Crab cake sandwiches are an East Coast tradition that’s easy to make at home! Start with your favorite store-bought crab cakes, or use our air fryer version. Then, layer on spicy mayo, and your choice of toppings!

one serving of crab cake sandwich sitting on a wooden board.

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Crab cake sandwiches are a popular seafood sandwich, especially in Maryland and other areas on the East Coast. They take classic crab cakes and layer them tender brioche bread with all the fixings—a creamy mayo-based sauce, crisp romaine lettuce, and juicy fresh tomatoes. (Is your mouth watering yet?!)

The crab cakes are the main event here. Your crab cake sandwiches are only as good as the crab cakes you put on them! While you can buy them at your local grocery store, I like to make them myself with jumbo lump crab meat. Then, to make them healthier, I use the air fryer!

My air fryer crab cakes are a traditional crab cake recipe. However, instead of pan frying, they get crispy and delicious in the air fryer. Start with those, and the rest of this crab cake sandwich recipe is a breeze!

stack of four cooked crab cakes served on a white round plate.

Easy Crab Cake Sandwich Recipe

There are a few different options when it comes to the sauce for your crab cake sandwiches. There’s remoulade, which is a traditional pairing with crab cakes. Or, you can go with tartar sauce, a flavored aioli, or even just plain old mayo. I like to give these crab cake sandwiches a bit of a kick with a spicy mayo! (The good news is that since you’re making it yourself, you can make it as spicy or as not-spicy as you like!)

Soft brioche buns are the perfect pairing with the crab cakes. Once you toast them, they’ll stand up well to the sauce and do a solid job supporting the crispy crab cakes. Add the lettuce and tomato slices. Then, all that’s left to do is devour these crab cake sandwiches—and oh, will you enjoy them!

ingredients to make crab cakes.


See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Spicy Mayo:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Hot sauce – Any kind you like or have on hand. Use more for a spicier sauce, or omit it altogether for a mild sauce.
  • Dijon mustard
  • Lemon juice – Lemon pairs well with seafood, so I like adding it to the mayo here. Freshly squeezed is best!


  • Air fryer crab cakes – Or your favorite store-bought crab cakes, cooked according to the package instructions.
  • Brioche buns – You can substitute another type of bun, but my family really likes using fluffy brioche!
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Tomato – Try using a fresh heirloom tomato during the summer for a pop of color and unique flavor.


  • Swap the spicy mayo for your favorite aioli (try one made with parsley, fresh chives, fresh dill, or other fresh herbs), remoulade sauce, or homemade tartar sauce. Or, simply stir some lemon zest and juice into mayo!
  • Make smaller crab cakes and use Hawaiian rolls instead of Brioche rolls to make crab cake sliders for a party.
  • Add a smear of butter to both sides of the bun, and toast them on a griddle for more flavor and crispiness.
  • Use fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, bread crumbs, and seasonings to create flavorful crab cakes. Adjust the herbs and spices to suit your personal preferences. I love to add a bit of heat with some red pepper flakes!

How to Make Crab Cake Sandwiches

  1. Cook the crab cakes: Make air fryer crab cakes, or cook your favorite frozen crab cakes according to the package instructions. I like using the air fryer, but a large skillet over medium-high heat with a little olive oil also works! They should be golden brown and look a little crispy on the outside.
  2. Make the spicy mayo: In a small mixing bowl, whisk all of the ingredients for the spicy mayo until they’re well combined.
  3. Assemble: Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spicy mayo on both sides of the toasted brioche buns. Add the crab cakes to the bottom half of the bun, followed by the lettuce and tomato slices. Top with the other half of the bun, and serve.
bite taken out of a crab cake sandwich.

Quick Tip

Don’t skip toasting the buns! It helps keep them from getting soft and mushy once you add the spicy mayo and hot crab cakes.

How to Store Leftover Air Fryer Crab Cakes

It’s best to store the components of these sandwiches separately. That said, leftover crab cake sandwiches can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Just expect the buns to be softer and the crab cakes to be less crispy.

Be sure to wrap them in foil or plastic wrap. Or, store them in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven, toaster oven, or microwave before serving. 

Serving Suggestions

Crab cake sandwiches can be served as a light lunch or dinner. Serve the sandwiches with a side of air fryer French fries seasoned with Old Bay seasoning, potato salad, coleslaw, or cucumber salad.


What sauce goes with crab cakes?

A classic crab cake sandwich is usually served with remoulade, tartar sauce, or aioli. You can also make your own spicy mayo, which pairs very well with the crab cakes and adds an extra kick of flavor.

Are crab cake sandwiches healthy?

When you start with air fryer crab cakes, you’re already cutting a lot of the fat, because you don’t have to use all that oil to get a crispy crab cake! Crab cakes are also a great source of protein.

What are some common crab cake sandwich toppings?

Crab cake sandwiches are usually topped with lettuce and tomato, but feel free to add your own toppings. Try adding avocado slices, pickles, thinly sliced red onions, or slaw.

More Crowd-Pleasing Sandwich Recipes

A crab cake sandwich on a Brioche bun.

Crab Cake Sandwich

Crab cake sandwiches are an East Coast tradition that’s easy to make at home! Start with your favorite store-bought crab cakes or use our air fryer version, then layer on spicy mayo and your choice of toppings.
No ratings yet
Course: Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


Crab Cakes:

  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 stalk fresh celery finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

Spicy Mayo:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Brioche buns toasted
  • 4 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 4 slices tomato


  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Old Bay, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, celery, chives, salt and pepper until well combined.
    1 egg, ¼ cup mayonnaise, Juice of ½ lemon, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon fresh chives, 1 stalk fresh celery, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the crab meat and bread crumbs into the mayonnaise mixture. Mix until just combined so as not to break down the crab meat too much. Form into 4 equal sized patties and chill for 15 to 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
    1 pound lump crab meat, ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients for the spicy mayo until well combined. Set aside.
    1 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • In a large skillet, add the olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot and begins to shimmer, add the crab cakes to the pan. Saute until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat.
    2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spicy mayo on each side of the toasted brioche buns. Add the crab cakes, lettuce and tomato. Top with the other half of the bun, then serve.
    4 Brioche buns, 4 leaves romaine lettuce, 4 slices tomato


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 1060kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 81g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 33g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 262mg | Sodium: 2627mg | Potassium: 489mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3620IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.

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