DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Miniature Crab Cakes

Prep: 20 min | Cook: 20 min | Total: 40 min | Servings:6


Miniature Crab Cakes
Miniature Crab Cakes
Miniature Crab Cakes
I'm really super proud of these crab cakes. I kinda feel like this is a full blown reinvention of the low carb crab cake! A standard crab cake is usually crab, which is held together with lots of breadcrumbs and eggs and/or mayonnaise. How would I do a crab cake ... without bread and ... without making it a FrankenCake?

Often, before I set out to create a recipe, I look to see if a similar recipe exists. There's almost always something similar. This gives me an idea of "what's out there". From there, I try and determine if there's a way I can improve it, or ... throw a "DJ Twist" at it, or ... often times ... I just leave it alone and move on. In this case, I found lots of low carb crab cakes, but they all seemed to do the same thing. They were all basically crab, with eggs or mayonnaise, but ... no breadcrumbs. This is fine, in theory, and probably tastes great, but ... in my mind ... it's little more than a crab flavored fried pancake-like omelet-thing, which ... again ... is fine, but it's not what I picture when I think of crab cakes in my head.

I want something plump and shapely. I wanted a full "puck" of a crab cake ... with a nice crust! This means, I needed something to serve as a binder ... or the "glue" that can hold its own and form its own shape, but not detract from the core "crabbiness" of it all. Hmmmm ....

Aha! Mousseline!

Mousseline is basically a catch all term that means whipped cream is involved. In this case, it's a fish mousseline, or even more specific to the pictures ... a SHRIMP mousseline! (the stuff you'll find on shrimp toast, or within the shrimp stuffed dishes at Dim Sum) Mayonnaise, a common binder for crab cakes is an egg and fat emulsion. Shrimp Mousseline is an egg, shrimp and fat emulsion. Kinda similar, but ... it'll hold its shape better and ... tastes like shrimp!

Don't fear and don't feel like this suddenly becomes a crazy advanced recipe. It's not. At all. All that's involved is throwing an egg in a food processor with some shrimp and a little salt. Then slowly pour some cream into it, while it's blending. That's it. Mousseline! From there, you fold your crab, seasoning and other goodies into it. You'll be left with a kind of ... raw lump of seafood gooiness. It's just thick enough to form! Here, you can scoop out little 1 portion balls, drop 'em into a bowl full of crushed pine nuts, form 'em into little pucks and ... fry 'em up in butter!


Note: For the mousseline, you can use most any raw fish. I used shrimp, but you could pick up some inexpensive white fish, sole or haddock, for example ... or salmon, or scallops, or go for something expensive like lobster! It really doesn't much matter, provided it's cold, fresh, raw and not full of bones, tendons or anything else tough.

Second Note: The photos show the crab cakes with a Saffron Aioli. Soak a small amount of saffron in warm water, then pour it into a small amount of mayonnaise with a small amount of chopped garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Saffron Aioli!

Final Note: Makes about 24 crab cakes, with a serving size of 3 cakes.

. .
IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
8 oz (227g)  raw fish, shrimp, scallop, lobster, etc.232.043.3645.40000
1 large (50g)  whole egg, chilled71.556.5.5000.5
1/2 cup (119g)  cream, heavy whipping410.5442.53.5003.5
1 lb (454g)  lump crab meat, drained and picked to remove shells464.086.7290.80000
1 small (74g)  red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced22.940.744.441.4802.96
4 whole (60g)  green onions (scallions), cut lengthwise into thin strips and divided19.
1 tsp (2g)  smoked paprika6.74.3.351.31.8600.45
1/2 tsp (1g)  cayenne pepper, ground2.
1 cup (202.5g)  pine nuts1363.513827277.5019.5
1/4 cup (56g)  fresh whole butter, divided4004400000
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste0000000
Totals (of 6 Servings):2993.34241.55g174.66g41.45g11.81g0g29.64g
Per Serving:498.8940.26g29.11g6.91g1.97g0g4.94g *


  1. Before you do anything, chill your food processor bowl and blade. The mousseline needs to be made in a cold environment.
  2. Add your fish/shrimp/whatever to your food processor with a small amount of salt (about 1/2 tsp.), pepper and an egg. Turn the food processor on.
  3. Through the hole in the top, slowly drizzle in your cream, until it is well blended. You'll have something that looks like paste. You may need to scrape down the edges and puree for another half moment.
  4. Scrape your mousseline into a bowl, and add your crab, bell pepper, green onions, cayenne, paprika and a small amount of salt (about 1 tsp.) and pepper. Mix well.
  5. Set your crab mixture in the fridge.
  6. Place your pine nuts in a plastic bag. A one-gallon Ziploc would work nicely. Roll over the bag with a rolling pin, or crush them with a mallet or the bottom of a pan. You want them crushed, but still somewhat whole. You're going to use them as a crust.
  7. Once the pine nuts are crushed, pour them into something like a pie pan. You want a wide bottomed bowl or pan. A fairly small casserole dish would work, as well.
  8. Portion 1 to 1-1/2 oz balls of the crab mixture and place them in the pine nuts. Roll them around, so they are evenly coated with the pine nuts.
  9. Pick up each pine nut crusted crab ball and shape it into a little puck in the palm of your hand, while twirling it with your fingers. It should be a flat puck, about 1 inch thick. Set them aside.
  10. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  11. In 2 large oven proof sauté pans, melt 2 tbsps of butter, in each pan.
  12. Over medium heat, place some crabcakes into each pan. There should be about a 1/2 inch gap between each cake. If you don't have room for all of them, don't worry.
  13. Brown one side of each cake. Turn the over, when one side has browned. Brown the other side.
  14. Once both sides have been browned, remove them and place them on a cookie tray. Brown both sides of any remaining crab cakes and place them on the baking tray.
  15. Bake the whole tray for a further 10 minutes in the oven. Remove.
  16. Serve!

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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition ...


Is there any non-dairy substitute for the Cream?

 NewGram  10/18/2015


---Reply posted by DJ on 10/18/2015
Hi NewGram ... interesting question! I'm sure there is, but ... I really couldn't guess what it would be! Basically, you're adding fat and water to the emulsion, but homogenized cream is already an emulsion of sorts so ... to replace it with a non-dairy alternative, with a similar emulsion and fat to water content ... I'm honestly not sure! I'm almost wondering if something like a light mayonnaise would work. It's also a fatty emulsion, with a creamy texture. Are eggs acceptable? I'm truly not sure! Sorry! :-/

hi these looks delish. I was wondering if I could make these earlier in the day up to the point of putting in oven, refrigerate & then pop in oven when guests arrive? Thanks

 Laurie  12/16/2014


Chopped macadamias would be quite tasty! The recipe would make about 24 little crab cakes. I hope this helps! :)

 DJ  11/23/2014


Macadamia might be a good alternative nut. How many does a batch make? Sounds like a good party recipe b

 unknown  11/17/2014


Hi Unknown ... that's an interesting point, but ... I suspect that crab wouldn't work. It's very stringy, plus you'd need to start with raw crab meat, which I've never seen. Most raw meats can be made into a mousseline, though ... chicken, for example, but ... now we're going in an entirely different direction ...

 DJ  9/10/2014


For those asking about alternatives to using shrimp or fish in the mousseline, couldn't you just use more of the crab in the food processor to make the mousseline? Never having made it, I wouldn't know, but it seems like you could just use more of the same seafood in the cakes to make the mousseline. Just an idea.

 unknown  9/5/2014


Lisa .. that's tricky! What you want is a form of protein that is light in flavor, so you don't lose the taste of crab. Something like raw chicken and pork can both be used to form a similar emulsion, but ... the taste will likely be too pronounced and you'll lose the taste of the crab. What about something like scallops? That would likely work. Or, a very clean and fresh white fish (I know you said no fish, but ... it felt wrong to omit it). What do you think?

 DJ  8/5/2014


Any ideas for someone who doesn't like shrimp or most things fishy?? Crab is really amazing, but shrimp and fish are not on my "like" list at all. Wondering how I could bind this without it... Very interested in making the crab cakes, though :)

 Lisa  8/5/2014


Thanks, Jude! I appreciate the feedback. It's interesting to see which posts and which post styles some people gravitate towards. A lot of the exploratory posts are the most fun for me, as well, but ... I tend to find they leave some others feeling a bit lost or confused. Something like this may be a bit too far fetched! In any event, thanks for the comment ... and your (Karen's) Salmon Cakes sound great!

 DJ  7/14/2014


I'm reminded of an inspirational chef (back in the day before I went for my own professional cook's training), Karen Barnaby, and her Fresh Salmon Cakes. Same situation, getting away from too much (or any) egg/crumbs binder, but rather than the mousseline approach (which I like) her technique has no dairy ... and just a 'tad' of mayonnaise. I excerpted her recipe from The Low-Carb Gourmet (©Karen Barnaby) to my MasterCook years ago, and it's delightful, with a short ingredient list (not including variations) and some handchopping (FP not recommended, to keep some texture): 1.5 lbs fresh salmon 2 T mayonnaise herbs fresh lemon salt Thanks for providing me another inspirational chef and "food chemistry" geek to follow :-) ! I'm enjoying your seek & experiment posts the most.

 Jude the.Kitschen.Counter  7/11/2014


Thanks for the input, Jessica! :)

 DJ  5/2/2014


I can confirm these are quite nice without a crust as well--for a more induction-friendly recipe. They didn't last long!

 Jessica  4/30/2014


Melissia, it's "lump" crab meat, which is meat coming from the inside body of the crab. I pick it up from a variety places, ranging from seafood markets to CostCo to the local grocery store. It's usually in small plastic tubs ... like sour cream, or something along those lines. The actual TYPE of crab varies, but it doesn't much matter. What you're looking for is pieces of crab meat, with the shell removed. If you wind up cooking and picking your own crab, this meat will work, including larger pieces, like the claws. Simply chop them just a tiny bit, so that they will fold into the mousseline. I hope this helps! :)

 DJ  2/7/2014


What kind of crab...or where'd you get it?

 Melissia  2/7/2014


Hi Me, technically ... you could just skip that part. Just frying the batter would be quite tasty! I added the pine nuts to give a bit more texture. You could use crushed pork rinds, or almond meal, or ... better yet ... crushed blanched almonds (a more rustic texture). Another fun idea might be sesame seeds. I think that could lend a fun flavor, with some nice colors and textures. I hope this helps! :)

 DJ  2/6/2014


---Reply posted by Nikki on 1/23/2017
ooh yeah!! Sesame was the first thing that camse to mind when you had mentioned shrimp toast, I might just be hitting two long missed favourites in one go ... thank you DJ, this is an awesome idea!!!!

What could I use instead of the Pine Nuts? I do not like them:( Maybe chees?

 Me  2/6/2014