Adam’s Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe

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

One thing we’ve enjoyed experimenting over the last month or two has been this recipe. 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.

Ridiculously Good Shrimp Pesto Soba Noodles RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: We love quick, fresh dinners. These soba noodles tossed with basil pesto hit the spot. Jump to the Pesto Shrimp Soba Noodles Recipe.

How To Make The Best Crab Cakes, Ever!

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.

Lump crab meat

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.

Adding saltine crackers to lump crab meat

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 (check out our homemade mayonnaise recipe), 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.

Let the crab meat set in the refrigerator

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 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!

No Filler Maryland Crab Cake Recipe

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).

Crab Cake Sandwich

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 Crab Cakes 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.
  • 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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56 comments… Leave a Comment
  • 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
  • Anderson February 8, 2015, 2:31 am

    Hi,

    I am Brazilian and I Love seafood. I like to fish and prepare crabs. I Was searching some recipes for crab cake but mostly were complicated or difficult to do with native crab meat. I think I’ll get it with your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • Becky February 5, 2015, 12:38 pm

    Hi, all. After experiencing fresh seafood all over the USA and Europe, it is a little frustrating to be back home in Wisconsin. The options here are somewhat limited. Can I make crabcakes with fake crab, or will they be awful? Is there a way to incorporate celery and onions? Working with limited ingredients, I am a fairly accomplished cook, so am not afraid to make subsistutions. I am willing to share some of my award-winning recipes.

    Becky

    Reply
    • Adam March 2, 2015, 2:29 pm

      Hi Becky, We probably wouldn’t try using imitation crab meat for this recipe. The taste and texture are so different. You could add onions and celery if you wanted — we would cut them very small and cook them in a little oil or butter first to soften them.

      Reply
      • LaReina November 7, 2016, 4:05 pm

        I have tried with imitation crab. Different flavor and texture but not horrible. It depends on what you like. Also I’ve made seafood cakes with a mixture of crab, shrimp and crawfish.

        Reply
    • Elizabeth December 16, 2015, 6:48 pm

      Hi Becky
      I too live in Wisconsin. I get my fresh seafood and crab from local meat markets. We also have a “shrimp” man that comes to the area 1x per month with fresh shrimp, oysters, fish, and crab. Ask around and you may find something.

      Reply
  • StefZero January 21, 2015, 3:13 am

    Hi, Adam. Thanks for sharing this recipe to me. Tonight I will try to make it because all of my family will have a big gathering tonight

    Reply
  • Kelly Thompson December 5, 2014, 1:15 pm

    They look amazing but being born and raised in Maryland I have to ask why is there no old bay in this recipe ?

    Reply
    • Joanne February 3, 2015, 1:18 pm

      Hi Kelly, Adam usually sprinkles a little Old Bay over the cooked crab cake. You could always add some to the crab cake mixture, though!

      Reply
  • Susan M December 2, 2014, 11:58 am

    made your crabcakes (as mini’s) broiled. Loved them. They reheated well. Am making a double batch this weekend for a party ! Thank you !!

    Reply

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