Southern Shrimp Cakes

I love to order crab cakes when we’re visiting a great seafood restaurant. Making them at home is a challenge. Buying crab at the seafood department at my local grocers is incredibly expensive and the crab is in a tin or a small plastic container. Not very appetizing!

We love to substitute shrimp which is much more plentiful and affordable. This recipe is supposedly an adaptation of one from America’s Test Kitchen. I lowered the amount of lemon zest from the original recipe and our shrimp cakes turned out perfect. You can serve these on a bun or not, it’s up to you. As my husband and I were enjoying ours I commented on how a side of asparagus would be the perfect accompaniment to this dish.

Southern Shrimp Cakes (slightly adapted from À la Table Chez Sandy)


3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (from 1-2 slices of whole wheat sandwich bread)

2 pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined, and patted dry

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 scallions, minced

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1/2 -1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, (lightly packed)

pinch cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Tear bread into large pieces. Place in food processor and pulse ten times (or until you have coarse crumbs). Pour into medium-large mixing bowl and set aside.

Pulse shrimp in your now-empty processor about seven pulses (some pieces are minced, and others are coarsely chopped). Transfer shrimp to bowl with breadcrumbs.

Add mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to shrimp/breadcrumb mixture. Fold all ingredients together gently with a rubber spatula (don’t tear up the shrimp).

Loosely pack mixture into six shrimp patties. Lay on a wax paper or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours to chill.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Saute three patties, without pressing on them, until cooked through about 5-7 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet when done and transfer to a platter. Tent with foil.

Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pan and bring up to medium heat. Cook remaining patties. When done transfer to the platter, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

If using buns, butter the underside of each one and broil until golden.


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