Chef Solis’s Mexican Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Aioli

I was invited to design a Cinco de Mayo menu for Ceiba Restaurant along with their Chef de Cuisine, Alfredo Solis. The invitation included teaching a class covering that menu. As always, I was eager to teach whatever I know. But as always, I learn much more as I go. This time, I also learned, that you never know what foods you are going to like the best.

Solis and I were thrilled with the class menu. He was going to feature a tasty Shrimp Ceviche and some succulent Shredded Beef Tacos. I was going for a Red Snapper with a simple yet stylish Almond and Chipotle sauce, with a side of the ever exuberant Poblano Green Rice and a fresh Radish Salsita. I was also covering dessert: a textured and sweet coconut flan paired with fresh mangoes. And whipped cream. With a hint of Rum.

The whole experience was fun, from beginning to end. From meeting Solis for the first time -who shared his to die for mussels in a spicy tomato broth with chorizo, along with fascinating bits and pieces of his life story as he went from being a dishwasher to Chef de Cusine-  to designing the menu, to tasting and testing it a week before class for a full dinner run, to prepping for class and lunch the day of. Day which, with the excuse of needing sweetened condensed milk for the coconut flan, I kept splashing some in their good coffee and sipping it all along.

And there we were, laughing it out, as we set up the demo stations, before we even started the class…

And there we were, ready and steady, a couple minutes before the guests were seated…


But when all was said and done and the guests were gone -hopefully happy and with a full belly- I looked at Solis and said what my friends know me for: what are WE eating now?

Solis responded: Anything you want to try from our menu!

Having eyed the already shaped crab cakes in the refrigerator that morning, I asked him what was in their mix.  Just with the word Habaneros, I knew I was going for those.

So yes, I loved the menu we designed. And yes, I think it was a fun and yummy class. But I can tell you, those crab cakes are a pair of Rock Stars.

If you are not near DC or can’t go to Ceiba anytime soon, Solis graciously shared the recipe for you to sample at home. I just did as I posted those for you.

To make them, here we go: Lump crab meat, chopped Habanero -yes with seeds for me please-, cilantro, just a bit of bread crumbs and mayonnaise to bind the meat together, as well as the egg I am cracking there…

Crabcake 1-thumb-510x342-1041
Then I am adding the juice of that shinny and juicy lime, some salt and fresh ground pepper.

Crabcake 6-thumb-510x342-1051
That’s all that goes into the crab cakes.  Shape them up and you can keep them in the refrigerator for a couple of days, covered, until you are ready to cook them up.

When ready, prepare Solis’s tangy and light Jalapeño aioli, to drizzle over them.  Just place the ingredients into a blender or food processor: mayonnaise, lime juice, Jalapeños, cilantro, salt and pepper…

Crabcake Crabcake 10-thumb-510x342-1059
And there you go, Mexican style crab cakes fit for Emperor Montezuma. I bet you he would have liked them.

Just as I did…

Mexican Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Aioli

Croquetas de Cangrejo con Aioli de Jalapeño, Adapted from Ceiba's Chef Alfredo Solis

Recipe Yield

4 to 6 servings

Cooking time

21 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.75 from 4 votes


For the crab cakes:

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1 habanero chile seeded (optional), chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro chopped
  • 3 teaspoons bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt more or less to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper more or less to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the jalapeño aioli:

  • 1 or 2 jalapeño chiles seeded if desired
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt more or less to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper ground

To Prepare

  • Combine the crab meat, habanero chile, cilantro, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, egg and lime juice in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Form 4 to 6 crab cakes, depending on how chubby and big you want them. You can prepare them in advance and keep them refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  • Heat a large skillets set over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter into 1 tablespoon of oil. Once it starts to sizzle, add as many crab cakes as will fit without being crowded. Cook anywhere from 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  • To prepare the aioli, place all the ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Drizzle over the crab cakes and if you want, sprinkle the top with freshly chopped cilantro.


26comments inChef Solis’s Mexican Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Aioli

  1. M L Barry

    Jul 20

    Can’t wait to make these!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 22

      Enjoy the crab cakes, M L!

  2. Sonya

    Feb 23

    Hi Pati.
    I live in Australia and just started watching your show. My husband loves Mexican food so lm going to try these crab cakes . I love how your show is very family oriented.

    1. Pati

      Feb 23

      Thank you for watching all the way from Australia Sonya! I hope you and your husband love the crab cakes.

  3. Daniela (Pittsburgh, PA)

    Jun 19

    Hi Pati,

    I made these crabcakes along with shrimp cocktail pacifico for my husband’s father’s day dinner yesterday and he LOVED it, and so did I. So far I have tried several of your recipes and they have all been amazing! These include the coconut shrimp with mango sauce, the pork enchiladas with mole verde, the “to die for” ceviche. Will a new season of your show be coming out soon? I look forward to trying more of your recipes! 🙂

    1. Pati

      Jun 30

      Daniela, I’m super happy you have enjoyed all of the recipes. I’m excited to share new ones with you in season six, coming out this fall!

  4. Donney Bibb

    Apr 17

    Hi Patti,

    I made my traditional MD crab cakes today – ok, not entirely traditional as I didn’t use lump crab from the C. Bay. Anyway, afterwards, I was wondering whether guacamole would go well with the crab cakes. In searching the internet for crab cakes + guacamole, I somehow came across your recipe….which doesn’t use guacamole.

    Anyway, looking at your recipe, I’d think the habanero would overpower the crab. But, I recently came across a new to me chile at my local Mexican grocery store in Waldorf MD – a manzano chile. Hotter than a jalapeno, milder than a habanero, and more flavor than both. This may be the perfect chile for your recipe. Oh, and the avocados at my Mexican grocery are much better than those at typical U.S. stores.


    1. Pati

      Apr 18

      Give those manzanos a try in here, they are a lovely ingredient.

  5. Liz

    Feb 12

    Yummy! Thanks so much for the lovely recipe.

  6. Cynthia

    Nov 02

    My husband, who is Mexican, says I can make a shrimp & crab tostada with lots of lemon. Is this ceviche? or do you have a recipe for seafood tostada, taco or enchiladas, or chimi? I never miss your show & your kids are both adorable & growing!!

    1. Pati

      Nov 04

      Hola Cynthia, Yes, your husband is right, it’s a type of ceviche. I’m giving you the link for my Shrimp Cocktail Pacífico, which is also great on a tostada:

  7. Denise

    Nov 01

    Hola Pati! What would you suggest serving with these crab cakes to make a meal? Gracias!

    1. Pati

      Nov 04

      Hi Denise, I would serve them with a fresh salad, like this one:

  8. rogelio herrera

    Apr 29

    wow hola Pati me gusta tu programa espero tener muy pronto tu libro felicidades

    1. Pati

      Apr 30


  9. rogelio herrera

    Apr 29

    wow hola pati como mexicano te escribo en espanol te felicitopor tu programa asi como muchos chef mexicanos la cocina mexicana esta ahora en otro nivel y a la vista de todo el mundo, espero tener tu libro muy pronto . te escribo desde beaver creck colorado en las montanas, espero aplicar algunas recetas en mi trabajo gracias , y adelante en nombre de MEXICO Atte chef rocky, y no hace falta la invitacion cuando guste venir aqui a skiar o en el verano seras bienvenida .

    1. Pati

      May 02

      Hola Chef Rocky!
      Me va a dar mucho gusto que use las recetas e ideas en su trabajo: para eso es la cocina! Claro que si alguna vez ando por ahí le echaré una buscada…

  10. Martha

    Sep 03

    Just love all your food. It takes me back to my childhood. Also just reading your blot is making my mouth water
    Gracias Pati

  11. Randy

    Apr 19

    Wow Pati,
    I love cooking Mexican food, and just discovered your show. Awesome recipes! I’m making your Pepito sandwiches this week, and plan to make the crab cakes very soon. Thanks, Randy

  12. Liren {Kitchen Worthy}

    May 09

    This looks fantastic! We love crab cakes, especially when it’s dungenous crab season here in the Bay Area, but with the habanero, I can totally see how this is a rock star! I am definitely going to make this – it’s right up our alley! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 09

      My pleasure!

  13. Tamara belt

    May 08

    Que rico!!!! I’m going to ask my husband to make them for me for mothers day!! Thanks for the menu!!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 08

      That’s the perfect idea!!! Yo quiero también que mi esposo me haga… (jajaja)

  14. Jennifer Leal

    May 07

    Oh my those look very delicious!

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 07

      Wow. They are. Give them a try!

  15. Moni

    May 07

    ¡Hmmmm! ¡Qué antojo! ¡Si no fuera porque este fin de semana mis amigos a los que invité son vegetarianos, hacía esto!

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