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Aug 21, 2020

Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Aioli

These Mexican-style crab cakes are bursting with spicy flavor. Packed with fresh jalapeños, lime juice, and cilantro, these crab cakes will become your new favorite crab recipe.

Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Aioli

Crab cakes are a delicious and luxurious appetizer or main course. They are usually made with bread crumbs, mayonnaise, and egg as a binder, and then spiced with Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce, along with herbs and other seasoning like my mini Maryland crab cakes and crab cake Buddha bowls.

This recipe takes the traditional crab cake and substitutes lime juice, minced jalapeños, and cilantro for the herbs and spices, giving them a Mexican-style flavor. Just by changing a few ingredients, you end up with a delicious twist on a classic.

Mexican-style Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Aioli

If you've never made crab cakes before, you'll be so surprised at how easy they are to make. The trick is to gently mix the ingredients without breaking up the crab meat too much, so you have juicy pieces of crab surrounded by a crispy crust.

Making crab cakes requires a little bit of planning because it is important to chill them before pan frying. These crab cakes are pretty delicate, don't have a lot of binder, and can easily fall apart when shallow frying, so handle with care. You could add more bread crumbs for binding, but that takes away from the fresh juicy crab.

You can also break up the crab meat into smaller pieces if you prefer, which helps the crab cakes stick together.

Crab cakes before cooking

For the crab, use lump crab from the refrigerated section of your grocery store. It's usually near the surimi packages, but a lot more pricey (and a lot more flavorful). Costco also sells one pound containers of lump crab meat in their refrigerated seafood section that is great for these crab cakes.

Top these crab cakes with a creamy jalapeño aioli and serve them with slices of lime for a wonderful appetizer, lunch, or dinner.

Make ahead tips:

Definitely assemble the crab cakes in advance and chill before frying. However, once you have fried them, serve them right away to enjoy their full crispiness. If you do have leftovers, reheat them in the oven rather than the microwave, or they will be a little soggy.

You can absolutely make the aioli up to three days in advance.

Mexican-style Crab Cakes topped with Jalapeño Aioli

Crab cake recipe variations:

The jalapeños in these crab cakes, after frying, are not overly hot, so if you want something extra spicy, you can experiment with habaneros or serranos to balance the sweetness of the crab.

Feel free to make these appetizer-sized to serve as a first course, in lettuce cups, or in taco shells.

You can fry these crab cakes in batches and place them on a sheet pan in a 250 degree F oven while you are pan frying the remaining ones.

Don't forget the aioli!

Jalapeño aioli

What to serve with these crab cakes:

I love these crab cakes served with a salad. Some delicious ones include:

Mexican-style Crab Cakes

Welcome to another Fish Friday Foodies. Our host this month is Rebekah of Making Miracles and our theme is the flavors of Mexico.

Check out everyone's seafood recipes!

Jalapeño crab cakes with spicy aioli

Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, these crab cakes with jalapeño aioli are easy and delicious. 

      Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Aioli

      Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Aioli
      Yield: 6 crab cakes
      Author: Karen Kerr
      These Mexican-style crab cakes are bursting with spicy flavor. Packed with fresh jalapeños, lime juice, and cilantro, these crab cakes will become your new favorite crab recipe.


      For the Crab Cakes
      • 1 jalapeño chile, seeds removed and finely chopped
      • 2 teaspoons lime juice
      • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
      • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
      • 1 large egg
      • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
      • Scant teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
      • 1 pound jumbo crab meat, picked over for shells
      • 1 tablespoon butter
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • Lime wedges for serving
      For the Jalapeño Aioli
      • 1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
      • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
      • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
      • 1/8 teaspoon salt
      • Pinch of black pepper


      To Make the Crab Cakes
      1. Combine the jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro leaves, bread crumbs, egg, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Fold in the crab meat, gently breaking up the pieces, but not too much. 
      2. Form the mixture into six 3-inch patties, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. 
      3. When ready to cook the crab cakes, heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and pan fry the crab cakes in batches, about 3 minutes per side, until browned on the outside. Transfer them to the oven while finish pan frying the rest of the crab cakes. 
      4. Serve with the aioli and lime wedges. 
      To Make the Aioli
      1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth. You can also use a food processor. 
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      crab cakes, aioli
      Did you make this recipe?
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      Created using The Recipes Generator

      This recipe was adapted from Pati Jinich. It can also be found in her wonderful book, Pati's Mexican Table.

Would you like to comment?

  1. As luck will have it, I had crab cakes on the menu for dinner tonight. I'm going to try this recipe. Thanks Karen.

  2. Oh my GOODNESS! Look at all that juicy crabmeat packed into these perfect little cakes! Yumm!

  3. You had me at crab cakes already but now I am craving your spicy ones and that jalapeño aioli!

  4. Oh my, yum! My tummy is rumbling just thinking about it.

  5. Amazing that I love crab cakes but have NEVER made them myself... proving that there is indeed something very wrong with me (sigh)

    1. Nothing wrong with you my dear!! Now you must!!!

  6. Crab cakes look amazing, these have got me craving to make them!


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