Easy Baked Crab Balls

Hey hey!! So, this one may be one of my most long awaited and tested recipes ever. I am a Maryland girl, so having a crab cake recipe is a big deal. It's legit one of the things you never post unless you know you're coming with the fire emoji. Like, it's gotta be flames! So, I wanted to provide a recipe that not only tastes as it should (because Maryland style crab cakes are the best, let's be honest!), but also cuts back on some of the calories through other cooking methods. Here I am giving you TWO ways to make these: baked and air fried. When I first developed this recipe, I did not own an air fryer, so it was important to provide directions that gave you a crispy, but juicy interior. Crispy in an oven is easy enough if you allow air to circulate all around, but juicy is the more difficult part. The nature of an oven is using dry heat to cook something and having the air circulate around in order to deliver crispiness can sometimes dry things out that are lean, such as seafood. Have no fear, however, these are moist on the inside, crispy on the outside and down right delicious if I must say so myself!


I actually made these for my brother's birthday in December for a Nawlins' style dinner. Everyone gobbled them up! That was the first time I used the air fryer and I knew I was on to something! The air fryer allows the exterior to get crispy, faster and still keeps the inside nice and juicy. If you follow me on social media (which you SHOULD!!) you know I'm obsessed with the air fryer. My preferred method is the air fryer for these, but whether you use it or the oven, I guarantee you will be happy with the result.

Uncooked crab balls on a rack to ensure a crispy outside. The foil bounces heat back up to get the underside.

Uncooked crab balls on a rack to ensure a crispy outside. The foil bounces heat back up to get the underside.

This recipe begins with jumbo lump crab. For me, I'd rather have big, juicy pieces of crab in my crab cakes with just enough filling to hold it together, rather than little pieces of crab that you can barely identify. The next step is to mix your seasonings and the wet ingredients together. When you do this separately, it allows you to mix until you find the right balance, without breaking apart your jumbo crab that you paid more for! The other bonus with this technique is you can make the sauce in advance in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 48 hours before you're ready for your crab cakes. This makes it easier if you're doubling/tripling (or more) the recipe and will allow the flavors to develop more so that you'll have even more flavorful cakes! Whenever I'm doing this for a party, I follow this make ahead method and I always get compliments on how great they are. This recipe very easily scales up for larger batches.

Shrimp simmering in sauce. Letting the sauce thicken. *Homer drools*

Some quick tips based on the testers of this recipe:

  • Let these measurements be a starting point for you. Some people found that the panko amount was enough, some found it to be too little. Same with mayo, some used up to 1/4 cup of may, while some used much less.
  • Be gentle in your folding and DO NOT OVERMIX! Seriously...you'll be very disappointed in the end if you break up all of your crab!
  • Finish these with a little acid after you add the butter. The citrus will cut through the fat and bring out the brightness in the overall dish.
  • These are delicious served with remoulade sauce, which is just a fancy tartar sauce! You can make easily by combining mayonnaise, lemon juice, anchovy paste, salt, pepper, cayenne, dill relish, parsley, chives and a little tarragon until you get your perfect blend!
  • If you want to give these a little asian flare, you can replace the dijon with a chili garlic sauce, the Worcestershire with soy or tamari and add in some sauteed peppers!
Can you see those giant pieces of crab? That's what you want in any crab dish!!

Can you see those giant pieces of crab? That's what you want in any crab dish!!

If you'd like to see an accompanying cooking video for this recipe on my channel, be sure to let me know in the comments below. While you're there, give it a like and subscribe (and a share) please!! I've already posted a few other videos there as well, so get comfortable and watch them all!!

Do you have a hometown dish that you have to come correct with?

Don't forget to tag me in your photos online @lizeeangel or using #lizeeangel. And as always, comment below and please, like, share and follow me on youtubeinstagram, twitter, facebook and pinterest!

Yield: 1 dozen balls/6 crab cakesPin it

Easy Baked Crab Balls

prep time: 30 MINScook time: 25 MINStotal time: 55 mins

This easy crab ball recipe delivers a bite sized flavor bomb with only 123 calories per serving!! They are baked to save on calories and you can even throw in the air fryer for a faster delivery! Make these as balls or cakes and watch everyone ask if you have more. Throw on a slider or dip into creamy remoulade sauce.Serving size 2 crab balls or 1 crab cake


  • 8oz crab (lump)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp Mayo or Greek Yogurt (up to 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp old bay
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp crack black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 c panko (approximately)
  • 2 tbsp butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and place rack in upper third of the oven. Before you begin, dump crab into bowl where you will be mixing. Check for and remove any shells or gristle you find.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients and seasonings. If making ahead, refrigerate the sauce up to 48 hours in an air tight container.
  3. Gently toss the crab into the wet ingredients, making sure not to break up the crab too much.
  4. Add bread crumbs, a little at a time until it is just starting to stick together. You want enough so that it holds, but easily falls apart when you apply pressure.
  5. Refrigerate mixture for 15 mins up to an hour. Once chilled, Roll into 1/2" balls
  6. Put on a parchment lined baking sheet  or a oiled baking rack fitted over a baking sheet (see photo)
  7. Lightly brush the crab balls with butter and bake 25 mins at 350
  8. Brush again with 1 tbsp butter at end of bake and squeeze a lemon wedge over.
  9. Serve hot and enjoy!


To convert to air fryer recipe, set air fryer to 350 and cook for 7 mins. For best results, preheat air fryer for 3-5 minutes before cooking.



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