Making keto crab cakes in your air fryer means less mess and less clean up. This air fryer crab cake recipe is easy to make and absolutely delicious. You wouldn’t know they are grain-free and healthy! Stovetop instructions included.
Air fryers have changed the game in the kitchen and these air fryer crab cakes are proof. They are fast and easy, with less mess, and they don’t splatter oil everywhere as you cook.
My husband and I have been making keto crab cakes at home forever. He loves them and often orders them in restaurants, but I have to abstain. Traditional crab cakes usually take bread crumbs or crushed crackers as a binder, and most restaurants don’t stray far from that formula.
So of course we came up with our own low carb recipe, and we adore them! I love cooking them in my air fryer. But don’t worry if you don’t own one, I also include instructions on how to cook them on the stovetop.
If you love air fryer crab cakes, be sure to check out these air fryer steak bites too.
Why you will love these
Making keto friendly crab cakes is pretty similar to traditional crab cakes. The only real difference is what you use for the binder. You want something that absorbs the moisture but doesn’t make the resulting cakes dry.
I have used almond flour and crushed pork rinds before and both work well. But I also really like the cracker crumbs from Real Phat Foods. I also use them in my Keto Meatballs and they add great flavor and texture.
These crab cakes hold together so nicely in both the air fryer and when fried in a pan. They develop a deliciously browned, slightly crusty outside, but are so tender and moist in the middle. And they have only 1.3g net carbs per cake. So you can afford to have two of them if you want to make a meal out of it.
The leftovers make a tasty breakfast or lunch, too! I like to eat one with a fried egg and some avocado on top. It’s a perfect brunch recipe.
“These are delicious and easy to make. My entire family (including the picky ten year old) love them. Thanks for all your amazing recipes!” — Amy
“Delicious! This is the best tasting low carb crab cakes i’ve ever made and that includes a high carb version! Carolyn you are a genius and I love your recipes! I already own 2 of your cookbooks and will be buying more for sure. Thank you!” — Carole
“Perfect adaptation if traditional recipes which use bread crumbs or panko. I don’t have an air fryer so sauté them stove top. But now I use butter instead of oil!” — Pat
- Lump crab meat: Use good quality crab meat, as it will make a difference. You don’t have to buy expensive fresh crab meat, but get good canned crab. If it doesn’t say “lump crab meat”, then it’s finely shredded crab and won’t have the right flavor or texture.
- Keto cracker crumbs: I used Real Phat cracker crumbs and it worked so well. But you can also use almond flour or crushed pork rinds. Don’t use coconut flour, it makes them too dry.
- Egg: An egg helps the cakes hold together properly.
- Mayonnaise: Mayo adds moisture and a little tanginess to the keto crab cakes.
- Dijon mustard: This adds some zing to the flavor!
- Butter: Brushing the crab cakes with some melted butter before adding them to the air fryer helps brown the exterior nicely.
- Old Bay seasoning: You can also use any other fish seasonings or some Cajun seasoning.
- Fresh herbs: Parsley and green onion add a bit of color.
- Salt and pepper: Go easy on the salt, since the pork rinds and the seasoning often contain a fair bit.
1. Prepare the mixture: In a large bowl, break up the crab meat with a fork. Stir in the cracker crumbs (or almond flour), parsley, green onion, seasoning, salt, and pepper until well combined. Stir in the egg, mayo, and mustard until the mixture is well moistened.
2. Form the patties: Use your hands to form into 4 patties, each about ¾ inch to 1 inch thick.
3. Refrigerate: Place on a waxed paper lined plate and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. This allows them to firm up a bit before cooking.
4. Air Fry: Spray or brush the air fryer rack with oil (I used avocado oil spray). Brush melted butter over both sides of the crab cakes and place on the rack. Air fry at 350F for 10 minutes, carefully flipping halfway through cooking.
5. For the spicy mayo: Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve the crab cakes with lemon and a dollop of spicy mayo.
If you are using canned crab, be sure to look at the DRY WEIGHT on the label, rather than the total weight. The total weight often includes some liquid and you need to know the true weight of the meat.
The mixture will be quite wet and soft when you form it into patties, and so you want to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before air frying. An hour is even better.
Be sure to brush or spray the rack with oil to keep things from sticking. Brushing the air fryer crab cakes with butter on both sides also helps them crisp up nicely and adds additional flavor.
Stovetop Directions: To fry these crab cakes in a pan, simply melt the butter over medium heat and fry the crab cakes for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Frequently Asked Questions
With a few easy substitutions, you can enjoy crab cakes while following a keto diet. Instead of using breadcrumbs, swap out with almond flour or crushed pork rinds. And use real crab meat! Don’t use imitation crab, as it contains a surprising amount of carbs.
Store cooked crab cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them. Once they’re completely cool, place them in freezer bags and freeze them for up to three months.
This keto crab cake recipe has 2.4g of carbs and 1.1g of fiber per serving. That comes to 1.3g net carbs per crab cake.
More delicious air fryer recipes
Air Fryer Pork Chops
These Air Fryer Pork Chops are juicy, tender, and utterly delicious. Top them with brown butter and crispy sage leaves for an out-of-this-world low carb meal.
Keto Mug Brownie
This keto mug brownie is gooey and decadent, and serves just one person. It’s the perfect single-serve dessert when you need chocolatey goodness but you don’t want the leftovers.
Air Fryer Crab Cakes Recipe
- 8 ounces lump crab meat (canned is fine, but drain well)
- ¼ cup keto cracker crumbs (can sub almond flour or crushed pork rinds)
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 green onion, sliced
- ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (or other fish seasoning)
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon melted butter
- In a large bowl, break up the crab meat with a fork. Stir in the cracker crumbs, parsley, green onion, Old Bay, salt, and pepper until well combined.
- Stir in the egg, mayo, and mustard until the mixture is well moistened. Use your hands to form into 4 patties, each about ¾ inch to 1 inch thick. Place on a waxed paper lined plate and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Spray or brush the air fryer rack with oil (I used avocado oil spray). Brush melted butter over both sides of the crab cakes and place on the rack.
- Air fry at 350F for 10 minutes, carefully flipping halfway through cooking.
- For the mayo, whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve the crab cakes with lemon and a dollop of spicy mayo.