The Best Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe

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This is the best crab cake recipe I’ve ever made! Our recipe is easy to make and doesn’t call for lots of ingredients. These Maryland crab cakes have a ridiculous amount of sweet crabmeat and very little filler.

Our love of crab cakes runs deep. We both grew up in Maryland, so our summers were full of sunny days, creamy crab dip, cracking crabs, sweet corn, Old Bay, and crab cakes when we were lucky!

We’ve spent years zeroing in on our favorite crab cake recipe, and this is it! You’ll find lots of crabmeat and very little filler. For more crab recipes, see our easy crab dip or these crab and cream cheese wontons (also called crab rangoon).

Key Ingredients

Crab: I love the texture and flavor of blue crab, but I’ve also made this crab cake recipe with Dungeness crab (which is more available on the West Coast), and they were still delicious. I love to use lump (preferably jumbo lump) crabmeat when I can find it since it makes the absolute best crab cake.

Saltine crackers: I love the light texture of crushed saltines in this recipe. Breadcrumbs are too heavy and make you think there’s more filler in the crab cakes.

Mayonnaise and an egg: These add flavor and help bind the mixture together. When I have it in the fridge, I love using homemade mayonnaise.

Dijon mustard: This adds a little pop of flavor.

Fresh herbs: These add color and a bit of flavor, but you can leave them out if you need to.

Worcestershire sauce: A little Worcestershire sauce makes crab cakes taste better. I also use it when making my crab dip recipe.

Old Bay: I don’t add Old Bay to my crab cake mixture, but sprinkle some on top after cooking them. It reminds me of my childhood when every restaurant table had a shaker jar of Old Bay.

How to Make Maryland Crab Cakes

Around here, fillers and extras in crab cakes are a no-no. All the menus promise “no filler” crab cakes, but honestly, you do need a little bit of filler to help them stay together. We use the absolute minimum, opting for a “glue” made from crushed saltine crackers, mayonnaise, and one egg. It works beautifully.

To make the crab cakes, start by tossing your crab meat with crushed saltine crackers. The crackers will absorb any extra moisture from the crab. Then, pour over a mixture of mayo, egg, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

At this point, the crab cake mixture is pretty loose, so we refrigerate it for an hour or so. This allows the crackers to absorb the liquid, forming that “glue” we were talking about earlier. After some time in the fridge, you can form the crab cakes. Our recipe makes 6 generous crab cakes, but you can also make 24 mini crab balls.

You have two choices for cooking the crab cakes: pan-fried or broiled. I love both ways. Pan-fried crab cakes are flatter and have a golden crust, as shown in the photo below.

Broiled crab cakes, on the other hand, are more domed and have a lighter texture since they aren’t pressed down in the pan. When broiling crab cakes, I always add a little butter on top so it melts and makes the top a little crispy (so delicious).

Ask most Marylanders, and they’ll have a preferred cooking method. If you don’t know which you like, try them both! You really can’t go wrong. Either way, these homemade crab cakes will be some of the best you’ll taste. Look at that photo, see how ridiculously delicious it looks!?

What to Serve with Maryland Crab Cakes

I love serving crab cakes with fresh lemon wedges, a little sprinkle of Old Bay, and homemade tartar sauce. You can also turn them into crab cake sandwiches, like in our photos. Choose a soft roll, add some tartar sauce or mayo, green lettuce, and a slice or two of tomato.

On the side, we love grilled corn or roasted corn, creamy potato salad, or this easy macaroni salad. You can also make some crispy baked French fries, these rosemary potato wedges, or baked sweet potato fries (don’t forget a side of homemade ketchup!).

The Best Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe

PREP
1hr 20mins

COOK
15mins

TOTAL
1hr 35mins

I’m in love with this incredible Maryland crab cake recipe! It has very little filler so that you can taste the crab. Use blue crab for the most authentic crab cake, although I made this recipe with Dungeness crab, which was excellent. We have included two ways to cook the crab cakes. Pan-seared adds a golden crust to both sides, while broiled keeps them more rounded with golden crispy tops.

Makes 6 large crab cakes or 24 mini crab cakes

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need 1 pound (450g) jumbo lump or backfin lump blue crabmeat, fresh or pasteurized
20 saltine crackers, crushed into crumbs (65g or just less than 1 cup of crumbs)
1 tablespoon minced chives or parsley, optional
1/4 cup (55g) mayonnaise, try homemade mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup (60ml) avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
Old Bay seasoning, for serving

Directions

Prepare Crab Cakes 1Drain the crabmeat and pick through it for any rogue shells. Toss the cracker crumbs, herbs, and crabmeat together, using your fingers to gently break apart some of the lumps.
2Whisk the mayonnaise, egg, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce together, then fold it into the crab mixture. It will look loose. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3Scoop the crab mixture into six 1/2 cup mounds and lightly pack them into patties about 1 ½ inches thick.

Pan-Seared Crab Cakes 1Heat the oil over medium heat in a wide cast iron skillet. When the oil shimmers, add the crab cakes to the pan. Cook until the underside of the crab cakes is dark golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
2Carefully flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the butter. Continue cooking until the second side is well browned, 4 to 6 minutes.

Broiled Crab Cakes 1Position an oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the top of the oven and turn the broiler to high.
2In a wide oven-safe skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the crab cakes to the pan. Cook until the underside of the cakes are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
3Cut the butter into six pieces, then add one to the top of each crab cake.
4Slide the pan under the broiler and cook until the tops are lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes.

Adam and Joanne’s Tips

Mini crab cakes or crab balls: Instead of making six large crab cakes, divide the crab mixture into 24 mini crab cakes.
The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.

Nutrition Per Serving
Serving Size
1 crab cake
/
Calories
280
/
Protein
16g
/
Carbohydrate
8g
/
Dietary Fiber
0g
/
Total Sugars
1g
/
Total Fat
20g
/
Saturated Fat
4g
/
Cholesterol
113mg

AUTHOR: 

Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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