Taste of the Chesapeake: How to Make Authentic Maryland Crab Cakes

5 Min Read


Maryland crab cakes are a beloved delicacy known for their rich flavor and tender texture, showcasing the finest blue crab meat from the Chesapeake Bay. Perfect for a special dinner or a casual meal, these crab cakes are easy to prepare and sure to impress. In this article, we’ll guide you through a traditional Maryland crab cake recipe that brings the authentic taste of the East Coast to your table.


  • 1 pound lump crab meat, picked over for shells
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup crushed saltine crackers or bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Prepare the Crab Mixture:
    • In a large mixing bowl, gently combine the crab meat, egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, green onions, red bell pepper (if using), crushed crackers or bread crumbs, and fresh parsley. Be careful not to break up the crab meat too much.
    • Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Form the Crab Cakes:
    • Using your hands, form the crab mixture into 6-8 patties, each about 1 inch thick. Place the formed crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help the crab cakes firm up.
  3. Cook the Crab Cakes:
    • In a large skillet, heat the butter and vegetable oil over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot.
    • Add the crab cakes to the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd them. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy.
    • Use a spatula to carefully flip the crab cakes, cooking until the other side is also golden brown and the crab cakes are heated through.
  4. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Transfer the cooked crab cakes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
    • Serve the Maryland crab cakes hot, with fresh lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauces, such as tartar sauce or remoulade.


Authentic Maryland crab cakes are a simple yet exquisite dish that highlights the sweet, delicate flavor of blue crab meat. With minimal filler and a few classic seasonings, this recipe ensures that the crab remains the star of the show. Perfect for any occasion, these crab cakes are sure to delight seafood lovers and bring a taste of Maryland’s coastal charm to your kitchen.



  1. What type of crab meat should I use for Maryland crab cakes?
    • The best crab meat for Maryland crab cakes is lump crab meat, which comes from the back fin of the crab. You can also use jumbo lump crab meat for larger chunks or backfin crab meat, which is a combination of lump and smaller pieces.
  2. Can I use canned crab meat for this recipe?
    • While fresh crab meat is preferred for its flavor and texture, you can use high-quality canned crab meat as a substitute. Be sure to drain it well and pick through it for any shells or cartilage.
  3. What is Old Bay seasoning, and can I substitute it with something else?
    • Old Bay seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices commonly used in seafood dishes, particularly in the Chesapeake Bay region. If you don’t have Old Bay seasoning, you can make a homemade version using ingredients like paprika, celery salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and dried herbs.
  4. Can I prepare the crab cakes in advance?
    • Yes, you can prepare the crab mixture and form the crab cakes in advance. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover them tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before cooking. This can help the flavors meld together and the crab cakes firm up.
  5. What should I serve with Maryland crab cakes?
    • Maryland crab cakes are often served with classic accompaniments such as tartar sauce, remoulade sauce, cocktail sauce, or aioli. They also pair well with sides like coleslaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, or a mixed green salad.

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