Our Favorite Maryland Crab Cakes

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

Watch Us Make Crab Cakes

How We Make Our Favorite Crab Cakes

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.

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.

We love crab cakes and have finally settled on how to make them best. Here are our 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 (we love to use homemade 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.

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 (here’s our homemade version) 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

Our Favorite Maryland Crab Cakes

  • 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

Sliced tomato

Tarter sauce, see our homemade tartar 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: Our Favorite Maryland Crab Cakes

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64 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Douglas February 14, 2019, 7:42 am

    WONDERFUL,,,,THX,,, Was close to Fredick MD last year,,,wish I could remember the place, close to a Hampton and little joint on a river ,,,99.9% was crab meat, so wonderful,,,wish I could get these in MI,,,,they put so much other C___ in the ones around here….Yours are GREAT,,,Thx.

    Reply
  • Wanda gill October 22, 2018, 8:08 pm

    I moved from Baltimore over 25 years ago and live in South florida. I use Angelinas recipe which is close to yours. They use white bread without the crust rather than saltines. I love your idea of cooking the bottom first, then broil. I will use this method from now on! Only comment is to remove oil from pan before putting in the oven or the bottom will be burnt,

    Reply
  • Jym July 25, 2018, 3:32 pm

    This recipe is spot on. I lived on the Chesapeake most my life eating the best crabcakes from Annapolis to Ocean City. The only recommendation I would add is to be very careful NOT to break up the crabmeat when picking out shells and tiring ingredients. We only use our hand to Flip the meat over a few times to incorporated the mayo mix. Never pat them or form like a burger either.

    Reply
  • Anita Starr February 19, 2018, 1:21 am

    Having experienced Maryland Crab Cakes in Baltimore (and sharing my life with a man who was born and raised in Baltimore) we are quite picky and serious about our crab cake recipe! This recipe is as close to the real thing if you don’t live in Maryland…we add an extra ingredient, 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning, use only 2 tablespoons of Mayo instead of 1/4 cup, and omit the oil (we use butter instead). We broil the crab cakes because we love the rounded tops and use the same method of stovetop to brown the bottom and put the pan right into the oven under the broiler..the end result is perfection! Thanks for sharing your saltine recipe…saltine crackers is exactly what they use in Maryland and I wouldn’t substitute any other cracker in it’s place. This recipe is easy to follow I give it two thumbs up!

    Reply

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