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Old Bay Crab Cakes Recipe

This Old Bay Crab Cakes recipe has changed a few times over the years. This final version is one my husband created, and I can’t imagine he will ever be able to do anything to make it taste better than it does now!

Crab cakes with lemon and parsley on a wood board.
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My grandmother made such great crab cakes. We had family on the Eastern shore and spent time there every summer eating crabs.

Sunny days were spent catching crabs and playing with our cousins, and evenings were spent eating the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay. I remember the adults picking crab for hours, and not a piece went to waste.

If it didn’t get eaten during our crab feast, it was put into crab cakes or Maryland crab soup. Some of our favorite dishes are Hot Butter Crab and Maryland crab dip.

Though the United States has an abundance of coastline, the crabmeat from the Eastern shore is the absolute best!

If you love seafood, too, you’ve got to try this hot shrimp dip, Crab stuffed salmon recipe, or any of these easy crab meat recipes.

Why This Recipe Works

This is the most delicious crab cake recipe and it only takes a handful of ingredients, but the result is so flavorful!

The star of the dish is the fresh lump crabmeat flavored with Old Bay seasoning. These crab cakes are baked and broiled at the end until they’re golden brown and crispy. 

Another plus for these crab cakes is that they don’t require a lot of work. Sometimes the best dishes are the simplest!

What Goes Into This Recipe

Key Ingredients

Fresh crab meat The best crab cakes use the meat from fresh crabs.

Old Bay Seasoning – You just can’t make Maryland crab cakes without it!

See the recipe card for the rest of the ingredients and quantities along with full directions.

How to Make This Recipe

Step 1: Lightly pick through crab meat for shells. Set aside.

Step 2: Beat egg in a medium bowl and set aside.

Step 3: Add Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, mustard, and mayonnaise to the egg. Set aside.

Step 4: In a separate bowl, add crab meat. Fold egg mixture into crab meat.

Mix of ingredients for crab cakes.

Step 5: Add panko bread crumbs. Gently mix with hands, being careful not to break up lump crab pieces.

Step 6: Place the crab mixture in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. This really does help hold the crab cakes together.

Preheat oven to 425º.

Step 7: With clean hands, make 6 crab cakes about 4-inches in diameter.

Step 8: Bake crab cakes for about 12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Finish with them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.

Serve with lemon slices and an optional sauce of your choice.

Crab cakes on a wood board with lemon and parsley.

Types of crab meat

  • Jumbo lump crab meat: The largest, most expensive grade of blue crab meat.
  • Backfin crab meat: Smaller pieces of jumbo lump crab meat mixed with other grades. Less expensive but still pretty good.
  • Crab mix: This is flake crab meat which is a blend of king crab meat and Alaska pollock. I wouldn’t make Maryland crab cakes with this one.
  • Dungeness crabs: This type of crab is popular on the West Coast and has a sweet flavor. I’ve never had a crab cake with this meat, but it is delicious on its own.

Cooking Methods

  • We prefer baking the crab cakes and broiling for a couple of minutes at the end.
  • You can use a deep fryer to get these crab cakes extra crunchy.
  • You can also try this recipe in the air fryer for a healthier “fried” version. I plan to try this soon!

Variations

Louisiana crab cakes: This style has small pieces of lump meat with a lot of filler, as opposed to traditional crab cake recipes, like our Maryland crab cakes. Using a seasoning like Slap Yo Momma will give them traditional Cajun flavor.

Carolina crab cakes: Add in scallions, shrimp, and dill, to give it that sweet southern charm.

Crab cakes with lemon, parsley, and sauce on a wood board.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to bake or fry crab cakes?

It’s really a matter of preference. Baked crab cakes are really delicious and a bit healthier than the fried version.

Why do my crab cakes keep falling apart?

This is a common mishap. Be sure to stick the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour before you make the crab cakes. This will help them hold together nicely while they are cooking. Also, be gentle while handling the crab mixture because you don’t want to break up those nice, juicy pieces of meat!

What is the best kind of crab meat for crab cakes?

If you want to stick as close as possible to the original recipe it is best to use jumbo lump crab meat from Maryland blue crabs. Lump meat has large chunks that work perfectly with this recipe.

Can I make crab cakes with claw meat?

You can use claw meat if you don’t mind a stronger crab flavor. It is considered the dark meat of the crab and is typically used in chowders.

Top Tips

We often eat these as an appetizer. Turn them into a meal for the whole family with these oven baked sweet potato fries or other side dishes for crab cakes.

At our house, we love to serve these crab cakes with a side of French fries and delicious Old Bay aioli. In a large bowl, toss French fries with olive oil and salt, then spread on a baking sheet. Bake the fries at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. 

You can also use any leftovers to make a crab cake sandwich. Use a rubber spatula to slather some crab cake sauce on fresh-baked bread and squeeze a little lemon juice on top.

If you’re not a big fan of tartar sauce try dijon mustard, hot sauce, cocktail sauce, aioli, crab cake sauce (Remoulade), or fresh lemon juice. You can also serve these with fresh parsley, lemon wedges, red pepper, green onions, or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

If you’re like me, you probably associate eating blue crabs during the summer after a long, hot day at the beach. While this is a great time of year to enjoy them, it’s not the best.

The best time of year to catch and eat crabs is in the fall during September and October. If you want to make Maryland-style crab cakes, this is the time to do it. The water will be plentiful with large, fat Maryland blue crabs.

More Seafood Recipes

Crab cakes with lemon, parsley, and sauce on a wood board.

Old Bay Crab Cakes (Maryland Style Crab Cakes)

Delicious crab cakes made with Old Bay, Maryland style! You'll never make crab cakes another way!
5 from 15 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 120kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  • Lightly pick through crab meat for shells.
  • Whisk egg in a medium bowl.
  • Add Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, mustard, and mayonnaise to the egg. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, add crab meat. Fold the egg mixture into crab meat.
  • Add panko bread crumbs. Gently mix with hands being careful not to break up lump crab pieces.
  • Place the crab mixture in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. This really does help hold the crab cakes together.
  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • With clean hands, make 6 crab cakes about 4-inches in diameter.
  • Bake crab cakes for about 12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Finish with them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve with a sauce of your choice or a squeeze of lemon.

Notes

Tip: These crab cakes can be made in the morning and stored in the refrigerator until time to cook. 
The crab cakes can be served warm or cold.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 779mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 83IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg
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11 Comments

    1. Hey Leslie- More than likely, the crabmeat you are using was previously frozen, so I would only freeze the crab cakes or crab balls AFTER cooking. I’ve done that and they are delicious. Warm them in the oven so you keep the crisp. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I’m sure you could, but I don’t have any experience with gluten-free so can’t really advise you other than suggesting gluten-free breadcrumbs and making sure everything else is free of gluten. Do let me know if you make them so I can put a note in the recipe for others. Thank you!

    1. I’m sure you could! We really like the panko bread crumbs instead of bread now that we’ve tried it.