Spicy Crab Cakes with Horseradish Mayo

Spicy crab cakes recipe with fresh Dungeness crabmeat, parsley, bread crumbs, egg, lemon jice, Tabasco, Wocestershire sauce, Dijon, paprika, thyme, onion, and bell pepper. Serve with a horseradish mayo.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

The big food thrill of winter in Northern California is that it is Dungeness Crab season.

There is simply nothing better than fresh cracked crab, but you have to make sure the crab is very fresh. During the season we will call Whole Foods and ask when the last shipment came in. If it is the same day, we’re there.

Sometimes we greedily pick up more crab than we can actually eat in one sitting. In these cases, the crab meat gets formed into crab cakes to be eaten at the next meal. My father found this recipe for spicy crab cakes recently and they were are absolutely delicious.

Spicy Crab Cakes with Horseradish Mayo Recipe

  • Yield: Makes six 4-inch wide crab patties.


  • 4-5 slices white bread
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 pound cooked fresh Dungeness crabmeat, picked over and drained

Horseradish Mayo:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp prepared horseradish (see how to make horseradish for a scratch version)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt


Chop up the bread into big chunks and place in a food processor. Pulse until you have fine bread crumbs. You'll need about 4 cups. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the chopped fresh parsley. Clean out the food processor bowl.

2 Put the egg yolk, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, mustard, paprika, thyme, celery seeds and black pepper into the food processor. Pulse until blended. While the motor is running slowly add a thin stream of olive oil through the feed tube until the sauce emulsifies. Remove from food processor to a large bowl.

3 To the large bowl with the sauce, stir in the chopped onion, bell pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup of parsley. Gently fold in the cracked crab meat. Do not over mix! Gently fold in the bread crumb mixture. Carefully form six crab cakes patties. Lightly dredge them in the remaining bread crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

4 Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick skillet on medium heat. Working in batches, fry crab cakes gently 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown and heated through. Add more butter to the pan if necessary.

5 To prepare the horseradish mayonnaise, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate.

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Recipe from the Marshall Field's Cookbook.

Showing 4 of 11 Comments

  • Heather

    We love crab cakes! These sound delicious! I would love the horseradish mayo as well, but my husband does not like horseradish. Can you suggest another dip/dressing for the crab cakes that doesn’t involve horseradish?
    I’m so excited to try these out!

  • laughingsal

    I was very disappointed. They didn’t hold together at all. My old crabcake recipe was much better. We tossed these in trash, and are not usually that fussy. However, I was using fancy pasteurized crab in cans (Von’s, $36/lb) and not fresh so that might have been difference. I usually use cheap canned crab which has more consistent texture. Noticed there’s no salt in recipe.

  • janie

    Here’s a gluten free alternative:

    Replace the bread with mashed boiled potatoes. I do that often when making meatballs. These sound delicious and I can’t wait to make them!!

  • alamobecky

    I haven’t ventured too much into crabcake world — my experiences with them in restaurants have been disappointing and I’ve never made them at home. I will definitely try yours, though.

    Two quick mentions: Trader Joe’s sells a one-pound can of wonderful crab meat for around $8.99. It’s sweet and delicious, great texture — a great buy. Secondly, I have made Mario Batali’s halibut cakes which are fantastically good and . . . and . . . I want one right now!! You can find his recipe on foodtv.com.

  • kevin

    In Kipling’s immortal words: “You’re a better crab than I am, Dungeness.”

    Next time you make crab cakes, try topping them with Romesco Sauce. Seriously good eating.

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Spicy Crab Cakes with Horseradish Mayo