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Deviled Crab vs Crab Cake: What’s the Difference?

Did you know deviled crab and crab cake come from the same family?

Yet, they’re as different as siblings can be.

We’ve all been there, staring at a menu, puzzled over choosing between these two.

The truth? Both pack a punch with crab meat, but the vibe? Totally different.

I remember the first time I tried a deviled crab.

Thought I was getting a crab cake with a fancy name.

Turns out, deviled crab is a spicy little number, wrapped up like a present in a crab shell.

Crab cakes? More straightforward — a no-surprise, friendly patty, always ready for a bun.

We’re here to clear up the confusion.

What is Deviled Crab?

Deviled Crab is a popular seafood dish that originated in the Southern United States.

It typically consists of crab meat mixed with spices, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients such as mustard or Worcestershire sauce.

The mixture is then stuffed into crab shells or ramekins and baked until golden brown.

Deviled Crab differs from Crab Cake in various ways, including the shape, texture and flavor.

While Crab Cake usually forms into a patty shape, Deviled Crab is served in its shell or as a filling for an individual ramekin.

Unlike the uniform texture of the crab cake, deviled crab has a more grainy texture because of breadcrumbs incorporation in it.

Also unlike the mild seasoning of Crab Cake, Deviled Crab is flavored more intensely with spices like paprika and cayenne pepper to achieve a smoky-spicy flavor profile.

One unique aspect of Deviled Crab worth noting is that it might contain unexpected ingredients like mayonnaise or chopped sweet peppers based on taste preferences which are not added to traditional Maryland style crab cakes.

These extra elements give Deviled Crab a diversified yet distinctive identity.

What is Crab Cake?

Crab cakes are a popular dish made of crab meat, breadcrumbs, egg, and mayonnaise.

The mixture is formed into patties, which are then pan-fried or baked until crispy.

Crab cakes are often served with remoulade sauce or tartar sauce.

Additionally, while both dishes feature crab as their star ingredient, deviled crab tends to have a stronger flavor profile due to the added spices and seasonings.

Overall, while each dish has its own unique preparation method and taste profile, both remain popular seafood dishes enjoyed by many.

Differences Between Deviled Crab and Crab Cake

Deviled crab and crab cake may seem similar, but they are quite different.

Crab cakes are primarily composed of crab meat, eggs, breadcrumbs and seasonings, formed into a patty shape while Deviled crab comprises shellfish meat (usually blue crab), breadcrumbs, mayo, seasonings like paprika, salt, pepper and stovetop spices like onion powder.

1 – Texture and Shape

Crab cakes are flat and thick, whereas deviled crabs are stuffed crab shells in the shape of a mound.

Crab cakes have a crispy outer shell and a moist, tender interior, while deviled crabs are creamy and soft inside with a bit of crunch on top.

2 – Filling and Binding Ingredients

The ingredients used in deviled crab and crab cake filling and binding differ slightly.

Crab cakes are predominantly made with lump crab meat, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce to bind the ingredients together.

On the other hand, deviled crabs use a filling made of crab meat mixed with bread crumbs, onion, celery, red pepper flakes, and mustard to add flavor and texture.

Additionally, some recipes call for cream cheese or mayonnaise as a binding agent in deviled crab filling variation.

Interestingly enough, the choice of filler can vary from region to region.

For instance, Southern-style deviled crab recipe calls for shrimp alongside crabs as a filler while spices like garlic powder are added to the mix in Cajun-style deviled crab preparation.

In summary, Crab cakes and deviled crabs have discernable dissimilarities when it comes to their binding agents and fillings.

While both use breadcrumbs for support purposes; however, the proportion of other ingredients changes based on regional variations.

3 – Seasonings and Flavorings

When it comes to deviled crab and crab cakes, the flavors and seasonings are what set them apart.

Deviled crab is typically baked or fried with a mix of spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, and mustard powder.

The seasoning is often added directly to the crab meat mixture, providing a tangy and spicy flavor.

In contrast, crab cakes are usually seasoned with Old Bay seasoning or a variety of herbs such as parsley and chives.

The seasonings add a subtle yet flavorful taste to the dish.

One unique aspect of deviled crab is that it can also be prepared with tangy ingredients such as vinegar and lemon juice which give it an extra kick of flavor.

On the other hand, some recipes for crab cakes incorporate Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce for a little extra heat.

Overall, whether you prefer your crab dishes spicy or mild, both deviled crab and crab cakes boast unique arrays of seasonings that make them distinct from one another.

Similarities Between Deviled Crab and Crab Cake

Both Deviled Crab and Crab Cake are popular seafood dishes.

These two dishes share several similarities, especially in their primary ingredients.

The preparation process of the two recipes is nearly identical.

Both dishes typically feature lump crab meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, and mayonnaise.

Ultimately, both Deviled Crab and Crab Cake are excellent choices for those who enjoy crab-based cuisine.

When it comes to differences, Deviled Crab often contains additional ingredients like spices such as paprika and cayenne pepper, mustard, hot sauce etc.

, giving it a spicier taste.

In contrast, Crab Cakes feature little to no seasoning other than salt and pepper.

Deviled Crabs are often presented inside crab shells for aesthetic purposes, while Crab Cakes are typically served round-shaped or flattened with an edible coating on the outside.

Overall, despite their differences and unique features, both Deviled Crab and Crab Cake remain delicious seafood options.

Serving and Accompaniments

When it comes to serving and accompaniments for deviled crab and crab cakes, there are some notable differences.

Deviled crab is often served as an appetizer or side dish, while crab cakes are typically served as the main course.

Deviled crab is usually accompanied by tartar sauce or hot sauce, whereas crab cakes can be paired with a variety of sauces such as remoulade, aioli, or lemon butter.

Both dishes can be complemented with a crisp salad or roasted vegetables for a balanced meal.

It’s important to note that while both dishes feature similar ingredients and cooking methods, they have distinct differences in terms of presentation and flavor profiles.

Deviled crab is often baked in a shell or ramekin, giving it a unique texture and appearance, while crab cakes are usually molded into patties and pan-fried or broiled.

Additionally, deviled crab typically has a stronger seasoning profile with spices like cumin and mustard powder added to the mix.

In summary, when it comes to serving and accompaniments for deviled crab vs.

crab cake, consider the occasion and desired meal structure.

Deviled crab works well as an appetizer or side dish with spicy dips, while crab cakes make for a satisfying main course paired with a variety of sauces and sides.

Deviled Crab vs Crab Cake: Which is More Popular?

Deviled Crab Versus Crab Cake: A Detailed Comparison.

If you’ve ever tried both deviled crab and crab cakes, chances are you have your clear favorite.

But which dish is more popular in general? The answer to that question may surprise you.

Though crab cakes tend to get all the attention, deviled crab has its own cult-like following that’s just as passionate as any Marylander’s loyalty to a good crab cake.

Moving on to the actual comparison, it’s important to note the key differences between these two dishes.

While both contain lump crab meat and breadcrumbs, deviled crabs also typically include spicy mustard or a similar condiment mixed into the filling.

Crab cakes use less binder (such as egg) than deviled crabs, allowing the flavor of the crab meat itself to shine through.

So while seafoodies everywhere might continue their feisty debates over which is better, remember that it ultimately comes down to individual taste preferences.


Both deviled crab and crab cake are seafood delicacies originating from the Southern states of America.

Overall, whether you prefer deviled crab or crab cake comes down to personal preference.

However, as both dishes are delicious seafood options that showcase the versatility of crab meat when combined with various ingredients and seasonings.

Deviled Crab vs Crab Cake: What’s the Difference?

Andrew Gray
Craving some delicious crab but can't decide between deviled crab and crab cake? Delve into the distinctions between these two seafood delights to satisfy your appetite for crustacean cuisine.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Deviled Crab
  • Crab Cake


  • Choose between deviled crab and crab cake based on your preference and desired flavors.
  • Follow the cooking directions for your chosen option, ensuring you have the necessary ingredients and equipment.
  • Prepare the crab meat and other ingredients according to the recipe, considering the recommended measurements and techniques.
  • Mix the ingredients together until well combined, ensuring the crab meat is evenly distributed.
  • Shape the mixture into desired forms for deviled crab or crab cakes.
  • Cook the deviled crab or crab cakes using the appropriate method, such as baking, frying, or grilling, as specified in the recipe.
  • Cook until golden brown or until the internal temperature reaches a safe level.
  • Serve the deviled crab or crab cakes as an appetizer or main dish, accompanied by your favorite sauces or garnishes.
  • Enjoy the delightful flavors and textures of your chosen crab dish, and feel free to experiment with different recipes and variations to suit your taste.
Keyword Deviled Crab vs Crab Cake
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