Healthier Crab Cake Poppers

Grain-free, puffy, healthier crab cake poppers with a lemon chive aioli dipping sauce! Skillet and air fryer method provided!

Healthier Crab Cake Poppers - Dash of Mandi

Everything is better in snack size! Because then you can eat more and easily dip them in sauce. Growing up on the North east-coast I’ve always been a huge fan of crab cakes. Which is what inspired me to make them into this little appetizer.

These would be perfect for any summer pool party, game day snack, or .. just because you feel like having some crab cake poppers. In other words, they’re great for any occasion. These are filled with lump crab, mayo, dijon, old bay and to make them a bit healthier I use almond flour instead of breadcrumbs. However, you’d never know the difference!

Air fryer crab cake poppers

In the recipe I have two cooking methods: fry them in skillet or air fry them! I personally like the air fryer method better because it was easier (throw them in and don’t think about it) and the ball shape kept better. However, they were delicious both ways. Click here for the air fryer I use.

Healthy crab cake poppers in the skillet or air fryer

I served mine with a tangy lemon chive aioli which will be listed in the recipe as well! However, another great dipping sauce would be my spicy tartar which can be found with this recipe.

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Healthier Crab Cake Poppers


Crab Cake Poppers

16 oz. lump crab meat, drained

1 egg, whisked

1 tsp old bay 

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp minced garlic

2 tbsp mayo, I use avocado oil mayo

1 tsp dijon

5 tbsp blanched almond flour

salt and pepper to taste

Lemon Chive Aioli 

1/2 cup mayo

2 tsp dijon

1/2 lemon, juiced and zested

2 tbsp chopped chives

1 tsp minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste


For your sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and chill until ready to use.

Combine the crab cake popper ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Using a tbsp cookie scoop or your hands roll into small balls (about 1 inch) – freeze the crab cake balls for about 45 minutes (do NOT skip this step)

Skillet Method:
heat a skillet over medium heat and add about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add about 4-5 crab cake poppers to the skillet at a time. Cook until all the sides are golden about 3-4 minutes per side. Carefully flip them with tongs. Repeat until all crab cake poppers are cooked and serve immediately with aioli.

Air Fryer Method:
Spray air fryer basket with non-stick spray and then add crab cake poppers to the basket in a single layer (do not over crowd them – cook them in batches if you don’t have room) 

Fry at 380 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, carefully flipping them with tongs half-way through.

Serve immediately with lemon chive aioli.

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    Could these be left in the freezer, then popped into the air fryer when reaDy to eat?

      Amanda Hickman

      I have not tried but I don’t see why not!