If you have seen lion’s mane at the farmer’s market or grocery store, grab it! It is a delicious mushroom that can be used to make these crispy Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes. This is a beginner-level recipe. Make them in about 20 minutes.

A platter full of pan fried lion's mane crab cakes.

I am excited about this new gluten free lion’s mane crab cake recipe. I am a huge exotic mushroom fan. We have this incredible mushroom vendor at our farmer’s market, and they always have at least 8 or 9 different types of fresh mushrooms.

Lion’s mane is one of my favorites because of its texture and flavor. When it is torn, it has a similar consistency to crab. It is perfect for making these vegetarian Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes.

Real crab meat is expensive, and many imitation crab brands contain gluten. You can get the same flavors and textures using lion’s mane mushrooms! If you are up to trying something new, I encourage you to try this easy lion’s mane crab cake recipe!

You may also love these Gluten Free Fried Mushrooms, featuring both lion’s mane and shiitake mushrooms. You may also love this Gluten Free Salmon Cakes recipe.

Why I love this lion’s mane crab cakes recipe:

  1. Lion’s Mane is a mushroom with a meaty and savory flavor, making it an excellent ingredient for vegetarian or vegan crab cake recipes.
  2. When cooked, the lion’s mane mushrooms become crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, giving these gluten free lion’s mane crab cakes the perfect texture.
  3. Lion’s mane absorbs flavor well. The flavor of this recipe is enhanced with seasonings, which also complement the mushroom’s natural taste.
  4. This makes an incredible appetizer to serve. Nobody will know they are gluten free.

Holy cow these are amazing! I used some Tony’s Creole seasoning on top of some old bay and lord have mercy it’s so good. I foraged enough to make 2 batches and they’re gone already. We will definitely make this again 😋”

Meghan Z., Pinterest comment

Ingredient Notes:

Photos of the lion's mane crab cakes ingredients.
  • Lion’s Mane
  • Gluten Free Bread Crumbs or Panko – Use store-bought or make my homemade Gluten Free Bread Crumbs.
  • Egg – Size large.
  • Mayonnaise – Any variety is okay, regular or vegan. Just ensure it is gluten free.
  • Worcestershire – Use a gluten free brand like Lea and Perrins.
  • Onions – Use yellow or sweet yellow onions.
  • Bell Pepper – Use any color. I used orange in my recipe.
  • Parsley – Fresh or dried. Fresh flat-leaf parsley is best.
  • Garlic – Use freshly minced or garlic powder.
  • Cajun Seasoning – I used Zaitarains, but Old Bay also works well.
  • Oil – I used canola oil to pan-fry this recipe, but I also like avocado oil.

Tips For Success:

  • There are a few recipes for lion’s mane crab cakes; some pre-cook the lion’s mane, and others use it fresh. I highly recommend cooking the lion’s mane first.
  • Mushrooms release water as they cook. Using a paper towel to squeeze the water out of the lion’s mane shreds is important. If you don’t, your lion’s mane crab cakes will be mushy and not crispy.
  • Use an oil that has a high smoking point. I talk a lot about using the right oil because it is essential so your oil doesn’t leave a rancid aftertaste to the food you fry.

Recipe Step-By-Step Directions:

Two large pieces of lion's mane in a glass mixing bowl.

Step 1: Prepare your lion’s mane. You want to be careful how you wash your mushrooms. They absorb water, and you want to keep these mushrooms as dry as possible. I like dampening a paper towel and brushing dirt off the mushrooms.

Photos of steps 2 and 3 making lion's mane crab cakes.

Step 2: Tear up the lion’s mane into shreds, as shown in the photo. Have the shreds vary in size.

Step 3: In a pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the lion’s mane.

Small coffee cup icon.

Did you know?

Some recipes do not pre-cook the lion’s mane to release the water in the mushrooms. I have tested both ways, and I have found it is best to cook the lion’s mane so the crab cakes turn out crispy.

Photos of steps 4 and 5 making lion's mane crab cakes.

Step 4: I use a dry paper towel to squeeze out extra moisture from the lion’s mane as it cooks in the skillet.

Step 5: Put the cooked lion’s mane and ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Use your hands to form the mixture into small patties and place them onto a plate.

Photos of steps 6 and 7 cooking the lion's mane crab cakes.

Step 6: Heat a cast iron skillet with some of the oil. When the oil is hot, drop some patties onto the skillet. I used avocado oil, but canola oil or another light, unflavored oil will work. I do not recommend olive oil because it is not good for frying.

🔑 Sandi says: A good way to know the oil is hot enough is to drop a couple of drops of water in the pan. If it sizzles, it is ready for the crab cakes.

Step 7: Cook the cakes over medium heat until golden on both sides, varying between 4-5 minutes per side.

Remove the cooked cakes onto a paper towel-lined plate. The paper towel helps absorb the extra oil from the cakes.

If the amount of oil in the pan gets low, add more oil and let it heat up before adding more lion’s mane crab cakes for cooking.


Store leftover lion’s mane crab cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep fresh for up to 3 days. To re-crisp them, place them in the air fryer for 5-6 minutes at 360º F or bake them in the oven for 15 minutes.

A lion's mane crab cake on a plate. It is cut in half so you can see the inside.

Recipe FAQ:

Where do you find lion’s mane mushrooms?

I find fresh lion’s mane in our local grocery stores and farmer’s markets.

Does lion’s mane taste like crab?

Lion’s mane mushrooms are very mild and earthy in flavor. They absorb flavor and take on the flavor of the seasonings used.

How do you store lion’s mane until you can make this recipe?

The best way to store lion’s mane is in a paper bag in your refrigerator. It will keep fresh for up to a week.

The top view of crab cakes on a plate. It is garnished with sauce and a lime wedge.

My first time trying Lion’s Mane mushrooms. These turned out so well. I will definitely be trying them agan.

Cognac D., Pinterest comment

More Gluten Free Mushroom Recipes:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Include which flour blend you used. This helps others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

A lion's mane crab cake on a plate. It is cut in half so you can see the inside.

Easy Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes

Sandi Gaertner
This flavorful gluten free lion's mane crab cake recipe is really easy to make. It makes a great vegetarian appetizer.
5 from 4 votes
dairy free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
vegetarian icon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Gluten Free Appetizer Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cakes
Calories 172 kcal


  • 8 ounces lion's mane
  • 1 large egg
  • cup gluten free panko or bread crumbs * see note
  • ¼ cup onion diced
  • ¼ cup bell pepper diced, I used yellow pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise regular or vegan
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce * see note
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley finely chopped!
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cajun seasoning * see note
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder or one clove minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

For Frying

  • ½ cup avocado oil


  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • teaspoon salt


  • Use a damp paper towel to wipe the lion's mane clean. I do not recommend washing it under direct water because it will absorb that water.
  • Pull apart the lion's mane in shreds. Put in a large bowl.
  • In a pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the lion's mane.
  • Sauté the lion's mane for 5-8 minutes until it releases its water. Use paper towels to squeeze the lion's mane to remove all moisture. The drier it is, the crisper your crab cakes will turn out.
  • Put the cooked lion's mane into a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it well.
  • Form patties and place them on a large plate.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet. When the oil is hot, add the crab cakes to the hot oil.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until each side is golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spatula. Place the crab cakes on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve hot.
  • Mix up the sauce, or just top the cakes with sour cream.


  1. Use gluten-free panko or bread crumbs. You can use store-bought or make these gluten free bread crumbs.
  2. I used Zaitarain’s cajun seasoning. Old Bay also tastes great.
  3. Be sure to use a gluten free Worcestershire sauce. I used Lea and Perrins.
  4. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep fresh for up to 3 days. Reheat in your air fryer or oven to re-crisp.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1cakeCalories: 172kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 1gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 206mgPotassium: 87mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 247IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.3mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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  1. Hi Sandi. These look very interesting. I’ll have to look for these mushrooms here.
    Just a note though. In case people automatically reach for a product mentioned, Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce is NOT gluten free in Canada.
    This is a reminder to always check the labels as products can vary from country to country and/or they can change formulations.

      1. Me too. And it’s not even only from country to country that this happens.
        Clover Leaf sells a fake crab in a four – pack at Costco that is GF, but the individual packages sold in the grocery stores contain wheat starch. Go figure. You always have to be SO careful and not make assumptions.

      2. I know all about imitation crab. Unfortunately I found out the hard way a long, long time ago.
        What I meant to say was that the individual packages in the grocery store were made by Clover Leaf as well, so even when you think that a BRAND is safe for a particular item this isn’t always so.
        Gluten Free buyer beware!