The Best Way To Stop Your Crab Cakes From Falling Apart

You can't go to a seafood restaurant — or even a steakhouse for that matter — without seeing crab cakes on the menu. Whether you get them broiled, fried, or served sandwich-style on a fluffy Kaiser roll, they're a mess-free way to satisfy your craving for crustaceans. To make them at home, you need little more than lump crab meat, bread crumbs (or saltine crackers), mayonnaise, eggs, and assorted seasonings. While there are plenty of variations on the basic recipe, the process for making crab cakes is generally the same no matter which ingredients you choose.

Mix everything together, form the patties, pop them in the oven or the fryer, and voilà. But there's one crucial step that many people overlook or don't even realize is a must-do. Why is it so important? It will prevent your crab cakes from falling apart while they cook. Here's what you should be doing when making your crab cakes to ensure they stay in one piece (or rather, one patty).

Chill your crab cakes before you cook them

When you're craving crab cakes, the last thing you want to do is wait another minute longer to bite into the meaty deliciousness. But according to food bloggers and cooks, patience is key when making crab cakes. Epicurious says that one of the best ways to prevent your crab cakes from falling apart while they're cooking is to put them in the refrigerator first. They recommend covering the uncooked crab cakes with plastic wrap and chilling them for one to three hours before popping them in the oven (or the fryer).

The blogger behind The Cozy Apron refrigerates her crab cake mixture in a bowl before she even forms the cakes themselves. She explains that this helps firm up the mixture which not only keeps the cakes together while they cook but also makes them easier to shape into patties. As for how long they can be in the fridge? Culinary scientist Jessica Gavin says they'll last for up to two days.