Spicy Crab Cakes with Horseradish Mayo

LentenFavorite WinterCrabFish Cakes

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.

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 / Reviews

  • 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!

  • Sarah

    Do you think there would be a way to do it gluten free? The pieces of white bread make me think: no.

    By the by: I love this website. Everything I’ve ever made from here has been d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s

  • Mendie

    These look delicious, I can’t wait to try this recipe! Not being from a coastal area, I’ve never tried to cook crab meat…do you purchase it cooked? If not, how do you cook it? Thanks!!

  • Jan

    I have never eaten crab (that I know of :). Where I live, in Southern Central MO, I don’t know that I would be able to find or afford the Crab meat. I love Salmon Patties, or Salmon Cakes, & I love Horseradish thus I am curious to know if I could create those using this recipe for the Crab Cakes.
    I love the recipes you post here, & am anxious to have your response to my inquiry.

  • Jennifer

    These look delicious. I have too many daily post recipes of yours in my inbox waiting to be made… How many crabcakes does this recipe make and about what size are they?

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Spicy Crab Cakes with Horseradish Mayo