Fresh Dungeness crab meat from the waters of Bodega Bay California. With seasonings similar to old bay seasoning and fresh herbs, served with a delicious sauce. Dungeness Crab Cakes with Lemon Scallion Sauce can be the perfect appetizer or part of a main meal.

A Dungeness crab cake on a plate with sauce, lemon and dill

Just in time for crab season, which I have come to learn that the season runs from November to June and in some places, year round.

I’m fortunate to live close to the Northern California coastal town of Bodega Bay. If you’ve seen the Hitchcock movie The Birds then you’ll know where it is, just north of San Francisco. It is also known for it’s fresh crab and find myself frequenting the bay very often.

Bodge Bay showing the water glistening from the sun.

The crab has to be the main focus of any crab cake and you really see (picture below) and taste the crab first and foremost in this recipe. That’s how it should be and because of this, is why I wanted the best possible and quality crab meat.

The other ingredients are accent flavors of fresh dill, celery seed and lemon with just enough mayonnaise and breadcrumbs to hold them together.

Why crab cakes fall apart

The simple answer is the mix is too wet. There are a couple of things you can do to help prevent this. Refrigerate the patties to ‘set’ them before cooking helps. You can also add a little flour (a little goes a long way). The patties should stay together in your hand when forming them and not stick to your hands.

1 crab cake topped with fresh dill on a plate with a fork

One day, when I make it to Maryland, the first thing on the agenda is digging into their blue crabs and all the crab meat. 

Squeezing lemon scallion sauce onto a crab cake

Sauce for crab cakes

Do you call them scallions, spring onions or green onions? They are in season now and add a lovely, slight onion flavor to the sauce that complements the fresh lemon. I also love adding them to Coleslaw.

The preparing of the crab cakes comes with a few must-do’s to ensure the perfect outcome. The first is mix carefully. You want to keep as much of the lump crab meat in-tact as possible. Secondly, refrigeration of the crab meat. The cooled mix helps them stay together and not fall apart when you cook them.

Crab cake viewed from overhead topped with sauce and a lemon slice

If you’ve made these Dungeness Crab Cakes with Lemon Scallion Sauce (or have a question) you can add those below.

Yield: 4

Dungeness Crab Cakes with Lemon Scallion Sauce

A white serving plate with crab cakes topped with lemon scallion sauce, lemon and fresh dill

Fresh dungeness crab with seasonings and fresh herbs, served with lemon scallion sauce.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • ½ cup (65 grams) good mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon (1/2 lemon) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ⅓ cups (100 grams) Panko or regular breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound Dungeness or lump crab meat (pick through for any shells)
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 cup (258 grams) good mayonnaise
  • 4 scallions/spring onions, chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to your taste
  • ½ cup (118 ml) olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey


  1. Add the mayonnaise, egg, mustard, celery seed, paprika, dill and salt and lemon juice and half of the breadcrumbs to a large bowl, whisk to mix well. Add the crab meat and the rest of the breadcrumbs. Use a fork or hands to carefully mix well, being careful not to break up the meat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Divide the mix into 4 equal parts. Take ¼ of the mix and press together firmly with your hands so they hold together then shape into round, flat patties. If they stick to your hands or fall apart, they are too wet. You can sprinkle in a little (start with ½ teaspoon) flour. Place on a plate and refrigerate, this will also help them stay together. While they chill, make the sauce.
  3. To a blender add the mayonnaise, scallions/spring onions, lemon zest and juice, mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and honey. Blend until smooth, set aside.
  4. To a large, heavy skillet add the oil over medium heat. Carefully place the crab cakes in the pan, do not crowd. Cook for 5 minutes until browned on the first side. Don't turn or move until there is a good crust on the bottom (this helps keep them together) and turn. Cook until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 145°F/63°C using a meat thermometer.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 435Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 27gCholesterol 159mgSodium 1259mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 4gProtein 24g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.