Vegan jackfruit crab cakes are similar to traditional crab cakes in texture and so close in taste. This recipe is simple to put together, it holds together when you cook it, and tastes great with our easy homemade vegan tartar sauce.
Published June 29, 2015 and updated June 30, 2021.
Why This Recipe Works
Jackfruit and Old Bay seasoning are the secrets to crabless cakes.
The meaty texture of the jackfruit is so similar to crab meat, and its mild flavor absorbs whatever spices it’s paired with.
In this recipe, Old Bay seasoning is key. You’ll find it in most traditional crab cake recipes because it’s what gives them their unique flavor.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Jackfruit – Because jackfruit has a mild flavor and a similar texture to shredded crab meat, it’s the perfect vegan crab substitute.
If you can’t find jackfruit, use chopped artichoke hearts or palm hearts.
Ground Flax Seed – Flax seed mixed with water is a wonderful egg substitute, and it’s also a binder.
If you don’t have ground flax seed, you can use JUST egg or your favorite egg substitute (not chia seeds. They will give the crab cakes a strange texture).
Old Bay Seasoning – This seasoning is found in many seafood recipes, including crab cakes. If you don’t have it on hand, a blend of celery salt, paprika, bay leaf, and pepper are the main ingredients of this delicious spice blend.
Yellow Mustard – Adds a slight tang to the cakes. You can use Dijon or mix dried mustard with water as a substitution.
Garlic – It makes everything taste better. Substitute with a half teaspoon of garlic powder.
Lemon Juice – This adds much needed acid to the recipe. We don’t suggest using vinegar as a substitution because the flavor is too strong.
Chives – Adds a peppery flavor and color. Substitute with finely minced shallots or onion.
Cilantro – We love the taste of cilantro, although some people find it to be too strong and soapy tasting. If you don’t like it, leave it out.
Breadcrumbs – We like to use a combination of regular breadcrumbs and panko. In our opinion, it makes for a better texture.
Use gluten-free breadcrumbs if desired.
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How to Make Them
This is an easy recipe, so we don’t need to repeat what’s already in the recipe card. Instead, we’ll show you pictures of how the mixture should look before you form the patties and cook it.
Recipe FAQs and Pro Tips
The flax egg mixture is so important for binding this recipe. Please do not skip it.
When ground flax seed is mixed with water and it sits for about 10 minutes, it becomes thick and sticky, and it is a wonderful binder
Wrap them in plastic or put them in a dish and cover. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Yes. Store them in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Heat them in a 350˚F (176˚C) oven until they’re heated through the center, approximately 15 minutes. Make sure to turn after about 7 minutes.
For best results, refrigerate the patties before cooking them. This will help them hold together.
If you’re frying them, place a cover over the pan. This will ensure that the center of the crabless cakes get nice and hot.
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VEGAN JACKFRUIT "CRAB" CAKES
- 24 oz young jackfruit in water (SEE NOTE), drain, rinse well, squeeze and pat dry, chop until it resembles lump crab meat
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed plus 6 tbsp (90 ml) water, mix well and let sit for ten minutes (flax egg)
- 1 tsp yellow mustard
- 2 tbsp Old Bay Spice SEE NOTE
- 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce we use Annie’s brand
- 2 cloves garlic minced, or 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp chives minced
- 1/4 cup cilantro minced
- 1/2 cup classic bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make the flax eggs and set aside for 10 minutes so it thickens.
- Put all of the seasonings, mustard, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl and whisk together until completely combined.
- Add the jackfruit, flax egg, herbs, and bread crumbs and combine with your hands until the mixture begins to stick together. Form into patties (you decide how big they should be). The amount that this recipe makes depends on how large you make the patties.
- Place the patties on a plate and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- To Bake:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (176˚C) and put the cakes on a cookie sheet. Squeeze lemon juice over the top of the cakes and bake for approximately ten minutes or until golden brown. Flip and squeeze lemon juice on the top of the cakes and bake another 10 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
- To Fry:
- Cover the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of oil (1 to 2 tablespoons) and heat on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the cakes and cook until golden brown (approximately 5 to 7 minutes). Flip and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Place a cover on the pan to ensure that the center gets hot.
- Serve with vegan tartar sauce or sriracha and a lemon wedge.