Crab Cakes with Lemon-Dill Sauce

Things are looking up! I’ve been able to sleep through the last few nights in a row (gasp!) and my left eye has finally stopped twitching, haha. Getting up at the more reasonable time of 10 a.m. this morning I felt human for the first time in weeks. I cleaned my room, paid the bills, went grocery shopping, and spent two hours giving my poor goldfish the TLC they desperately needed. With a squeaky-clean tank and brand new plants I hope they’re feeling the love.

I suppose it’s a bit inappropriate to segue into a seafood post just now, but since I’m not talking about fish exactly I hope Howard and Pearl can forgive me. Today’s recipe is for some quick and light crab cakes that will help liven up your backyard BBQs – assuming you all are luckier than us VTers and still have a backyard above water. We rarely have crab cakes around here and those offered at our limited seafood restaurants always seemed like oily, heavy bricks to me. So, finding a crab cake recipe that was not only simple but also rather light immediately got me excited.

I have to be honest here, however, and admit that since I already had mayo and sour cream in my fridge I did not buy fat-free versions just for this recipe…the mayo was canola-based though so that counts for something, doesn’t it? Anyway, I’m posting the recipe as I made it because A. I’m sure it tastes better and B. you’re only eating one-sixteenth of a Cup of mayo per cake and even less sour cream so, honestly, I believe the taste is well worth the extra calories. By all means, though, use the low-fat versions of each if you’d prefer – it’s an easy enough swap.

I’ll take a moment now to mention Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. If you haven’t noticed the link on the right-hand side of this blog, please take a minute to check it out. They have many handy guides to help you buy sustainable, healthy seafood without hassle. I have their iPod app and – let me tell ya – it’s fantastic. I use it whenever I want seafood, either at a restaurant, sushi bar, or for my own cooking. Because I couldn’t find shelled crabmeat at my Co-op I used the source recipe’s recommendation of Wild Planet brand canned crabmeat that’s sustainably caught and canned in BPA-free packaging. You didn’t know I was such a hippie, did you?

Crab Cakes with Dill Sauce (adapted from Light and Healthy‘s 2010 Edition)


For Crab Cakes…

1   lb.   jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage and shells

¼   C   mayonnaise

2 – 4   T   plain Panko

2   T   Dijon mustard

4   scallions (green parts only) minced*

2   t   minced fresh dill

2   t   minced fresh parsley

1   t   Old Bay Seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

1   large egg

2   T   canola oil

lemon wedges for serving

* Note: I did not include scallions in my cakes because my bunch went bad before I had a chance to make this recipe (see my rant in the last post) and I didn’t want to buy another when I had plenty of dill and parsley to make up for it.

For Dill Sauce…

¼   C   mayonnaise

2   T   sour cream

1   T   fresh lemon juice

2   t   minced fresh shallot

2   t   minced fresh dill

¼   t   salt

low-fat milk as needed


  1. Gently fold the crabmeat, mayonnaise, 2 Tablespoons of the Panko, mustard, scallions, herbs, and seasoning together in a medium bowl being careful not to break up the lumps of crab. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Carefully fold in the egg white with a rubber spatula until the mixture just holds together, adding the remaining bread crumbs as needed.
  3. Divide the crab mixture into 4 portions and shape each into a round cake about 3″ across and 1½” high. Transfer the cakes to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  4. As the cakes are chilling, prepare the Lemon-Dill sauce by mixing the mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, dill, shallot, and salt together in a small bowl. Add milk as needed to thin to the desired consistency. Cover and chill along with the cakes for up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.
  5. Heat oil in a 12″ nonstick skillet over Medium-high heat until shimmering. Gently add the chilled crab cakes to the pan and cook until well browned on either side, flipping halfway through – about 8 minutes. If you’re concerned with burning, dredge the cakes in a bit of flour before adding them to the skillet. I completely forgot this step and my cakes turned out fine, but if you might want to try this precautionary step.
  6. Transfer cakes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain briefly. Serve with a dollop of Lemon-Dill Sauce and lemon wedges.

Beezer’s Notes:

These cakes are winners all-around. You get full, sweet crabmeat taste with tangy herbs and just a hint of mustard. The source recipe calls for normal breadcrumbs, but I used Panko both because I already had it in the cupboard and also because I was curious as to how it would compliment (or ruin) the recipe. I’m very happy to say the Panko worked out perfectly: you get its support in structure without tasting a lot of filler. I suppose you could even skip the fresh herbs in favor of seasoned Panko if you really want to simplify things, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The fresh herbs really create a great flavor you wouldn’t find in dried seasoning.

Both my brother (who orders crab cakes whenever possible, oily bricks or no) and my father (who is a very conscientious eater) gave this recipe a thumbs-up. My brother’s only complaint was that he thought a butter sauce would be better for seafood and didn’t like the lemon-dill sauce, but my father and I both really enjoyed the creamy-cool alternative to a heavy butter dip. Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Overall Enjoyment:   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Leave a comment


  1. I looooove crab cakes. But only if they don’t have any peppers. These ones look fantastic, and I was looking to stray a bit from my usual ones, and this is convenient since I just bought a huge bunch of dill. =)

  2. I’m not a fan of peppers myself, with the exception of a juicy Philly Cheesesteak haha. Have you posted your crab cake recipe? I’ll have to look. This dill one was my first ever attempt, I’d love to try a different variation.


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