Maryland-Style Crab Cakes are sure to transform your home into a fancy restaurant and impress family and friends alike. Jumbo lump crab meat, regular or gluten-free breadcrumbs, seasonings, mayonnaise and mustard are mixed and then either seared in a skillet, baked in the oven, or cooked in an air fryer. Serve this low-carb seafood dish as an appetizer or main dish anytime you want to WOW your guests!

Skillet-seared crab cakes are served with fresh lemon juice, parsley, and tartar sauce.

If crab cakes are on a restaurant’s menu you better believe I’ll be ordering them.

There’s something so delightful about big bites of fresh crab meat mixed together with tons of herbs and spices.

You add on a bit of Remoulade Sauce or some Tartar Sauce and I’m hooked!

But oftentimes the fancy restaurants serving those mouthwatering crab cakes also come with a hefty price tag.

After all, crab meat is pretty expensive just on its own!

So recently I got a little brave and decided to buy a container full of fresh crab meat from our grocery store.

After successfully making these Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, a homemade crab cake recipe was next.

But not just any kind. It needed to to be just right – and taste like those delicious cakes found in the Northeast.  (Specifically in Maryland!)

Crab meat, egg, breadcrumbs, seasonings, chives, lemon, mustard, worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise are the ingredients in this recipe.

Ingredients

The simple ingredients you need to make this Maryland crab cake recipe include:

  • Crab meat. Fresh crab meat or canned meat can be used interchangeably in this recipe. The fresh meat can be found in-season from October-January, and even throughout the warmer months in some of the Southern states. Jumbo lump crab meat is the best type to use, but you can also opt for regular lump if that is all you can find. Whatever kind of meat you buy, make sure you sort through it to ensure there is no shell remaining. The last thing you want is a crunchy piece when you bite into a tender cake!
  • Egg. One large egg acts as a binder to hold the delicious patties together.
  • Breadcrumbs. Panko-style are the best, but you can also select a gluten-free brand if needed.
  • Seasonings. A combination of paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper are used. However, you can substitute equal amounts of Old Bay for the seasoning amounts listed below.
  • Mayonnaise. No crab cake would be complete without a bit of mayonnaise in the mix.
  • Mustard. Just a hint of Dijon mustard gives a nice punch to the cake. Feel free to swap it out with yellow or spicy mustard.
  • Chives. These are ideal but if you have a hard time finding them green onions will work as well. Here’s a great way to cut green onions.

How to Make Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

The basic steps for making crab cakes are simple to follow:

Whisk the Filler

Place the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper into a large bowl and whisk until well combined.

Fold in the Crab

Add in the crab meat, chives, and parsley. Gently fold the ingredients until just combine so as not to break apart the crab meat too much.

Shape into Patties

After mixing, let mixture sit in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes for easier shaping.

Measure out ⅓-cup of the crab mixture. You can use a measuring cup or even an ice cream scoop.

Use your hands to form the mounds into a round disc about 1-inch tall. Repeat with remaining mixture until you have 8 crab cakes.

Cook the Crab Cakes

You can either cook crab cakes in a skillet, bake them in the oven, or pop them in your air fryer. Here are the instructions for all three of these methods:

Sear in skillet

Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet until it begins to sizzle.

Add four crab cakes and pan fry for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the edges are crispy and golden brown.  Repeat with the remaining crab cakes.

Maryland crab cakes are cooked in a skillet on the stove.

Bake in Oven

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Arrange the crab cakes at least an inch apart.

Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Crab cakes are shaped and laid on a baking sheet before cooking.

Cook in Air Fryer

Heat your air fryer to 375°F for 3 minutes.

Place 4 crab cakes in a single layer on the metal grate and spritz each with a bit of oil or non-stick cooking spray.

Cook for 5 minutes, flip them over, and then continue cooking for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Maryland crab cakes are served for a seafood appetizer.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: Mix up and form the patties, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to cook up to 1 day in advance.
  • To Store: Leftover cakes can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: Seal the crab cakes in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: Warm them up in a skillet for a few minutes per side or pop them into your air fryer at 350°F until heated through.

FAQs

Is it better to broil or fry crab cakes?

Frying crab cakes in a skillet will give you the crispiest results. However baking them is a great oil-free option.

How do you keep crab cakes from falling apart?

Make sure not to skip the breadcrumbs and egg, as these binders will help to hold the patties together. Also, refrigerate the mixture for at least 20 minutes before forming the cakes.

How are Maryland crab cakes different?

Maryland crab cakes are specifically made with lump crab meat, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce. Louisiana-style crab cakes use flour as the binder and have more spicy flavors and hot sauce mixed in.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Mix your own. While store bought seasonings are tasty, using your own unique blend of spices is even better.
  • Go big. Jumbo lump crab meat will give you the best crab cakes texture.
  • Sort through. Make sure to double-check the crab meat for any shell fragments.
  • Chill out. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator before shaping the patties to help them hold their shape.
  • Get saucy! Make sure to pair these crab cakes with tasty homemade dips for dunking.

What to Serve with Crab Cakes?

Garnish the crab cakes with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or chives, lemon wedges, and pair with some homemade remoulade sauce or tartar sauce.

A few other sauce options are Secret Sauce, Cocktail Sauce, or even this Chick-fil-A Sauce.

More Appetizer Recipes

Be the host with the most and serve these delicious snacks to pique everyone’s appetite.

Cranberry Brie Bites are the perfect sweet option. Give these Crispy Southern Corn Fritters or Crispy Zucchini Fritters for something a little different.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with Classic Deviled Eggs. Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms and Bacon Wrapped Dates are truly impressive.

Or enjoy even more crab with this Crab Salad and these Crab Stuffed Mushrooms!

Tap stars to rate!

4.63 from 8 votes

Maryland-Style Crab Cakes Recipe

Maryland-Style Crab Cakes are sure to transform your home into a fancy restaurant and impress family and friends alike. Jumbo lump crab meat, regular or gluten-free breadcrumbs, seasonings, mayonnaise and mustard are mixed and then seared in a skillet, baked in the oven, or cooked in an air fryer.
Homemade crab cakes are served on a white plate with fresh lemon and tartar sauce.
Yield 8 crab cakes
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 50 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. crab meat regular or jumbo lump
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard spicy or yellow
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. paprika*
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper*
  • ½ tsp. salt* to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper*
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs gluten-free
  • 2 Tbsp. chives finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley finely chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp. oil avocado or olive

Instructions 

  • Sort through the crab meat to ensure there are no shell pieces remaining.
  • Whisk together egg, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Add crab meat, Panko breadcrumbs, chives, and parsley. Stir gently until just combine so as not to break apart the crab meat too much.
  • Let sit in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes for easier shaping.
  • Scoop out ⅓ cup of crab cake mixture. Form into a round disc about 1-inch tall. Repeat with remaining mixture until you have 8 crab cakes.

Cook in Skillet:

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet until it begins to sizzle.
  • Add four crab cakes and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the edges are crispy. Repeat with the remaining crab cakes.

Bake in Oven:

  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place crab cakes at least an inch apart.
  • Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Air Fryer:

  • Heat your air fryer to 375°F for 3 minutes.
  • Place 4 crab cakes in a single layer on the metal grate and spritz each with a bit of oil or non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, flip them over, and then continue cooking for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  • Serve crab cakes with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or chives, lemon wedges, and some homemade remoulade sauce or tartar sauce. Enjoy!
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

4.63 from 8 votes

Video

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: Mix up and form the patties, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to cook up to 1 day in advance.
  • To Store: Leftover cakes can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: Seal the crab cakes in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: Warm them up in a skillet for a few minutes per side or pop them into your air fryer at 350°F until heated through.

Nutrition

Calories: 140kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 702mg, Potassium: 179mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 731IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Comments

    1. Thank you for catching that, William. And sorry about the confusion! The Panko breadcrumbs go in when the herbs do! I’ve updated the recipe to reflect this.