Maryland Crab Cakes are the gold standard of all crab cakes. And my Baked Maryland Crab Cake is loaded with sweet Jumbo Lump Crab Meat, almost no filler, and seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning.
When you’re looking for Maryland-Style Crab Cakes, this is the recipe you want.
When you want to learn how to make the Best Maryland Crab Cakes, ask a chef who spent most of his life working at shore restaurants. I’ve learned a thing or two about making Maryland Crab Cakes that are packed with crab meat and just enough filler to bind the crab meat together.
I’ve been pleasing guests for 40+ years with my version of this Eastern Shore Classic, and now I’m sharing this amazingly simple crab cake recipe with you.
Made with simple ingredients, jumbo lump crab meat, Old Bay Seasoning, lemon juice, fresh chopped parsley, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise. With the only filler being one egg and two-thirds cup of cracker crumbs.
My other Chesapeake Bay favorites are my Maryland Style Crab Imperial and Easy Hot Crab Dip.
My version of Maryland Crab Cakes is also a baked crab cakes recipe, not pan-fried or deep-fried, eliminating the need for added oil and added calories. What you get is sweet, delicious crab meat, and lots of it!
My easy recipe can be pan-fried over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown, but they will still need to be finished in the oven. You can also cook these in an air fryer.
Table of Contents:
Ingredients to make Maryland Crab Cakes
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Maryland Crab Cakes. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Cracker crumbs make the best filler and best breading agent for seafood. You can’t always find cracker meal or cracker crumbs at the grocery store, but it’s easy to make your own out of saltine crackers or club crackers using a food processor or blender. You can also use panko bread crumbs as a substitute.
What type of crab meat should I use?
It’s very important to use fresh, good-quality lump or jumbo lump crab meat. Fresh crab meat is usually sold in plastic one-pound containers; if it’s in a can, it’s pasteurized. The best crab meat comes from the Atlantic coast (Maryland being the best) and the gulf waters.
Beware of crab meat from Asian countries, which is usually what you’ll find sold in cans (pasteurized crab meat). It’s not the same type of crab meat we have in the United States, and I often wonder about its origins and processing. Asian crab is a blue swimming crab, which has a different flavor than blue crab meat. But they try to confuse people with the blue in the name. It’s not blue crabs, which are the crabs most prized for their sweet, succulent meat. And Maryland crabs are the best!
Every now and then, you can find pasteurized US crab meat but check the top or bottom of the can for the country of origin before you shell out the big bucks for the less desirable crab meat.
Many of my west coast friends love Dungeness crabs, but they’re not the same as East coast Blue Crab which makes the best crab cakes!
How to Maryland Crab Cakes
- Place the mayonnaise, egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
- Whisk the ingredients together to completely incorporate the egg into the mixture.
- Add the crab meat to the mixture and gently fold it into the sauce. Don’t mix it in completely.
- Add the cracker crumbs and parsley to the crab meat mixture and continue to gently mix the ingredients until the cracker crumbs have been incorporated into the crab meat mixture. Be careful not to break up the crab meat.
- Cover the crab meat mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide the crab cake mixture into six portions (you can use an ice cream scoop to portion the crab cake mixture). Form the crab cakes into round, slightly flattened cakes and place crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Refrigerate the crab cakes until ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bake the crab cakes for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Or until you’ve reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature).
I know after one bite, you’ll agree that this is the best crab cake recipe and as good if not better than your favorite seafood restaurant. My delicious crab cakes will make the perfect main course for your next date night or dinner party!
Serve my Maryland Crab Cakes with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce and lemon wedges, along with your favorite sides.
Technically a Maryland crab cake should be made with Maryland crabs, but the real difference is the small amount of filler used. A true Maryland crabcake will not have herbs other than parsley and not contain onions, peppers or any other additive. Mayonaise, mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and old bay are the only seasonings used.
I prefer baking because you don’t add additional calories via the cooking oil. Baking crab cakes with little filler is also easier and they are less likely to fall apart. Although frying crab cakes gives them crispness and beautiful color, they can break apart while cooking.
The best crab meat comes from blue crabs, aka blue claws, and the best crabs are from the Maryland / Virginia shores. Other areas of the Atlantic coastline and the gulf coastline also have excellent crabs. When possible, jumbo lump is my first choice for crab meat; lump crab meat is also a good choice.
The best crab cake I think I ever had. So easy too. Will definitely make again.
I would make one change (well, two, actually):
There’s no reason not to mix the cracker crumbs into the mayonnaise mixture before you add the crab. It makes it that much easier to keep the crab lumps whole.
Also, I grew up in Maryland, and I got tired of Old Bay fast. For one thing, it’s too salty. You can get that elusive flavor with celery seeds (make sure they’re not stale), dry mustard, smoked paprika, black pepper, cardamom, ground bay leaves, and a little cayenne pepper without all that salt. (I also add ground coriander; I add it to almost everything.)
Being from Virginia and family having a cottage on the Chesapeake Bay these crab cakes are truly the BEST crab cakes, an amazing authentic recipe. Reminds me of crabbing off of the docks, cooking crabs, crab cakes from water to table in 20 minutes… thank you, you
These are indeed the best I’ve ever had! I’m definitely going to make them again soon. The whole family devoured them!
I have never tried making crab cakes, but I sure do enjoy eating them! Love how you use simple ingredients. Seems pretty simple to make!
These crab cakes look absolutely delicious, made with simple ingredients. Can’t wait to try them!
Damn these look amazing. I need to get some crab and give them a try.
This recipe is amazing! I made it yesterday and my whole family loved it! So easy to prep and great flavors 😉
These really are the Best Maryland Crab Cakes I have ever had . The crab was almost sweet compared to all of the other flavors. This is something I will make over and over again.
I find crab cakes to be so luxurious. The tender, delicate jumbo lump crab meat really is the star here! I loved that your recipe gently seasoned the meat so its lovely flavor shines through. This is a great recipe I’ll be making again for loved ones over the holidays!
These crab cakes are so delicious and easy to make from scratch! They are the real deal and have all the flavors I crave in an authentic crab cake. These make the best appetizer or meal (love them on a salad)!
Thank you for bringing me back to the East coast with these!! Love love Maryland crab cakes and am always disappointed when I order crab cakes out here on the West coast. Now I can have them at home!
I love seafood. These crab cakes look delicious. I will have to use frozen crab, but fresh would be so good.
being from the eastern shore of maryland these are a true eastern shore crab cake!
I love crab cakes and I’m always looking for a new recipe and yours were delicious, thank you!
They look delicious and I’ll use this recipe next time I make some.