Air Fryer Crab Cakes


5 from 26 votes
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These air fryer crab cakes are crispy and tender on the outside and juicy on the inside. I love how they cook up in just 8 minutes.

Love seafood air fryer recipes? Try my air fryer coconut shrimp, air fryer tilapia, air fryer salmon bites, and air fryer scallops next.

air fryer crab cakes.

Maryland crab cakes are one of my favorite appetizers or light dinners, but I typically only fry them up. Of course, being the air fryer king, I had to see how it would fare in the air fryer, and let me just say: you’ll be impressed by how good they are!

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make crab cakes in the air fryer
  4. Arman’s recipe tips
  5. Storage instructions 
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. Air Fryer Crab Cakes (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • Quick. With just a few minutes of prep time and 8 minutes of cooking time, these could not be any easier.
  • Truly crispy. The hot air circulates around the crab cake, which, in turn, yields a crispy and golden brown crust every time. 
  • Healthier. Air-frying crab cakes is a healthier option than deep-frying them, as it requires barely any oil (just a spritz!).
  • Less mess. Let’s be real- pan-frying crab cakes can be super messy, but not in the air fryer!

Ingredients needed

  • Crab meat. Use jumbo lump crab meat, either in brine or canned. If you can’t find lump crab meat, you can use imitation crab, but I’d suggest adding some cornstarch or flour to help bind everything.
  • Egg. Room temperature. 
  • Panko breadcrumbs. The larger flakes help keep the filling intact and the outside even crispier.
  • Cooking spray. To grease.
  • Mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Keep the crab cakes moist in the middle while adding a touch of flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce. For that fabulous umami flavor.
  • Old bay seasoning. The secret ingredient that is a must for any good crab cake.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper. To season.
  • Celery, red bell peppers, and parsley. Finely chopped, for color.

How to make crab cakes in the air fryer

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Prep. Mix all the ingredients, except for the bread crumbs, in a large bowl. Fold them through until combined.

air fryer crab cake ingredients.

Step 2- Shape. Divide the crab mixture into equal portions and shape them into cake patties. Freeze them for 5 minutes to firm up. 

Step 3- Air fry. Place the crab cakes in the air fryer basket and spray them lightly with the cooking spray before cooking for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve with lemon and tartar sauce.

how to air fry crab cakes.

Can I bake these?

Yes, you can bake these crab cakes. To do so, preheat the oven to 200C/400F, line a baking tray with parchment paper or a baking sheet, and move to step 5. Bake them for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping them halfway until baked.

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Don’t over-mix the batter. Fold only till the ingredients are well combined so as not to break apart the crab. 
  • Shape the crab cakes with lightly wet hands so the mixture doesn’t stick to your fingers.
  • If the batter is too thin, sprinkle a little extra panko into the mix. If it’s too thick, add a little milk or water. 
  • Add other flavor boosters like sliced green onion, cooked potato, and tomatoes.
  • For a low carb option, swap the panko for crushed pork rinds.

Storage instructions 

To store. Leftover crab cakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To freeze. Place the cooled crab cakes in a shallow container and store them in the freezer for up two months.

crab cakes air fryer.

Frequently asked questions

Can you air fry store-bought crab cakes? 

Yes, you can air fry store-bought crab cakes. Cook them in the air fryer at 200C/400F for 6 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Are these gluten-free? 

For gluten-free crab cakes, swap out the panko breadcrumbs for either gluten-free breadcrumbs or gluten-free panko crumbs. 

air fryer crab cakes.

Air Fryer Crab Cakes

5 from 26 votes
These air fryer crab cakes are crispy and tender on the outside and juicy in the middle. They cook in just 8 minutes. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 13 minutes



  • 1 large egg whisked
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old bay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 stalk celery finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
  • 1/4 small bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound lump crab meat canned or fresh
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs


  • Add all the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, salt, pepper, celery, parsley, bell pepper, and lump crab meat to a large bowl and mix well. Fold through the bread crumbs at the end.
    air fryer crab cake ingredients.
  • Form the mixture into eight crab cakes and place them on a plate lined with parchment paper. Freeze the plate for 5 minutes.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 200C/400F.
  • Grease the air fryer basket and place four crab cakes in it. Air fry for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through.
    how to air fry crab cakes.
  • Repeat the process until all the crab cakes are cooked.


TO STORE: Leftover crab cakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
TO FREEZE: Place the cooled crab cakes in a shallow container and store them in the freezer for up two months.
TO REHEAT: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F before putting in the crab cakes. 2 to 3 minutes is enough to reheat them thoroughly.


Serving: 1crab cakeCalories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 13gFat: 6gSodium: 737mgPotassium: 189mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 425IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 4g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published January 2023, updated and republished May 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I make these air fryer crab cakes at least once a week- they are so juicy and crispy!

  2. 5 stars
    These crab cakes look so good and colorful. I can’t wait to try them. I’m not usually like that with fish or seafood. What have you done to me? Lol