Crab Cake Sauce {Crab Cake Recipe}

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This crab cake sauce is the perfect match for crab cakes, but also delicious on any type of fish. This tangy lemon tarragon mayonnaise that is so delicious, you may find yourself licking the spoon clean!

Crab cake sauce on crab cake

Seafood is my favorite protein! I’d eat it every day if I could! I love it in soups, like this crab bisque or on its own, like this grilled shrimp or  easy broiled lobster tail.

(This post was originally published on March 7th, 2012 and has been updated to contain nutritional information. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases.)

Crab Cake Sauces

There are many kinds of sauces you can serve with crab cakes. While they are traditionally served with a Remoulade sauce, this Lemon-Tarragon Mayonnaise is a fabulous alternative. If you’d like a sweeter sauce, this Shrimp Cocktail Sauce is also delicious. 

Making the crab cake sauce

This crab cake sauce is simply a mixture of fresh tarragon and chives, lemon and salt and pepper.

sauce ingredients

It takes just a few minutes to whisk together, and will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days.

crab cake sauce ingredients

The recipe can easily be doubled. 

Crab cake close up

This Crab Cake Sauce would be fabulous with these Potato and Salmon Cakes!

salmon fish cakes
Crab Cake Sauce

Crab Cake Sauce (Lemon Tarragon Mayonnaise)

Adapted from Paula Deen
5 from 44 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 137 kcal


Lemon Tarragon Mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chives finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • Kosher salt to taste


Lemon Tarragon Mayonnaise

  • Place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined.
    sauce ingredients
  • Chill until ready to use.
    crab cake sauce ingredients


Serving: 1gCalories: 137kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 120mgPotassium: 88mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 134IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Now onto the crab cakes.

How to make crabcakes

crab cake with fork

Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in an area where fresh crab is plentiful. The next best to fresh crab meat is pasteurized crab meat which is usually found in the cooler near the fish department at your local grocery store.

Unlike canned crab meat, pasteurized crab still needs to be refrigerated and will stay fresh for a few months. For this crab cake recipe, I started with Paula Deen’s recipe, adding more veggies and switched the flour for panko bread crumbs, to make them more crispy. 


What’s the best kind of crab meat for crab cakes?

There are several grades of crab meat. Jumbo lump is considered the best because of the size of the pieces. For crab cakes, lump meat, which is still good quality, is fine. Claw meat can be used too and it’s a few dollars cheaper. I like to use a combination of both lump and claw meat. Click here for more tips about crab.

crab cake ingredients

If you want crab cakes that are uniform in size and weight, you can measure the mixture. My crab cakes weighed about 2.5 ounces each. I like to weigh them all first, then cover them in panko. This keeps your hands cleaner.

crab balls

Making crab cakes ahead of time

Because crab is seafood, it’s very perishable. You can certainly make the crab cakes several hours before you plan to serve them. In this case, omit the panko bread crumbs. Form the patties and wrap well with cling film. Keep refrigerated until ready to fry. Then dust with flour or panko just before frying.

crab cakes on tray
crab cake with lemon tarragon mayonnaise

Crab Cakes

Adapted from Paula Deen. Makes about 12 crab cakes or 2 per person.
5 from 3 votes
15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Entree
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 205 kcal


  • 1 lb. crab meat picked free of shells (If you can't find fresh, you can buy it pasteurized in the grocery store chiller with the fresh seafood)
  • 1/3 cup Ritz crackers crushed (about 8)
  • 3 green onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnnaise
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs or flour for dusting
  • avocado oil (or peanut oil) for frying


  • Gently mix crab, chopped vegetables and seasoning together
  • Form mixture into balls, (about 1/3 cup mixture per patty)
  • Flatten each ball. They should be about 3/4" thick. If making ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
  • Coat in Panko bread crumbs or dust with flour.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet, about 1/4″ to 1/2″ oil until shimmering.
  • Fry crab cakes in batches, 3-4 at a time, cooking about 4 minutes per side. Serve with Lemon Tarragon Mayonnaise.


Serving: 1personCalories: 205kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 17gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1206mgPotassium: 257mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 641IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. I’m a crab lover, too! I have fond memories of crab feasts with my east coast family and friends…nothing better!

  2. These look super yummy! We go to Washington and the crab is super fresh. I think the next time we have some I’ll have to make your recipe — it looks so good! And, I love the poem at the beginning. I have a love for the sea as well, though I’m a Pisces, not a Cancer. Thanks again for the lovely post!

  3. Looks like a good recipe and thank you for posting it. I’ve used the Tilghman Inn crab cake recipe exclusively for many years, but will give yours a try. Since I live in Maryland, I use fresh blue crab meat. Hate to admit it, but I only eat crab cakes and cold tuna packed in oil as far as seafood goes, never acquired a taste for any other seafood. One piece of advice, always add the crab meat last and do not over mix it.

  4. Dear Cynthia, I love your opening poem…what a great post, these crab cakes look and sound wonderful. This dish reminds me of warmer, sunnier days! One of my favorites. xo, Catherine

  5. Love the cakes and the sauce. Unfortunately I can only get Krab where I live, and I haven’t had good luck with canned crab. But you’re right – this sauce would be good on just about anything! Even potatoes!

5 from 44 votes (42 ratings without comment)

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