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13 Must-Have Spices for Crab Cakes to Get Maximum Taste

If you’re not sure what spices to reach for when making homemade crab cakes, look no further — I have just the list for you!

Whether you want a mild seasoning or something more daring, this collection of my favorite spices for crab cakes will take your seafood dish to the next level.

From zesty herbs to fragrant dried ingredients, each one is sure to add big flavor with minimal effort.

So get cooking and enjoy these 13 spices to bump up the deliciousness of your crab cakes!

Read Also: The 10 Best Wines To Pair With Crab Cakes

Spicy Crab Cakes

1. Chili Powder

Chili Powder

Chili powder has a mild to moderately spicy flavor depending on what type you’re using as some mixtures use more cayenne pepper than others.

For example, if there’s more cumin in the mix it will be less pungent than other powders with higher cayenne content.

In my personal experience, when adding chili powder to crab cakes – you don’t need too much unless you want your dish to be very flavorful and spicier.

I’d recommend adding about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon for every two cups of crabmeat used.

Of course, you can always adjust as needed.

2. Coriander


When it comes to coriander, the leaves and seeds have different flavors.

Let’s start with the leaves.

They should taste refreshing, tart, and citrusy – a truly unique flavor that brightens up any dish!

Coriander seeds are actually the plant’s dried fruit which can be used either whole or ground.

In this form, they are earthy and sweet with a floral aroma released when you toast them first.

So if you’re making crab cakes, I would recommend adding about 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves for every two cups of cooked seafood mix for an amazing depth of flavor that really compliments all those delicious herbs in the crab cake mix!

3. Garlic Powder

Garlic Powder

Garlic powder definitely has a strong garlicky flavor, but it creates a differently flavored dish compared to when fresh garlic is used.

Its flavor is much sweeter and less assertive than fresh garlic; it almost has an underlying hint of caramelization found in roasted or sautéd garlic that’s quite delicious.

When using garlic powder in crab cakes, I’d recommend about 1/4 teaspoon for every pound of mix.

That should give you enough flavors without overdoing it.

Of course, if you prefer stronger flavors, add another ¼ teaspoon as desired!

4. Salt and Pepper

Salt and Pepper

Salt and pepper are essential ingredients for any dish.

In addition to providing flavor, salt in particular enhances the other flavors present in your dish.

Sea salt or mined salts come from evaporated seawater, while all pepper comes from specific ground peppercorns – black and white are most common, but green can also be found.

Adding too much of either can ruin a delicious meal so it’s important to find the right balance that works for you.

Personally, I enjoy adding some freshly cracked black pepper into my crab cakes for an enhanced flavor profile, about 1/4 teaspoon should do the trick!

For added depth and complexity, you could add a pinch of sea salt as well – this is completely up to personal preference though so start with just a small amount until you get the desired flavor balance.

5. Onion Powder

Onion powder

I find that onion powder has a bolder and more concentrated flavor compared to fresh onions.

It’s still slightly sweet with a bit of a bite, but it also packs more nutrients than its fresh counterpart.

The intensity of the taste makes adding onion powder an easy way to boost dishes like salads, soups, sauces, and even crab cakes!

When making crab cakes, I would recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder per serving.

This amount provides enough flavor while not overwhelming your dish.

If you prefer stronger flavors, feel free to add up to 1 teaspoon per serving instead!

6. Old Bay Seasoning

Old Bay Seasoning

When I tried Old Bay Seasoning for the first time, it was like a Cajun-style seasoning that has a heavy pepper undertone.

Upon further inspection of its ingredients, I noticed paprika as the primary ingredient along with mustard seed, celery salt, and nutmeg.

The main flavors are still expected to be salt, celery seed, garlic, and some sweetness from the paprika.

Its blend of spices usually adds an amazing flavor intensity to whatever dishes you plan to serve!

For crab cakes specifically, I recommend adding one teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning per every two pounds of crab cake mixture.

This should give a nice balance between having enough flavoring without overpowering the dish too much; adding more will make your dish taste too salty and spicy!

7. Thyme


I love adding thyme to my cooking! Its flavor is sharp and almost mint-like with earthy and floral tones.

There’s a hint of sweetness mixed with the slight peppery edge that makes it really stand out.

To add to crab cakes, I usually sprinkle a teaspoon or two of the fresh thyme leaves (or just under one teaspoon if you’re using dried).

It may not seem like much but this small amount adds plenty of flavor which increases as the dish cooks so it pays off in abundance.

That said, feel free to adjust your seasoning accordingly depending on your desired intensity and taste.

8. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice

If you’ve ever bitten into an unripe lemon, then you know just how sour it is.

The juice of the lemon is about 5% to 6% citric acid, which gives lemons their strong and unmistakable sour taste.

That’s why the distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in various drinks and foods such as marinades, desserts, sauces, and dressings – but most famously – lemonade!

So how much should you add to your crab cakes?

Usually, two tablespoons per recipe (this would feed 4 people) is enough to provide that zesty lemon flavor while being subtle enough not to overpower any other flavors.

Remember too: If your recipe calls for acidic liquids like vinegar or wine then keep the amount of added lemon juice low – or risk making things too sour!

9. Rosemary

Dried Rosemary

In my opinion, there is no taste quite like rosemary.

The woodsy aromatic herb has notes of evergreen, citrus, lavender, pine, sage, peppermint, and even a hint of smokiness that makes it truly unique when compared to other herbs.

If you are adding rosemary to crab cakes, I would recommend using half a tablespoon for two people as this offers plenty of flavor without overpowering the dish.

To balance out the rest of the flavors I often pair rosemary with garlic; if you prefer more depth then add an additional teaspoon or two.

Once cooked your crab cakes will have an incredible aroma and light yet subtle taste thanks to the addition of this wonderful herb.

10. Sage


Sage has a savory hint to it and is lightly piney, but not like juniper.

It has very subtle citrus notes instead, creating a much softer flavor.

Sage also tends to have touches of bitterness for an extra depth of flavor.

When adding sage to crab cakes, use around two teaspoons per pound of crab meat; if your recipe calls for more than that feel free to add more according to your taste preference.

To really bring out the flavor of the sage it’s important to sauté them in butter first until they’re fragrant before adding them to your dish!

11. Dill


Dill is one of the most flavorful ingredients.

The feathery green leaves of the dill plant have a bright, sweet flavor—somewhere between anise, parsley, and celery.

This flavor only intensifies when you dry out the seed. In the United States, it’s probably best experienced as part of a delicious dill pickle!

When adding dill to dishes like crab cakes or any other seafood dish for that matter you don’t need too much – just enough to add some flavor without overpowering its delicate taste.

It also affects each person differently so it’s important to figure out what works best for you; start with about 2 teaspoons of fresh-cut leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried leaves per cup of cake mix and adjust from there if needed.

12. Toasted Sesame Seeds

Toasted Sesame Seeds

Toasted sesame seeds have a nuttier flavor and a much crispier crunch when compared to raw sesame seeds!

They make the perfect addition to dishes such as salads, stir-fries, and even crab cakes.

To get the most out of this tasty addition, it’s best to lightly toast them first.

  1. To do so, preheat your oven or pan over medium heat before adding 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds for every 1 cup that is going into the recipe.
  2. Let them sit for about 5 minutes until golden brown in color before turning off the oven or removing them from the heat.
  3. Afterwards give them a good stir and let them cool down.

When it comes to crab cakes specifically, I recommend adding about 3 tablespoons of roasted sesame seeds which not only adds wonderful flavors but also makes for an extra layer of texture.

13. Paprika


As a spice filled with flavor, paprika can provide much-needed oomph to your crab cakes.

Depending on the type (sweet, hot, or smoked), its taste can vary from mild and sweet to hot.

For a milder taste, I recommend using sweet paprika in your recipe which is made out of bell peppers and tastes slightly sweet.

For more of a kick opt for some hot paprika as this type provides heat because it’s made out of Chili pepper varieties that have a bit more heat and spiciness than the sweeter version.

If you want bold flavors and an intense smoky aroma try adding smoked paprika!

Typically when making crab cakes, I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of either sweet or hot paprika if using fresh chives; however, if using dill then 2 teaspoons is ideal since it has bolder herb-like flavors.


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Spicy Crab Cakes

13 Spices for Crab Cakes for Maximum Taste

Not sure what spices to add to your crab cakes to get maximum flavor? Look no further! In this article, I'm sharing my top 13 must-have spices for crab cakes. From classic seasonings like Old Bay and black pepper to more adventurous seasonings like smoked paprika and cumin, I'll show you how to use each one to get the most out of your crab cakes.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Course Spices
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 13 kcal


  • Chili Powder
  • Coriander
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Thyme
  • Lemon Juice
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Dill
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Paprika


  • Pick your favorite spices from this collection to add to your crab cake recipe.
  • Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
  • Enjoy in no time!
CEO at Happy Muncher | | Website | + posts

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.