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!
Why We Love this Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe
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!
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*
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 meat – the combination of both is what gives these crab cakes their meaty texture with barely any filler!
- Crushed saltine crackers – or panko breadcrumbs
- Mayonnaise – regular, low fat, or paleo
- Egg – to bind everything together
- Dijon mustard – for a tangy flavor
- Lemon juice – adds a hint of zest that brightens the dish
- Fresh chopped parsley – or fresh chopped dill
- Old Bay Seasoning – classic blend of spices for cooking with Maryland crabs
- Butter – used 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.
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! That is what makes this recipe the best crab cakes recipe there is!
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.
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) Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe Below. Enjoy!
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.
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:
This easy crab cakes can also be served as a meal with a few extra sides! Try them with:
Tips & Tricks
- Be gentle when mixing the ingredients! You want those large crab chunks to stay in tact, so don’t mix too hard.
- Add fresh herbs! I love adding the Old Bay here for lots of flavor, and fresh herbs are a lovely addition as well. Definitely add freshly chopped parsley, dill or both!
- Add some lemon zest! These already have some lemon juice for a bit of tangy flavor, but if you like extra lemon flavor, feel free to add some lemon zest too!
Frequently Asked Questions
Simply use gluten-free saltines or breadcrumbs to make this a GF-friendly Maryland Crab Cake recipe.
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!
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.
Looking for More Delicious Seafood Recipes?
- Warm Crab Pie Recipe
- Sheet Pan Low Country Boil (Broil)
- Pan Seared Scallops
- Salmon Burgers with Sweet Potato Slaw
Perfect Maryland Crab Cakes (Baked or Sauteed)
- 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
- 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.