When we were visiting Boston, we made a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard! We took the ferry over to the island just in time for an early lunch. We ordered crab cakes…we were in New England after all. The crab cakes were scrumptious, perfectly crusted and crispy on the outside, flavorful and tender on the inside, perfection! Needless to say when I came home I started working on a recipe. You know how I roll. So here is the result: Crab Cakes, Aioli and Martha’s Vineyard!
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Crab Cakes with Aioli served on a platter on a bed of rice and lemon wedges


After lunch, we spent the rest of the day exploring the island. One day was definitely not enough time to take it all in, I wish we could have stayed longer. Hopefully, there will be a next time.

Martha’s Vineyard: A Little Slice of Heaven on Earth

As mentioned we got a little bit of a late start heading to the island, after stopping for lunch we had about six hours before we needed to be back to the ferry. A quick google search of The Top Ten Things To Do On Martha’s Vineyard gave us a place to start. But first…I picked out a house….priorities people!

A Cape Cod style house with a maple tree on Martha's Vineyard!


Our first stop was the Edgartown Lighthouse. We were so fortunate to have glorious May weather.

A beautiful white light house seen through beach grass

Then it was off to South Beach, and that my friends is when disaster struck! My phone died. That may not sound like a disaster to you, but to a food blogger that was blogging about Martha’s Vineyard it definitely is! Luckily we ran into a very nice gentleman taking photos, I asked if he would take a few pictures for me. He obliged, I am forever indebted!

A beach pathway with fence on Martha's Vineyard

A lighthouse on rocky cliff overlooking the ocean

Aquinnah Cliffs

We visited farm stands, stopped at shops and cafes, and walked on beaches. We loved our day on the Vineyard and hope to go back soon. Next time we will plan for 2-3 days, rent bikes and ride around the island, sit on the beach, and of course, eat! Which brings me back to where we started…

New England Crab Cakes and Aioli!

This recipe was inspired by our day on the vineyard. It is easy to follow, so not much explanation is necessary. The base of our aioli is mayonnaise. You can make your own mayo or use store bought. I would just recommend using a mayo that is made with olive or avocado oil.

Crisoy Crab Cakes on a bed of rice with gold fork

The Aioli:

So simple: mayo, fresh herbs, lemon zest and juice and a little hot sauce! That’s it.

A demonstration of how to make aioli and crab cakes

The Crab Cakes:

Don’t be intimidated by crab. Until I worked on this recipe I had never cooked with crab before. If I can do it, you can do it. This recipe is made with ‘lump crab meat’. I get my lump crab at the Whole Foods Market fish counter. It also comes canned. Lump crab meat is already cooked and packaged so all you have to do is squeeze out the extra water and combine with celery, herbs, and seasonings. Then dredge in an egg wash, coat with bread crumbs (I use Ian’s Gluten Free Panko), and fry in butter, ghee or olive oil to golden perfection and eat!

Three crab cakes topped with a dab of aioli



The Recipe: Crab Cakes, Aioli and Martha’s Vineyard!

Tips and what you will need: for getting these crab cakes crispy I recommend using a cast iron pan. You will need a microplane for zesting citrus. And I always recommend a good sea salt, I buy the tub, it’s a real money saver and lasts forever! If you want to make your own mayo, click! If you want to use gluten free bread crumbs I recommend Ian’s Panko.

Crab Cakes, Aioli and Martha's Vineyard!
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Delicious and easy New England Crab Cakes with Aioli!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: classic recipe, easy dinner recipe, party recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Linda Spiker
For Aioli:
  • One cup mayo homemade or store bought
  • zest of one small lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • one garlic clove peeled and finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce your favorite
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • a few turns of freshly ground pepper
For Crab Cakes:
  • 1 pound lump crab meat excess water pressed out with paper towels
  • 1/3 cup prepared aioli
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chives finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs gluten free friends opt for GF bread crumbs
  • pinch sea salt
  • pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter olive oil or ghee
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs gluten free friends opt for GF bread crumbs
To make aioli:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Set aside
For Crab Cakes:
  1. Remove crab meat from container, place between paper towels and press until all excess water is removed.
  2. In a large bowl mix crab meat, 1/3 cup aioli, celery, 1/3 cup bread crumbs, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper until well combined. Form into discs with hands and set on a dish. You should have enough to make 8 cakes.
  1. Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl, place breadcrumbs in a separate bowl.
  2. Gently pick up crab cakes one at a time. Coat in egg and then dredge in panko breadcrumbs. If cake loses it's shape, no worries, gently press back into shape and set on dish.
  1. Heat cast iron skillet on medium/high heat for two minutes. Add enough butter, ghee or olive oil so bottom of pan is nicely coated. Allow to melt. When oil is hot add crab cakes to pan, when golden, turn. Lower heat if necessary. Cook second side until golden (usually 3-4 minutes a side). Add more butter/oil to pan if needed and cook second batch. Top with aioli and serve.

I hope you get a chance to visit Martha’s Vineyard! If not, you’ll still be able to make a mean crab cake! ~ Linda Spiker



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