sides (2 to 3 minutes per side).

Transfer to large tray and keep warm.

REHEAT PUREED SAUCE and serve with cod crab cakes.

Makes 48 cakes/ 24 servings.


Make these great crab cakes with jalapeno tartar sauce. (Make sauce first and refrigerate)

Jalapeno Tartar Sauce

  • 2 Cups non fat mayonnaise
  • 4 Small jalapeno peppers (Seed and chop fine)
  • ¾ Cup finely chopped English cucumber (SEE NOTE BELOW)
  • ½ Cup finely chopped purple onion
  • ¼ Cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

MIX TOGETHER all ingredients; cover and chill.

NOTE: English cucumbers are long and slender with a tender peel which you can eat.

Crab Cakes

  • 4 Eggs (Beaten)
  • ½ Cup nonfat mayonnaise
  • ½ Cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 Jars (2 Ounces each) diced pimiento (Drain)
  • 1/3 Cup finely chopped purple onion
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 Teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 Cups whole grain breadcrumbs
  • 4 Pound fresh lump crab meat (Drain)
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray

Combine first 8 ingredients in a very large bowl.

Fold in bread crumbs and crab meat; divide mixture into 48 parts.

Shape each part into a patty.

Coat large skillets or griddles with vegetable oil; place on medium high heat.

Brown patties on both sides until golden brown (3 to 4 minutes per side).

Serve with Jalapeno tartar sauce; makes 48 Patties OR 24 servings.

CRAB CAKES FOR A CROWD with tartar sauce

Tartar Sauce

  • 4 Cups mayonnaise
  • 4 Teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 Cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/3 Cup chopped capers
  • 4 Hard cooked eggs (Chop fine)
  • ¼ Cup sweet pickle relish
  • ¼ Cup chopped fresh chives

COMBINE ALL ingredients, cover and chill; makes about 6 cups.

Crab Cakes

  • 4 Eggs (Beaten)
  • 16 Saltine crackers (Crush fine)
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 15 Drops hot sauce
  • 2 Teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ Cup mayonnaise 
  • 4 Pounds lump crabmeat (Drain)


  • ¾ Cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • Paprika

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Combine eggs and next 7 ingredients in large bowl; mix in the crabmeat.

Shape mixture into 24 (3 inch) patties; place on lightly greased baking trays.

FOR TOPPING combine mayonnaise and Old Bay seasoning.

Spread evenly over the crab cakes; sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown; (Do not over bake).

Serve with tartar sauce; 24 servings.


  • 2 Pounds white crab meat
  • 2 Cups chopped green onions
  • 3 Cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ Cup milk
  • 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ Cup oil
  • Tartar Sauce

Combine crab, onion and half of the bread crumbs in large bowl; set aside.

In another bowl beat the eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and mustard.

Pour egg mixture over the crab mixture and mix; shape into 12 cakes.

Dredge cakes in the remaining HALF of bread crumbs.

Heat oil in several large skillets over medium high; fry cakes turning 1 time.

NOTE: Cook about 5minutes on each side.

Drain crab cakes on paper towels; serve with tartar sauce.

Serves 12.