Mini Crab Cake Appetizer

These crab cakes are lucky they saw the light of day.  You see, I forgot to knock wood in my last post when I hinted that I was getting unburied.  After all, since two of my three kids just moved out (at least for the school year), how busy could I be?

Mini crab cakes on marble

Mini crab cakes on marble

Well, since then there have been…  forgotten items to find and mail; missing scholarship funds to track; 75 lbs of peaches and nectarines to can; produce to put up for winter; a book club meeting to host; a newspaper photo shoot of my quiche and herbs (on a plant-wilting, 95 degree day) and of course all of life’s regular activities.

Red Pepper

Red Pepper (good add Erica!)

So when book club rolled around, I knew I needed to serve foods that were easy (e.g. artisan cheeses), but I also wanted to include one dish that was a little fancier.  The winner was a “crabby snack” appetizer (enhanced from the Bon Appétit original by local blogger Erica and prepared for a food blogger get together last winter.  It was a big hit there and also when I made it for another event (after which my remaining daughter secretly devoured the couple I’d hidden for photos).

Orange zest

Orange zest

The recipe is elegant, tasty and easier than it looks–other than getting it out of the pan.  The first time I made it, I sprayed the pan with PAM and cooked them slightly longer than called for and I was able to knock them out by banging the pan upside down over a plate.  For whatever reason, that didn’t work this time and I was stuck nudging out each individual mini-cake with a butter knife.  Alas, this is not the best way to greet your guests, so next time I’ll follow the “do ahead” instructions below.

mini crab cakes

Crab Cakes, served

Mini Crab Cake Appetizer

Makes 36 mini-cakes

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • Zest from 1 small lemon (reserve lemon for dill sauce below)
  • ½ finely diced red pepper
  • 2 scallions (white parts only)
  • 3 T chopped chives, divided
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 6 oz fresh lump crabmeat, coarsely shredded
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup melted butter, plus more to grease the muffin pans


1.  Beat cream cheese by hand or with mixer until smooth.  Add ¼ cup parmesan, egg, sour cream, orange zest, lemon zest, red pepper, scallions, 1 T chives, salt & cayenne pepper.  Fold in the crabmeat.

Crab cake filling

Crab cake filling

2. Preheat oven to 350.  Butter or spray the muffin pan.

3.  Toss panko, ½ cup Parmesan and 2T chopped chives in a small bowl.  Drizzle melted butter over, tossing until evenly moistened.  Press 1 rounded spoonful panko mixture into bottom of each muffin cup to form the crust.  Spoon rounded tablespoon crab mixture on top of each panko mixture.  Sprinkle rounded teaspoon of panko mixture over tops of each crab cake.


Prepping the crab cakes

Prepping the crab cakes

4. Bake until golden on top and set, about 35 minutes.  Serve with dollop of lemon-dill sauce (recipe below).

Crab cakes out of oven

Crab cakes out of oven

DO AHEAD TIP: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Arrange on baking sheet; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven 6 to 8 minutes.

Lemon Dill Sauce

  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • chopped fresh dill
  • juice from lemon zested for crab cakes above
  • salt & pepper to taste

Mix ingredients and serve with crab cakes.


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11 thoughts on “Mini Crab Cake Appetizer

  1. Louise

    Hi Inger!

    Sounds like you’ve been one busy “momma”, lol…I don’t know what it is about having older kids. People think you have more time on your hands when they are older or on their own. Not necessarily the case here or there apparently.

    I can’t even imagine “putting up” 75 pounds of peaches forget about all the other stuff. Kudos to you!

    Interesting recipe you have here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen crab cakes made with cream cheese. They must be delicious! Almost like a crab cake cheesecake. Is it really important to put them in the muffin tins I wonder? It would probably be a whole lot easier just to bake them on a cookie sheet. I’ll be saving this recipe for sure!

    Thanks for sharing, Inger. Hope you get time to relax soon:)

    1. Inger Post author

      I totally agree about older kids requiring far more attention than you anticipate! I think things will start to settle down a little over the next week or so (knocking wood this time)!

      What a great idea about trying the recipe outside of the mini-muffin tin. I don’t know if they’d spread out too much or not but you never know unless you try! I also thought about trying cupcake liners (I have the mini size) and see if that made them look too cup-cakey. Sounds like I need another party!

    1. Inger Post author

      I took me a while to make them but I was definitely not going to forget about them! Now if I could just figure out an easy way to deal with the sticking–aww, darn, more testing 😉

      Thanks for sharing them with all of us!

    1. Inger Post author

      I am a big crab cake (or any crab) lover too Gloria, but they are always so expensive to eat out. But there are always alternatives 🙂

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