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.

Spicy Crab Cakes with Horseradish Mayo
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 in the Marshall Field's Cookbook and they were are absolutely delicious.

Spicy Crab Cakes with Horseradish Mayo

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chilling 60 mins
Total Time 95 mins
Servings 6 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 tablespoons 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 tablespoons extra virgin 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 tablespoons prepared horseradish (see how to make horseradish for a scratch version)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt

Special Equipment

  • Food processor


  1. Make fresh breadcrumbs:

    Chop up the bread into big chunks and place in a food processor. Pulse until you have fine breadcrumbs. 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. Process crab cake binder ingredients:

    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. Make crab cake mixture:

    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 half of the breadcrumb mixture.

  4. Make patties, dredge in remaining breadcrumbs:

    Carefully form six crab cakes patties. Lightly dredge them in the remaining breadcrumbs.

  5. Chill:

    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

  6. Fry crab cakes:

    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.

  7. Make horseradish mayo sauce:

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

Spicy Crab Cakes with Horseradish Mayo
Elise Bauer