These Bangkok Thai Crab Cakes have all our favourite Thai flavours: sweet, salty, sour, and spicy, all in one little crispy bite. Serve them with this knock-your-socks-off spicy dip. These Thai-style crab cakes are made without mayo!
Thai Crab Cakes are on my mind today!
I must be craving sunshine, hot weather, and sand between my toes this week because I suddenly had a hankering for crab cakes. They're usually a summertime treat, especially if freshly harvested crab comes my way.
And then it's a toss-up: Easy Cold Crab Dip with Cream Cheese or this Thai-inspired crab cake recipe!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
These Thai Crab Cakes satisfied that yearning for summer sunshine! These little morsels have a well-seasoned filler that lets the taste of sweet crab dominate.
Garlic, ginger, fish sauce and chili peppers amp up the flavour without overpowering the natural sweetness of the crab meat. While the seasonings are intense, they don't mask the naturally sweet flavour of fresh crab.
You'll find a complete list of ingredients for the crab cakes and the dipping sauce in the recipe card below. Here are a few notes about the key ingredients.
fresh crab: fresh or canned. One fresh crab yields about 8 or 9 ounces of crab meat, which is approximately one cup. If using canned crab meat, you'll need about 1 ½ cans as the cans contain water as well. Drain it thoroughly.
egg whites: These act as a binder to hold the ingredients together as they cook.
flavour enhancers: fresh garlic and fresh ginger, cilantro
fish sauce: Don't be put off by the smell! You won't taste it in the final product.
chopped green chiles: for that spicy element!
Panko crumbs: Gluten-free, if necessary. Panko crumbs make the crispiest coating for crab cakes.
This Spicy Thai dipping sauce will knock your socks off!
Fish sauce, tamari (or coconut aminos), garlic, Thai red chili pepper and lime combine to make a dip that packs a surprising punch, but leaves you wanting more. A little goes a long way. Once you taste it, look out. You may want it on everything.
Here's a quick summary of what you'll do to make these Thai crab cakes. You'll find complete instructions in the recipe card.
- Start by gently breaking apart the crab meat and mix it with the remaining ingredients.
- Form the mixture into 1-inch patties about ¾ inch thick before coating with Panko crumbs. You'll put these in the fridge to chill while you make the dipping sauce.
- Next, you'll combine the ingredients for the dip in a small saucepan, bringing it to a boil, then simmering until it thickens.
- Fry the crab cakes in hot oil until lightly browned and serve with the dip on the side.
👍🏼 Tips for making the best crab cakes
- Fresh crab is always best for crab cakes. I like to leave it lumpy instead of flaking the meat.
- Fold the ingredients together gently to avoid a pasty texture.
- Using egg whites as a binder works well in this recipe.
- Chill the crab cakes in the refrigerator before frying to make sure they won't fall apart in the pan.
- While pan-frying is not the healthiest choice if you are avoiding extra oil in your diet, I like a crispy coating and frying is the best way to achieve it. Fry the crab cakes quickly in hot oil and drain the excess oil immediately on a paper towel to ensure a crisp exterior.
🍽 What should I serve with these Thai Crab Cakes?
While traditional Maryland crab cakes made with mayonnaise, lemon and Old Bay seasoning are delicious, I wanted to try something a little different to go with our Thai-inspired meal.
You might want to try these Bangkok Crab Cakes with Asian Pear Slaw with Ginger and Lime, Easy Thai Baked Chicken or Thai Chicken Skewers and Thai Coconut Rice. Eating as if you're in the tropics is the next best thing to being there!
And if you're in the mood for Tex-Mex flavours, you might like these Crispy Tex-Mex Crab Cakes with Strawberry Mango Salsa.
More appetizer recipe ideas
You'll find lots of appetizer inspiration in my appetizer index.
When you make these Thai-style Crab Cakes, please leave a comment and a rating below. I love hearing from you. Thanks in advance! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter and have new recipes delivered straight to your inbox once a week.
This post was originally published in 2016. I've updated it with extra information to make it more helpful. The recipe remains the same.
Bangkok Crab Cakes with Spicy Dip
- 1 cup cooked crab meat, fresh or canned
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger finely grated
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon canned green chiles, finely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, heaped
- ¼ cup Panko crumbs, gluten-free, plus 1 cup for coating the cakes
For the dipping sauce
- 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce, gluten-free if necessary, or coconut aminos for paleo diet.
- 1 teaspoon heaped cornstarch, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 - 2 teaspoons dried Thai red chile, very finely minced (about 1 dried chili)*see note
- 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- In a medium bowl, gently break apart the crab meat. Whisk two egg whites and add to the bowl along with minced garlic, ginger, fish sauce, chili peppers, cilantro, cornstarch and ¼ cup Panko crumbs.
- Gently combine without over mixing.
- Form into 1-inch patties about ¾ inch thick. Coat with Panko crumbs and place on a baking sheet.
- Refrigerate while you prepare the dipping sauce.
- In a small saucepan, whisk all sauce ingredients together. Heat over medium heat until it boils and thickens. Set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until it ripples. Carefully add the crab cakes. Fry on one side for 4 - 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn and fry on the other side for 3 - 4 minutes. The internal temperature should register 145°F. when measured with an instant-read thermometer.
- Serve immediately with Spicy Dipping Sauce.