Adam’s Maryland-Style Crab Cake Recipe

Learn how to make our favorite Maryland-style crab cake recipe. This is definitely a must make if you are a crab cake fan! Jump to the Crab Cake Recipe or watch our quick video showing you how we make it.

One thing we’ve enjoyed experimenting over the last month or two have been crab cakes. They’re somewhat of a passion of ours. Living near the Chesapeake Bay means that our summer weekends are full of sunny days, cracking crabs, an abundance of sweet corn, Old Bay and the water. Its all incredibly exciting.

With all of that comes a serious love for Maryland-style crab cakes. A great crab cake doesn’t call for lots of ingredients, it has a ridiculous amount of sweet blue crabmeat and has very little filler.

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How To Make The Best Crab Cakes, Ever!

It’s no secret that we love a good crab cake. Here are our best tips for making them:

How To Make The Best Crab Cakes, Ever!

Use Jumbo Lump or Backfin Lump Crabmeat

So lump crabmeat is pretty expensive. That said, we really do believe that lump (preferably jumbo lump) crabmeat makes the absolute best crab cake. It was hard for us to take out our wallet at first, but once we realized 1 pound of crabmeat can make 6 generously sized cakes — or 24 mini crab balls — we were sold.

Adam's Maryland-Style Crab Cake

Oh, and don’t worry, nothing else called for in our recipe racks up the bill — it’s just saltine crackers and a few extras you probably already have in your fridge.

Saltine Crackers, Mayonnaise & Egg Make a Great Binder

Around here, fillers and extras are a no-no. All the menus promise “no filler” crab cakes. In all honestly, you do need a little bit of filler so they stay together. We go for the absolute minimum, which is a glue made from crushed saltine crackers, mayonnaise and one egg. It works beautifully.

How to Make Adam's Maryland-Style Crab Cake Recipe

We start by tossing the lump crab meat with the crushed crackers. The crackers absorb extra moisture from the crab. Then, we make a mixture of mayonnaise, egg, mustard and some Worcestershire sauce and add it to the crab and cracker mixture. After a few stirs, the mixture is pretty loose. That’s why you see us sliding it into the refrigerator. We keep it in there for an hour or so. The crackers continue to absorb the liquid and that glue I was talking about earlier forms.

How to Make Adam's Maryland-Style Crab Cake

After some time in the refrigerator, you can easily form the cakes. We like using a 1/2-cup measure to make 6 generous cakes, but you can make them slightly smaller and make 8 or make them donut-hole size for mini crab balls.

Pan-Fried or Broiled?

Our local restaurants usually give us three options for how they are cooked: fried, pan-fried and broiled. We never request fried, so we’re not going to spend time talking about that. We do, however, ask for pan-fried and broiled often.

Pan-frying is great — they become dark golden brown and a little crispy on both sides. We love using our cast iron pan, which really helps get that golden brown sear.

Pan-Fried Maryland-Style Crab Cake

Broiled crab cakes are also pretty delicious. We like to start with a hot pan on top of the stove until the underside of the crab cakes are golden brown. Then, we add a little dot of butter to the tops and broil until golden brown. The nice thing about broiling is that the cake is never pressed or squashed flat. The tops stay perfectly rounded.

Broiled Maryland-Style Crab Cake

Ask most Marylanders and they will have a preferred cooking method. If you don’t know which you prefer, try them both, you really can’t go wrong!

Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

When we make these at home, we’ll always serve them with a lemon wedge, a little tarter sauce and if we’re feeling it, a touch of Old Bay Seasoning (just be careful, it’s pretty potent). Joanne loves turning her’s into a sandwich and I pretty much eat them out of the pan (I can’t help myself).

The Best Crab Cake Recipe

Try our crab cakes with one or two of these popular sides: Smoky Black Bean and Corn Salad, Perfect Potato Salad, Rosemary Roasted Potato Wedges or our Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

Recipe updated, originally posted August 2014. Since posting this in 2014, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

Adam's Maryland-Style Crab Cake Recipe

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

Spending much of our childhood and young adult life in and around Maryland, we like to think we know a little when it comes to a great crab cake. We’ve enjoyed countless crab cakes and have come to the realization that our favorite is this one — it’s simple with few ingredients, little filler and tastes of sweet crab. When we’re out at our favorite restaurants, we usually get three options for how the crab cake is cooked: fried, pan-seared and broiled. We hardly ever choose fried, but often go for pan-seared or broiled. We have shared our method for both options below.

Makes 6 large crab cakes or 24 mini crab cakes

You Will Need

Crab Cakes

1 pound jumbo lump or backfin lump crabmeat, fresh or pasteurized

20 saltine crackers, crushed into crumbs (65 grams or just less than 1 cup of crumbs)

1 tablespoon minced chives or parsley, optional

1/4 cup (55 grams or 2 ounces) mayonnaise, try our homemade mayonnaise recipe

1 large egg

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil, or neutral flavored oil

1 tablespoon butter

For Serving

6 bread rolls

Lettuce

Tomato

Tarter sauce

Cocktail sauce

Lemon wedges

Old Bay seafood seasoning

Directions

  • Prepare Crab Cakes
  • Drain the crabmeat, if necessary, 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.

    Whisk the mayonnaise, egg, mustard and Worcestershire sauce together then stir into the crab mixture. It will look somewhat loose. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

    Scoop the crab mixture into six 1/2-cup mounds and lightly pack into patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cook the crab cakes — our method for pan-searing and broiling are below.

    • Pan-Seared Crab Cakes
    • In a 12-inch nonstick or cast iron 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 dark golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

      Carefully 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
      • Position an oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the top of the oven. Turn broiler to high. In a 12-inch 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.

        Cut the butter into six pieces then add one to the top of each crab cake. Slide the pan under the broiler and cook until the tops are well browned, 4 to 6 minutes.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • How to make mini crab cakes or crab balls: Instead of making six large crab cakes, divide the crab mixture into 24 mini crab cakes.
  • This recipe has been inspired by both Fine Cooking’s Recipe and Andrew Zimmerman’s Recipe.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Calories 280 / Protein 16 g / Carbohydrate 8 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 1 g / Total Fat 20 g / Saturated Fat 4 g / Cholesterol 113 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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52 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Patrice May 31, 2016, 2:49 pm

    Our entire family are complete food snobs and have had restaurants all over the country. These are hands down the best I have had. I added a few flakes of cayenne to the mixture and served them with my fresh dill tartar and home-made hollandaise. Absolutely incredible

    Reply
  • Marianne April 2, 2016, 6:42 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Excellent recipe. The restaurant from which I used to get delicious lump crab cakes went out of business years ago. I’ve tried in vain to find a local place that made them and was always disappointed. Don’t ask me why it took me so long to make them myself, but I’m thrilled to have found your recipe on my first attempt! Had to substitute Ritz crackers for the saltines as that’s what I had, and I added 1/2T of Old Bay. I broiled them on a buttered cookie sheet for 4 minutes with a small pat of butter on top, then flipped them over and broiled an additional 4 minutes. They were perfection. Might add a tad more Old Bay next time, but I can always add after cooking as you suggested. Thanks again! 🙂

    Reply
  • ig February 19, 2016, 2:22 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Maryland crab cake recipe.
    Regards

    Reply
  • Den January 12, 2016, 10:53 am

    I made these last night and they were excellent. I actually did use imitation crab meat too. I Just shredded it and followed the recipe! Very very good! I will definitely make them again!

    Reply
  • Mel November 14, 2015, 4:04 pm

    I love your recipe! So simple, yet so delicious. Thank you for sharing a wonderful way to prepare restaurant-worthy crab cakes at home.

    Reply
  • Cloe November 2, 2015, 4:24 pm

    Hi Adam & Joanne,
    I’ve been looking for a good crab cake recipe for a loooong time and I think I’ve found it now, thanks to you. I’ve been looking for something to enjoy while he has his beloved steak. I’m looking forward to trying it!
    I also enjoyed your hummus recipe… Simple, clear instructions – much appreciated.
    Cloe
    Vancouver, Canada

    Reply
  • Donna B Vaughn September 4, 2015, 6:48 pm

    I’m 78yr old & Adam your crab cakes are keeper’s! I Live on the Gulf, so fish & crab
    Or a must.Your voice is nice also, it easy
    To understand all you have to say, as I’m
    Hard of hearing.Back to your crab, easy to make & all my grandkids loved them!
    Thanks for some good eating?Donna

    Reply
  • Mary H. July 6, 2015, 8:34 pm

    I used the meat from freshly caught Dungeness crabs to make this recipe. I think I had too much crab and not enough binder, because the patties didn’t hold together at all. Pan-seared them as best I could with them falling apart…and then enjoyed every bite!

    Reply
  • Leah June 3, 2015, 9:35 pm

    Thank you!!!!!! The recipe and bonus video were super easy to follow. This is the first time I came across the blog and you are definitely an inspiration:) I am truly a beginner cook and I made Adams Crab Cakes like I studied at Le Cordon Bleu, keep up the good work and I’ll keep cooking, fair ???
    Thanks guys☺️

    Reply
  • Hilda Mendez April 6, 2015, 12:33 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration. I have been researching how to make crabcakes and all of the recipes ask for too much breadcrumbs. Yours is perfect. I can taste the sweet flavor of the crab. I wish I had more thumbs to rate it way high up. 5 stars for me.

    Reply
  • Kathy March 27, 2015, 7:08 am

    I made these crab cakes recently and was very disappointed. I followed the recipe exactly. The taste was a little too breast and salty. I like trying different recipes for things that I like especially crab cakes. The best I’ve had so far is the Chesapeake Bay recipe. I’m mad that I spent a lot of money on the lump crabmeat for it to go to waste

    Reply
    • Adam March 27, 2015, 12:17 pm

      Hi Kathy, Sorry you didn’t enjoy our recipe. We’re not sure why the crab cakes would have been too salty since we don’t add salt or seafood seasoning to the recipe (we stay away from that since it can sometimes result in making things on the saltier side). It is possible the crabmeat itself was saltier than usual — did you taste it before mixing other ingredients? Another possibility is that you are not a fan of the Worcestershire sauce — you could try reducing the amount a little. I hope that helps a little and thanks so much for commenting.

      Reply
  • Wendy Bryant March 22, 2015, 3:05 pm

    AMAZING!

    Reply
  • Joanne March 18, 2015, 10:08 am

    I have been making crab cakes from a recipe similar to this one. Love them! I found that forming them was a bit sticky. I learned that if you can get a tin can and remove the top and bottom lids (the can of Pasta sauce with sardines-for St. Joseph’s day has removable tops and bottoms) or a pastry ring. Place bread or cracker crumbs on a sheet of waxed paper..place the ring over the crumbs, drop some of the mixture in the ring and press down (add more mix if needed) sprinkle crumbs on top and press to form a patty. Then lift the ring while holding the patty down. Slide a metal spatula to transfer the patty to a hot greased or oiled pan. I also use this method for hash patties with flour instead of the crumbs.

    Reply
  • Bill W March 13, 2015, 6:31 pm

    Great recipe. So easy, and so tasty.

    Reply
  • Tevvy February 8, 2015, 12:32 pm

    The crab cakes are delicious but I do not understand how you get them ready to cook in 1 hour and twenty minutes. I, like Susan, grew up in Maryland and agree you can not beat the taste of ” Blue Crab Cakes.”

    Reply

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