Healthy Crab Cakes | With Lemon Dill Aioli

Crispy, savory, and fresh. This post shares my healthy crab cakes recipe…and it’s gonna make your seafood dreams come true! Pair it with my lemon dill aioli for best results.

Healthy Crab Cakes

The first time I ever tasted crab cakes was in Vegas. 

Weird, right? Of all places.

But after that glorious meal, man I never forgot it. It was the perfect balance of crunchy, salty, and seafood love in every bite.

So like any other normal, clean-eating, food-loving chef, I decided to make my own healthy version of the crab cake. This recipe is soo simple, soo easy, and soo amazingly delish.

Imagine a bite full of fresh crab enveloped by a crunchy layer of crust. Ahh. 

But wait – there’s more! Imagine dipping it into a zesty lemon-dill aioli that’s creamy, fresh, and tangy…

Keep reading to learn more about crab cakes and how to make this recipe!

Healthy Crab Cakes

Are Crab Cakes Good for Weight Loss?

Typically, crab cakes aren’t the best choice for weight loss. That’s why I made a healthy version. Crab cakes from a restaurant are generally quite high in cholesterol and fat (thanks to the mayonnaise and dip in the deep fryer).

But when making a delicious crab cake at home…you can control everything that goes inside. And how you cook it AND what you leave out. In this recipe we’ll be nixing excess sodium, artificial flavors, and other highly processed ingredients.

Sound good? You may wanna check out my post Best Foods For Weight Loss | With Delicious Recipe Suggestions

Healthy Crab Cakes

Is Crab Meat Good for a Diet?

Plain crab meat is one of the healthiest seafood proteins you can eat. (I know, right? This is music to my ears too!) According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, crab meat only has 106 calories for every 100 grams.

It’s packed with protein (which is crucial when you’re trying to build and maintain muscle). It also has omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and selenium, which help prevent various conditions like as heart attacks, anemia, and dementia.

I personally love adding crab meat to my diet because it’s a versatile protein and super tasty even on its own. Yum! 

What Can I Substitute For Mayo In Crab Cakes?

While mayonnaise is often used as a binding agent in crab cakes, it has a high-fat content (not good for weight loss). It also contains preservatives, unnecessary sodium, calories and processed ingredients. All of which will keep you bloated. 

In this recipe we use unsalted, grass-fed butter to act as a biding agent. And we cover the patties with parchment paper – or saran wrap – and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This will make it so the cakes don’t fall apart and crumble while cooking.

BTW – Did you know that I LOVE Seafood (check out 17 Healthy Fish Recipes To Eat Fish More Often)

Healthy Crab Cakes

Is Canned Crab Healthy?

While canned crab can be very healthy, you need to choose a good brand. Some store-bought canned crab meat has a good amount of protein but is super high in cholesterol (usually 34% of your recommended daily allowance).

What I recommend is looking at the nutrition label. Watch out for added sodium, preservatives, and highly processed ingredients. Premium Lump Crab Meat sets a high standard of healthy canned crab, for example. It’s a bit pricey so that’s why I save this recipe for special occasions.

ALSO VERY IMPORTANT: Good-quality canned crab meat should smell fresh and not fishy.

Is It Better To Fry Or Bake Crab Cakes?

I personally like to fry them because it gives that nice crunch and crispiness. But if you’re afraid of them falling apart when flipping (that shouldn’t be the case if you use got egg) or need a more hands-off approach, then you can try baking them.

If using the oven, brush them with healthy olive oil before baking to get that beautiful golden brown crust. 

Healthy Crab Cakes

What’s In These Healthy Crab Cakes?

So what makes this recipe healthy? It all comes down to the ingredients, my friend!

Here’s what’s inside these delish and crunchy crab cakes: 

  • Unsalted, grass-fed butter: Grass-fed butter is naturally healthier than regular butter. And is a good source of vitamin A and the antioxidant, beta carotene.
  • Garlic: Brings out the salty and savory freshness of the crabmeat and is always a good idea with butter. If you’re a fan, try my Garlic Roasted Pork Chops.
  • Dry Mustard: This is my little secret to giving crab cakes that extra boost of flavor.
  • Parsley: Good source of vitamin k right here! Parsley is linked to reduced bloating and blood pressure, too.
  • Almond meal: To replace breadcrumbs, almond meal is a healthy alternative. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin E (an antioxidant that helps your skin glow). I use it in my Breaded Shrimp Meal Prep, too.
  • Paprika: Adding this colorful spice offers various nutrients (like as vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants). Its sweet peppery flavor gives your dish a boost without added heat.
  • Crabmeat (de-shelled): I can eat this all day on its own…but that’s a bad idea so I won’t. It’s that good. (If you get quality crab meat, that is.)
Healthy Crab Cakes
  • Lemon juice: Adding just a teaspoon will bring out all the flavors in this recipe. The tanginess and zest balance the rich saltiness of the crab and other spices. 
  • Green onion: Nice way to add a pop of color and flavor to these crab cakes.
  • Parmesan grated: This always adds another layer of flavor and depth to any dish. This will definitely add luxurious cheesiness and saltiness to your crabcakes. 
  • Seasoning: Salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper are the final touches you need for healthy crab cakes!

What’s In The Lemon Dill Aioli?

If you want to further elevate this dish and go beyond the basic store-bought tartar sauce, then you need to try my homemade sauce.

It’s got…

  • 2 large egg yolks pasteurized, to be safe
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh parsley minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

The tangy, tasty, creamy, and garlicky goodness will perfectly pair well with these crispy cakes. 

Healthy Crab Cakes

More Healthy Seafood Recipes

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

5 from 1 vote
Healthy Crab Cakes
Healthy Crab Cakes
Prep Time
2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 45 mins
These Best Crab Cakes have the right amount of heat while letting the crab be the star and are complimented by the tart and creamy Lemon-Dill Aioli.
Categories: Appetizer
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: dill sauce for crab cakes, lemon dill sauce for crab cake, lemon dill sauce for crab cakes
Servings: 8 crab cakes
Calories: 246 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef
For the Lemon-Dill Aioli:
  • 2 large egg yolks pasteurized, to be safe
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh parsley minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
For the Crab Cakes:
  • 3 tbsp unsalted, grass-fed organic butter divided
  • 1 green onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley minced
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb crab meat de-shelled
  • 3/4 cup almond meal, divided
  • 1/4 cup parmesan grated
  1. For the Lemon-Dill Aioli, place all ingredients, except for olive oil, in a blender. Pulse to combine. With the blender running, very slowly drizzle in olive oil, little by little, until an emulsion forms (the mixture will thicken and become a creamy, white-ish color). Refrigerate for 1 hour prior to serving to allow flavors to meld.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. butter in large skillet on medium-high heat. Cook green onion and garlic until tender, approximately 2 minutes. Add parsley, lemon juice, 1/2 cup of the almond meal and spices to the mixture and stir together. Remove from heat. Fold in crab meat until evenly distributed.

  3. Combine parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup almond meal in a shallow dish.

  4. Form the crab cake patties to about 1/2-inch thickness. Wet your hands with water if the mixture starts to stick. You should make about 8 medium-sized patties.
  5. Cover the patties with parchment paper or saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This will make it so the cakes don’t fall apart and crumble while cooking.
  6. Heat 1 tbsp. butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat until butter is almost burning. Cook patties, 4 at a time, until golden on each side, approximately 3 minutes per side. Use the remaining 1 tbsp. butter for the final 4 patties.
  7. Serve with a lemon wedge and Lemon-Dill Aioli for dipping.
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Crab Cakes
Amount Per Serving (2 cakes)
Calories 246 Calories from Fat 250
% Daily Value*
Fat 27.8g43%
Saturated Fat 6.8g34%
Cholesterol 115mg38%
Sodium 450.8mg19%
Carbohydrates 10.5g4%
Fiber 0.8g3%
Sugar 1.1g1%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 400IU8%
Vitamin C 9.1mg11%
Calcium 130mg13%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

9 thoughts on “Healthy Crab Cakes | With Lemon Dill Aioli

  1. This recipe was great, even though I had a problem with the patties staying together. I ended up getting fed-up with them falling apart about halfway through, so i just scrambled them all together and called it “crab stuffing” haha. Maybe I’ll add some egg next time. The taste was great though!

  2. Lacey, the crab cakes with the sauce look fabulous…I love crab cakes, but haven’t made yet, and I have one big can of crab meat waiting to be used…will definitely try it…SO SO yummie!

    1. I’m with you on the fish cakes, Tara. I’ve tried them before and wasn’t really a fan. I think crab meat lends itself better than fish with this type of preparation. Thanks for sharing!

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