Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce are the perfect holiday, game day or party appetizer, but also are perfect for a weeknight dinner! They’re loaded with crab meat, buttery cracker crumbs, and spicy Old Bay seasoning, these are simple to whip up and a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

This summer we took a mini vacation in Baltimore. We were only there for one night on the way home from North Carolina, but decided to stay on the Inner Harbor, and see as much as we could in the short time we were there. We were able to visit some museums, shop, and of course eat crab!

Fun fact, I was actually born in Baltimore, Maryland many years ago, but haven’t been back there much since, except for the occasional baseball game.

ANYWAY, I think that short little trip back in August sparked my latest obsession with all things crab. Remember a few weeks ago when I posted that Crab Alfredo? Yeah, you should really make that. And since then I’ve made two more crab recipes. Sorry to those of you who aren’t crabby people. You can almost always sub in chicken in any recipe that calls for crab.

But if you’re crabby folk, like me, break out your skillet and let’s get it on!

Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

The mix for the balls is super simple. It’s just crushed Ritz crackers, crab meat, lemon juice and zest, Old Bay, and parsley.

Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

Mix it together and form it into balls…

Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

Then heat some oil in a skillet and fry the ball until they are golden brown and crispy!

Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

These are a great appetizer, or even meal. I mean, essentially, they are a quick crab cake, made a little smaller 🙂

Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

Oh, and you can’t forget to make the Chipotle Tartar sauce, which you can make way in advance. The kick of the chipotle takes these to the next level!

Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

The outside of the crab balls is crispy and the inside is soft and loaded with crab meat.

Crispy Crab Balls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

SUCH a fun dish.

Hope you make these and if you do, post your pictures on your social media channels and use the hashtag #cookiesandcups

Have a great week!


Crispy Crab Balls with Spicy Dipping Sauce

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 20 balls 1x


Chipotle tartar sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle in adobo)
  • 2 tablespoons dill relish
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Crab Balls

  • 1 cup finely crushed Ritz crackers
  • 1 pound crab meat
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • vegetable oil for frying


Chipotle Tartar sauce

  1. In a medium bowl mix together mayonnaise, adobo sauce, relish, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Crab Balls

  1. In a large bowl combine the crushed Ritz, crab, lemon zest, lemon juice, Old Bay, and parsley. Mix until evenly combined.
  2. Form the mixture into 1 1/2- inch balls.
  3. Fill a large skillet 1/4- inch deep with oil. Heat oil on medium until it reaches 350°F. (Trick – place the tip of the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If bubbles form immediately, the oil is ready.) Place the balls in batches into the oil, frying until they are golden brown (about 3 minutes on each side). Transfer the balls to a paper towel lined plate, and repeat with remaining balls.
  4. Serve warm with Chipotle Tartar Sauce.


The Chipotle Mayonnaise can be made up to 5 days in advance. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.

7 Responses

  1. Tameka

    Great recipe. Made them for family and everyone loved them. Unfortunately, I could not get them to stay together. Maybe my mixture was too dry? Any tips?

    1. Shelly

      Sounds like they were a little dry… if that happens again you could add a tablespoon of milk just to help them stick!

Leave a Reply