When we are out at a restaurant, one of our favorite appetizers is crab cakes. They are similar to a fishcake but are somehow a little more luxurious? The good news is that you can create a similar dish at home. The bad news is that unless you know how to cook store-bought crab cakes, you are going to be left disappointed. But, don’t worry, today we are going to teach you everything you need to know. We’ll go through various cooking methods and even give you some top tips to get the best taste.
Equipment Needed for Cooking Store Bought Crab Cakes
Ok, before we get cracking, there are a few things that you will need to cook store-bought crab cakes. The list of equipment will vary depending on your chosen method. To cook crab cakes, you will need: –
- A spatula or kitchen tongs
- A baking sheet (if baking)
- A heavy-bottomed skillet (if frying)
- Greaseproof baking paper
- Kitchen paper
How to Cook Store Bought Crab Cakes | 4 Proven Methods
So, you’ve got your crab cakes home from the store, but you aren’t sure what to do with them? Don’t worry, we’ve got some expert advice for you. Here are 4 methods that you can use to cook store-bought crab cakes at home.
This has to be one of the easiest methods to cook crab cakes at home. This is simply a case of putting the broiler on medium heat, spreading your crab cakes out on the tray, and cooking them until they are crispy and golden brown on each side.
There are a few downsides to this method, however.
First, a Broiler allows the juice and fat to drip out of the crab cakes. This can mean that they can get a little dry.
Depending on your broiler, it can be quite easy to burn your crab cakes too. You’ll have to keep an eye on them as they can instantly go from golden brown to black.
Another thing that we aren’t keen on when it comes to cooking crab cakes using this method is that if they are really thick, you might end up with a pale stripe in the middle of each crab cake. This is because heat from the broiler only comes from directly above.
2. Shallow Frying
This is a great way to cook crab cakes. If you have tried them at your favorite restaurant, this is probably how they did it, so you should be able to get a similar result at home! Here’s how to do it: –
- Take a heavy-bottomed skillet and add one or two tablespoons of canola oil to the pan. Place the pan over medium heat.
- Once the oil begins to shimmer, it is time to cook your store-bought crab cakes. Add them to the pan and cook on each side for between 6-8 minutes.
- Once the crab cakes are cooked, remove them from the pan and let them rest for a minute or so on a piece of kitchen paper. This ensures that they are not too oily.
Here are a few tips and tricks to be aware of when shallow frying crab cakes: –
- Don’t overcrowd your pan. If you add too many at a time, you’ll find that there isn’t enough oil to go around. You will also end up with soggy crab cakes. If you are cooking more than a couple, fry them in batches to ensure a perfect result.
- While you may be tempted to blindly follow the packet instructions, trust your own sight too. If the crab cakes are looking a little too pale, there is no harm in giving them another few minutes on each side.
- Use a spatula when cooking crab cakes with this method. If you use tongs, you might find that you snap the crab cakes in half, especially if they tend to stick to the pan.
- If you are cooking frozen crab cakes, you will need to increase the cooking time
3. Deep Frying
This has to be our favorite method of cooking store-bought crab cakes. The hot oil ensures that they are evenly cooked all over and super crispy. The downside is that this can take a little longer and is ever so slightly messy. Oh, and you should be aware that this is the least healthy of all our methods.
Here’s how to deep fry crab cakes: –
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add four or five cups of canola oil. Place the pan on medium to high heat.
- Once the pan comes up to heat, stick a wooden chopstick or wooden spoon into the oil. If it forms bubbles around the spoon, then you know that your oil is hot enough.
- One by one, carefully drop your store-bought crab cakes into the hot oil. This method normally only takes around 4 minutes. Once they are brown and crispy, remove using a slotted spoon and leave them to drain on a sheet of kitchen paper.
To make sure you get the perfect result using this method, here are a few pointers.
- As with shallow frying, you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. If you do, the oil temperature will be lowered, and you’ll be left with greasy crab cakes. Yuck!
- Never leave your pan unattended, especially if you have kids. Hot oil is no laughing matter.
- Be careful if you are cooking frozen crab cakes. Oil and water don’t mix, and the ice crystals may cause your pan to spit on fizz up. This method is best employed when your crab cakes are thawed out.
- You might find that if you leave the crab cakes resting for too long, they go soft. Here’s a great tip to prevent this. Place your oven on a low light and put the cooked cakes directly on the wire shelf. If you leave them on a tray or plate, they will start to steam themselves, which makes them go soft.
- While this method is quick, you might find that the crab cakes are still a little cool inside. To prevent this, we recommend using a food thermometer. Just stab the probe into the center of the crab cakes. You are looking for a minimum internal temperature of around 170°F
If you haven’t got the time or patience to be messing around with pans of hot oil and skillets, this might just be the solution for you. This is a really easy way to cook store-bought crab cakes. You can literally put them in and do something else in the meantime (like whip up a tasty dip or side salad)
Here’s how to oven cook store bought crab cakes: –
- Turn your oven on and set it to 340°F. While the oven is heating, cover a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Now, pay attention. You must do this if you want golden brown crab cakes. Take a food brush, and using either oil or melted butter, give all of your crab cakes a little paint. This helps to make the outer crumb really crispy. This is optional, but without it, your crab cakes will look more than a little pale!
- Bake your crab cakes for around 25 – 30 minutes. If you are cooking from frozen, add 10 minutes more to the cooking time.
- Be sure to flip your crab cakes halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking.
Here are a few tips to help get it right the first time.
- If you are watching your waistline, this should be your go-to method. There is relatively little oil that really helps to cut down on those calories!
- Try not to leave the oven door open for too long when you are putting your crab cakes in. This will cause the oven’s temperature to lower, meaning a longer cooking time or undercooked crab cakes.
- Make sure your crab cakes have a decent gap between each one. They tend to spread out a little as they heat up, so be sure to give each crispy crab cake plenty of room.
Still, got crab cake questions?
Don’t worry, it’s why we are here!
Here are the things we get asked all the time about cooking store bought crab cakes.
Is it Better to Fry or Bake Crab Cakes?
It depends on what you are looking for. If your main concern is choosing healthy options, then cooking crab cakes in the oven is the way to go. They won’t be quite as crispy or juicy, but they are a really healthy option.
If you want sheer indulgence, then frying is the way to go. The oil helps to keep the crab cakes really moist, and you’ll get a uniform layer of golden brown on the outside. This isn’t waistline-friendly and can be slightly messier than baking… But we think it is well worth it!
Are Store Bought Crab Cakes Already Cooked?
If you’ve bought your crab cakes from a store, there is a high probability that they are already cooked. Still, it is recommended that all food is served piping hot, with a minimum internal temperature of 170°F. When you heat food to this temperature, it kills any stubborn or lingering bacteria that would otherwise give you a stomach upset.
The thing to be aware of with crab cakes is that they do contain seafood. You can never be too careful when cooking seafood, so make sure that they are cooked all the way through, even if they are the pre-cooked store-bought variety.
How Do You Tell if Crab Cakes Are Done?
There are a few ways that you can tell crab cakes are done. The easiest method is to use your eyes. Because store bought crab cakes are precooked, they just need to be heated through. If the outside is golden brown, then you can be reasonably sure that they are cooked through.
The most reliable way to tell if crab cakes are done is to use a food probe. Just stick it into the thickest part of the crab cake. You are looking for a temperature of no less than 170°F.
If you haven’t got a food probe, here’s a cheap chef’s trick. Stab a butter knife into the center of the crab cake and leave it there for around 5 seconds. Pull it out and touch it to your lip. If it is too hot, then the crab cakes are cooked. If it is still cold, then they will need a little longer.
Can You Eat Crab Cakes Raw?
Well, you could, but it is not recommended. You kill all of the bacteria that occur naturally in food (both hot and cold) by heating food. Besides which, why would you want to eat raw crab cakes? They taste amazing when they are crispy and cooked!
Should You Thaw Frozen Crab Cakes Before Cooking?
This is entirely down to personal preference. You will get a much better result if you thaw out your crab cakes before cooking. But, if you are stuck for time, you can cook them from frozen.
There are a few things that you need to be aware of.
You have to increase the cooking time if you are cooking frozen crab cakes. We recommend adding at least 10 minutes to the cooking time, regardless of which method you use.
Be careful if frying frozen crab cakes. Ice crystals can cause a reaction with hot oil.
To thaw, crab cakes leave them on a plate in the refrigerator for around 6 -8 hours. Don’t leave them someplace warm as crab (even cooked crab) can go bad really quickly.
Knowing how to cook store bought crab cakes is a vital skill if you are trying to recreate your favorite restaurant dish at home. With our 4 methods, you should be able to get the perfect result time and time again. Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.