Homemade Maryland-style baked Crab Balls are delicious mini crab cake bites made with lump crab meat. This recipe is easy to prepare and makes tasty hors d’oeuvres or can be used as protein in a salad or wrap.
With just crab meat and a few simple ingredients, you can have an appetizer rivaling your favorite restaurant. Enjoy crab balls as a snack dipped into tartar sauce or alongside a fresh salad.
What are Crab Balls Made of?
Crab balls are made using crab meat, mayonnaise, eggs, sauces, herbs, seasonings and breadcrumbs. Everything is combined into a smooth mixture and separated into bite-size balls that are baked until golden brown and crispy. Here are the key ingredients:
- Crab Meat
- Dijon mustard
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- Optional Melted Butter
How to Make Crab Balls
- Mix together eggs, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, celery, parsley, and salt.
- Add the crab meat and panko. Gently fold everything together with a rubber spatula.
- Take about 1/4 cup of the mixture and shape it into a ball. Then place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat this process with the rest of the mixture.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Brush the balls with optional melted butter.
- Bake at 450°F for 12-15 minutes or until the balls become lightly browned.
Tips for the Best Crab Bites
- Use high-quality crab meat for the best crab balls: By using high quality crab meat, you can ensure you’ll have the best tasting crab balls. Fresh crab meat is best, but frozen also works. Canned crab meat isn’t the best option, but works in a pinch.
- Make ahead instructions: You can prepare your crab meat mixture ahead of time so you can be ready to cook these tasty crab bites at any time. It’s great for meal prepping, parties or dinners. Freeze the unbaked balls for up to three months and keep your freezer stocked with these versatile seafood bites.
Quick Homemade Tartar Sauce for Dipping
Tartar sauce is undeniably delicious with seafood and these crab balls are no exception. Homemade tartar sauce is easy to make and tastes much better than store bought sauce. You’ll need a cup of mayonnaise, finely chopped dill pickles and onions, chopped parsley, a teaspoon of lemon juice, a bit of sugar and freshly ground black pepper. Combine the ingredients for a creamy, flavorful dip for your crab balls.
Is it Better to Fry or Bake Mini Crab Cakes?
Baked crab balls are light and crispy without the grease and mess of frying. Not only are baked crab cakes healthier, they’re also much easier to prepare in the oven.
Can I Make Crab Balls with Ritz Crackers?
A tasty variation on this recipe is to use finely crumbled crackers for extra crispy crab bites. This method comes in handy when you’re out of bread crumbs. You can use original or flavored Ritz crackers or saltine crackers.
Can You Freeze These Crab Balls?
One of the best things about these crab balls is that they can be frozen for up to three months. Whether baked or unbaked, you can store your crab bites in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, put the balls in the fridge overnight to allow them to thaw, before brushing them with melted butter. You’ll need to bake unbaked balls for 12-15 minutes, but previously baked balls can be baked at a lower temperature and only need a few minutes to be reheated. Use a fork to check if the center of the ball is still cold before removing it from the oven.
What to Serve with Crab Balls
Mini crab cakes can be served anywhere that you’d serve regular size crab cakes! These versatile seafood bites can be enjoyed with salads or pasta for an exciting lunch or dinner. For breakfast, crab bites are delicious alongside a fried egg or with grilled avocados.
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Easy Crab Balls Recipe
- In a large bowl add the eggs, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, celery, parsley, and salt. Mix well.
- Add the crab meat and panko. Gently fold everything together with a rubber spatula. (Make sure not to shred the crab meat).
- Take about 1/4 cup of the mixture and shape it into a ball. Then place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat this process with the rest of the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Brush the balls with optional melted butter.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the balls become lightly browned. Serve with tartar sauce and enjoy!
- The fresh or refrigerated lump crab meat tastes the best. If you need to use canned crab meat, look for the ones in the refrigerated section in the store.
- You can freeze the un-baked crab balls for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.
- You can also freeze the baked crab balls for 3 months. Warm them up in the oven at 350°F for 10-12 minutes.
- Homemade Tartar Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 ½ tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- How to Make Tartar Sauce: Mix all the tartar sauce ingredients above in a mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until you’re ready to serve.