Alaska Sea Adventures

Alaska Crab Cakes

By Chef Therese Gorsich

Alaska Crab Cakes from Chef Therese

Alaska Crab Cakes from Chef Therese

Chef Therese continues to delight our guests with her creations during each cruise and this month she’s pleased to share her Alaska Dungeness Crab Cake Recipe, which features a unique secret to help the cakes bind together! Aboard the Northern Song in the early season, we can catch Dungeness and cook it that night. Later in the season, we often purchase it from local purveyors. Whether the crab is purchased or caught, these always bring smiles! For additional recipes from Chef Therse, be sure to check out our website recipe page for downloadable PDFs. We have published some of her best!

Dungeness Crab Cakes


For crab cakes:
1 pound Dungeness crabmeat, picked over for shells
2 celery ribs
1/2 medium onion
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces shrimp, peeled
1/4 cup cream/ yogurt/ or sour cream
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon/a few grinds black pepper
(I don’t add any salt as the crab meat is often quite salty but you can taste and decide)

For coating:
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (recipe below) from 3-4 slices bread, crusts removed (alternatively you can use panko)
mixed with:
2 Tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
paprika & black pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each)


If making fresh bread crumbs:

Tear bread into rough pieces and pulse in food processor until finely ground.  (If using butter I melt it a glass bowl or large measuring cup in the microwave and mix the bread crumbs and spices into that. Set aside until ready to coat cakes.)

To make crab cakes:

Step 1
Pulse celery and onion in food processor until finely chopped (about 10 pulses, do not purée them!). Rinse processor bowl and blade and reserve.

Step 2
Melt the 1 Tablespoon butter in skillet over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables, cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and most moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pulse shrimp in now-empty food processor until finely ground. Add cream and pulse a few times to combine. (The pureed shrimp acts as binder to hold the cakes together)

Step 4
Transfer shrimp puree to bowl and add cooled celery & onion. Add mustard and lemon juice; stir until well combined. Add crabmeat and fold gently with rubber spatula, being careful not to over mix and break up lumps of crabmeat.

Step 5
Divide mixture into 16 portions (a small ice cream scoop works well for this) and press into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Place cakes on rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Resting the cakes in the refrigerator helps them set.)

Step 6
Coat each cake in breadcrumbs, firmly pressing to adhere crumbs to exterior. Place back on rimmed baking sheet.

Step 7
Cook under broiler for 5-7 min until breadcrumbs are toasted, checking frequently and being careful not to burn, flip and repeat on other side.

Tips from Chef Therese:

  • If you don’t have access to the freshest crab meat, you can eliminate any off flavors by soaking it in milk for 20 minutes. (The protein in milk binds with the chemicals that cause ‘fishy’ flavors in crab). Strain before proceeding with the recipe.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the celery and onion, the shrimp can be ‘puréed’ by chopping it and then using the side of a knife to smash it a bit.
    You can make breadcrumbs by toasting the slices in the oven to dry them and then placing in a Ziploc bag and crushing with a rolling pin.
  • If you need to make this recipe dairy free, the cream can be eliminated. It just adds richness but will not negatively affect the texture of the cakes.
  • Likewise, the mustard and lemon juice are just there to add flavor. Feel free to play around with spices, I keep it simple to let the flavor of the crab shine.
  • The cakes can be pan-fried in a skillet, they should take about 3-4 minutes per side. I just find them easier to cook under the broiler when cooking for a crowd.
  • These can be made and frozen raw and taken out as needed and cooked- they don’t even need to be defrosted, just cook a few minutes longer.

Serves: Makes 16 cakes/ serves 4-6 as a main/ 8 as an appetizer


Download a PDF version of this Recipe