Cilantro-Lime Crab Cakes

Pair lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeno with crab meat to make these Southwest-style crab cakes! A panko coating offers the perfect crispy crust. This recipe works for both shrimp and crab, so you can choose which you prefer to make, or just go crazy and make both! When I put this recipe together, I had never made shrimp cakes before, and they were awesome. We served them with blue cheese-yogurt dressing spiced up with hot sauce. Just add a salad, and you have a beautiful dinner ready to go, or fancy appetizers for your next party.

Cilantro-lime Crab (or Shrimp) Cakes

Servings 8 crab or shrimp cakes


  • 1 pound (roughly 3 cups) chopped cooked shrimp or lump crab meat
  • 1 tablespoon grated red onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper very finely diced (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise need for crab cakes, but not necessary for shrimp cakes
  • 1 cup panko divided into 1/3 cup for inside cakes and 2/3 cup for exterior coating
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil for frying crab cakes
  • Garnish: Lime wedges and cilantro leaves and blue cheese dressing with hot sauce for dipping


  • Remove tails and shells from shrimp and place them in the bowl of the food processor.
    Pulse 8 to 10 times, until shrimp is chopped but not too pasty. (For crab, don't process meat, just use lump crab meat.)
    Transfer meat to a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add 1/3 cup panko (reserve 2/3 cup for coating exterior of cakes) and all remaining ingredients except olive oil.
    Mix well and divide into eight equal portions.
    Form into patties and then coat on all sides in panko crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • At this point, you can cook the crab cakes and serve, or you can refrigerate them ahead of time to cook later in the day.
  • When ready to cook, heat oil on griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat.
    Place cakes on a griddle and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge, cilantro leaves, and a spoonful of spicy blue cheese dressing.

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