Jan 20, 2015

Maryland Style Crab Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Crab cakes are found on menus everywhere, but I have to admit I am a crab cake snob. I don’t enjoy when there are lots of extra add-ins used as fillers to make up for a lack of crab meat.
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This is the only crab cake recipe you will ever need! Crab cakes are found on menus everywhere, but I have to admit I am a crab cake snob. I don’t enjoy when there are lots of extra add-ins used as fillers to make up for a lack of crab meat so this Maryland-style is my favorite.

Maryland Style Crab Cakes

What are Maryland style crab cakes?

Crab is always the focus in Maryland style crab cakes. The meat is left in large chunks or lumps rather than shredded into small pieces.

What makes the perfect crab cake?

The perfect crab cake should include an abundance of large lump-meat pieces loosely packed together with few other ingredients, just enough to enhance the seafood flavor of the crab. It should then be cooked to a crispy golden brown on the outside. Crab cakes are perfect for someone who does not enjoy a wide range of seafood because it does not have the fishy smell.

Maryland Style Crab Cakes mixture in mixing bowl with spatula

What type of crab should I use?

There are several different grades of crab meat sold already out of the shell in stores or online for purchase.

  1. Jumbo lump crab (also known as colossal lump) is the highest quality – the pearly white large chunks of crab come from where the crabs connect to the swimmer fins. They are the most expensive because there are only two of these per crab.
  2. Lump crab meat comes from broken pieces of jumbo lump crab and large chunks of body meat. It’s slightly less expensive than the jumbo grade but still has great flavor and a bright color (should be white to slightly off-white). I prefer this for crab cakes because it is slightly less expensive, but you still get large chunks!
  3. Backfin crab meat, consists of smaller pieces of broken lump crab meat mixed with smaller pieces of body meat. It is still textured and has good flavor though not my favorite for crab cakes.
  4. Claw meat is small and looks more shredded and is a pinkish-tannish color. It is very flavorful but too shredded for crab cakes and is best in soups!
remoulade sauce in jar

What do I need to make these?

I prefer not to use a lot of fillers in my crab cakes so the light seafood flavor of the shellfish can really shine.

  • Egg
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dijon mustard
  • Worcestershire
  • Shallot
  • Lemon
  • Cayenne
  • Buttery snack crackers, (I use Ritz®)
  • Parsley
  • Crabmeat

What should I serve with crab cakes?

Crab cakes are classically served with remoulade sauce, a zesty aioli or mayonnaise based condiment seasoned with savory herbs. It is typically used to accompany fried seafood dishes.

Maryland Style Crab Cakes on plate with small side salad and remoulade

Tips for this recipe

  • Be careful not to over-mix the crab cakes. As a result you get large chunks of crab in each bite.
  • Add these crab cakes to a toasted brioche bun with some arugula and remoulade for a delicious sandwich.
  • This is one of my favorite meals in the summer. Pair it with a light and easy caprese salad.
  • If you enjoy crab cakes, give these salmon cakes with chive yogurt sauce a try.
Maryland Style Crab Cakes recipe

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Maryland Style Crab Cakes

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Serves 4 crabcakes


  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup crushed buttery snack crackers, (I use Ritz®)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 16 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • remoulade sauce, for serving


  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together egg, mayonnaise, Dijon, Worcestershire, shallot, lemon juice and cayenne. Stir in the cracker crumbs and parsley until combined.
  • Gently fold in the crabmeat so that it is combined, but the crab remains in large chunks. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Form the mixture into 4 discs about 1-inch thick.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan. Cook two of the crab cakes at a time.
  • Cook until golden brown on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain; keep warm. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and heat through; sauté the remaining crab cakes.
  • Serve immediately with a lemon wedge and remoulade sauce.



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