I spent most of my childhood growing up in the South and on the East Coast. Fresh blue crab is readily available in those regions and crab cakes are kind of a big deal. Unfortunately, fresh crab meat is not quite as common here in Europe. I’ve been craving crab cakes lately though, so I knew I had to come up with some sort of suitable substitute. I’ve heard of Thai shrimp cakes before, so I thought why not use shrimp for my fake crab cakes? And so these lovely crab cake-esque shrimp cakes were born!
OMG, y’all. So good. 😍
I was actually pretty surprised at how well these turned out and how much they taste like real crab cakes. Minus the taste of the crab itself, of course. If you’re in the mood for crab cakes but can’t find fresh crab or want something a bit more affordable, these shrimp cakes will not disappoint.
Not only are they super delicious, but they are also paleo, dairy free, gluten free, Whole30 compliant, and relatively low carb! I’ve replaced the traditional breading (i.e. crackers, panko, or breadcrumbs) with flax meal and arrowroot powder.
I haven’t even mentioned the lemon aioli yet, have I? It’s the cherry on top to these delicious shrimp cakes. It’s creamy and tangy with just the right amount of lemon flavor. The perfect refreshing flavor contrast when paired with these rich, savory shrimp cakes.
It’s important to use cast iron or enamel-coated cast iron here because cast iron holds heat extremely well. Once the pan is hot, it will stay hot for a long time. This is really important for shallow frying because you don’t want the temperature of the oil to drop too much when you add the food to the pan. Cast iron helps mitigate this temperature drop, allowing the food to cook correctly and not soak up too much of the oil. However, if you do not have a cast iron pan, you can still make this recipe! Just know that your cooking time may need to be adjusted and the shrimp cakes will likely soak up more oil.
As for the ingredients, make sure to use a paleo mayo here. You can make your own or purchase it pre-made. Do not try to substitute tapioca starch for the arrowroot here or the shrimp cakes could end up gooey in the middle. Let’s try to avoid that. 😝
This recipe makes about 10 shrimp cakes, so as a main dish this will serve 2 to 3 people. This dish is also wonderful as an appetizer and will serve 8-10 people.
- ¼ cup paleo mayonnaise
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp dijon mustard
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- 1 pinch garlic powder
- 1 lb (450g) shrimp, peeled and chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup arrowroot powder
- 3 Tbsp flax meal
- 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 1½ Tbsp capers
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup (52g) grass-fed butter, ghee, or avocado oil
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Set aside.
- Mix all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until well combined. Don't overmix. The mixture should stick together some, but still be relatively loose. It will not be thick like a dough.
- Melt butter, ghee, or avocado oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. You want a good layer of oil, so if your skillet is very large then you may need a bit more butter/oil.
- Once the butter/oil is hot, scoop up ¼ cup of the shrimp mixture and gently place it in the pan. I use a ¼ cup measuring cup but you can also use an ice cream scoop or large spoon.
- Repeat this process until the pan is full, leaving plenty of space in between the shrimp cakes for flipping. You will be cooking about 3 to 5 shrimp cakes at a time, depending on how large your pan is.
- Allow them to cook for 5 minutes, then carefully flip with a thin spatula. Press each one down a little bit after flipping. Just enough to make more of a disk shape, but not too much that they fall apart.
- Cook for another 5 minutes. Both sides should be nicely browned like the shrimp cakes in the pictures. If they are not browned enough, increase your heat a bit and cook for a little longer.
- Remove the shrimp cakes to a paper towel-lined cooling rack using a thin spatula.
- Repeat the cooking process for the second round of shrimp cakes. You may need to do three batches, depending on your pan size.
- Serve immediately with the lemon aioli.
Did you enjoy the recipe? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!
*Disclosure: Kit’s Coastal is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.