Mini Deviled Crab Cornbread Muffins


At his dinner parties in Harlem, chef and cookbook author Alexander Smalls pairs creamy, slightly spicy, fresh deviled crab with tender corn muffins, barely sweetened with brown sugar and studded with corn kernels, for a quick one-bite appetizer. Choose fresh crab over pasteurized for the best flavor.

Deviled Crab Stuffed Mini Cornbread Muffins
Photo: Kelly Marshall
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
35 mins



  • 4 ounces fresh lump crabmeat (about 3/4 cup), drained and picked

  • 1/4 cup panko

  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño

  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste


  • 1/3 cup fine yellow or white cornmeal (about 1 1/4 ounces)

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen yellow corn kernels (about 2 1/4 ounces)

  • Cooking spray

  • Finely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


Make the deviled crab

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Stir together crabmeat, panko, scallions, mayonnaise, jalapeño, paprika, salt, celery seeds, and cayenne in a small bowl until crabmeat breaks apart into shreds and mixture is evenly combined. Set aside.

Make the muffins

  1. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, coriander, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and oil in a small bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to cornmeal mixture; whisk until smooth. Stir in corn kernels. Lightly grease (with cooking spray) a 24-cup miniature muffin pan. Divide cornmeal mixture evenly among muffin cups (about 1 tablespoon each). Spoon about 1 1/4 teaspoons deviled crab in center of batter in each cup. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes.

  2. Carefully remove muffins from pan, and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, and serve warm.

Make Ahead

Deviled crab mixture can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. Muffins can be baked up to 2 hours ahead and reheated in a 200°F oven until just warm, 3 to 5 minutes.

Suggested Pairing

Lively, lemony white.

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