Crab cakes are a very popular variety of fish cakes. The fact that two very different textures, namely the crispiness and tenderness, can co-exist together makes them one of the most enjoyed appetizers around.
However, It’s not unusual to find stories of utter failure from people who tried to bring about the same texture and flavor in the store-bought crab cakes after returning from dinner at a fancy restaurant.
So we're about to show you how different methods you can use to cook store-bought crab cakes and make them taste just as good as your favorite restaurant, if not better.
The first step is ensuring we have all the right ingredients and utensils before getting started.
Ingredients and Utensils For Cooking Store-Bought Crab Cakes
- Convection oven for baking
- Pan/skillet for sautéing
- Heavy-bottomed saucepan or a deep fryer
- A digital thermometer
- Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
- Parchment papers
- Store-bought crab cakes of your choice
You may only need a few above items, depending on which method you choose to cook the dish.
The most obvious place to start, is to cook the cakes in the way mentioned on the packaging.
But due to various reasons, your store bought crab cakes didn't come with detailed instructions. Don’t worry because we got your back.
Here are some of the best ways to get the most out of your favorite delicacies:
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How to Cook Store Bought Crab Cakes: Methods That Work
Here, we’ll introduce you to the top methods that you can use to bake store bought crab cakes.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Step 2: Cover the baking tray with parchment papers. Brush it with butter or extra virgin olive oil and place the crab cakes on it.
Step 3: Gently brush the cakes with olive oil as well to enhance the texture when cooked.
Step 4: If your crab cakes are frozen, cook them for 20-25 minutes. But if they are already thawed, reduce the cooking time to 12-14 minutes.
Step 5: Now, if you have a convection oven, then reduce the overall in-oven time to 10 minutes for frozen cakes and 7 minutes for thawed ones.
Step 6: Make sure to turn them over once when they are halfway done. If you are concerned about your calorie intake, then baking is your go-to healthy choice.
2. Pan Frying
Step 1: Take a frying pan/skillet and add 2 tbsp of olive oil or canola oil.
Step 2: Set the heat to a low medium flame and wait for the oil to warm up.
Step 3: For frozen crab cakes, cook both sides for 8 minutes each. And for thawed crab cakes, reduce the time to 5 minutes on either side.
Step 4: Sauté the crab cakes carefully trying not to break them as you flip them.
Step 5: Prioritize more on cooking each side until they are golden brown and less on the predetermined time limit. Cooking for too long will burn them.
Step 6: Once the cakes are cooked golden brown and evenly, place them on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
Remember that a completely defrosted crab cake will not take as long as a frozen one to reach the required internal temperature of 165°F.
3. Deep Frying
Step 1: Pour about an inch of olive oil into the saucepan or deep-fryer and heat it until it reaches (300-350) °F.
Step 2: Carefully add the crab cakes individually into the hot oil.
Step 3: For frozen cakes, cook them for about 3-4 minutes on either side for a total of 6-7 minutes.
Step 4: Use a strainer to carefully pick out the crab cakes from the deep fryer or pan and place them on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
Step 5: You may need to further press the crab cakes gently with another dry paper towel to remove any extra oil because deep-frying incorporates more oil than any other method.
If you're not worried about the extra calories and fat content then deep frying is the fastest way to get your crab cakes ready.
Most seafood cake companies provide pre-cooked packages of crab cakes, but we recommend you to always heat them to an internal temperature of at least 165° F before eating.
Here are some more tips to ace that crisp and tender combination.
Tips for the Best Tasting Crab Cakes
- Use frozen cakes during sautéing or deep frying to retain the shape. But keep in mind that it’s going to take you more time to cook frozen ones uniformly.
- You may thaw your crab cakes by refrigerating or by microwaving for a minute.
- While working with thawed products, remove it from the refrigerator at least 15-20 minutes before setting it in hot oil.
- If your crab cakes are thick and slightly larger than the regular palm-size, consider using it as a patty for your burger/sandwich.
- Serve with tomatoes, lettuce, and a variation of sauces, dressings, salts or spices for flavor.
Lastly, you may need to experiment with different cooking methods for different brands before you know for sure if you should fry your crab cakes frozen or thawed.
Precautions While Cooking
- Wear mittens while operating the oven.
- Stand clear from the oil during frying and expect vigorous bursts of oil to spatter randomly when you place the crab cakes in it.
Cook up the Perfect Store-Bought Crab Cakes Today!
If you are not able to nail the perfect consistency in the first try, then don’t be disheartened. Even if it seems intimidating, cooking the perfect store-bought crab cake requires time and practice, but with a few tries you are sure to master it.
If you have read through all the instructions of our “how to cook store-bought crab cakes” guide, then it’s time for go get to work and make something delicious.
Next time someone says that store-bought crab cakes aren’t as gourmet as the restaurant ones, confidently take on the challenge and use your culinary skills to show them how wrong they are. So the only thing that stands between you and delicious crab cakes is a trip to the store and a quick cook.
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