Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe (With Old Bay Seasoning)
Get ready to impress your friends and family with this easy and delicious recipe for Maryland-style crab cakes. Made with fresh lump crab meat and a secret blend of seasonings, these crab cakes are sure to be a hit at any party or gathering.
You just can’t beat a perfectly seasoned, tender Maryland crab cake. We’ve mentioned before that we live in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland and that means we love blue crabs and Old Bay seasoning!
This easy baked crab cake recipe is made with fresh crab meat and a small amount of filler to help bind it all together. Then it is baked to perfection for a Maryland-style crab cake your friends and family will LOVE.
Table of contents
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The Art of Making Maryland Crab Cakes
Anyone from Maryland will tell you that there are 3 keys to a great crab cake:
- Quality ingredients – It begins with selecting the right ingredients, notably the type of crab meat. Lump crab meat is preferred for its texture and flavor.
- A little seasoning – The role of Old Bay Seasoning cannot be overstated; it’s the heart of the dish, providing a unique blend of warmth, sweetness, and spice that complements the crab perfectly.
- Very little filler – Crab cakes require a little filler to bind everything together but it’s a fine balance and you want to use as little as possible so that the crab meat shines through.
Ingredients for Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes
- Egg – This is a binder; it helps to hold everything together as the crab cake bakes.
- Mayonnaise – This creamy condiment adds a little flavor and moisture to the crabcake while helping to hold everything together.
- Fresh parsley – this herb doesn’t have an overwhelming flavor but it does help give a fresh flavor to the whole dish.
- Dijon mustard – This tangy mustard adds flavor to the crab cakes.
- Worcestershire sauce – Just a little Worcestershire sauce adds a salt, tangy flavor.
- Lemon juice – Just a teaspoon of lemon juice brightens up the crab mixture. Make sure to have a couple of extra lemon slices set aside to squeeze over the crab cakes before eating.
- Seasonings – A little salt and Old Bay seasoning spice up the crab meat. Old Bay seasoning is a slightly spicy mix of spices that is a requirement for all Maryland seafood. You can also use it for Old Bay chicken wings, Shrimp casserole, Instant Pot Shrimp Boil, and Maryland crab dip.
- Saltine crackers – Finely crumbled crackers are the traditional filler for Maryland crab cakes. The cracker crumbs help bind the crab cakes together.
- Lump crab meat – This is the star of the show! Make sure to use good-quality lump crab meat. We always use Phillips Premium Jumbo Lump Crab Meat.
- Butter – The butter doesn’t go into the cakes it is melted and brushed over the tops of the crab cakes to help them brown.
How to Make Baked Crab Cakes
Step 1 – Prepare Oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Step 2 – Make crumbs. Place the saltine crackers in a food processor and chop until they are crumbs.
Step 3 – Combine. In a large bowl combine a large egg, mayonnaise, parsley, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt, Old Bay seasoning, saltine cracker crumbs, and jumbo lump crab meat. Use a spatula to gently fold the ingredients together doing your best to keep the lump crab meat as intact as possible.
Step 4 – Portion. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to portion out the crab cakes. First gently scoop it into the measuring cup and then press down on it to pack it together. Turn the measuring cup upside down over your baking sheet and gently tap the crab cake out. Use your hand to press any stray pieces back into shape if needed.
This will make approximately 6 crab cakes.
Step 5 – Chill. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill the crab cakes. This will help them hold their shape as they bake.
Step 6 – Butter. When the crab cakes are ready to come out of the oven place the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 15 seconds or until completely melted. Gently brush the butter over the tops of the crab cakes.
Step 7 – Bake. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temp is 145 degrees F and the outside is golden brown.
Step 8 – Serve. Remove from the oven and serve with fresh lemon wedges.
Tips for the Perfect Old Bay Crab Cakes
- The secret lies in the seasoning. Old Bay’s unique blend of spices elevates the crab meat, creating a flavor profile that’s hard to replicate. Balancing the seasoning is key; you want to enhance, not overpower, the crab.
- Avoid overmixing as this breaks down that beautiful lump crab meat and gives you a stringier crab cake.
- Ensure your crab cakes are chilled before cooking to help them hold their shape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, but fresh or pasteurized lump crab meat gives the best flavor and texture.
Ensure your mixture has enough binder and chill the patties before cooking.
While Old Bay is traditional, you can experiment with other seasonings, though the flavor profile will differ.
Yes, baking reduces the amount of oil, making it a healthier option without sacrificing flavor.
Properly stored in the refrigerator, cooked crab cakes can last up to 3-5 days.
What to Eat With Crab Cakes
Crab cakes, with their rich, tender texture and savory flavor, pair beautifully with a variety of sides. Whether you’re serving them as a main dish or a fancy appetizer, here’s a lineup of sides that will complement your crab cakes perfectly, creating a harmonious and unforgettable dining experience.
- Lemon Wedges – A squeeze of fresh lemon juice over your crab cakes brightens the flavor and gives it a little extra zing without overpowering the delicate crab.
- Sauces – Serve your crab cakes with a lemon aioli or classic tartar sauce.
- Potatoes – Potatoes in any form go really well with crab cakes. We love mashed potatoes, french fries, and baked potatoes.
- Coleslaw – Homemade southern coleslaw is the perfect side for crab cakes. The sweetness matches the slightly sweet crab meat and doesn’t overpower it.
- Hushpuppies – These are a personal favorite of mine. Little fried balls of cornbread, the perfect side for any seafood.
- Mixed Green Salad – You can never go wrong with a beautiful mixed green salad. Baked crab cakes are a pretty healthy meal so matching it with a healthy side makes perfect sense.
How to Store and Reheat
Storing Crab Cakes
- Cool: First things first, let your dish cool to room temperature.
- Storage Dish: Once cooled, transfer your food into an airtight container. This will keep your food from drying out, absorbing other flavors from the fridge, or becoming a science experiment.
- Fridge or Freeze: You can store them in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. If you prefer to freeze you can place the crab cakes in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Oven or Toaster Oven: For dishes like crab cakes that benefit from a crispy exterior, the oven is your go-to. Preheat it to around 350°F (175°C), place the crab cakes on a baking sheet, and cover with foil to prevent drying out. The time needed will vary, but you’re aiming for a warm center and a crisp exterior.
- Microwave: The microwave is the quick and easy choice for most foods. To avoid the dreaded rubbery texture, cover your dish with a damp paper towel to add moisture. Use a microwave-safe dish and heat in short bursts, stirring or flipping halfway through for even heating.
- Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Place the crab cakes in the air fryer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.
Maryland Crab Cakes
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place the saltine crackers into a food processor and chop until they are in crumbs.
- In a large bowl combine a large egg, mayonnaise, parsley, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt, Old Bay seasoning, saltine cracker crumbs, and jumbo lump crab meat. Use a spatula to gently fold the ingredients together doing your best to keep the lump crab meat as intact as possible.
- Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to portion out the crab cakes. First gently scoop it into the measuring cup and then press down on it to pack it together. Turn the measuring cup upside down over your baking sheet and gently tap the crab cake out. Use your hand to press any stray pieces back into shape if needed.
- Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill the crab cakes. This will help them hold their shape as they bake.
- Once the crab cakes have chilled place butter in a small microwave-safe dish and microwave for 15 seconds or until melted.
- Gently brush the melted butter over the crab cakes.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temp is 145 degrees F and the outside is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and serve with fresh lemon wedges.