Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.
Whether made from real crab meat or lion’s mane mushrooms, store-bought or homemade crab cakes are a delicious recipe. As we all know they are a common and popular addition to the menus of many a seafood restaurant. However, if you’re preparing them at home you may wonder what to serve with crab cakes? If so don’t worry, there are plenty of options below.
Table of Contents
- What Are Crab Cakes?
- What Goes With Crab Cakes?
- What To Eat With Crab Cakes?
- Answered: What To Serve With Crab Cakes?
- FAQ – What To Serve With Crab Cakes?
What Are Crab Cakes?
Crab cakes are a type of fish cake patty, which are particularly popular in the United States of America. They will often be made from crab meat (or an imitation crab substitute such as lion’s mane mushroom) along with bread crumbs, mayonnaise, egg and mustard.
These will then be cooked in a variety of ways depending on the individual or chef’s preferences. Typically this means that they will be sauteed, fried, deep-fried, grilled, broiled or baked.
Crab cakes should have a plump meaty texture with a slightly sweet seafood taste to them. The flavour of the crab meat itself should always be the main focus, however, the ingredients in the binding such as mustard will also add other flavours to the equation.
What Goes With Crab Cakes?
Crab cakes are quite rich and heavy main dishes. Additionally, they will also tend to have a crispy exterior with a tender yet meaty inside. Flavour-wise, they will also be quite sweet and a little creamy although the flavours of the mustard may also add a slight pepperiness to things.
As such, when deciding what to serve with crab cakes it is important to ensure that the accompaniments don’t dominate or mask these flavours. This is especially important since the flavour of crab cakes can be quite delicate.
Instead, anything served alongside your crab cakes should compliment them in some way. This can be done by using textures and tastes which intentionally contrast with the tender crab meat in subtle ways. Additionally, though, you can also pair them with flavours that a similar yet distinctive.
What To Eat With Crab Cakes?
When it comes to deciding what to eat with crab cakes there are a variety of options to choose from. Just like with something like risotto or ravioli it is more than you may be overwhelmed with options rather than being unable to find anything the complements your main dish. With that in mind then, below are a few options for dishes that will always be winners when paired with crab cakes:
- Grilled Vegetables
- Roasted Vegetables
- Grilled Avocados
- Potato Salad
- Grilled Summer Salad
- Green Salad
- Corn Salad
- Corn On The Cob
- Mango Salsa And Tortilla Chips
- Corn Chowder
- Tomato Gazpacho
- Remoulade Sauce
- Tartar Sauce
- Bread Rolls
An assortment of vegetables is always a brilliant option for a side dish, especially for something meaty. Naturally, this is true for crab cakes as well since the natural earthy and savoury flavours of the vegetables naturally contrast those of the crab cakes. This is especially true when grilled as the extra smokiness provides another dimension of taste.
When sliced up thinly the vegetables will cook quickly on the grill. As such, they are ideal for making quickly to serve alongside crab cakes.
Some good options for grilled veggies include eggplant (or aubergine), squash, onions, asparagus and corn.
Grilled vegetables are wonderful for adding some smokiness to your selection of mixed vegetables. However, roasted veggies are massively popular with a wide variety of dishes such as chicken piccata and French onion soup.
The reason for this is that when roasted, vegetables tend to caramelise in a wonderful way that adds some extra sweetness to the dish. This pairs excellently with crab cakes as the crab meat itself will be slightly sweet. As such, these sweet flavours will harmonise whilst the other flavours present provide excellent contrast.
Many of the same veggies mentioned above can also be roasted to wonderful effects. When doing so it is also much easier to add seasoning to these veggies such as lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary, sage and of course some salt and pepper.
Crab cakes are known for their wonderful creaminess, as are avocados. As such, something like grilled avocado is a wonderful choice to accompany your crab cakes.
Grilling avocados are a wonderful way of making it so that they have that extra layer of smokiness alongside their natural flavours. As a result, the earthy, creamy, buttery and smoky tastes add a variety of nuances to your dish when accompanying crab cakes.
If you want to take things a step further though then you can also turn this into a salad. Your grilled avocados can be placed atop a bed of lettuce, red onions, cherry tomatoes and coriander for a fresh salad. This can then be dressed with a sauce made from blend chives, avocado, hot sauce, white wine vinegar, garlic, extra virgin olive, salt and pepper.
Potato salad is a wonderful German dish that become a staple in America and indeed in many other countries around the world. Additionally, when you order a crab cake dinner at a seafood restaurant it is often highly likely that they will be served with some delicious potato salad alongside.
Similarly to how it shares aspects with chicken salad, potato salad also has common ingredients and traits with crab cakes. For example, both contain mayonnaise and are known for being wonderfully creamy.
That said though, the two are very much distinct enough to stand out from and wonderfully contrast one another. A clear example of this can be seen in the difference between the textures of the soft crab meat and slightly crunchy yet fluffy potatoes.
Grilled Summer Salad
Similarly to the aforementioned grilled vegetables, a grilled summer salad can add some wonderfully smokey flavour to the already existing tastes of your meal.
Naturally, though there will some differences such as the veggies used. Here, it is recommended that bell pepper, corn, zucchini, cucumbers and radishes be used. These will be at their best when drizzled with olive oil before grilling
Additionally though, to truly make it a salad and not simply grilled veggies, these will have feta cheese and potentially a light dressing sprinkled on top. The result is wonderfully flavourful and rustic.
Whether arugula (rocket) and radish based or some other form of green salad this is a wonderful choice for a light side dish. Truly there’s no wrong way to do a green salad so long as you choose an assortment of mostly green veggies that you enjoy.
Naturally, this will more likely be a healthier option. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with a side dish like this. To add a little something extra, why not add some feta cheese or a light dressing?
Crab and corn are a wonderful and somewhat iconic culinary pairing. When paired together the flavours both harmonise and contrast wonderfully, along with helping to drive home a truly summery feeling.
With that in mind, a wonderful way of serving corn with your crab cakes is to do so in a delicious and surprisingly light corn salad. This delicious salad can be made quite simply by mixing corn kernels, scallions and some basil, with a drizzling of salt and vinegar dressing.
This provides a wonderful contrast of textures and tastes as the corn salad adds a crunch and sweet yet tangy flavour. Meanwhile, the crab cakes will be brilliantly soft and flakey.
Corn On The Cob
Oven-roasted corn on the cob is a staple of both summer and comfort food eating. Naturally then when paired with crab cakes the combination makes for a wonderfully delicious and comforting dish.
These are incredibly simple take make and will be a hit. This is especially so if making food for a large group as the delicious contrasts in taste and texture complement each other wonderfully.
To further elevate this classic side dish, prepare a mixture of garlic butter and creole seasonings. Following which liberally brush this mix over the corn before wrapping it in foil and roasting.
Mango Salsa And Tortilla Chips
On the theme of corn, another wonderful side idea is tortilla chips and salsa. However, a particularly fitting choice of salsa to use is mango salsa.
The reason for this is that the sweet summery taste of the mango salsa and crunchy texture of the tortilla chips wonderfully contrast from those of the crab cakes in exciting ways. In particular, the salsa adds a fruity zest to the meal which can either be layered with spiciness or accentuated with a mild and cool temperature. Additionally, the soft fruit will add an extra layer of texture to the flakey crab meat and crunchy tortilla chips.
When eaten the chips and crab cakes can either be dunked into a separate pot of salsa or it can be dolloped on top. Either way the contrasting selection of tastes and textures will be wonderful.
Sticking with the corn theme but moving more to soups a wonderful final corn-based side option is corn chowder. Soups are always great with fried food and the combo of corn chowder and crab cakes are no exception.
This warm and filling dish will be brilliantly creamy and sweet just like your crab cake whilst being wonderfully hearty and filling.
The thick liquid texture of this chowder also contrasts that of your crab cakes excellently as they provide a tender yet flakey and solid feel to the meal. Additionally, the warm and hearty nature of the chowder helps to further emphasise the refreshing taste of the crab cakes.
Like with corn chowder this cool, sweet but tart tomato soup makes for a wonderful side dish when paired with crab cakes. In particular, this smooth Spanish soup cuts through the richness of your crab cakes and the two provide a wonderful mix of cool liquid and warm crispiness.
Gazpacho is one of those dishes that can be very simply made with a few leftovers. To make it, soak some slightly old soup with cool water. Then blend tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery stalk, cucumbers, bell pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, mint leaves, salt, sugar, and pepper. Finally, either blend in the bread or allow it to sit in the soup.
If you want to add an extra bit of summery zest though, this can be easily done with some mango, just like with the salsa. To do this, simply blend in the mangos when you’re blending your other ingredients.
You may dip your crab cakes into either of the aforementioned soups or indeed the salsa. That said though, a specifically made dipping sauce can be a wonderful supplement if simply you are wanting finger food or if you already have another side dish in mind.
Initially used as more of seasoning for meat, remoulade is a French sauce that uses a base of mayonnaise or aioli. It will then often be flavoured and seasoned with curry capers, paprika, horseradish and anchovies. The result is a sauce that is somewhat comparable to tartar sauce but with a slightly more spicy taste and distinctive yellow colour.
A simple improvised remoulade sauce can be simply made from home with an assortment of basic ingredients. These include mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, shredded horseradish, capers, parsley, onion, and lemon juice that are mixed together. Optionally some people will also add cajun seasoning and pepper to give the sauce a little extra kick and flavour.
The most iconic condiment for pretty much any fish dish is pretty much always going to be tartar sauce. Naturally, when it comes to crab cakes they are no exception as they too will go wonderfully with this sauce.
Like remoulade, tartar sauce uses mayonnaise or aioli as a base. However, the list of additional ingredients is shorter resulting in a less complex creamy taste which is still delicious with more clear tangy and sweet notes.
Typically, tartar sauce will be made with mayonnaise along with chopped pickles, capers and herbs such as dill and tarragon. Common additional ingredients are also likely to include other herbs, olives and lemon juice. If the thought of pickles put you off though don’t worry as they will not be the primary flavour of tartar sauce.
A common way of using reheated leftover crab cakes is to make improvised slider buns. With that in mind, why not do the same with freshly cooked ones?
These will be even more wonderful when the bread rolls are freshly made whether by the baker or at home.
When serving sliders using crab cakes, they’re almost like a crab burger. As such it little lettuce, tomatoes and onion with wither cheese or one of the sauces mentioned above can really elevate things.
As mentioned above crab cakes are often associated with summertime and warm weather. As such if aiming for such a theme then that should extend to the drinks you have with them, right?
An excellent cocktail idea for crab cakes is of course the bloody mary. This is because the rich and savoury nature of your crab cakes will contrast excellently with the flavours of tomatoes, pepper and vodka found in the cocktail.
Another excellent drink option when having crab cakes is wine. Again though, to balance out the rich and hearty flavours of your crab cakes it is best to opt for a lighter wine choice.
As such white wine is a fantastic choice. If you want some fizz then champagne is excellent with crab cakes. However, if not then a medium or full-bodied white such as pinot blanc or chardonnay will also be an excellent choice.
Answered: What To Serve With Crab Cakes?
Crab cakes are a wonderfully delicious and versatile part of the culinary world that can be served alongside a wide variety of side dishes, sauces and drinks. From wine to gazpacho or potato salad your options are truly incredibly vast.
As such, whilst the above are great starting points, once you find what you like try to branch out with something similar. You never know, you may find something better than everything above.
FAQ – What To Serve With Crab Cakes?
What side dishes go with crab cakes?
A wide variety of dishes will go wonderfully with crab cakes from corn chowder to potato salad and even bread rolls.
What vegetable goes well with crab?
A vegetable that goes phenomenally well crab cakes is corn. Whether it’s corn on the cob, corn chowder, corn salad or even tortilla chips, the two go together amazingly well.
Do you serve crab cakes hot or cold?
Typically crab cakes are served at piping hot temperatures as that is when most people believe them to be at the best, taste-wise. This is because they contain ingredients that can dramatically alter the taste when cold such as eggs and mayonnaise.