The Best Crab Cakes

When we set out to make the "best" crab cakes, opinions in the test kitchen were strong and varied. But we could all agree on plenty of fresh, high-quality crabmeat with very little filler. After some tinkering, we created these decadent cakes—generously sized and highly seasoned—with plenty of lemon juice, fresh herbs and spices. The jumbo lump crabmeat is front and center, so splurge on the best and freshest you can find.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 8 crab cakes
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Ingredients

Crab Cakes:

2 pounds fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage

1 1/2 cups panko

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup chopped chives

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Juice and zest of 1 lemon, plus more lemon wedges for serving

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

Tartar Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup chopped dill pickles (about 2 whole pickles)

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

1 tablespoon minced chives

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. For the crab cakes: Gently fold together the crabmeat, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, chives, Dijon mustard, seafood seasoning, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper and the juice and zest of one lemon in a large bowl. Refrigerate the crab mixture for 15 minutes to firm up; this allows the breadcrumbs to absorb some of the liquid, helping the crab cakes bind together.
  3. Meanwhile, make the tartar sauce: Combine the mayonnaise, dill pickles, capers, chives, zest and juice of 1 lemon in a medium bowl and mix until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Scoop heaping half cups of the crab mixture and pat into 2 1/2-inch wide patties. Lightly press them together so they do not fall apart while cooking. You should have 8 patties.
  5. Heat 3 tablespoons unsalted butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crab cakes to the pan and cook until golden, about 2 minutes, then flip using a flat metal spatula. Continue to cook until lightly golden, about 1 1/2 minutes then transfer the pan to the oven. Cook until the crab cakes are completely heated through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Serve the crab cakes with the tartar sauce and lemon wedges.