When I start to think about what to serve with crab cakes, I immediately think of summer foods. Crab cakes always remind me of summer. I can picture myself eating a fresh, flavorful crab cake while dining oceanside. But what would the best side dish be?
It’s always a good idea to think about what ingredients are in your crab cakes when deciding what to pair with them. Crab cakes are typically made with tender crab meat, breadcrumbs, black pepper, salt, red onions, and seasonings. Some recipes may have chopped bell peppers or corn mixed in too. Others might be made with cajun seasoning for a spicier version. Assessing your main recipe is the first step toward deciding what to serve with your crab cakes.
Crab cakes usually are pan-fried or even deep-fried. This can be a good clue to lead you toward the best side dish too. Other fried foods may work well to complete your meal, too. Or, you may want to opt for something lighter like a cold soup or maybe some green beans. A bed of rice always works as a pairing. But why not try something a little more interesting?
16 Side Dishes to Serve with Crab Cakes
We have put together 16 delicious side dishes to serve with crab cakes. All of these recipes will be great when served next to a big, tender crab cake. So let’s take a look and you can see which side dishes you want to try first.
Our incredibly flavorful roasted potatoes with bacon pair so well with a juicy crab cake. Red potatoes are diced and tossed with olive oil and pesto. Wrap the potatoes in foil. Put them on a baking sheet and let them roast in the oven while you prepare your crab recipe. Roast potatoes take on the flavor of anything they are cooked with so these come out tasting like fresh basil and crisp bacon. The crunchy bacon is also perfect with the soft texture of the potatoes. Salty bacon is a perfect complement to your sweet crab cakes.
A fresh, tomato gazpacho is a great dish to serve with your crispy crab cakes. Tomatoes are ripe in the summer so they are ideal to pair with a summertime meal. Gazpacho is a cold soup that is a wonderful treat to enjoy in order to beat the heat in the summer. We love this gazpacho recipe from Gimme Some Oven. It is full of flavorful vegetables like fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Try dipping your cakes directly into the tomato gazpacho for an even more exciting take on your crab cake dinner. You can even sprinkle some extra panko bread crumbs into the soup to give it a little crunch. Use fresh cherry tomatoes for a sweeter soup.
3. Mango Salsa
The tropical taste of this mango salsa from Cookie and Kate is amazing when served next to juicy crab cakes. You only need a few ingredients to make the mango salsa. The strong flavor of jalapenos, cilantro, red onion, bell pepper, and mangoes is incredible. Vegetables and fruit paired together make the best sides! Put the salsa directly on top of your crab cakes for a perfect garnish. The vibrant ingredients are beautiful and delicious.
4. Potato Salad
Potato salad is another summertime favorite. You can bring potato salad sides to any outdoor BBQ. This recipe from Foodie Crush is easy, classic, and goes great with crab cakes. The crisp, fried outside of the cake will be delicious next to the soft, mayo-coated potatoes. Add a little extra cayenne pepper to the potatoes to make the salad a little spicier. Stick to the seasoning that is in the recipe and you are guaranteed to have a winner.
5. Corn Chowder
Creamy corn chowder is a wonderful dish to serve with crab cakes. A bowl of homemade corn chowder from The Chunky Chef and some fresh Maryland-style crab cakes makes a complete meal! You can use fresh or frozen corn kernels to make this chowder. Add some red pepper strips to give it a little color. You may want to add a few chives into your crab mix recipe to mimic the beautiful green onions in the corn chowder. Blend the whole soup in a food processor for a very creamy version. Try this combination and you will feel like you are at a seafood restaurant! Add some crab meat to the soup for an even heartier meal.
Tartar sauce is a classic dip that is served with crab cakes. Making your own tartar sauce will give your crab cakes even more flavor. Mayonnaise, chopped pickles, dill, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper are all the ingredients you need to make your very own dip. It only takes a few minutes to put together this recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen. It will really take your menu to the next level. This dip is reminiscent of the classic remoulade sauce that is often served with crab cakes. Crab and a tangy dip are always a good idea and one of the best ways to enjoy your cakes!
Cocktail sauce is another easy-to-make condiment that you can make at home. If you love cocktail sauce on shrimp, then you will definitely love it on top of your crab cakes. This recipe from A Spicy Perspective only takes three minutes to make. It is loaded with zesty, bright flavors that will bring your cakes to life. It is incredible how simple ingredients and seasoning can make such a big impact on a meal. Once you try this dipping sauce, you may never go back to the bottled version again.
8. Dinner Rolls
Crab cakes are great on their own but they can also be fantastic as a sandwich. Make these golden brown, soft dinner rolls from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Slice one in half and put your crab cake right on the roll. Add your favorite sauce and some sour cream. Maybe some lettuce or tomato slices as well. You will have a perfect sandwich. Freshly made bread is always amazing. Bread, rolls, or even a tortilla wrap will work to make your crab cakes into a whole new dish to serve your family.
A fresh, mixed corn salad is always a great side dish to serve with crab cakes. Our Chipotle-style corn salad is one of the best we have ever tried. Fresh, frozen, or canned corn can be used as the main ingredient to make the mixture. Add some diced jalapenos, green bell peppers, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, oil, salt, and seasonings then stir. It only takes about 5 minutes to make and is a healthy side. This recipe is full of vegetables that are great with crabs. You can enjoy this side dish warm or cold. The veggie mix tastes delicious either way. Make it a day in advance so the flavors have time to mix and develop. Add more jalapenos if you want extra spiciness. Mix in fresh avocados right before eating. This will give the recipe a creamier consistency too.\
Crabcakes make a fantastic appetizer. However, if you enjoy your crab cakes as an appetizer, you will need to serve the main course afterward. Crab cakes make a great first course to seafood ramen noodle bowls. We especially love this spicy shrimp ramen noodles recipe from Butter Your Biscuit. It is packed with sweet heat and warm noodles. You can also skip the shrimp in the recipe and add more crabmeat. You can never have enough crab. Sprinkle extra panko breadcrumbs for an extra crispy, crunchiness, and flavor to satisfy your taste buds.
11. Watermelon Salad
Watermelon salad is an amazing summertime treat, just like crabcakes! This recipe from The Mediterranean Dish is so fresh and delicious that you will want a second helping. Watermelon is diced then mixed with cucumbers, mint, freshly chopped basil, and feta cheese. The watermelon is covered in a honey-lime dressing that tastes awesome when drizzled over your cakes. Serve this salad cold alongside warm crab cakes for a wonderful, complete meal. The feta cheese gives this dish a Greek flair while the watermelon really makes it feel like summer.
Give your seafood recipe a Mexican flair by serving it with guacamole. If you have some ripe avocados at home, then this is a side dish you absolutely have to make. This recipe from Downshiftology is easy to follow and makes perfect, smooth guacamole that you can spread across your crab cakes. Leave the avocado in chunks for a heartier version of guacamole. Try placing your cake on crackers topped with fresh avocado guac. This makes a tasty, gourmet bite!
A fresh green salad is a perfect side to serve with warm crab cakes. Our healthy asparagus and strawberry salad is a twist on a green salad that you will enjoy. Ripe strawberries and baby spinach are abundant in the summer and have beautiful, sweet flavors that go well with fresh asparagus. Our recipe makes a simple vinaigrette using olive oil, honey, vinegar, and mustard. You can use your favorite balsamic dressing or a honey mustard dressing if you like. Try putting the warm cakes right on top of the spinach and asparagus for a perfect lunch. You may want to add a few toasted sunflower seeds. Swap out the spinach for arugula to make the dish even more summery.
14. Rainbow Slaw
We adore the beautiful colors in this rainbow slaw recipe from The View From Great Island. Making a beautiful side dish like this is actually quite simple. Shredded red cabbage, savoy cabbage, jicama, radishes, carrots, and bell pepper are all tossed together. The mixture is then drizzled with a lemon poppyseed yogurt dressing. This rainbow slaw goes well with crab cakes both visually and also in your mouth. It is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
15. Chickpea Salad
Chickpea salad is a very easy and healthy side dish that you can serve with your juicy crab cakes. We like the recipe from Skinny Taste that is full of herbs as well as vegetables. A can of chickpeas is mixed with cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. Then the salad is seasoned with lemon juice, fresh parsley, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Try adding some oregano, fresh coriander, or even some turmeric to the bowl. Some apple cider vinegar will give it a nice tangy taste. Chickpea salads are very versatile and can be seasoned just how you want! Use any of your favorite spices. Keep the flavors in your crab cakes recipe in mind when blending together your salad.
16. Bloody Mary
Crab cakes, a sunset over the ocean, and a cold, bloody mary sounds like a perfect combination. Mix That Drink has a fantastic, classic Bloody Mary recipe that you will want to enjoy at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Vodka, tomato juice, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings are mixed up and enjoyed immediately. Pour your cocktail over ice for a more refreshing drink. Add a little more hot sauce if you like your drink spicier. A celery stalk or a few mint leaves make a great garnish. A sip of your drink and a bite of crab sounds like heaven!
There are so many incredible side dishes that go well with crab cakes. There is something on our list that you will love. Give the tropical mango salad a try or start with a big bowl of gazpacho. Don’t forget to pair your crab cakes with your favorite drink like the Bloody Mary recipe! Let us know which recipe or two you love the best, what your family and kids go crazy for, and what you serve at your next crab cake party. Feel free to reach out, we love to hear from you! We hope you never have to wonder what to serve with crab cakes ever again! Thanks, and enjoy.