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Recipe: Crab Cakes with Smoked Paprika Aioli

LCB  - 069

Did you know that Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute offers weekend cooking classes for those aspiring cooks that want to bring their skills to the next level? I recently checked out one of the Bleu Ribbon Kitchen courses, “Market Seafood,” and learned how to make crab cakes, steamed mussels, grilled calamari and shrimp scampi with homemade pasta. As a lover of seafood, and especially with warm weather on the horizon, I have a grasp on how to make my own nautical dishes.

Each class is taught by a chef from the Culinary Institute. This week, we had Chef Marshall Welsh, a former Atlanta Fish Market chef, who not only provided our small class with hands-on cooking guidance, but also gave us tips on seafood prep. Note- do not eat mussels with closed shells, they are bad!

For this recipe, our arms certainly got tired from whisking up the aioli, but it was much worth the effort. The smoky taste complimented the salty and slightly crusty crab cakes. Chef had us use lump blue crab.

Crab Cakes with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Makes 4 appetizer-sized servings


Crab Cakes:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • few dashes hot sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
  • 2 teaspoons seafood seasoning (like Old Bay)
  • 20 saltine crackers, finely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup canola or grapeseed oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Crab Cakes Part 1

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, egg, mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce and parsley.
  2. In a large bowl toss the crab meat, seafood seasoning and crushed saltines together.
  3. Gently fold in mayonnaise mixture. Chill for 30 minutes.
lump crab mixture

lump crab mixture


  1. While the crab mixture chills, prepare the aioli. In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolk, mustard, garlic and smoked paprika.
  2. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in the oil and continue mixing until emulsified.
  3. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
the paprika gives the aioli a deep orange color

the paprika gives the aioli a deep orange color

Crab Cakes Part 2

1. Scoop out 1/3 of crab cake mixture and form into a patty that is about 1 ½ inches thick. Shape the rest of the patties.

the crab cakes should be 1.5 inches wide

the crab cakes should be 1.5 inches wide

2. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat with oil. Cook the crab cakes in oil until deep golden brown and heated through, about 3 minutes each side.

cook until each side is golden brown

cook until each side is golden brown

Serve the crab cakes with a dollop of aioli.

By Alexa Lampasona for the Food & More blog

17 comments Add your comment


March 12th, 2014
10:28 am

Why use mayo for the crab cakes if you’re already making an aioli? Seems like a much better idea to use the aioli in the crab cakes.

Marshall Welsh

March 12th, 2014
10:33 am

Hi Richard,
The idea is to simply bind the crab meat and ingredients together with the mayo. The smoked paprika aioli is to complement the crab cake as a condiment. Otherwise it might over shadow the flavor of the expensive crab meat. But I like the way you’re thinking.


March 12th, 2014
11:05 am

I make the identical crab cakes except I use very little mayo, about 1/4 cup, and Ritz crackers instead of Saltines. Instead of aioli, I make homemade tarter sauce. In a word, AMAZING, and really pretty simple.

OTP with ITP Appetite

March 12th, 2014
11:11 am

Shouldn’t there be some clarification on the remark that eating mussels with closed shells is bad? The mussels shells should be closed before they are cooked. Open shells on raw mussels indicates that they are already dead and should be discarded. Mussels with closed shells AFTER they are cooked should not be eaten.


March 12th, 2014
11:12 am

growing up in maryland….i love crab cakes. i have crab meat shipped to me from maryland cause what you find in the stores here is blah. i use little mayo cause i can’t stand mayo. after seeing the pics, i need to order me some crab meat.


March 12th, 2014
11:48 am

Janice……..Crab Newburg w/ a side of crab cakes. Heaven can be found in many places!!!!!!!


March 12th, 2014
11:57 am

I took the Cajun Cooking Class there last year. We worth the money and time plus we ate like kings after the class.


March 12th, 2014
1:03 pm

May I suggest to just show the complete recipe without the pictures for each step?
Printing all the pictures is just a waste of ink and paper. The directions are sufficient and easy to follow without pictures. Please consider this suggestion. Thank you!

Marshall Welsh

March 12th, 2014
2:31 pm

Art, we did not use the saltine crackers in the original recipe. To give richness and moisture, we used Freshly ground brioche bread. We processed it in a food processor and used it both in the crab cakes and to coat before sauteing.

Marshall Welsh

March 12th, 2014
2:33 pm

Thanks for the nice comment; we did have a blast as I recall! laissez les bon temps rouler!

Marshall Welsh

March 12th, 2014
2:36 pm

Mary, Perhaps you could cut and paste the text into a Word doc.
Just a suggestion.


March 12th, 2014
2:42 pm

Marshall, that’s a great idea. I will try brioche in the future. Sometimes I also use Coleman’s English mustard powder rather than the Dijon; while you sacrifice the added moisture, the English mustard provides a little more “bite”.


March 12th, 2014
9:44 pm

Something about wearing gloves in the kitchen grosses me out. It keeps you from washing your hands. Won’t be going here for cooking lessons.


March 13th, 2014
6:20 am

Paige…..So I guess cooking lessons at the State Prison is out for you!


March 13th, 2014
12:27 pm

@Paige, why do you need to wash your hands if you are wearing gloves?


March 13th, 2014
1:02 pm

You should wash hands AND use gloves. Here’s one resource as to why:

Tobiaz Johansen

March 18th, 2014
9:20 am

Har! Eees again times for Baltisraul to bost the balls!