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platter of crab cakes and herbs.

Not all crab cakes can be created equally. If you’re like me, you’ve had some that were over the top scrumptious and jam-packed with crab and others that were more like a bread cake with a few crab overtones. 

I can promise you the crab to breadcrumb ratio in this recipe is on point. You’ll get a fork full of jumbo lump crab in every bite. 

How to Make Crab Cakes

The foundation for crab cakes is obviously crab meat. Do yourself a favor and skip the imitation stuff. Look for the can of lump. Lump meat comes from the body of the crab and is sweet and delicate. I like using jumbo lump because the pieces are larger, and to me it’s all about that fork full of crab. 

To form a crab cake, you’ll need to create a binder. This is where recipes vary. The foundation for most include an egg, mayo, panko breadcrumbs and seasonings. 

8 crab cakes on sheet pan

Those are mixed with the crab, formed into patties and fried. 

Before they hit the oil, I find it’s best to chill the batter. This helps them keep their shape a little bit better. You can even form them, freeze them, thaw them and fry them when it’s time to party. 

What Makes These Crab Cakes So Light

Even though crab is such a delicate meat, some crab cakes can be a little heavy and greasy, but not this recipe. 

I cut the amount of mayo with coconut milk. Don’t use the lite coconut milk. You want the thicker stuff. I hit it with lime juice and zest for acid, and for a pop of heat, I add some finely minced jalapeno. 

crab cakes cooking on griddle

And instead of frying it in a pan of oil, I add a thin layer of oil to the griddle plate on my Aspire gas grill

All of the ingredients are already cooked, so the cooking stage is just there to provide texture and crunch on the outer edges. No need to soak it in oil. 

Crab Cake Sauce

Instead of tartar sauce or classic aioli, this dish includes a recipe for chili mayo. It uses a little more coconut milk and lime juice along with some sambal oelek, which is an Indonesian chili sauce – you can find it in the Asian aisle at your grocery. 

If you prefer a sauce that is more mild, cut back on the sambal oelek or add more coconut milk. The milk cuts the heat significantly. 

The recipe makes 8 generous crab cakes that can be served as appetizers or a meal or even between a bun for a crab cake sandwich. Enjoy. 

crab cakes on platter with chili mayo
5 from 1 vote

Coconut Lime Crab Cakes with Chili Mayo

You don't have to live in Maryland to enjoy delicious crab cakes. They are extremely easy to make at home and cook in less than 10 minutes.
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 crab cakes


  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Chili Mayo

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp chili sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 lime
  • pinch salt


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup coconut milk, 2 tablespoons mayo, egg, juice and zest from 1 lime, and salt and pepper.
  • Pick through the crab pieces to make sure there are no shells. Fold the crab, breadcrumbs and jalapeno into the coconut milk mixture. Ensure that it’s mixed thoroughly, but that the crab still has large pieces.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Shape into 8 crab cakes. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup mayo, chili sauce, 2 tablespoons coconut milk, juice and zest from half a lime and salt. Chill. Cut the remaining lime half into wedges.
  • Heat a skillet or griddle plate over medium-high heat on a grill or stove top. Add canola oil to the pan.
  • Fry the crab cakes in the oil for 4-5 minutes per side, until brown. Remove. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  • Serve with the chili mayo and lime wedges.


Calories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 12gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 818mgPotassium: 190mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 98IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @girlscangrill

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christie vanover standing against wood wall.

Hey BBQ Family

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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