Cauliflower “Crab” Cakes

These crab cakes use cauliflower instead of crab meat. Even though they don’t contain any crab, they taste and feel like real crab cakes. This is my new favorite way to eat cauliflower!
photo of a stack of Cauliflower "Crab" Cakes

I haven’t been this excited to share a cauliflower recipe in a while. But I really really love how these came out. photo of Cauliflower "Crab" Cakes on a wooden board

I was recently introduced to zucchini “crab” cakes, sometimes known as poorman’s crab cakes. And it got me thinking, why not use cauliflower instead of zucchini? Not only is cauliflower closer in color and appearance to crab meat, but it also doesn’t contain as much water as zucchini, so you don’t need to wring the cauliflower dry. I also think the flavor of cauliflower is easier to mask compared to zucchini.
step by step photo collage of how to make the cakes
One of the things that gives crab cakes their distinct flavor profile is the seasoning. These mock crab cakes use all the same seasoning, which is why they taste remarkably similar to crab cakes. And I even shredded the cauliflower, so the appearance and texture is very similar to crab meat as well.
close-up photo of a Cauliflower "Crab" Cake
This recipe is definitely one I plan on making again and again. They are great for a dinner party, potluck, and more.
close-up photo of a stack of Cauliflower "Crab" Cakes

Recipe now updated with video! You can find all my recipe videos on my youtube channel as well.

Cauliflower "Crab" Cakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
These mock crab cakes use cauliflower instead of crab meat. They taste very similar to crab cakes!


  • 2 cups packed shredded cauliflower (see note)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning this is key to the crab cake-like flavor, so don't leave this out!
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup vegetable oil for pan frying
  • tartar sauce optional, to eat with the crab cakes
  • lemon wedges optional, to eat with the crab cakes


  1. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, eggs, breadcrumbs, Old Bay, black pepper, mayonnaise and parsley. Mix until everything is combined and wet.
  2. Measure out 1/3 cup (packed) cauliflower mixture. You want to make sure you really compact the cauliflower mixture so that the cakes don't fall apart. Flip the measuring cup upside down to release the cauliflower cake onto a sheet of parchment paper. Gently press down on the mixture to form a thick round disc. Repeat with remaining cauliflower mixture. You should have enough to make 6 cakes.
  3. In a large skillet, add oil and bring to medium high heat. Depending on the size of your pan you will need between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of oil. You will need enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan in order to pan fry the cakes. Add in crab cakes and cook a few minutes on both sides until they are golden and crispy and cauliflower is cooked. Place cooked crab cakes onto a paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil. Serve crab cakes with tartar sauce and fresh lemon juice if desired.


  • To shred the cauliflower, use a cheese or vegetable grater with large grating holes. You can also use raw cauliflower rice but the texture of the crab cakes won't be the quite the same.
All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

9 comments on “Cauliflower “Crab” Cakes”

  1. I would never have thought you could make crab cakes that literally have no crab in them! I’m so intrigued! They look beautiful!

  2. Can’t wait to try this – they look delish!

  3. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could make this into a vegan version? Looks hella delicious.

  4. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I made these a few weeks ago (along with your cheesy cauliflower muffins — it worked out perfectly, actually, as one whole cauliflower was the right amount for the two recipes!). Had to sub Old Bay seasoning though for All-purpose seasoning as the former is not really available where I am. I also added 1/4 tsp each of garlic and onion powder for good measure. And I used Kewpie mayo, which is quite different to regular mayo. Probably didn’t taste exactly how they were meant to be — still, this one is definitely a keeper. Even my partner enjoyed them and he’s usually very fussy!

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