Along with labrador retrievers, calling people “Hon,” and drinking some Natty Bohs, crab cakes are a Maryland staple.

Crab cakes are on the menus of virtually every Maryland restaurant, and every household will swear their family crab cake recipe is second to none. 

If you are reading this and you are a Maryland seafoodie who is crazy about crab cakes, it’s understandable that you have doubts about a vegan crab cake tasting even remotely like the ones at your favorite restaurant or the ones you mom makes. 

But, hear me out. With the right ingredients (yes, Old Bay included), crabless crab cakes can taste like the real deal, and you can make them at home in just 30 minutes!

old bay

Old Bay seasoning is just one key ingredient in this special crabless crab cake recipe. Photo by Kaitlin Kulich

Crabless Crab Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of drained marinated artichoke hearts, finely chopped
  • 3 T. liquid from marinated artichokes
  • ¾ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup of finely chopped white onion
  • ½ cup of chickpea flour
  • 1 T. of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ​​​​​​​¼ cup of nondairy milk

garbanzo flour

Bob's Read Mill is just one brand you can use for your chickpea/garbanzo bean flour. Photo by Kaitlin Kulich

Crabless Cake Breading Ingredients

  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • 1¼ cup multigrain bread crumbs
  • ½ cup unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1 tsp. of Old Bay seasoning
  • ​​​​​​​1½ cup vegetable oil, for frying

Vegan Tartar Sauce Ingredients 

  • 2/3 cup of vegan mayonnaise 
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh dill
  • ​​​​​​​¼ tsp. ground black pepper

vegan dressing

Hellmann's has a vegan version of their mayo that can be found at most grocery stores. Photo by Kaitlin Kulich 


  1. Stir together all the ingredients for the tartar sauce until you get the consistency that you want. Refrigerate until ready to serve the crab cakes.

  2. Drain the marinated artichokes, reserving 3 tablespoons of the liquid to use in the mix. Finely chop the artichoke hearts and add to a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients for the crab cakes. Combine these ingredients well with a fork.

  3. Heat 1½ cups of vegetable oil in a large pan to around 350°F (or toss in a few bread crumbs to test if they fry up in the pan).

  4. While the oil is heating up, add chickpea flour to a wide shallow dish, use another shallow dish for the breadcrumbs, and a bowl for the nondairy milk.

  5. Take ¼ cup of the crabless cake mixture and form a round thick patty with your hands. Place the cake in the chickpea flour and coat all sides evenly. Then submerge the cake in nondairy milk, remove it, and place in breadcrumbs. Using your hands, cover the crabless cake in breadcrumbs getting all sides well coated then lightly shake off any excess. Batter two to three at a time right before frying.

  6. Carefully place two to three cakes in hot oil at once, until golden brown, and then flip them to fry the other sides. 

  7. Remove the cakes from the frying pan and place them onto a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

  8. Dollop the tartar sauce on top of each crab cake once they are done frying. Leftovers can be heated over medium heat in a pan that’s lightly coated with vegetable oil.

If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! Do you have other vegan seafood recipes you enjoy? We'd love to hear about them in the comments!