A Spicy Perspective

Perfect Maryland Crab Cakes (Baked or Sauteed)

Perfect Maryland Crab Cakes – The best Crab Cakes feature fresh crab meat, with a light crumb, and lots of zesty seasonings. Make tender, delicious Maryland Crab Cakes baked or pan-fried with our easy recipe, and serve with a side of homemade remoulade or tartar sauce!

perfect maryland crab cakes

We love fresh seafood dishes around here. From Smoky Oven Baked Salmon made with Alaskan salmon and the Best Maine Lobster Rolls, to Authentic New Orleans Seafood Gumbo featuring Gulf shrimp and crawfish, coastal recipes that highlight regional ingredients are some of our favorites.

So, of course, we just had to share the Perfect Maryland Crab Cakes recipe with you, too!

To me, the best crab cakes are the Maryland-style Crab Cakes with very little filler. They are primarily made of big chunks of crab meat, with just a little bit of crumb, egg, and seasoning to hold them together and enhance the flavor of the crab.

I like pan-fried crab cakes the best for the wonderfully crispy exterior. However, I’m including oven instructions as well, so you can easily bake them if you prefer!

fried or baked crab cake recipe

The Best Maryland Crab Cake Recipe

Our version of Maryland Crab Cakes includes a unique combination of both fresh lump crab meat and shredded crab meat. This creates crab cakes that are incredibly meaty and tender, and don’t need as much extra filler to bind everything together. Not only does the egg act as a binder, but the shredded bits of crab also bind the larger chunks of meat together as well. Plus, using shredded crab helps to cut the cost a bit, so it’s a win-win!

Once fried or baked these impressive crab cakes are perfect for enjoying with any number of creamy, tangy dips. They are hearty enough to enjoy as a main course or can be served as a delicious appetizer or party snack. But whether you choose to share them with others is entirely up to you. *wink*

lump and shredded crab meat

What Ingredients You Need

There is nothing fancy, and no secret ingredients, required to make the best Maryland Crab Cakes from scratch. You simply need:

  • Fresh jumbo lump crab meat AND fresh shredded crab meatthe combination of both is what gives these crab cakes their meaty texture with barely any filler!
  • Crushed saltine crackersor panko breadcrumbs
  • Mayonnaiseregular, low fat, or paleo
  • Eggto bind everything together
  • Dijon mustardfor a tangy flavor
  • Lemon juiceadds a hint of zest that brightens the dish
  • Fresh chopped parsley – or fresh chopped dill
  • Old Bay Seasoningclassic blend of spices for cooking with Maryland crabs
  • Butterused for both baked and sautéed methods to create the perfect slightly crispy exterior

Why Crackers? Saltines are an old-school ingredient to use as a moisture-holding binding agent in crab cakes, meatballs, casseroles, and all sorts of recipes. They offer more flavor than standard breadcrumbs, and tend to create a lighter less dense texture.

ingredients in a bowl

How to Make Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

Start to finish this classic Crab Cake recipe takes less than an hour to make.

Pro Tip: The crab cakes need to be formed and chilled before cooking. This essential chill time helps them to “set” and keep their shape. Be prepared for this step and do not skip!

To make perfect Maryland Crab Cakes from scratch, first set out a large mixing bowl and rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Then to the bowl add both types of crab meat, crushed crackers, mayonnaise, egg, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, fresh chopped herbs, and Old Bay. Gently mix until well incorporated, making sure to not break down the crab meat too much.

ingredients combined in a bowl

Next, use a 1/3 cup to scoop out 6 equal portions of the crab cake mixture. Use your hands to gently press into large patties, about 1 ½ inch thick. Be sure to keep your hands slightly moist with a bit of water so that the mixture doesn’t stick to you.

Set the crab cakes on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.

Get the Complete (Printable) Perfect Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe Below. Enjoy!

forming the crab cakes

For Stovetop Cooking: Set a large skillet over medium heat, and add the butter. Once melted, fry the crab cakes for 4-5 minutes per side, flipping once or twice, until golden-brown. You don’t want to handle them too much or they’ll be more likely to fall apart.

For Baked Crab Cakes: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe dish, and drizzle it around the crab cakes on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping once after 5 minutes.

Transfer the cooked Maryland Crab Cakes to a plate. Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh chopped dill or parsley.

perfect maryland crab cake recipe

Ideas for What to Serve With Crab Cakes

We recommend serving fresh Maryland Crab Cakes with one or all of these 3 classic seafood sauces:

baked crab cakes served with remoulade on the side

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make gluten-free Maryland crab cakes?

Simply use gluten-free saltines or breadcrumbs to make this a GF-friendly Maryland Crab Cake recipe.

What sides go well with crab cakes?

These hearty crab cakes can be enjoyed by themselves with the dipping sauces mentioned above, or served with any number of sides for a more complete meal. Enjoy with green veggies like asparagus or green beans, or a fresh green salad to lighten the fried Maryland Crab Cakes a bit.

And a basket of homemade Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits is a must-have with pretty much any seafood meal, of course!

How long do homemade crab cakes keep well?

Stored in a sealed container the Maryland Crab Cakes will keep well for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. They can be enjoyed cold or reheated in the oven or briefly in a microwave.

Freeze the baked or fried crab cakes for up to 3 months by wrapping each individually in plastic wrap, and then place in an airtight plastic bag or another container. A layer of aluminum foil around the container will help to keep them even fresher.

maryland crab cakes served with side of dipping sauce

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Perfect Maryland Crab Cakes (Baked or Sauteed)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Maryland Crab Cakes recipe with fresh crab, little crumb and zesty seasonings. Make crab cakes pan fried or baked and servewith remoulade or tartar sauce on the side!
Servings: 6 crab cakes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces fresh jumbo lump crab meat drained well
  • 8 ounces fresh shredded crab meat drained well
  • ½ cup crushed saltine crackers or 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley or 1 tsp fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Set out a large mixing bowl and rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • To the bowl, add all the crab meat, crushed crackers, mayonnaise, egg, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, fresh chopped herbs, and old bay. Gently mix until well incorporated.
  • Use a 1/3 cup to scoop out 6 equal portions. Gently press into large patties, about 1 ½ inch thick. Set on the baking sheet. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes, but up to 4 hours.
  • For Stovetop Cooking: Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Once melted, cook the crab cakes 4-5 minutes per side, until golden-brown.
  • For Baked Crab Cakes: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Melt the butter and drizzle it around the crab cakes on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping once after 5 minutes.

Video

Notes

Why Crackers? Saltines are an old-school ingredient to use as a moisture-holding binding agent in crab cakes, meatballs, casseroles, and all sorts of recipes. They offer more flavor than standard breadcrumbs, and tend to create a lighter less dense texture. You can also use Gluten-Free saltines or breadcrumbs in this recipe.
Serve Maryland Crab Cakes with homemade tartar sauce or zesty remoulade.
Crab cakes will keep well for up to 4 days in the fridge if kept in a sealed container. To freeze, wrap individual crab cakes in plastic wrap before placing them together in an airtight bag or another freezer-safe container. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1crab cake, Calories: 217kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 840mg, Potassium: 191mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 314IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Sommer Collier

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5 comments on “Perfect Maryland Crab Cakes (Baked or Sauteed)”

  1. I made this recipe and felt like the dijon mustard was a little strong. Otherwise, the texture was good. I didn’t have 30 minutes in the fridge, so I popped them in the freezer for 15 minutes and it worked really well. I also lightly coated them in breadcrumbs before frying.

  2. I have never written a review for a recipe until I made this recipe.

    These crabcakes were outstanding! Just as good as any restaurant and actually better. Followed the directions exactly. I was a little hesitant about the saltines but used them anyway. I used the stove top method which was great and the remoulade sauce was perfect.

    This is my go to recipe for crabcakes!

  3. I just made these and they’re delicious!!  My husband wants me to make them again tomorrow!!

  4. Im from OCEAN City Md and Ive been in Wisconsin for 10 years, I want some of that lol.

  5. I love a good crab cake and the flavors in this tastes amazing!