Can you freeze cooked crab cakes or crab cakes? Sure you can. One is to prepare them in advance and freeze them raw. The other way is to freeze them after they have been cooked. There is nothing more delicious than crab cakes. Not only are they scrumptious, they are pretty versatile too, but the question you may be dying to know, is can you freeze them?
Well, the good news is that yes, crab cakes are eminently freezable. You can freeze them when they are either cooked or uncooked. However, for the best results, I would recommend freezing them while they are still raw based on my experience.
How to Freeze Crab Cakes
Let’s start by going through the things you’re going to need. They are:
- Crab Cakes
- waxed paper
- glass containers
- masking tape
- marker pen
When you freeze crab cakes, the freezing process prevents bacterial growth and keeps the produce fresh for many months after you prepare them. The art of freezing them ensures that the crab cakes don’t come into contact with any air.
When you allow air to contact any frozen food, it facilitates something called freezer burn, which adversely affects both the quality and the flavor of the product.
Thankfully, not a lot of preparation is required to freeze crab cakes. However, you do need to pay careful attention to the details. For example, it’s important to separate the cakes using waxed paper to stop them from sticking to each other.
If the crab cakes have been cooked, it is necessary to cool down to room temperature. On the other hand, uncooked crab cakes can be frozen as soon as you have finished making them.
The aim of allowing the cakes to cool to room temperature is to stop any residual heat from creating condensation. If this happens, it will detract from the flavor after being put into the storage container.
When allowing them to cool, it’s best to cover them loosely with aluminum foil. They shouldn’t be left out for any longer than a couple of hours.
Take a freezer-safe container and line it with waxed paper. It would help if you used a container that has a lid to ensure that you keep any air out.
Put a single layer of crab cakes into the bottom of the container. You need to ensure that they are slightly spaced apart and not touching each other, hence the need for single layering. If you don’t do this, they will stick together as they freeze.
Of course, just freezing a single layer is not very economical in terms of space, so to get around this, place a piece of wax paper, cut to size, over the first layer of cakes. You can now place another layer on top. You can continue to layer the cakes as many times as you like to maximize space as long as you separate each layer with the waxed paper.
Make sure you leave a small space between the final layer of crab cakes and the container’s lid when you put in position. Now you need to seal the container nice and tight with your masking tape. If you do not secure and close the lid properly, it will even accelerate any freezer burn.
Apply a small strip of masking tape to the container to act as a label, and write the date and contents. You can store crab cakes for as long as three months, after which they will begin to lose their flavor, and the texture will suffer when you defrost them.
You can freeze your crab cakes in a Ziploc bag. If you choose to do this, you should wrap each cake separately in wax paper or aluminum foil. Before you seal the bag, squeeze out any excess air. Seal the bag carefully, attach a strip of masking tape, and label accordingly with your permanent marker.
Try to avoid putting any weight on top of the plastic container when you put in the freezer. This will prevent the possibility of the lid loosening or it being pressed down onto the crab cakes below.
When cooking crabcakes, you need to ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165° F.
What are crab cakes
Crab cakes are an incredibly tasty seafood dish that tends to be very popular around the United States coast. If you chance to search for crab cake recipes on the Internet, you’re likely to come across Maryland crab cakes.
Crab cakes grew in popularity in the areas surrounding Maryland and Virginia. Their fame has spread in more recent years, and they are now often made in other countries too.
Crab cake mixture consists of crabmeat with various other ingredients.
The list of ingredients can vary, but the most common ones you will come across include breadcrumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, and seasoning. Some recipes include things like onions, spices, and even some chopped veggies.
Crab cakes are formed into little patties and then need to be carefully seared in a hot pan. Many people like to serve them with various sauces, including, of course, tartar sauce.
Some folks also like to squeeze a little lemon juice on their crab cakes when they take them out of the pan.
Making Crab Cakes
It is not difficult to make crab cakes. The trickiest part is getting good crabmeat in the first place. If you are lucky enough to live near the sea, where fresh crab is often available, that is the best way to go.
If you don’t happen to live near the sea, you will have to improvise as best you can.
The whole point of making crabcakes in the first place is to enjoy the crab meat itself and to add a little extra in terms of ingredients, to help enhance the flavor, or disguise it if you’re not a fan of crab yourself.
I’m now going to give you a basic recipe, so you know how to go about making crabcakes yourself. I realize, of course, that there are lots of different crab recipes out there. I give you this one purely as an example.
- You will require crab meat, beaten eggs, some ground or Dijon mustard, some mayo, plus breadcrumbs, lemon zest, fresh parsley leaves, and a little oil.
- Begin by combining the eggs, mayo, mustard, and your seasonings. You don’t add the crab at this stage because you want to avoid overworking it.
- Once it’s mixed well, you can add the crab meat, the breadcrumbs, the lemon zest, parsley, and gently mix.
- Next, you need to form the small patties. I tend to use approximately half a cup of the mixture per cake. As you make each one, place it onto a plate or baking sheet.
- Now you need to refrigerate the patties for approximately an hour to hold together for cooking.
Take a non-stick frying pan, add a little oil, and warm it over medium heat.
- Cook the cakes until they start to lightly brown; they will do this after about three and five minutes if you need to add more oil to the pan.
- Once cooked on one side, flip them over and cook on the other side for a further 3 to 5 minutes.
Put onto a serving platter and drizzle with a little lemon juice.
So, as you now realize, making crabcakes is reasonably straightforward. The only reason that it takes a bit of time is to refrigerate the mixture before cooking or before freezing.
Freezing and Storing Crab Cakes
There are a couple of ways you can go about freezing crab cakes. One is to prepare them in advance and freeze them raw. The other way is to freeze them after they have been cooked.
I thoroughly recommend freezing them uncooked, but if you prefer to cook them first, that will work too. In any case, I’ll cover both scenarios with you.
Freezing Raw Crab Cakes
I favor a pre-freezing method that prevents the crabcakes from disintegrating. To do this, put a single layer of crab cakes onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze them, uncovered, for approximately two hours.
- Take them out of the freezer and carefully wrap each cake in a piece of plastic film. You can then put each cake into an airtight container or, if you prefer, a heavy-duty freezer bag.
- Seal the bag and label with the contents and date.
- These can now be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- When it comes time to use them, it’s best to defrost them overnight in the fridge before cooking.
Freezing Cooked Crab Cakes
- Allow the crabcakes to cool down to room temperature. I recommend not leaving them to sit out for longer than an hour.
- Wrap each cake individually using either aluminum foil or plastic film. You might prefer to use foil as you can leave them in it if you will be baking them.
- Put the cakes into either a heavy-duty freezer bag, a Ziploc bag, or an airtight container. Seal well, and label.
- You can keep frozen, cooked crab cakes for anywhere up to about three months.
- When it comes time to reheat them, this can be done directly from the freezer to the oven, or if you prefer, you can defrost them in your refrigerator overnight.
Using Crab Cakes After Freezing
If you took the option of freezing uncooked crab cakes, you can defrost them overnight in your refrigerator and then continue to sear them in a pan in the same way as described in the recipe above. For me, this is the best way of cooking frozen, uncooked crab cakes after they’ve been defrosted.
If you froze previously cooked crab cakes, my recommendation is to bake them in the oven. In my opinion, this preserves their quality both in terms of flavor and texture. And you end up with a delicious meal with little or no effort.
The steps to follow with reheating previously frozen, cooked crab cakes are as follows:
- Remove the frozen crab cakes from the freezer and defrost overnight in your fridge.
- The next day, take them out of the fridge and wrap in aluminum foil if you didn’t already do so when you initially froze them.
- Preheat your oven to 370°F.
- Put the foil-wrapped cakes onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Leave in the oven for approximately 15 minutes to allow the cakes’ center to get heated properly.
- Remove from the oven, unwrap, drizzle with fresh lemon juice, and enjoy.
What should you serve crab cakes with?
Here are some ideas for side dishes to accompany your crab cakes.
- freshly prepared green salad
- fish bisque or chowder
- A freshly prepared slaw
- Mixed veggies
- Rice or quinoa
- Grilled or pan-fried asparagus
- Little roasties
- Garlic, herbed mashed potatoes
- Mac and cheese
The above are just some of the most popular side dishes people like to serve with the crab cakes. You may have your own suggestions.
Various ways of cooking Frozen Crab Cakes
There are various ways that you can cook frozen crabcakes. You can sauté them, deep fry them, or bake them. I will walk you through each of the three methodologies step-by-step.
Sautéing is the most popular way of cooking frozen crab cakes. A good reason for this is that less oil is required than when deep frying. Not only at that. You’ll also find that they are much crispier than if they had been baked in the oven.
Things you will need:
- frozen crab cakes
- non-stick skillet or a Le Creuset type frying pan butter or vegetable oil
- digital thermometer
- paper towels
- serving platter
- Heat a few tablespoons of butter or vegetable oil in a non-stick pan or skillet at a medium temperature.
- Put the crab cakes into the pan one at a time, ensuring a small gap between each cake.
- Saute the crab cakes on one side for three minutes before flipping and searing on the other side for approximately one minute.
- Lower the heat slightly and cook on each side for a further two minutes.
- Once they turn golden brown, check them using your digital internal thermometer. When the inside temperature reaches 165°F, they are ready.
- Remove them from the pan and place them onto your serving platter, which should be lined with a paper towel.
- To remove any excess oil, gently pat the top of the crabcakes with another piece of paper towel.
According to the crab cakes’ thickness and how long they had been frozen for, they will require between six and eight minutes to cook through thoroughly.
If they have been previously defrosted in the refrigerator, they will only need 3 to 4 minutes to cook through. Take care when sautéing defrosted crab cakes as they tend to break up when they are flipped.
If you like your crabcakes nice and crispy, the best way to achieve this is by deep-frying them. Here’s how.
What you will need:
- frozen crab cakes
- cooking oil
- heavy bottom pan
- slotted spoon
- paper kitchen towel
- digital thermometer
- serving platter
- Fill a heavy-bottom pan with approximately half an inch of cooking oil and place over medium heat.
- Heat the oil to a temperature of between 350 and 375°F.
- Gently lower the frozen crabcakes into the hot oil using a slotted spoon.
- Cook for approximately two minutes on each side using your spatula to turn them over.
- Once they are ready, they will float to the surface of the oil.
- Take your digital thermometer and ensure that the internal temperature of the cakes has reached 165°F.
- Carefully remove the crab cakes from the oil and place onto a paper towel-lined serving platter. Dab the top of the cakes to get rid of any excess oil.
- Serve with your preferred side dish or accompaniments.
When deep frying crab cakes, you should fry them from frozen rather than defrosting them, as defrosted crab cakes tend to lose their shape in the hot oil.
If you prefer to cook frozen crab cakes with minimal effort and you have sufficient time on your hands, the best way of cooking them is to bake them in the oven.
Things you will need:
- frozen crab cakes
- baking dish – preferably non-stick
- melted butter
- basting brush
- digital thermometer
- Ensure that you defrost the crab cakes in the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours before baking. This significantly reduces cooking time.
- Preheat your oven to 370°F.
- Lightly grease the baking tray with melted butter.
- Place the defrosted crab cakes into the baking tray and apply a little melted butter to the top of each cake.
- Place the tray into the middle of the oven and bake the crabcakes until they are heated through and turn golden brown.
- If you prefer your crab cakes even crispier, you can broil them for one or two minutes after baking.
Defrosted crabcakes take about 20 to 30 minutes to cook through properly. Frozen crabcakes, on the other hand, will take approximately 40 minutes or more to cook through. Don’t forget to check that the cakes’ internal temperature has reached a minimum of 165°F before serving.
If you will be eating any leftover crab cakes within 3 to 5 days of having cooked them, your refrigerator is the ideal place for just all of them. You need to make sure that you wrap them well and seal them properly.
This will help to preserve their flavor and texture and prevent any other foods in your fridge from being tainted by their smell. When you’re ready to reheat them, do so in the oven at a temperature of 370°F.
If you’re going to be eating them later than five days, it is best to freeze them. It is a wise precaution to smell refrigerated crab cakes before freezing or after defrosting, and if they have a sour smell or a slimy texture, you should throw them away as they could be unsafe to eat.
You can tell that crab cakes have been properly cooked when they turn a lovely golden brown while still sizzling in the pan.
Yes, cooked crab cakes are delicious, either hot or cold. Many people prefer to serve them chilled. It would help if you made sure that they were properly cooked before they were chilled.
The ideal crab cake should have a slightly sweet, tangy flavor, have a crunchy exterior, and a smooth, creamy interior. The taste should be that of fresh crab with a hint of mayo and a little vinegary tartness. Some people like to add a little red pepper to add another dimension to the flavor.