Crab Cakes with Creamy Coleslaw


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Back in November, my fisherman brother-in-law sent me home with 25 pounds of fresh seafood he caught off the California coast. This stash included King crab, tuna, lingcod, salmon, trout, and several more varieties. He knows how much Dan and I miss the seafood of our home state, so he wrapped up a cooler special for us. (You should have seen the looks I got from the airport staff as I tried to get that thing through security!) I made it to TN with my precious cargo and have been rationing it ever since. A couple weeks ago I came across a great recipe for crab cakes from Valerie Bertinelli on Food Network and I decided to give it a try. These crab cakes are AMAZING! I deviated from her recipe just a bit, but I think the changes I made only make them better. Here’s what I did:

Start by dicing 1 Anaheim pepper, 1 cup of celery, and 1/2 cup of red onion. It’s best to have these ready to go ahead of time to make the cooking process easier.

crab cakes

In a large saute pan or cast iron skillet, add all your chopped vegetables to the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add in 8 ounces of Italian sausage. If you like spicy crab cakes, try the spicy Italian sausage. Otherwise, stick with the mild. Cook this until the pink is gone or about 10 minutes.

crab cakes

Next, add in 2 tablespoons of minced fresh garlic and 2 1/2 teaspoons of seafood seasoning. Old Bay is really popular and Red Lobster now sells their seafood seasoning too. Mix this while it cooks for another 2 minutes. Lastly, add in 1/4 cup of white wine and cook it for 4-6 minutes until the alcohol is cooked off and the yummy flavor is left. Take the sausage mixture and set it aside.

crab cakes

While the sausage is cooling, grab a pound of lump crab meat. If you don’t buy it fresh from a seafood store (be sure to check for shells btw), you can find this in the canned section near the tuna. I was lucky enough to have a pound of crab meat that my brother-in-law gave me. He is a commercial fisherman in Northern California. When we went for a visit last November, he said I could keep whatever meat I pulled out of the crab! So I sat my little seafood-loving butt down and got to work!

I probably ate a pound in the midst of pulling out the meat, but hey! Finders Keepers. There is nothing like fresh-caught crab. NOTHING. If I close my eyes, I can still taste the Pacific ocean.

crab cakes

Shred the crab meat into small chunks and add it to the sausage mixture. Add in 2 beat eggs and 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs.

crab cakes

Get down and dirty by mixing the crab cakes with your fingers. Make sure everything is well coated. It should hold together when you squeeze it.

crab cakes

Now form your crab cakes by rolling a ball in your hand, placing it on a cookie sheet, and then patting it flat on top. You can make these into crab cake sliders by keeping the patties small, making about 12. I opted to make mine a little bigger and stick them inside Brioche buns rather than slider rolls. Take this cookie sheet and put the whole entire thing in the refrigerator for atleast an hour. You don’t want to skip this step because as the crab cakes cool, they bind together. If you cook them right away, they will most likely fall apart.

crab cakes

In a large saute pan or cast iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook the crab cakes until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. You will probably need to add another tablespoon of butter when you flip them to keep the bottom from burning.

crab cakes

Take the crab cakes and put them into a toasted Brioche slider roll or bun. You can toast the buns in the same pan as the crab cakes once they are removed.

crab cakes

Top the crab cakes with Creamy Red Cabbage Coleslaw. This stuff is AMAZING! I could eat the whole bowl myself. It is made with seafood seasoning, so the flavors really compliment each other. The creaminess of the coleslaw cools your mouth from the heat of the Italian sausage and Anaheim pepper in the crab cakes. If you want to print off the coleslaw recipe, you can find it here.

crab cakes

I would probably eat 2 or 3 crab cake sliders, so I opt for the regular sized Brioche bun. Plus, I need all the extra space to hold that coleslaw!

If you’re near the ocean, wouldn’t these be fun to make at a crab boil? The slider version could also serve as a speciality appetizer or tapa at your next party. If you love seafood as much as I do, you may also like this Dijon Salmon with Sauteed Snap Peas or this Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice. And if you’re not a big seafood lover, don’t worry! I have all sorts of amazing recipes on my Recipe Index and Pinterest boards. Happy cooking y’all!

Crab Cakes with Creamy Coleslaw

Heidi Davison
These crab cakes are packed with flavor and will leave you begging for a second. Make them as a slider or a full-sized sandwich.
3 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine American
Servings 6 -12


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz Italian sausage
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Anaheim pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 tsps seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 cup sherry or white wine
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 pound lump crab meat broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 8 regular Brioche buns or 12 small Brioche slider rolls
  • 3-4 Tbsp butter
  • Optional: Creamy coleslaw for a topping


  • Dice the celery, onion, and Anaheim pepper.
  • In a saute pan or cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and brown the vegetables.
  • Add the Italian sausage and cook until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and the seafood seasoning and cook for 2 minutes more.
  • Pour in the wine and saute until reduced, about 4-6 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs and add in the crab meat.
  • Add in the cooled sausage mixture and the panko breadcrumbs.
  • Use you hands to mix everything together. The mixture should hold together if you squeeze it.
  • Form balls using the width of your Brioche buns as a guide.
  • Transfer the balls to a cookie sheet and pat down to make a flat top.
  • Refrigerate the crab cakes for 1 hour.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet and cook the crab cakes in batches.
  • Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • You may need to add more butter when you flip the crab cakes to keep from burning.
  • Serve each crab cake on a Brioche bun and top with creamy coleslaw.


Recipe adapted from Valerie Bertinelli


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  • 3 stars
    Doesn’t the sausage take center stage in the taste? Seems the sausage would ruin the crab taste. Just an opinion. The rest of the recipe sounds great. I just wouldn’t add the sausage.

    • Hi Kathy! I personally taste much more of the crab in this recipe than the sausage. You could most definitely leave the sausage out and double the crab if you prefer, but I like the smokey flavor and subtle heat the italian sausage adds.

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