Mini Crab Cakes with Lime and Cilantro Aioli Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on May 31, 2009

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Mini Crab Cakes with Lime and Cilantro Aioli Recipe

Serving mini crab cakes when entertaining is kind of like running around all day in four-inch Manolo Blahnik heels. I love the idea, but the practicality is challenging.

These gluten-free, grain-free mini crab cakes with lime and cilantro aioli are the perfect little bite for entertaining. They are baked in mini muffin pans, so there is no frying involved. No muss, no last minute fuss. They can be prepared ahead, popped into the oven and are a snap to serve. And to make matters even better, they re-heat well if needed.

The heat from the jalapeno peppers and Old Bay Spice in the crab cakes is accented perfectly with the lime and cilantro aioli.

So put on your party shoes, grab a cocktail and enjoy!

Gluten Free Mini Crab Cakes w/ Lime and Cilantro Aioli Recipe


Mini Crab Cakes

8 ounces cream cheese – room temperature
1 egg
2 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 medium shallot – finely minced
2 jalapeno peppers – ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
Zest on 1 lime – finely grated
1 pound fresh or canned lump crab meat – picked over for cartilage
3 tablespoons pecans – finely chopped

Lime & Cilantro Aioli

½ cup good quality mayonnaise
Zest of ½ lime – finely grated
Juice of ½ lime
1 tablespoon cilantro, leaves only – finely chopped (about 6 sprigs)


Mini Crab Cakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously grease 1 – 24 muffin / 2 – 12 muffin pans with gluten-free baking spray or butter.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay Seasoning, shallot, jalapeno peppers and lime zest and mix until well blended. Fold in the crab meat.

Put 1 tablespoon of crab mixture into each muffin cup and press down gently. (Can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated at this point.) Top each crab cake with some chopped pecans.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown and set. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan. Run a knife or small offset spatula around each cake and gently lift out. (Can be baked 2 hours ahead – let cool, refrigerate and then bring to room temperature. Arrange on a baking sheet and re-warm for 6 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees.)

Serve with lime & cilantro aioli.

Lime & Cilantro Aioli

Mix all ingredients together until well blended. (Can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)


This Mini Crab Cakes with Lime and Cilantro Aioli Recipe makes 24

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Categories:    Appetizers

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

gfe--gluten free easily May 31, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Beautiful, Carol! I love all the ingredients so I can only imagine how delicious they are!! Love that you bake them in mini-miffin pans and can prepare them ahead of time, too. Thanks!

Thanks for the heads up on Lea & Perrins in other countries. It's one of those things that makes you want to bang your head against the wall though! If they can make it fine without gluten, why not just make it that way all the time/everywhere?? Maddening.



H.Peter May 31, 2009 at 3:25 pm

“½ cup good quality mayonnaise”

Yes, it HAS to be good quality mayo. I fully agree.


Peter M May 31, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Crab cakes don't need much help but when presented this beautifully…you know trays upon trays will get gobbled up.


Peter G May 31, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Carol, these are absolutely delightful! And very easy too! Nice flavours and beautiful can’t be beat!


JennK/CinnamonQuill June 1, 2009 at 5:37 am

These look perfect! I always convert fish recipes to match our eating habits and replace the fish with mashed navy/garbanzo beans. Sounds a bit strange, but it works! Looking forward to trying these.


RecipeGirl June 1, 2009 at 6:14 am

These are wonderful! I love that they're made in mini muffin pans, & lime/cilantro aioli sounds yummy.

I did crab cakes today too, though mine are a bit more involved & def. not gluten free!


Diane-The Whole Gang June 1, 2009 at 7:29 am

So adorable. I love the idea of making these in the muffin pan. Brilliant! Can I serve this on Father’s Day? Is it manly? Still working on the manly dish. I think it will involve buffalo.


aforkfulofspaghetti June 2, 2009 at 12:32 am

You got me at crab – the rest of your post was all a big bonus! Simply delicious-looking, Carol. Fabulous. So wonderful for summer.


Sue June 2, 2009 at 7:32 am

What a fabulous recipe. I guess the egg takes the place of the bread crumbs. I was thinking that the nuts did too, but then I saw you used them only on top. How smart to give the idea of a crust, but with nuts instead.


Naomi Devlin June 3, 2009 at 9:47 am

yum!They look fabulous. Can I just ask what old bay seasoning is? x x x


plumpestpeach June 3, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I love the min muffin pan idea, way better than frying in general, and way cuter! I made mini meat loaves that way and haven't made them any other way since. Cheers! Jess


Toni June 3, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I loved your comment about running around in Manolo Blahniks all day! Great analogy, and a reason why I would have shied away from anything like this. But since your post makes it sound possible, easy and delicious – I'm in!


Allie June 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm

those look great! I'm writing this recipe down to use for my next party! thanks…


Sophie June 23, 2009 at 7:49 am

This is really beautifully plated :)! This is truly gourmet gluten-free, lovely!

I hope to still get involved in this month's challenge, thank you again for the invite.


Max mickle July 6, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Thanks for the mini crab cakes recipe. Last summer I ate them at a party and has been looking for an authentic recipe ever since. Now I will be able to make them myself. Thanks again.


MollyS September 29, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I'm dairy free as well so I substituted with Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese substitute and it worked perfectly. I had extra mix left over so the next night I made full size crab cakes, cooked in a pan with a bit of olive oil, and they were delicious!


Gloria Tabone January 13, 2016 at 12:48 pm

I made these once as is and everyone loved them. I am going to make them again but omit the zest and serve them with gluten free spicy remoulade sauce (copy cat recipe from outback steakhouse).


Carol Kicinski January 18, 2016 at 9:56 am

Mmm sounds good Gloria!
xo, Carol


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