Keto Crab Cakes {Fried, baked, or air fried!}

These keto crab cakes are tender and crispy on the outside, yet soft and flaky in the middle! Made without breadcrumbs or flour, they take minutes to make and are the perfect appetizer that is sure to impress! 2 grams net carbs per serving. 

Keto Crab Cakes

When it comes to keto appetizers, my favorite recipes to make are stuffed mushrooms, coleslaw, and these keto crab cakes.

If you ever invite me to a dinner party, you’ll notice that my eyes light up for the appetizers. Sure I love a good dessert or fancy main course, but it’s the appetizers that I go to town on! Of course, it’s not often we consume them, as they are mostly reserved for parties, gigs, and events.

While I tend to like all kinds of pre-entree dishes, if I see a crab cake on the table, I will try my best not to polish them all off. Crab cakes are something I have a second stomach for, and I’m lucky my dad has a recipe up his sleeve that he made at home on special occasions. He shared the recipe with me and it was one of the first things I ever made when I moved out of the family home. Since going keto, I’ve been working on adapting his original recipe. Not only have I given it a low carb makeover but I must say, they taste even better. 

I’ve been meaning to share a keto crab cake recipe for quite some time. They taste just like the ones my dad used to make, or ones we’d enjoyed when we traveled America. They use simple and easy ingredients and take less than 25 minutes to whip up.

No grains or breading are needed, but you’d never tell. The texture of the crab cakes is tender and crispy on the outside, yet soft and flaky on the inside. They are juicy and loaded with crab meat, and perfect on their own or served with a salad.

I had my father over for dinner the other night and served him these crab cakes and he was thrilled that they tasted just like his- He couldn’t believe they were low carb!

How do you make keto crab cakes?

The Ingredients

  • Crabmeat– 100% canned crabmeat. Be sure to remove all excess liquid from it. 
  • Egg– Holds the crab cakes together. 
  • Mayonnaise– Whole egg or full-fat mayonnaise. 
  • Lemon juice– Just a pinch to balance out the other ingredients. 
  • Almond flour OR crushed pork rinds- Either blanched almond flour or almond flour. Alternatively, if you’d like a crispier crab cake, use crushed up pork rinds. 
  • Parsley– Finely chopped, not dried. 
  • Green onion– Roughly chopped. 
  • Salt and pepper– To taste. 
  • Oil– To fry the crab cakes in. 

The Instructions

Start by adding all your ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Next, slightly wet your hands and form 8-10 small patties. Add the oil into a large non-stick pan and place over medium heat. Once hot, place several patties in them and cook for 5-6 minutes, before flipping and cooking for a further 5 minutes. Repeat the process until all the crab cakes have been cooked.

low carb crab cakes

Tips to make the best low carb crab cakes

  • If you find your uncooked crab cakes are quite fragile, you can chill them for an hour prior to frying them.
  • Flip the crab cakes very carefully, to ensure they hold their shape and don’t break apart. As they don’t have panko bread crumbs or traditional bread crumbs, they are slightly more fragile.
  • Do not overcrowd the pan. If needed, cook the crab cakes in several batches. This ensures they remain crispy on the outside. 
  • Make crab burgers by adding the cooked crab cakes in between some keto buns

Is imitation crab meat keto? 

Also known as surimi, imitation crab meat is not keto friendly. While it does contain some protein, it also contains excessive carbs and sugar, which could kick anyone out of ketosis.

Stick to canned crab meat in brine or springwater, which generally should contain nothing but crab in it! 

Can I make these in the air fryer? 

Yes! If you own an air fryer, you can easily make these crab cakes in them. Simply prepare the crab cakes as instructed but instead of frying them, place them in a generously greased air fryer basket and cook for 15-20 minutes at 200C/400F, flipping halfway through. 

Storing and freezing crab cakes

  • To store: Crab cakes should be stored in the refrigerator, covered. They will keep well for up to 1 week.
  • To freeze: Place leftover crab cakes in a shallow container or ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Reheating: Either microwave for 30-45 seconds or reheat in the air fryer or in a preheated oven at 200C/400F for 5-6 minutes. 

crab cakes

More keto appetizer recipes to try

keto crab cakes
  • 3 6 oz cans crab meat drained
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon almond flour or crushed up pork rinds
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix very well, until combined. Using your hands, form 8 large balls and press down into patties.

  • Generously grease a non-stick pan and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the patties and cook for 5 minutes, before carefully flipping and cooking for a further 5 minutes. Repeat the process until all the patties have been cooked.

  • Serve the crab cakes immediately, or let them cool to room temperature.

Air fryer instructions are included in the post. 
TO STORE: Crab cakes should be stored in the refrigerator, covered. They will keep well for up to 1 week.
TO FREEZE: Place leftover crab cakes in a shallow container or ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
REHEAT: Either microwave for 30-45 seconds or reheat in the air fryer or in a preheated oven at 200C/400F for 5-6 minutes.  

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 197mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 3g | Vitamin A: 98IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg | NET CARBS: 1g