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crab cakes on a serving tray

Mini Crab Cakes (Canned Crab Recipe)

This delicious canned crab recipe is for easy mini crab cakes! Serve them with a spicy yogurt sauce as tapas or hors d’oeuvres.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 51kcal


Crab Cakes:

  • 1 tin crab meat (~4oz), drained
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (whole milk)
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 twigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 egg

Spicy Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (whole milk)
  • 1 TB Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB capers
  • 1 TB capers brine (from capers jar)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder, to taste
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste


  • Remove drained crab from tin, and place in a mixing bowl.  Add remaining crab cake ingredients to the bowl.
    Mix crab cake ingredients in a bowl
  • Gently mix all the ingredients together with a fork.  Mix until incorporated, and then stop.  (Do not use a blender or food processor for this step, because you don't want to purée the fish.)
  • Use a 1 TB measuring spoon (or another small scoop) and scoop the fish cake mix into small balls.  
  • One by one, roll the balls in your hands, and then flatten into small patties 2" across, and about 1/2" thick. You should end up with 12 - 14 patties, depending on the size of your scoop.
    Roll Crab Cake Batter into Balls
  • Set patties on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Refrigerate patties for about 30 minutes.  
  • While the crab cakes chill, mix together all the ingredients for the yogurt sauce.  Make sure to taste as you add the cayenne and salt-- use more or less as desired.  Put sauce in the refrigerator until it's time to serve.
  • Move oven rack to the top 3rd of the oven (or about 6" from the broiler).  Broil 5 minutes, flip, and broil 3-5 minutes more, until crab cakes are dark and golden.
    Broil Until Golden
  • Remove cakes from pan immediately.  Serve while still hot with the yogurt sauce.
  • Leftovers:
    Store leftover patties in the fridge, and use within 1-2 days. Use the sauce within a week.
    Make Ahead + Freeze: 
    Let crab cakes cool, and then wrap individually and tightly with wax paper, plastic wrap, or foil.  Store in an air-tight container in the freezer, and use within three months.  To reheat, simply unwrap and broil again.  Cook until golden, about 5-6 minutes per side, or until the cakes are hot.
    Sauce should not be frozen.


Serving size for nutrition calculations is 1 fish cake per person.
Alternately, make larger 4" patties and serve as a main course.


Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 267mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 112IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg