Keto Crab Cakes  – Grain Free Option

Keto Crab Cakes – Grain Free Option

Keto Crab Cakes

Thomas Keller has a fabulous crab cake recipe in his book, Ad Hoc at Home. This is a riff on that original recipe. 

Thomas Keller is one of the best chefs in America and is famous for his very high end restaurant in Napa, the French Laundry. 

Keto Crab Cakes with Pork Panko

 You might remember that the French Laundry was recently made a bit famous by the California governor, which is too bad, as it was already famous but for all the right reasons. For regular folks like us 

Ad Hoc is a the scaled down eatery for regular people and also located in Napa Valley.  We ate there a few years ago, munching on fried chicken, this asparagus with gremolata,  potatoes and more.

Although it’s not the French Laundry, you still need to make your reservations well in advance and give a deposit. They serve one meal per seating and you don’t get to choose, so just go prepared to enjoy some heightened comfort food in an approachable setting. 

Fried Keto Crab Cakes from Spinach Tiger

I  love the recipes in the Ad Hoc Cookbook, featuring Iconic American dishes,  because you and I  can actually make them and we probably have most of the ingredients in our pantry.

Crab Cakes Gluten Free/ Keto Option

I’ve made these crab cakes several times but this time. I substituted the panko bread crumbs with pork panko. To my wonderful surprise, it worked. I only used the pork panko to bread the crab cakes, not for the mix itself. 

What is Pork Panko?

Did you know that even if you’re on the keto diet, the gluten free diet or the grain free diet, you can still have amazing crunchy breaded crab cakes?

The breading is not bread at all, but Pork Panko, crushed pork skins. You can make your own breading or buy Pork Panko already made into keto look-alike bread crumbs. Costco sells them now for a very good price.

There is a trick to frying with pork panko, and it took me a while to discover this trick. Once I  did, I  was able to get the crispy crunch I  was looking for.

How to fry Keto Crab Cakes with Pork Panko?

The secret is not to use any oil. I  only used a small amount of baking spray and no oil. Pork panko is already fat. It’s pork skins and can get soggy with added oil. I  actually accidentally discovered this as I  was going to bake my crab cakes and just start them on top of the stove. When I  turned the crab cakes over, I  discovered an amazing crunch. Once my crab cakes were done on the other side, that side also had crunch and the crunch stayed. This is a dream discovery. You can use as much or as little pork panko you desire. 

Keto Crab Cakes

What Crab to Use for Grain Free Crab Cakes

Thomas Keller doesn’t use blue crab, because it is is not indigenous to Northern California. However, I  think a good crab cake has to be made with jumbo blue crab to be an authentic Maryland style crab cake, because that’s how I  grew up and there is no real substitute. Although expensive, a can will make six filling crab cakes. I  grew up on blue crab because it was easily accessible coming from Baltimore, 90 minutes away. I  had no idea it was such a delicacy and that all of America was not enjoying blue crab. If you’ve never had blue crab, you can buy it at Costco for about $25, but that’s the price of one or two crab cakes  in a restaurant (if they use blue crab). 

How to Mix and Make Authentic Keto Crab Cakes

I’ve taken some liberties with adapting the original recipe. I  added lemon but eliminated butter, onion, garlic and peppers. This recipe is closer to the crab cakes I  grew up on.

Read my article here that breaks down the differences and similarities between these diets. Did you know that most keto friendly food is gluten free, but much gluten free baking is not keto friendly. Find out how to sort these differences.

Keto Crab Cakes with Lemon

Latest Blog Posts from Spinach Tiger

Keto Crab Cakes

Keto Maryland Crab Cakes

Inspired by Thomas Keller, modified for grain free or keto diet
Course Seasfood
Cuisine American
Keyword crab cakes, keto bars
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Servings 6 servings


  • 16 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise can use more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon flat Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pimento chopped
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups Pork Panko or panko of your choice (see notes)


  • Drain crab meat well, but do your best to leave it in lump form.
  • In large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except pork panko.
  • Add crab meat to mixture.
  • Form into six crab cakes.
  • Gently roll into pork panko.
  • Heat non stick pan to medium low Fry crab cakes using no oil if using pork panko. Turn once the side is very crispy about five minutes per side.
  • Serve with lemon wedges, tartar sauce or your favorite mayonnaise. I use an avocado oil based mayonnaise.

The post Keto Crab Cakes – Grain Free Option appeared first on Spinach Tiger.

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