A Maryland Crab Cake Recipe made with jumbo lump blue crab meat, Old Bay seasoning, and a secret ingredient! They are a true Maryland staple.
This Maryland Crab Cake Recipe will melt in your mouth
These Crab Cakes require minimal hands on time and are ready and on the table in just under an hour.
In Maryland, picking crabs and eating crab cakes is practically a religion, and there is nothing better than jumbo lump crab meat made into a melt in your mouth delicious crab cake.
If you love Maryland flavors as much as I do, you’ll want to try these Old Bay Wings next!
The Best Maryland Crab Cakes
Growing up in Maryland, I spent a lot of time at the beach, loving the feeling of the sand and water on my feet, the smell of fresh seafood, picking crabs, and of course, eating crab cakes!
Truth be told, and you’d never know it now, but I used to hate Old Bay Seasoning as a kid (a sin, I know). I even went as far as to ask for my crabs to be washed because I thought they were soo spicy!
Fresh crabs can never truly be replaced, but do you really want to steam a huge (and live) blue crab in your kitchen? I don’t think so and this Maryland crab cake recipe is going to get you so close (if not better) than the crab shacks of Maryland.
Maryland Crab Cake Recipe ingredients
- Crab: for this recipe, you will need jumbo lump crab meat. If you live near the water like I do, this will be easier to find! However, for my inland readers/followers, I recommend scoping out your local fish markets or calling ahead to your local grocery store.
- Herbs & spices: Old Bay seasoning is an essential ingredient to any authentic crab cake recipe and don’t forget the fresh parsley.
- Wet ingredients: dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tartar sauce, lemon juice, and egg.
- Dry ingredients: panko bread crumbs and baking powder.
Crab Cake Sauce
- Wet ingredients: Tartar sauce, you can sub with mayo if need be but you will lose a lot of flavor, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.
- Seasoning: Old Bay Seasoning is what makes this sauce so good!
Most crab cake recipes call for mayo. I use tartar sauce instead because it has so much more flavor.
*For a detailed list of ingredients and measurements, please reference the recipe card down below.
How to make Maryland Crab Cakes
1. Prepare the crab mixture. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together Old Bay seasoning, parsley, baking powder, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay tartar sauce, egg, and lemon. Then add the crab and panko bread crumbs. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. How to cook Crab Cakes. Preheat the oven to 425° F and form the crab mixture into 4 large, even sized balls. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the crab cakes and preheat the broiler to high, broil for 1-2 minutes until golden.
3. Serve. Serve the crab cakes with lemon wedges and Old Bay tartar sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
Crab Cake Sauce
To make the sauce, whisk together the tartar sauce, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
Remember when I said Maryland crab bakes are a religion? Well, Crab Cake Sauce is not far behind. Crab cakes and a delicious dipping sauce rank right up there next to air in my home state.
My advice, never skip out on the sauce, even if you don’t think you are a sauce person, this crab cake sauce is not only essential for delicious flavors, but for the whole authentic old bay crab cake experience!
Best Maryland Crab Cakes FAQs
Frying vs baking is a very popular topic in the world of crab cakes. People are usually on one side or the other, but I prefer the baking method.
When you pan fry or sauté your crab cakes, they tend to become flat, like a burger I prefer thick pieces of lumpy crab and for that I recommend baking them. They will cook perfectly and remain lumpy and full of flavor.
Most Marylanders would call it a sin to fry a crab cake!
Maryland blue crab is sourced directly from Chesapeake Bay. Our “authentic” crab cake recipes always include Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.
In Charleston, their crab cakes also feature a lot of fresh jumbo lump crab meat, mayo, herbs (parsley, dill, etc.) and at times hot sauce or cayenne pepper to give it a good kick. Another noteworthy difference, Charleston crab cakes are almost always pan-fried/seared, never baked.
In Maryland crab season usually starts in April and runs until December. However, if you are buying crab “off-season” and are wondering where it is coming from, it is more than likely coming from North Carolina and Louisiana.
Sometimes it might even come from oversees if there’s a crab shortage or they aren’t in season but are in high demand.
The most “traditional” time to eat crab, aside from all the time, is June through August. When you get towards the end of crab season, you can usually pick some up at your local fish market for a good price!
How to serve this Maryland Crab Cake Recipe
Keep it simple; let your crab cakes be the star of the show! Below are some of my favorite side dishes to make when serving crab cakes for dinner.
Don’t forget the crab cake remoulade!
How to store crab cakes
- Leftover crab cakes should be stored in an airtight container in a single layer. You can store them in the fridge for up to 3 days, however, I highly recommend eating your leftovers within 1-2 days.
- To freeze, place each crab cake on a piece of parchment paper and wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap. Then wrap them with foil and place them inside an airtight, freezer safe container. Leftover crab cakes can be stored in the freezer for 4-6 months.
Crab Cake FAQs
There are 2 main reasons why your crab cakes might be falling apart while cooking:
Crab cakes need to be refrigerated for 30 minutes minimum before cooking to help bind the ingredients. If you can chill them for 2 hours, that’s even better!
If you skipped the binder, or didn’t use enough, your crab cakes may fall apart. Panko or breadcrumbs, egg, and mayonnaise are all ingredients that will help hold your crab cakes together. I like to use just enough so my crab cakes don’t fall apart.
Crab cakes should be baked at 425 F for about 12 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on the edges. I like to finish my crab cakes off under the broiler for 1-2 minutes.
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Maryland Style Crab Cake Recipe
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together Old Bay seasoning, parsley, baking powder, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, tartar sauce, egg, and lemon. Then add the crab and panko bread crumbs. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425° F and form the crab mixture into 4 large, even sized balls. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the crab cakes and preheat the broiler to high, broil for 1-2 minutes until golden.
- Serve the crab cakes with lemon wedges and Old Bay tartar sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
Crab Cake Sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together the tartar sauce, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, and worcestershire sauce.