How To Cook Store-Bought Crab Cakes

How To Cook Store-Bought Crab Cakes: 5 Cooking Methods (2023)

Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by Shari Mason

Crab cakes are a delicious seafood dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or main course. While you can buy pre-made crab cakes from the store, cooking them to perfection can be tricky. 

The key is to find the right balance between a crispy exterior and a moist, flavorful interior. We will provide tips and techniques for cooking store-bought crab cakes to ensure they are always perfectly cooked. 

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, these tips will help you create a delicious and impressive meal.

5 Different Methods For Cooking Store-Bought Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes on a Plate
  1. Pan-frying: This method involves cooking the crab cakes [1] on a stovetop in a small amount of oil or butter. Heat the pan to medium-high heat, add some oil or butter, and cook the crab cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  2. Baking: Preheat the oven to 375°F and place the crab cakes on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the crab cakes are golden brown and cooked.
  3. Grilling: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grates. Place the crab cakes on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are cooked through and have grill marks.
  4. Air frying: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F and place the crab cakes in a single layer in the basket. Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the crab cakes are crispy and heated.
  5. Deep-frying: Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 375°F. Place the crab cakes in the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and cooked.

Read: How Long Does Uncooked Crab Last In The Fridge?

How Do You Prepare The Crab Cakes Before Cooking?

Firstly, it’s important to thaw the crab cakes if they are frozen. 

This can be done by placing them in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost function on a microwave. Once thawed, gently pat the crab cakes dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. 

This helps the crab cakes to be brown and crisp up evenly during cooking.

Finally, some people like to lightly coat the crab cakes in breadcrumbs or flour before cooking, as this can add an extra crispy texture to the exterior of the crab cakes.

How Long Do You Cook Them?

For baking, preheat the oven to 375°F and cook the crab cakes for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

For pan-frying, heat a small amount of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat and cook the crab cakes for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and heated through. 

“Southeast Asian salads are a great balance of salty, sweet-sour, and spicy. Its important to have both pork and seafood, but you can vary the seafood from prawns and squid to crab meat or even small pieces of firm fish such as monkfish, John Dory or gurnard.”

– Rick Stein, Chef

Grilling can also be an option, and the crab cakes should be cooked for 3-4 minutes per side over medium heat. Be sure to check the internal temperature of the crab cakes to ensure they have reached a safe temperature of 165°F.

Tips For Ensuring The Crab Cakes Are Cooked Properly

Close Up Shot of Crab Cakes
  1. Check the internal temperature: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the crab cakes. They should reach a temperature of 145°F to be fully cooked.
  2. Make sure to overcrowd the pan: When pan-frying the crab cakes, leave some space between them in the pan. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and may result in some crab cakes being overcooked and others being undercooked.
  3. Use a non-stick pan: To prevent the crab cakes from sticking, use a non-stick pan or coat the pan with cooking spray or butter [2].
  4. Flip them gently: When flipping the crab cakes, use a spatula and flip them gently to avoid breaking them apart.
  5. Let them rest: After cooking, let the crab cakes rest for a few minutes before serving. This will help them hold together better and prevent them from falling apart.

How Do You Know When The Crab Cakes Are Done Cooking?

Your appearance and internal temperature tell when crab cakes are cooked. The outside of the crab cake should be golden brown and crispy, and the center should be hot and cooked through. 

The internal temperature of the crab cake should reach 145°F (63°C) when measured with a food thermometer. 

Another way to test if the crab cake is made is by gently pressing the center of the cake; it should feel firm and not mushy or soft. It’s important not to overcook the crab cakes as they may become dry and lose flavor.


Is it better to bake or pan-fry crab cakes?

It is a personal preference, but baking crab cakes is generally considered a healthier option.

Are store-bought crab cakes already cooked?

It depends on the packaging and labeling of the store-bought crab cakes. Some store-bought crab cakes may be sold fully cooked and only require reheating, while others may be sold raw and require cooking from scratch. It is essential to check the packaging and instructions before cooking the crab cakes.

Final Thoughts

Cooking store-bought crab cakes can be a delicious and easy meal option.

You can have a perfectly cooked crab cake by following one of the cooking methods, such as baking, pan-frying, or grilling, and preparing the crab cakes properly before cooking. 

It is essential to ensure that the internal temperature of the crab cake reaches 165°F to ensure that it is fully cooked. 

You can have a perfectly cooked crab cake every time by using the tips for ensuring proper cooking and checking for visual cues such as a golden brown exterior.


Shari Mason

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