Delicious mini crab cake bites that are quick and easy to make! These mini crab cakes taste just like the real thing but require way less work and are perfect to pass around for parties or for the holidays!

crab cake bites on a speckled tray on white marble surface


And the best part is they don’t require as much work as frying off individual crab cakes; one batch of these bites makes 24 at once, and yet they taste very similar. We start with a parmesan and panko bottom, top it off with a seasoned crab and cream cheese mix and when they’re hot out of the oven, a small dollop of a lemony cajun dipping sauce that will make you and your guests go nuts!

Around the holidays, I love having a nice baked brie, homemade seasoned pretzels, saltine cracker toffee, and my firecracker meatballs to snack on in the evenings while we’re watching a movie, playing board games, or just hanging out with friends in the backyard. Of course my hot chocolate bar also usually makes an appearance this time of the year, but lately, I’ve been making it for two. It also happens that all of these snacks double up as the perfect munchies for New Year’s Eve. And you can bet on it that I’m adding these deliciously mini crab cake bites to my menu for counting down this year.

Nevermind the fact that it’ll probably be just the two of us; we can still polish off two dozen of these things on our own, TYVM.

fingers holding crab cake bite

What do you need to make mini crab cake bites?

  • Breadcrumbs: I used panko for this recipe, which is a Japanese breadcrumb. I haven’t tried using any other type of breadcrumb and am afraid that these crab cake bites wouldn’t hold their shape properly if you were to swap them out.
  • Parmesan cheese: the panko and parmesan work together with the butter to make the crust for these little crab cake bites.
  • Butter: the butter is the binder that holds together the panko and parmesan for these bites’ crust portion.
  • Cream cheese: Be sure to use softened cream cheese for this recipe; it’s part of the crab filling base.
  • Lump crab meat: you can use claw meat or lump crab meat for this recipe. I usually purchase tubs of crab meat from the refrigerated seafood section of the grocery store. However, you could certainly steam or boil crabs and use the meat from that as well. Canned crab would also work. Just be sure to drain well, and remember that if it comes packed in liquid, you’ll want to make sure that you have 8 ounces of crab meat after draining the cans!
  • Egg: the egg, cream cheese, and mayo act as binders to bring these ingredients together.
  • Mayo + Sour cream: the mayo and sour cream add flavor to the bites. Mayo also is a binder in holding the filling together.
  • Lemon: You’ll need both the zest and juice for this recipe. It’s best to remove the zest first using a zester before squeezing out the juice. You’ll also need a bit of juice for the dipping sauce (if you make it), so be sure to squeeze out a little extra for that too.
  • Herbs and seasonings: you’ll need some salt, white pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and old bay seasoning. I also use a tablespoon of freshly chopped chives for the crab cake batter. 
tray with bites before baking

How to make mini crab cake bites in the oven:

  1. Make the bottom. You’ll start by preheating your oven and spraying a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. I haven’t tested the recipe in regular muffin pans, but I am confident it could work. You’ll need to adjust the baking time and allow it to cook through. In a bowl, melt the butter until it’s liquid, then combine the parmesan cheese and panko until mixed. Place roughly 2 teaspoons of the mixture in each muffin cup and pat it down using your fingers or the back of a measuring tablespoon.
  2. Make the crab mixture. This is really simple. Combine all the remaining ingredients for the crab mixture in a bowl and, using a measuring tablespoon, place a dollop on top of each prepared crust. 
  3. Bake them. Bake the prepared crab cake bites until they’re golden and set in the center. You’ll want to let them cool for a few minutes before attempting to remove them from the muffin pan. I like to top them with more chopped chives before serving. Lemon wedges are great to serve on the side with the dipping sauce.
bitten crab cake with sauce and chives on top

How do you ensure you get the mini muffins out of the pan without them breaking?

You can run an offset spatula or a pairing knife along the edges to help loosen them and pop out the bites.

Is there a dipping sauce you’d pair with these?

I would never leave you without one! My favorite is a bit of mayo, with chopped chives, lemon juice, Cajun seasoning (such as this or this), and a bit of horseradish – which you can leave out if you aren’t a fan!

stack on bites with crab cake on top missing a bite

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

close up of crab cake bite on parchment with chives and sauce on top
Yield: 24-27 bites

Easy Addicting Crab Cake Bites (Crab Cake Cups)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Delicious mini crab cake bites that are quick and easy to make! These mini crab cakes taste just like the real thing but require way less work and are perfect to pass around for parties or for the holidays!

Easy Addicting Crab Cake Bites (Crab Cake Cups)


  • Cooking spray, for pan
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (shredded or grated)
  • 6 tablespoon melted butter
  • 8 ounces lump crab meat
  • ¾ brick (6 ounces) cream cheese, softened to room temp
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon EACH: garlic powder AND smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: old bay seasoning AND lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives (plus more for topping)
  • Salt and white pepper (or black)
  • Serve with sauce (in notes)


    1. PANKO: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Mix together the panko, parmesan cheese, and melted butter. Place roughly 2 teaspoons of the panko mixture in the bottom of each muffin cup using your fingers or the bottom of a measuring teaspoon (or tablespoon) gently pack into a tight shape.
    2. CRAB MIXTURE: Combine the crab meat, cream cheese, mayonnaise, egg, sour cream garlic powder, smoked paprika, old bay seasoning, lemon juice + zest, chopped chives, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spoon roughly 1 tablespoon of the crab mixture into each mini muffin cup.
    3. BAKE: Until the edges begin to turn golden, 14-18 minutes. Allow the crab cakes to cool in the pan for several minutes before attempting to remove them. You can run an offset spatula or a pairing knife along the edges to help pop out the bites. Serve crab bites warm or allow them to cool to room temperature before serving. I like to top them with more chopped chives before serving and serve with lemon wedges and prepared sauce.


  1. OPTIONAL SAUCE: ½ cup mayo + 1 tablespoon chopped chives + 2 teaspoon lemon juice + 1-2 teaspoon cajun seasoning + 1-2 teaspoon horseradish. Mix in a bowl

Have you made this recipe?

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