Love crab cakes but don’t want to spend a fortune? Then you have to try this recipe! Imitation crab makes for tasty and affordable homemade crab cakes.

Imitation crab cakes: Savory crab cakes made with less expensive imitation crab.

Looking for affordable alternatives to some of your favorite recipes? Here’s a budget-friendly take on crab cakes.

What’s the secret? Instead of real crab, these crab cakes are made with imitation crab.

While these crab cakes don’t taste exactly like traditional crab cakes, they are still delicious and cost MUCH LESS than crab cakes at a restaurant or homemade ones using real crab.

… and that dipping sauce. Don’t skip the dipping sauce!

Imitation crab cakes: Learn how to make crab cakes using imitation crab.

What Is Imitation Crab?

Imitation crab is a crab-tasting product that is made from lower-cost fish – usually pollock.

Does it taste like crab? Kind of, but not exactly – but it’s an affordable and still-tasty substitute for real crab.

Personally, I love imitation crab.

Ever had a California roll or a crab rangoon? Then you’ve probably had imitation crab.

One pound of imitation crab can cost as little as $2.00. 

By comparison, a pound of fresh crab meat will cost around $13.00 (on the cheap end) and up to $20.00 for more premium meat.

Make homemade crab cakes at home using less expensive imitation crab. Click through for recipe!

Save Money On Food With Budget-Friendly Food Swaps

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat really delicious food. Case in point, these crab cakes. Instead of using fresh crab or canned crab – both of which are quite expensive – you use imitation crab.

Using less-expensive substitutions is a great way to save money on food.

Another example of a cheaper food swap? Poor man’s lobster, made with cod with seasoned butter.

How to make imitation crab cakes: Click through for easy recipe!

Homemade crab cakes made with imitation crab: Save money, eat delicious crab cakes!

Crab Cake Dipping Sauce

Every crab cake needs a good dipping sauce. 

I made a simple, tangy, flavorful dipping sauce with ingredients I already had on hand in my fridge and pantry:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Minced garlic from a jar (major flavor!)
  • Dorothy Lynch Dressing & Condiment (if you can’t find, you can substitute Thousand Island dressing)
  • Pinch of sugar

See full recipe, below.

Homemade crab cakes made with imitation crab: Click through for budget-friendly recipe!

More Recipes Using Imitation Crab

Imitation crab cakes: Savory crab cakes made with less expensive imitation crab.

Imitation Crab Cakes With Zesty Dipping Sauce

Yield: 6 crab cakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Serve crab cakes with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of dried parsley.


  • 1 pound package imitation crab meat
  • 1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

For zesty dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dorothy Lynch Dressing & Condiment
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic from a jar


  1. Break up imitation crab meat into fine flakes. Pace in a large mixing bowl and add all of the remaining crab cake ingredients. Mix well with your hands or a spoon. The mixture should hold together.
  2. To form into individual crab cakes, take a 1/2 cup round measuring cup and fill with crab mixture. Pack the crab down into the cup. Then tip upside down to remove the crab cake from the measuring up onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat process to make 6 crab cakes.
  3. Place crab cakes in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake crab cakes for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned.
  5. To make dipping sauce: Mix all ingredients together. Chill before serving.

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