We all know that the sweet yet tangy and flaky yet creamy delightfulness of crab cakes is best enjoyed when you cook them with fresh crab meat. However, I, for one, simply don’t always have enough time on my hands to buy fresh crab meat and then make homemade crab cakes. 

So, I usually just stick to buying frozen crab cakes from the local supermarket. Frozen crab cakes have honestly made my life easier. They are such a versatile and fun food item to quickly serve to your family. Whenever I come home late for work, I simply fry or bake some to have with some leftover salad and voila, I have a delectable dinner ready to devour.   

So, read on to find out how to cook frozen crab cakes.

How to Cook Frozen Crab Cakes

There are 3 ways in which you can cook frozen crab cakes – sautéing, deep-frying, and baking. Here we have discussed all the ways with a helpful step-by-step guide on how to cook frozen crab cakes. Sautéing crab cakes is definitely the easiest of the three methods. So, let’s start with that:  

1. Sautéing

This is the most common method used to cook frozen crab cakes and for good reason; sautéing requires less oil than deep-frying and you end up with crispier crab cakes than you’d have via baking. So, here’s how you can sauté frozen crab cakes:

Things You Will Need: 

  • Frozen crab cakes
  • A nonstick skillet or pan (link this le Creuset Frying Pan)
  • Vegetable oil or butter
  • Digital thermometer
  • Paper towels
  • A platter

Things You Will Need: 

  1. For 2 to 3 ounces of crab cakes, put a few tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter in a nonstick pan and turn the temperature to medium-high.
  2. Put the crab cakes, one at a time, in the pan. Make sure that there’s at least a gap of 1 inch between the cakes.  
  3. Sear the crab cakes for around 3 minutes on one side and then flip them over to sear them on the other side for about a minute.
  4. Make sure to turn the heat down to medium and cook each side for another 2 minutes.  
  5. Once the crab cakes have turned a nice golden brown, make sure to check their internal temperature with a thermometer. It should be 165 degrees as that ensures they are thoroughly cooked.
  6. Once they are cooked, take the crab cakes out of the pan and place them on a platter that is lined with a paper towel. Gently pat the top of the cakes with a paper towel. The towel will soak the excess oil.  

Pro Tip: Depending on the thickness of the cake and the duration that they were kept in the freezer for, frozen crab cakes will take about 6 to 8 minutes to get cooked properly. However, if you defrost them in the refrigerator prior to sautéing, they will likely only take 3 to 4 minutes to cook. If you do fry defrosted crab cakes, be careful when flipping them as they are prone to crumble.

2. Deep-Frying

If you are looking for the crispiest crab cakes, then you should definitely give deep-frying a shot. Here’s how you can deep fry frozen crab cakes:

Things You Will Need: 

  • Frozen crab cakes
  • Cooking oil
  • Heavy-bottomed pan
  • A slotted spoon
  • A spatula
  • Paper towels
  • A wide platter
  • Digital thermometer

Things You Will Need: 

  1. Place a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and fill about ½ inch of it with cooking oil.
  2. Make sure that the temperature reaches 350-375 degrees F.
  3. Take the crab cakes out of your freezer and use a slotted spoon to gently lower each cake into the pan.
  4. Make sure to cook the crab cakes for about 2 minutes on each side.
  5. Use a spatula to flip them over.
  6. Once they have deep-fried, the crab cakes will float on the surface of the oil.
  7. Use a digital thermometer to ensure that they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  8. Place the crab cakes on a platter that is lined with a paper towel. Blot the top of the cakes with another paper towel to remove the excess oil. Serve them with your favorite side dishes!  

Pro Tip: When deep-frying, make sure to use frozen crab cakes instead of thawed ones as they will lose their shape when deep-fried.

3. Baking

If you have time on your hands but are also looking for a way to cook frozen crab cakes with minimal effort, then baking is the ideal method for you. So, let’s see how to bake frozen crab cakes:

Things You Will Need: 

Things You Will Need: 

  1. Make sure to thaw the crab cakes in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before baking them, as this will significantly reduce the cooking time.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Use melted butter to lightly grease a baking tray. 
  4. Put the thawed crab cake on the baking sheet and make sure to lightly brush the top of each cake with some melted butter.
  5. Place the baking sheet in your oven on the middle rack and let the crab cakes bake until they are golden brown and heated through.
  6. If you want to enjoy crispier crab cakes, broil them for a minute or two after baking them.

Pro Tip: Thawed crab cakes will take 20 to 30 minutes to cook through, while frozen ones will take about 40 minutes or a little more to cook. Make sure to check the internal temperature with a thermometer. It should be at least 165 degrees.

How Long Do Crab Cakes Last in the Fridge?

Cooked crab cakes can easily last up to 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. However, if you plan on eating them well over a week or two later, then make sure to freeze them. Also, make sure to thoroughly smell refrigerated crab cakes before consuming them. If they have a sour smell or even a slimy texture, then they have gone bad and are unsafe to eat. So, you will need to discard them. 

How Do You Know When a Crab Cake Is Done?

When frying or sautéing crab cakes, you will know that they are cooked perfectly when they have turned golden brown and are sizzling a little. Moreover, just make sure that they have reached the ideal internal temperature of 165 degrees, which means that they are done and are safe to eat. For baked crab cakes, you will know they are cooked when they have a crisp golden brown color and have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

What Goes Well With Crab Cakes?

Dishes that go perfectly with Crab Cakes are tangy Mad Hatter Salad, a bowl of fresh gazpacho, herbed and roasted potatoes, mango salsa, grilled asparagus, coleslaw, oven-roasted veggies, sautéed corn and bell peppers, grilled avocados, watermelon, arugula and spinach salad, and many  other side dishes. Dips that go well with crab cakes include a simple mayo dip or if you are looking for more of a spicy kick, then you can always have them with a spicy salsa dip. 

What Do Crab Cakes Taste Like?

Crab cakes are crunchy on the outside and delectably creamy and smooth on the inside. Ideally, a crab cake is supposed to have a slightly sweet and tangy flavor. It tastes a bit like typical crab and mayo with a bit of vinegary tanginess to it. Some crab cakes also have a hint of red pepper which adds an extra kick to the flavor. 

Click here to learn how to cook crab meat.

The Bottom Line

It’s not possible to prepare crab cakes from scratch every single time like some superhuman. This is when store-bought, frozen crab cakes enter the picture. They can be just as tasty as their fresh homemade counterparts provided you know how to cook frozen crab cakes. You can bake, sauté, or deep fry this versatile and scrumptious dish and eat it with a salsa dip, delectable roasted potatoes, and so many other side dishes! 

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About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

Renee' Groskreutz

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  1. Thanks for the great directions (with options) and tips. My Chinese coworker’s mom shared fresh crab cakes and fresh shrimp cakes with us. I took some out of the freezer and fried them in butter and coconut oil. They were delicious.
    I’ve made salmon patties in the past. They were pretty yummy, but they’ll be much better now that I have good directions to follow.
    Betty Jane

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