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Classic Maryland Crab Cakes


Serves four.

This crab cake is the real deal—no fussy stuff, no flavor disguises. Just pure, sweet crab meat, and lots of it. You add in just enough egg and fresh bread crumbs to bind the crabmeat together. White sandwich bread yields the absolute best cakes—soft and flaky at the same time. Use just enough Old Bay seasoning to give a hint of its presence or it will overpower the crab.

  • 1 lb. jumbo lump or backfin lump crabmeat, fresh or pasteurized
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce Kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from soft white sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm)
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Drain the crabmeat, if necessary, and pick through it for shells ( jumbo lump will not have  shells). Put the crab in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Scrape the mixture over the crab and mix gently until well combined. Gently break up the lumps with your fingers but do not overmix.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and the parsley over the mixture, and mix them in thoroughly but gently; try not to turn the mixture into a mash—it should still be somewhat loose. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.

Shape the crab mixture into 8 cakes about 1 inch thick. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is frothy, add the cakes to the pan (8 should fit comfortably). Cook until dark golden brown on the underside, about 4 minutes. Flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue cooking until the other side is well browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the cakes.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a sauté of Corn, Sweet Onion & Zucchini with Fresh Mint, and finish the meal with Marinated Peaches.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 340, Fat (kcal): 23, Fat Calories (g): 200, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 23, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7, Carbohydrates (mg): 9, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 7, Sodium (g): 890, Cholesterol (g): 140, Fiber (g): 0,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I am a Maryland born and raised Mom, 61 years young, and decided to deviate from the crab cake recipe I've used all my life. I was delighted with how terrific they turned out. Chilling the cakes for an hour or more is definitely recommended, they still fall apart a little, but the bits are yummy too! This is my new crab cake recipe, THANK YOU!!

Never made crab cakes before... Thought it would be a lot harder. Easy to follow recipe; great flavor, perfect texture. Quick prep and some time in the fridge to sit before you cook them gives you time to make the sides, then cook the crab cakes up in just a few minutes so everything is ready at the same time. Similar taste to the ones I've had in restaurants. Will totally make again!

Made it and I'm making it again tonight. This recipe froze beautifully for me and got rave reviews from family and friends.

I tweaked the recipe some to fit my tastes and food allergies. But it is very, very good. Highly recomended, even if you followed it exactly. The flavor is good, i just intensified them. I upped the seasonings and mustard, added green onions, and greek yogurt instead of mayo. Loved it. :-)

Really Nice Recipe! Used BlackFin Lump, a dense European white bread that I just fine cut, added 1 1/2 Tbsp. of shredded carrot for color splash & got 9 packed cakes using an ice cream scoop. They cooked as easily as they were to put together, and tasted Perfectly Amazing! Thanks for sharing! :)

Best authentic recipe I've tried so far. I baked them on an oiled cookie sheet in a 375 degree pre-heated oven for 15 min, then turned them over and baked for another 10 min. I served them for company last night and everyone wanted to know where I ordered them? They were stunned when I said I made them!! They were tasty, easy and fantastic!!

YUMM.. substituted reg breadcrumbs for panko and cuz of my budget i got claw meat. it was delish!! ty

Yummy and a very simple and classic crab cake recipe. Thank you FINE COOKING

So I've made these half a dozen times now - very good, even the kids love them.. Last couple times, lump and backfin (2:1 ish)..... It's just the right ingredients, simple yet right on. Adjust (slightly) to taste... excellent...

Living on the West Coast, made these with Baja lump crab meat and they came out wonderful! I used only 1 teaspoon of Old Bay and all other ingredients as specified. Refrigerated for 1 hour and they did not fall apart when cooking and were easy to flip. Great recipe!

Really tasty and easy. Didn't have time to refrigerate for 1-3 hours but still worked out well.

Love it!!!

A keeper! Used the baking method recommended by another and they were fabulous. Let's you tend to other parts of the meal. Gave the one last crabcake to a friend and she too raved. Used backfin and they were nice and light.

Delicious. I followed the advice of one of the reviewers and put it in the oven for 20 minutes with a "barnish" of oil, butter and paprika, and they were excellent. Great Valentine's dinner.

Found it easy to do and tasty. Used Panko bread crumbs instead of white bread crumb. Used a blender to make Panko bread crumbs smaller. Instructions in recipe were right on. Formed into cakes after making mixture and then into refrigerator for firming. Will make again.

This is a very good crab cake recipe. Coming from someone born and bred on the shores of the Chesapeake, that's a compliment! However, cut back the Old Bay to 3/4 -1 teaspoon and reduce the amount of bread crumbs to no more than 3/4 cup. I also do something radical...I bake them instead of sauteing them. Brush a baking sheet with melted butter. Place the crab cakes on the baking sheet. Melt the butter and olive oil together mixing in 1/4 teaspoon paprika. Brush this over the crab cakes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. This saves you from the tension of turning them, a step that can sometimes be very tricky especially if you used jumbo lumb crab.

I've been making the same crabcake recipe for the past 10 years. Not any longer! This is my new favorite crab cake recipe! I followed the recipe exactly, except I used 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from PF sourdough bread) and 1/4 cup panko. Chilled mixture for 2 hours and while cooking they did not fall apart, which was a nice treat. Very moist and loved the lemon zest! I served a remoloude sauce on the side. YUM!!

Very good basic crab cake recipe. As other readers have mentioned, the secret to "flippable" crab cakes is to chill them for several hours before cooking, and don't be too anxious to flip them before they are nicely browned on one side. Used lump as opposed jumbo lump, just as good. Made a very nice lunch over baby greens.

Very good. The less lumpy the crab meat, the more it holds together, however it is not as crabby-licious. I used regular lump and it was very tasty, but lacked the texture that was so tantalizing in the photo. The question is $19 vs. $34 per pound! Yes, it was just fine with the lump!

Some of the best Crab Cakes I've ever enjoyed, only downside it that they incredibly hard to flip. Edit: The second time I made these I made a few changes that lent much more structural integrity to the cakes. 1) My Market Street was out of jumbo lump so I bought lump crab meat instead. The smaller chunk had an easier time clinging together. 2) I only used a cup of fresh white bread crumbs (roughly chopped) and then substituted the rest with 1/3 cup of panko breadcrumbs. 3) After combining I fashioned the mixture into cakes and let them sit in the fridge for about 3 hours to tighten up. The cakes where easy to flip and still melted in your mouth.

Terrific recipe. The only problem: keeping the crab cakes from falling apart. I put my in the fridge before I cooked them.

I fixed these for a Sunday supper for my wife and me. The balance of flavors is perfect; the Old Bay and worchestershire sauce give them just the right amount of spice. My wife is very picky about her crab cakes, and she loved these. I used a hearty Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread, pulsed in the food processor, for the crumbs, and the crab mix made perfect, firm cakes.

I did this with fake crab and extra dijon instead of the Bay spice (couldn't find it). The fake crab didn't flake at all, so it didn't form cakes well, but the flavour was excellent.

Paula, 5/29/09 This recipe produces a very good crab cake with a little kick. If you cherish memories of sucking the sweet flesh from freshly-caught crab, the Old Bay and Worcestershire are a bit much. I'd cut back on them next time. Still, a yummy dish and worth the expense.

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