This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please read my disclaimer here.
Flavorful Air Fryer Crab Cakes are loaded with crab meat, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, and seasoning to create the ultimate fresh and juicy crab cake you’ve ever had.
Crab cakes in the air fryer are an easy way to feel like you’re at a 5-star worthy restaurant. But here’s the catcher. All you have to do is combine the ingredients in a bowl, form the patties, and air fry them!
These air fryer crab cakes are filled with peppers and onions to get the right mix of flavors and textures a true crab cake should. Plus, it includes Old Bay Seasoning which is KEY to getting Maryland-style crab cakes.
In this post, I will explain:
- How to cook air fryer crab cakes from fresh
- How to make frozen crab cakes in your air fryer
- How to reheat crab cakes in your air fryer
- What the best brand of frozen crab cakes is
The breadcrumb ratio works wonders in this recipe as it helps absorb the moisture from the crab meat while keeping it inside the crab cake. Using too many breadcrumbs can result in a dry crab cake and no one wants that!
What Kind of Crab Meat Do I Use for Crab Cakes in the Air Fryer?
I recommend making this recipe with lump crab meat. It works the best taste and texture-wise to get that traditional crab cake flavor.
It also helps keep the crab cake compacted when air frying.
While it can be a bit on the expensive side, it is worth the expense. If you’re only cooking for one, this crab cakes recipe is freezer-friendly too.
How to Make Air Fryer Crab Cakes
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees.
STEP TWO: In a large bowl, add the lump crab meat, pepper, green onions, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, Old Bay Seasoning, and lemon juice and mix until just combined.
STEP THREE: Form four evenly sized crab patties. It’s important to be gentle when handling the crab cakes. Lump crab meat has a lot of juices inside and you want to keep as much in as possible.
I prefer to create these crab patties by hand unlike how I press Air Fryer Hamburgers.
STEP FOUR: Place a piece of parchment round down inside the hot air fryer then carefully place each crab cake in the air fryer.
If using an air fryer like the Cosori 5.8QT, you should be able to fit all four in at the same time.
STEP FIVE: Cook the fresh crab cakes in the air fryer for 8-10 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.
You do not need to flip these. I actually recommend not flipping them as they can fall apart when handled only halfway cooked.
STEP SIX: Remove the crab cakes from your air fryer and enjoy with your favorite sauce and extra lemon on top, if desired!
These can also be stored in a fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Other Seafood Air Fryer Recipes You’ll Enjoy:
- Air Fryer Tuna Steaks
- Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Shrimp
- Air Fryer Frozen Fish Sticks
- Air Fryer Cod
- Air Fryer Salmon
Tips to Make the Best Crab Cakes
- Use a good quality lump crab meat. They can be expensive, but once you try the good stuff, you’ll be making restaurant-quality crab cakes at home all the time.
- The Old Bay Seasoning makes this recipe what it is. It’s the traditional seasoning used in many crab cakes, especially Maryland crab cakes. I do not recommend substituting or omitting this ingredient.
- Use parchment paper rounds! This is one of the few recipes I recommend using parchment paper rounds for. The crab meat is very moist, which can cause the crab patty to stick to the basket. They’re super cheap, so just grab a set of 100-200 to get you through a full year.
- Be super gentle when mixing the ingredients. Crabmeat is very fragile and can break apart easily. The goal is to keep the crab meat in as whole of pieces as you can.
- No oil is needed in this recipe, but if you want a super moist and crispy outside, give the crab cake a quick spray with an EVO Oil Sprayer once placed inside the air fryer.
- For an easier-to-handle crab cake, refrigerate them for 30 minutes after forming them into patties. This will firm them up making them easier to place into the air fryer.
You can also use this to prep your dinner ahead of time and just stick them in the air fryer when ready to cook! Allow an extra 1-2 minutes when cooking from refrigerated.
How to Make Air Fryer Frozen Crab Cakes
There are two ways to enjoy frozen crab cakes in the air fryer. You can freeze the recipe above and cook them from frozen or use store-bought frozen crab cakes.
Frozen crab cakes are precooked, so you just have to heat them up using the directions below.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Place the frozen crab cakes in the air fryer and cook for 7-8 minutes until warmed thoroughly. I like to use an Instant-Read Thermometer to check the inside of the patties to ensure they’re warm enough in the center.
- Remove the crab cakes from the air fryer and enjoy!
If using frozen mini crab cakes, check them at around 5 minutes. Since they are smaller in size, they will cook faster than regular-sized ones.
Want to cook other frozen food in the air fryer like these air fryer frozen crab cakes? Here are some more ideas!
What Are the Best Frozen Crab Cakes?
I personally love Phillips Maryland Style Crab Cakes from frozen over other brands, but here are a few other great options:
- Handy crab cakes
- Dockside Classics
- Publix Brand crab cakes
- Trader Joe’s frozen crab cakes
How Do I Reheat Crab Cakes in the Air Fryer?
Reheating crab cakes in the air fryer is very easy to do and results in a crispy outside while keeping that moist and flavorful inside you love.
These directions also work with store-bought premade crab patties that have not been cooked yet.
- Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees.
- Place the leftover crab cakes in the air fryer and cook for about 3 minutes until warmed thoroughly.
- Remove them from the air fryer and enjoy!
Recipes to Pair with these Crab Cakes:
- Air Fryer French Fries
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries (or Frozen Sweet Potato Fries)
- Air Fryer Asparagus
- Instant Pot Potato Salad
- Air Fryer Hush Puppies
- 8 ounces lump crab meat
- 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees.
- In a large bowl, add the lump crab meat, pepper, green onions,n mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, Old Bay Seasoning, and lemon juice and mix until just combined.
- Gently form four evenly sized crab patties. Lump crab meat has a lot of juices inside and you want to keep as much in as possible.
- Place a piece of parchment round down inside the hot air fryer then carefully place each crab cake in the air fryer.
- Cook the fresh crab cakes in the air fryer for 8-10 minutes until the crust turns golden brown. Do not flip while cooking.
- Remove the crab cakes from your air fryer and enjoy with your favorite sauce and extra lemon on top, if desired!
How to Cook Frozen Crab Cakes in the Air Fryer:
1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
2. Place frozen crab cakes in the air fryer and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until warmed thoroughly.
3. Remove them from the air fryer and enjoy!
How to Reheat Crab Cakes in the Air Fryer:
1. Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees.
2. Place leftover crab cakes in the air fryer and cook for about 3 minutes until warmed.
3. Remove them from the air fryer and enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 1251mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 12g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.