Here's What You Can Substitute For Breadcrumbs In Crab Cakes

Making crab cakes at home is easy enough to learn and serving crab cakes to your family (or date) is a sure way to impress; after all, there's a reason why these scrumptious little patties find a place on menus at high-end restaurants all around the world. One of the primary ingredients in many crab cake recipes is breadcrumbs, but what do you do when you don't have any breadcrumbs on hand, or when you don't want to take the time to make your own breadcrumbs from scratch? There's no reason to abandon your crab cakes for another day. There are a few good substitutes that you can use and that you probably already have in your pantry.

One of the most popular substitutes? Crackers — both buttery crackers (like Ritz Crackers) or saltines. Chef and food writer Erin Johnson of Probably in the Kitchen told Mashed when sharing her crab cake recipe that "for an extra layer of flavor, ground buttery crackers are another option that works beautifully [instead of breadcrumbs]." Likewise, Andrew Zimmern revealed to Food & Wine that he likes saltine crackers in his crab cakes — 20 of 'em, finely crushed.

But what if you don't have breadcrumbs or crackers?

"But what if" indeed? You're out of breadcrumbs and there are no crackers to be found and your stomach is rumbling for crab cakes. That's when it's time to turn to the gluten-free cooks of the world, who are more than adept at adapting recipes to exclude ingredients like traditional bread and crackers.

One gluten-free and keto crab cake recipe on the Healthy Recipes Blog suggests using almond flour instead of breadcrumbs. The two textures are close enough and, if you're a frequent baker, you may already have almond flour on hand. The site gfJules recommends crushed corn tortilla chips or gluten-free corn flakes (there are several mainstream brands of corn flakes, according to VeryWellFit that are gluten-free, and corn and rice Chex work just as well; however, if you're not following a gluten-free diet, you can just use any ol' corn flakes brand).

However, at the end of the day, keep in mind that the filler in a crab cake (like the breadcrumbs) is meant to act as a binding agent only — it's not something you want to actively taste. So don't overthink it, wondering if your guests will taste the breakfast cereal in your seafood dish. If you get your crab cakes right, they'll never even realize that you're not using breadcrumbs.