How to Make Paleo Crab Cakes (with a Secret Ingredient!)
paleo crab cakes

How to Make Paleo Crab Cakes (with a Secret Ingredient!)

by Kelley Herring on December 20, 2014

If you’re a crab cake lover, you know that finding a truly good Paleo crab cake isn’t easy.

Most are loaded with breading, severely lacking in the crab department or fried to oblivion in unhealthy vegetable oil.

But a GREAT crab cake – packed with big chunks of lump crab, donning a perfectly golden-brown exterior and just barely held together with creamy mayonnaise, egg and a little breading – is a delicacy that will have you pining for more.

Since removing gluten from my diet, I’ve missed indulging in the occasional crab cake (especially the ones from the quaint little restaurant, Dada, in my home town of Delray Beach, Florida).

And despite a number of attempts to recreate this seaside favorite, my Paleo substitutes of coconut and almond flour just weren’t creating the same texture as a genuine crab cake.

That is, until…

The Happy Accident with Cauliflower: My Crab-Less Paleo Crab Cakes

Check out this short video to see just how easy it is to make…

Not long ago, I was making cauliflower fritters from some leftovers in the fridge. It was just steamed and then “riced” cauliflower, seasoning, eggs and a little coconut flour, formed into patties and then pan-fried.

My husband, Jon, came in and said with a big smile “Wow, you made crab cakes.” As he took a bite, I waited for his response. “These are GREAT… but where’s the crab“.

I laughed. “They’re crab-less crab cakes!”

And then I got to thinking. Steamed cauliflower just might be the missing link to creating the perfect gluten-free, grain-free Paleo Crab Cake. And so it was!

I hope you love this simple and delicious recipe as much as we do!

Secret Ingredient Paleo Crab Cakes

As a special gift for Healing Gourmet readers, our friends at Thrive Market are giving away a 12 oz. jar of Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise – free for a limited time. It’s perfect in this recipe and countless more. Don’t delay – get your jar now!

5.0 from 6 reviews
Paleo Crab Cakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 lb. crab meat, cooked
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, steamed well
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 3 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise (Get a 12 oz. jar FREE from Thrive Market now!)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil or coconut oil
  1. In a medium bowl, add the steamed cauliflower. Gently break up into small pieces, mashing some. Leave some pieces intact for texture.
  2. Add the crab meat and parsley. Gently fold the mixture to distribute the ingredients evenly without breaking up the crab too much.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, Old Bay and salt. Pour over the crab meat mixture and gently fold.
  4. Now sift the coconut flour over the crab and gently fold the mixture until everything is uniform. The coconut flour is what helps give these cakes that crispy-golden crust.
  5. Transfer to the fridge to chill and firm up - about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Remove crab mixture from fridge and form into patties. I made mine about 2 inches thick and 3 inches in diameter.
  7. Heat oil in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add the crab cakes, being careful to not overcrowd the pan (this will cause steaming, not searing). Cook about 3 minutes to golden brown, then flip and cook another 3 minutes.
  8. Place pan-fried crab cakes on a baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven to cook through (12 to 15 minutes)
  9. Serve with fresh lemon wedges and Paleo mayo
Nutrition Information Per Serving
145 calories, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 7 g monounsaturated fat, 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 12 g protein

Excellent Source of: Protein, Selenium, Vitamin B12, Vitamin K, EPA/DHA Omega-3

Good Source of: Zinc, Vitamin C, Phosphorous

About The Author

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

Kelley Herring – who has written posts on Healing Gourmet.

About Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.


  1. Janelle Wiseman Brown says:

    Kelly, I’ve received your ebooks,”Better Breads,” “Better Breakfasts,” Crusts,:
    and “Low Glycemic Lifestyle.” I THOUGHT in that first purchase, I also became a member. However, I didn’t get 2 of the 3 books mentioned above that comes with membership. Please check on my status and let me know. I love the recipes for breads and tortillas so far and have done a kitchen makeover! (You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I am 78 and my husband is 84!) 🙂 And also, how is “Food Cure” different from the ebooks I already have? Thanks.
    (P.,S. I appreciate your attention to detail in your careful explanation of scientific things for the layman.)

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Janelle!
      Thank you so much for your kind note. I love hearing from happy customers, and it is a special treat when I hear from ones who are so young at heart and still have a zest for learning!

      Also, I’m happy to hear you are enjoying the breads and have done a kitchen makeover. You are full of energy 🙂

      So, you have the Better Breads series. The Food Cure series is different – it breaks down the many areas of nutrition into modules and describes how nutrition influences aging and disease. It is extensive with a lot of research, but in “layman” terms.

      Now, the books we offer here are our free books for joining our newsletter list. You probably received them in your email, but may have missed them when they came in. To get access to the free books, just put your info in here –

      Then you’ll get the free books featured here at Healing Gourmet.

      Hope this helps & wishing you and your hubby many more years of health and cooking together 🙂


  2. These were fabulous! You can’t even taste the cauliflower but it made them great. They were so “fluffy”. I made a remoulade sauce that I got from Nom Nom Paleo and it went very well with them.
    Thank you for all you do. I love your site, emails, and recipies.

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Sheri,
      Thanks so much for your kind comments and letting us know how the Paleo crab cakes turned out. I’m thrilled that you loved them!

      Stay tuned, we have some more great seafood makeovers coming up in the next few weeks.

      Be Well!

    • What kind of sauce was is?

  3. I’m interested in the crab-less crab cakes. Are you sharing that recipe?? I searched for it, but didn’t find it.

    Thanks! Toni

  4. Could you make the mixture several hours before?

  5. Linda Hendrex says:

    This sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to try it.

    About Wilderness Family Naturals mayo – It is a good product (I used to use it all the time) but were you aware that their mayonnaise is no longer strictly paleo? I found this out because I have Celiac disease and watch ingredient labels like a hawk. The last time I purchased it, I re-read the ingredients and noticed that they are using barley vinegar, so I called them and asked if it is still gluten free. They told me straight out that it is contaminated with gluten. That little bit of barley is probably not significant to most people but if you have a serious condition that requires you to be strictly gluten-free, this is a food to avoid.

    Now I am using Mark Sisson’s Primal Mayo, which is delicious and absolutely Paleo! I actually think it is better than Wilderness Family Naturals – and NO sugar at all! 🙂

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Linda,
      Thank you for your comment. And I agree with you wholeheartedly.

      We have been buying Primal Kitchen mayo (by the case) since it came out. It really doesn’t get any better than that – homemade included!

      Be Well,

  6. This is a great recipe had no crab , but what the crab, made it with salmon and it tasted really nice.

  7. Hi, I was wondering if the crab cakes could be chilled in the fridge overnight for easier prep? Am thinking about making these with some poached eggs and hollandaise for christmas breakfast 🙂

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Annika,
      You are a lady after my own heart! Your Paleo Crab Cakes Benedict sounds amazing.

      You can definitely make these ahead and keep chilled overnight. I have done this several times and they are perfect – even easier to work with.

      Merry Christmas to you & yours,

  8. Kelly Kirk says:

    I’m curious if these would freeze well…what do you think?

  9. I tried these for dinner tonight and they were amazing! Thank you for such a creative twist on crab cakes.

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Beba!
      So glad you enjoyed them. I keep lump crab and frozen cauliflower on hand for anytime the crab cake craving strikes.

      Thanks for sharing and hope you visit us again.

      Be Well,

  10. These crab cakes are delicious! I wasn’t sure about the cauliflower but surprisingly you can’t taste it. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Holy heck! These were amazing! No one in the family knew that there was cauliflower hiding in these. They tasted so delicious and held together beautifully. I was skeptical given the amount of chunky crab I had and how big I made them. They had a gorgeous golden brown crust and plenty of flavor. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!!

  12. I have riced cauliflower. Can I use that? Do I have to steam it before I use it in the crab cakes?

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Theresa!
      Rice cauliflower should work, but I haven’t tried it. You will definitely want to steamed before you add it or it will be rather crunchy.

      Hope you enjoy!

  13. Katy Wright says:

    These sound delicious. Can you substitute almond flour for the coconut flour?

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Katy!
      Thanks for your question.

      Absolutely! Almond flour is a great exchange for coconut flour in this recipe and I have had success with it many times (I’ll post my alternate printable recipe here later).

      Since almond flour is less absorbent, you will have to add a bit more than the 3 Tbsp. coconut flour called for. Add the 3 tablespoons, and then add by tablespoon to get the texture you like. I prefer to add about 1/4 cup and leave the “dough” a little loose and then pan saute in a deeper amount of healthy fat (1/4 cup of duck fat in a small cast iron pan is ideal!). This will give a more classic, golden appearance to your crab cakes. And by the way – the almond flour will aid in that too. Coconut flour is more spongy and has less potential to brown and create that golden, caramelized crust.

      Hope you enjoy and please let us know how you like the recipe!

      Be Well,

  14. Hi Kelly,

    I followed the recipe exactly but I couldn’t form them, by the time I was done cooking them they kinda fell apart. Any suggestions? Other than that, it was delicious.

    Ela 🙂

  15. I just made these for dinner. I used cauliflower rice and of course cooked it first. They were absolutely wonderful! I don’t have paleo mayo so just used regular mayo. I will definitely be making these again and again and again.

  16. Nicolette says:

    Hi Kelly,
    I am wondering if this recipe calls for fresh crab meat or canned crab, which is it?
    THANKS! I am looking forward to trying this!

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Nicolette,
      Freshly cooked and picked over crab would be amazing if you can get it – typically I use prepared lump crab meat.

      Hope you enjoy.

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