recipe: crab cakes with homemade tartar sauce

October 14, 2011
Whenever my mom seems crab cakes on a menu she’ll always order it because she knows it’s good. They can be tricky to make and some people don’t have the patience for them. I think I’ve also developed this same tendency to order crab cakes when I see them, although when I got a craving for them recently I decided to try making them myself. Of course I turned to Ina because as I always say, “Ina knows best.” She provides the most straightforward recipes that turn out being majorly impressive and satisfying. This one is no exception! If you like crab cakes then you will definitely love these!
yellow and red peppers and celery ready to go!
crab cakes formed and ready to fry!
 weird looking but delicious, I promise!

Ina Garten’s Crab Cakes (she made them bite sized, I made them humungous!} 


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup small diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced celery (4 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup small diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/2 cup small diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound lump crabmeat, drained and picked to remove shells
  • 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • For frying
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


Place the 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons oil, onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, break the lump crabmeat into small pieces and toss with the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the cooked mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into bite-sized crab cakes.
Heat the butter and olive oil for frying over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the crab cakes and fry for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a 250 degree oven and serve hot.
Tartar Sauce to go with it!


  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons small-diced pickles or cornichons
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon coarse-grained mustard
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper


Place all the ingredients in a food processor or mini chopper fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times until the pickles are finely chopped and all the ingredients are well mixed but not pureed.


Have a great weekend everyone! 
I’m spending a fun day with Matthew on Saturday and then Sunday morning I’m flying up to the Bay Area for a Ruche shoot. 
I’m so excited!
  • This looks amazing!! Gonna try it out.. Mjam

  • And you plated them so nicely! How sweet and thoughtful.

    Have fun at the Ruche shoot!

  • Ohh I've made these before & I really liked how they turned out! & I totally agree with you, Ina does know best 🙂

  • gia

    I printed this for sure. Looks amazing. I'll keep it for a special boy or for girlfriends coming over. Thanks- I'm more of a seafood girl, like you (I think).

  • these crab cakes look delicious!! you are an incredible cook girl! wish i could cook, period. ha
    xo TJ

  • YUM! These look so good. We lived in Maryland for a bit and I miss the crab cakes there!

  • This looks so good! x

  • These look delish! Might have to give them a go:-) Always good to get a recommended recipe!

  • Yum, those look delicious!

  • Wow..jet setting for work? FUN!! Have a blast!

    Speaking of Ruche…I looked through the lookbook & had some notes. I will try & email you this weekend :o)

  • L

    Those are making me hungry!!!!

  • These look delicious, but haven't you said in the past that you are a vegetarian?

  • I strongly dislike seafood, but you make these crabcakes look really good!! Impressive, Mara!

    follow me!

  • Oh my gosh, pass me some please!

  • oh my gosh, this looks sooooooo good. seriously. YUM. my mouth is watering. i'm totally making this.

    – rach.–

  • WOW I love crab cakes and these look great! Can't wait to try this recipe out 🙂 Thanks!

  • Looks so yummy!
    I think I will try this!
    Thanks for sharing


  • Mara, these look absolutely delicious! I've never tried making crab cakes before but I definitely need to give these a shot.
    xo Josie

  • Oh Mara, these look delicious!!!

    I am now starving and really feel the need to pop to the supermarket, pick up all the ingredients,prepare them, and then scoff my face!!!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Niki @ LQM&M

  • Looking very testy! Looks promising am going to give this one a try! Thanks for the recipes.

    Sample Proposals

  • Those look amazing! Definitely worth a try. 🙂

    Sorcha x
    Bonfire Brunette

  • I love tarter sauce and these crab cakes look divine…thank you for sharing! I hope you and Matthew are having a wonderful weekend so far and enjoy your Ruche shoot…how exciting!

    Liesl 🙂

  • THis post is making me hungry!

  • Yummy! Looks so delish!

  • this looks beyond delicious! need to try is ASAP 🙂

    Happy Monday!


    Fashion Fractions

  • Jul

    These look so tasty! My mouth is watering 😉
    Life is a romantic poem
    Last days for joining my giveaway!

  • Hello, I found your blog through busy bee lauren. I am writing down all of these ingredients to make them soon! Yum, my mouth is watering already. Thanks for sharing!

  • I absolutely love crab cakes, I, like your Mom, try them whenever they are on the menu, these look incredible. Have to try them! Nettie

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