10 Best Substitutes for Mayonnaise in Crab Cakes

10 Substitutes for Mayonnaise in Crab Cakes
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Crab cakes are essentially fishcakes composed mainly of crab meat. In addition to crab meat, they contain eggs, crumbs, and mayonnaise. However, although mayonnaise is an everyday ingredient in my kitchen, sometimes I run out, and sometimes I just want to try something different. So, what is the best substitute for mayonnaise in crab cakes?

Greek yogurt, chickpea can water, aioli, mashed avocado, hummus, mustard, cottage cheese, sour cream, and oil, seasoned olive oil, and Worcestershire sauce are great substitutes for mayonnaise in crab cakes. 

Mayo works excellently in crab cakes, but so do mayo substitutes. If you want to try something new and give a new image to your crab cakes, or you are fresh out of mayo, there are some things you can try to bring some novelty to your table. In the following paragraphs, I will give you some of my favorite ideas on what to use as a mayo substitute for crab cakes!

Greek Yogurt

If you want to exclude the mayo and try a version of crab cakes that’s better for you, Greek yogurt is an excellent mayo substitute. Greek yogurt is known for its benefits, as it is a rich source of lactic bacteria good for gut health, and it also contains a generous amount of calcium. [1]

You can use Greek yogurt for crab cakes the same way you use mayonnaise. However, I would advise you to add a tablespoon more, as Greek yogurt is less fatty than mayonnaise. 


Aioli is a delightful mixture of egg yolks, olive oil, and vinegar. You can add balsamic vinegar instead of regular for some extra style. My method is to simply mix together the ingredients and add them to the crab cake coating mixture. 

If you are reluctant to use raw egg yolks, you can use an egg substitute. Ensure the eggs you are using are good, even though they will get cooked when you cook the crab cakes.

Mashed Avocado 

Avocado instead of mayo may not be the best option, but, on the other hand, you are frying the crab cakes, so there is not much of a point in restraining yourself. Mash the avocado until it is soft and smooth, paste-like. 

Add some salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a few drops of olive oil. Mix everything together to homogenize the ingredients. The olive oil tends to float in small oil puddles, so make sure you give it some serious elbow grease. 

Chickpea Can Water

If you are seeking innovation in your kitchen, not only in terms of flavor but also discovering new ways of cooking, you are welcome to try making chickpea can water mayonnaise. All you need is a can of chickpeas, oil, lemon, and a food processor. 

Pour a cup of the chickpea can water into the food processor and start mixing. As you mix the chickpea water in the food processor, slowly add the oil and the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Salt to taste, and voila, you have mayo. 

10 Substitutes for Mayonnaise in Crab Cakes


Hummus is one of the best gifts that chickpeas can give you. Although it works great with chickpeas soaked in water for a few hours, it works even better with canned chickpeas. Made in a few short minutes, it is worth every ounce of effort you are ready to put into it. 

I usually add some chickpeas to the blender or food processor, and press the puree button. Add some tahini, a generous olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and just a few drops of lukewarm water. Once the substance gets creamy, that’s your cue that it is done. 

You can control its thickness by adding more water to make it thinner to prevent it from curdling when you add it to the crab cake coating mix. 


Although mustard and mayonnaise seemingly have nothing in common, mustard substitutes for mayo excellently. On the other hand, mayo is not an excellent mustard substitute. Nevertheless, mustard will do just fine since you need a mayo substitute. 

However, a little warning, since mayo has a milder flavor than mustard, I wouldn’t recommend that you add the same amount of mustard as mayo. Too much mustard, although charming, can make your dish taste too bitter, which is not a flavor that everyone enjoys. 

Therefore, it is best that you add a third less mustard than mayo for your crab cake coating mixture or make a creamy mustard sauce.

10 Substitutes for Mayonnaise in Crab Cakes

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese comes in very handy when you need a mayo substitute. However, mayo is far creamier than cottage cheese, which may be a problem since you are substituting the flavor and the texture. 

Therefore, to make the cottage cheese even creamier, it is a good idea to mix it with a few drops of olive oil to smoothen it up. Another thing that could work here is a tablespoon of dairy cream. Mix the ingredients well, and leave as few lumps as possible. 

The lumps could cause a problem later when you fry the crab cakes, as they may burn and trick you into thinking that your crab cakes are made when they need more cooking. Also, the lumps can make your crab cakes taste overly cheesy, which is not the favorite thing for everyone when it comes to crab cakes. 

Seasoned Olive Oil

Sometimes the simplest solution is the right one. So, why not go simple and substitute your mayo for seasoned olive oil? Mix the olive oil with powdered garlic, salt, pepper, and herbal spices, and let the mixture sit for a while so that the oil absorbs the seasoning flavors. 

Add the seasoned oil to your crab cake coating mixture and mix well. I so adore this — your crab cakes will have a more intensive taste and feel spicier overall!

Sour Cream 

Sour cream is an excellent substitute for mayo, and they are both creamy, smooth, spreadable, and absolutely delicious. However, sour cream tends to form lumps, which is naturally harder than mayonnaise. 

The fattier the sour cream, the more lumps it forms, so to thin it up a little, you can add some olive oil or lukewarm water. Whatever you decide to add, make sure you don’t add too much. 

Before I add anything to the sour cream, I always try to smoothen it up by mixing it. Also, I add water or oil only when there is a real need for that. 

10 Substitutes for Mayonnaise in Crab Cakes

Worcestershire Sauce 

Even though some crab cake recipes call for both mayo and Worcestershire sauce, crab cakes work nicely with only one or the other. Therefore, you can substitute mayo for Worcestershire sauce. 

If you feel creative, you can make it from scratch, but if you are lazier, you can buy it ready-made.

Crème Fraiche

Since crème fraiche is a type of sour cream, you can replace it with mayo anytime. Crème Fraiche is lighter than mayonnaise, so you may want to add some fattiness to it. You can add dairy cream to your crème fraiche to make it fattier and turn it into a better substitute for mayo in your crab cake coating. 


Although it seems unlikely, pesto will do great in this case. It will give your crab cakes a very different dimension than what you are used to, but it is definitely worth the try. 

Pesto is typically made with basil, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, so it has a sour, fresh, herbal, and slightly sweet flavor. It’s also a very popular spread for fish, so it’s definitely a win-win.


If you’re watching the butter amount you are using, use a significantly smaller amount of butter than mayo for crab cakes. If you are looking for an even richer and fattier mayo substitute, look no further and take a stick of butter. It will enrich your crab cakes and make them even softer and silkier. 

The butter will round up the crab cake coating, balancing the flavors and enriching your meal. 

Why Do You Need Mayo for Crab Cakes?

Crab cakes need mayonnaise to bind the flavors of the coating ingredients. Mayonnaise has a very mild flavor, and it is richer than it is flavorful. Therefore, if you are looking for a mayo substitute for crab cakes, you are looking for a flavor binder more than anything else. 

There are substitutes that bind the flavors and infuse the crab cakes with a charm of their own. If you want to add more flavor to your crab cakes, make sure you use something just as creamy and not overly flavorful. 

Are Crab Cakes Good Without Mayo?

Mayo binds the flavors in the crab cakes, so making your crab cakes without mayo means that there is nothing to bind and round up the flavors you wish to include. It also binds textures, so you need to consider what you will use to coat your crab cakes and ensure it doesn’t fall off. 

If you don’t want to use mayo for your crab cakes, you can always replace it with another similar ingredient. Also, if you don’t want to use a substitute, you can just up the other binding ingredients you will be using, such as mustard or Worcestershire sauce, or both, just like in this video.

Flavor-wise, if you season them well, crab cakes can be delicious without mayo, but texture-wise, they will be iffy. Therefore, you should make sure you use either mayo or an alternative, or you compensate for the lack of ingredient and flavor binder in another way by adding more of the other binding ingredients. 

How do you go about adding mayo alternatives to your crab cakes? Let me know in the comments below!

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