Mini Crab Cakes with Cilantro-Lime Aioli

These elegant crab cakes are baked (not fried!) in mini muffin tins to ensure a non-greasy and perfectly shaped appetizer. The cilantro-lime aioli adds zest and color.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit


  • 8 oz Neufchâtel or cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt such as Fage or Oikos
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon peel
  • 4 tsp plus 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives, divided
  • 1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 6 oz fresh lump crabmeat, picked over and coarsely shredded
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or plain, unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
  • Fresh chives, cut into 1” pieces
  • Cilantro-lime aioli
  • 2 mini muffin pans


  1. In a bowl, using your electric mixer and beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of the Pecorino and the egg; beat until incorporated.
  3. Beat in the yogurt, zest, 4 tsp chopped chives, salt, and spices.
  4. Fold in the crabmeat. This can be made up to 1 day ahead (just keep chilled and covered in the refrigerator).
  5. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Generously butter 2 mini muffin pans.
  7. Toss the breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup of Pecorino and 2 tbsp of chopped chives.
  8. Drizzle 1/4 cup melted butter and mix until evenly moistened.
  9. Press 1 rounded tsp of panko into the bottom of your prepared muffin tins.
  10. Top with 1 tbsp of crab filling.
  11. Sprinkle with more panko until it is full covered.
  12. Continue until you have used all the bread crumbs and all the fillings.
  13. Bake the crab cakes until golden on top and slightly puffed, about 30 minutes.
  14. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then use a skewer or knife to gently loosen the cakes and remove from the pan.
  15. Arrange on baking sheets and let stand at room temperature.
  16. Rewarm in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes before serving.
  17. Arrange on serving tray and drizzle each crab cake with 1 teaspoon of aioli dressing.
  18. Top with two crisscrossed chives

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