Maryland Crab Cakes

Enjoy this classic Maryland crab cakes recipe any time you like. It is easy to make and is ready in less than 20 minutes. Crab cakes are delicious and the right seasoning makes them even tastier. It’s one of the most coveted seafood appetizer recipe.

A crab cake, drizzled with sauce, on a plate with a forkful of the cake held over the plate and a platter of crab cakes in the background.

I was inspired to make these flavorful crab cakes after having a version of them years ago at a nearby seafood restaurant who served the best crab cakes I’ve ever had.

Have you been timid about making crab cakes? Well, you don’t have to be. This recipe is super easy and so delicious!

What makes the crab cake flavor combination so delicious is the simplicity of it. This recipe shows you that you don’t need complex ingredients to make these classic seafood cakes.

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Helpful tips

  • I used canned jumbo lump crab meat because it’s easier. You can even use fresh crab meat if you prefer.
  • If you do use canned, make sure to drain the crab fully and pick out any shells.
  • Use a paper towel to pat down the crab so there isn’t excess water.
  • I use tarragon in this recipe, but you can substitute parsley if you prefer.
  • Use a big enough sauté pan or skillet so you can fit all the crab cakes in there at once.
  • When cooking them, press down gently with your spatula on the crab cakes to make sure they brown evenly.

How to make Maryland crab cakes

Pre-step

Get a sauté pan or skillet and a large bowl.

Step one

Gather the drained lump crabmeat and dice a quarter of a red bell pepper. (A) Add to the mixing bowl.

Step two

Get Panko breadcrumbs, a large egg, tarragon, mayonnaise, horseradish, salt, pepper, dried mustard and old bay seasoning. (B)

Left - crabmeat on a plate and red pepper. Right - crab mixture in a bowl. Right - shallow bowl with bread crumbs covering a crab cake

Step three

Add half of the breadcrumbs and all of the other ingredients to the bowl with the crab in it.

Step four

Mix with a rubber spatula until the ingredients are combined. (C)

Step five

Get a shallow bowl or deep dish and add the rest of the breadcrumbs to it.

Step six

Take a handful of crab mixture and form the crab cakes. I find that this amount of crabmeat yields 5 – 6 crabcakes.

Place each cake in the bowl with the breadcrumbs two at a time. Flip the crab cakes and make sure all the sides are covered. (D)

Left - the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Right - formed crab cakes in a bowl with some breadcrumbs

Cooking the crab cakes

Step seven

Heat the sauté pan on medium to medium-high heat, and once the pan heats up, add olive oil (or if you want to feel decadent – butter) and once that heats up, place all the crab cakes in the pan and sauté them for 4 minutes on each side, until they are golden-brown.

Once they are done, I arrange the crab cakes on my long platter. I add some lemon wedges and dribble store bought horseradish aioli sauce on them.

Crab cakes on a pink platter with sauce drizzle on top and lemon wedges around them!

If I have guests, I will serve these Maryland crab cakes in a stack with the horseradish aioli dribbled on top! It looks pretty impressive.

Five crab cakes stacked on a plate and drizzled on on the top and sides with sauce.

Time for a bite.

A forkful of the crab cake held over the plate and a platter of cakes in the background.

It was soooooo good.

I hope you enjoyed this Maryland crab cake recipe.

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below. I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Pink rectangle plate with five crab cakes on it and drizzled with sauce - square

Maryland Crab Cakes

Enjoy this classic Maryland crab cakes recipe any time you like. It is easy to make and is ready in less than 20 minutes. Crab cakes are delicious and the right seasoning makes them even tastier. It's one of the most coveted seafood appetizer recipe.
5 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Seafood
Keyword: crab cakes, Maryland crab cakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 5 Crab Cakes
Calories: 142kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces crab meat (drained, shells removed and patted dry)
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon (or parsley)
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs (divided in half)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (heaping)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard (heaping)
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil to fry crab cakes

Instructions

  • Drain crabmeat, pick out shells and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Add crabmeat, bell pepper, tarragon, 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, mayo, dried mustard, old bay seasoning and optional horseradish to a medium mixing bowl and mix with a rubber spatula.
  • Make as many cakes as you like. I made 5 good sized cakes.
  • Add 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs to a shallow dish and place each cake in and coat the sides until all the cakes are covered.
  • Heat a sauté pan and once that heats up, add oil.
  • Place as many crab cakes as you can in the sauté pan and cook 4 minutes each side or until they are evenly browned.
  • Remove cakes and place on a decorative platter. Drizzle a sauce over the cakes and serve with some tartar sauce or/and cocktail sauce.
  • Plate
  • Eat
  • Enjoy
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Notes

Helpful tips
  • I used canned jumbo lump crab meat because it’s easier. You can even use fresh crab meat if you prefer.
  • If you do use canned, make sure to drain the crab fully and pick out any shells.
  • Use a paper towel to pat down the crab so there isn’t excess water.
  • I use tarragon in this recipe, but you can substitute parsley if you prefer.
  • Use a big enough sauté pan or skillet so you can fit all the crab cakes in there at once.
  • When cooking them, press down gently with your spatula on the crab cakes to make sure they brown evenly.

Nutrition

Serving: 1crab cake | Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 753mg | Potassium: 168mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 13.8mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1.3mg
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48 Comments

  1. Those cute little crab cakes look TERRIFIC! I love that you use the Tarragon with them! I have never made a crab cake but have read many recipes – some say fry – some say bake. Some say fry and then bake. Have you tried other methods too?

    1. Hi Wendi,

      Yes, I have tried different ways. But I like just sautéing them on the stove. I don’t think the baking is necessary. Before, when I baked them, they were drier than I like so, only stove top for me.

      Elaine

  2. I don’t know what’s up with me, but I’m crab crazy right now! I’ve gotta try these crab cakes too (meaning along with the Creamy Crab Dip that I want to try) Yum!

    1. Hehe Deb! Yes, it really is crazy good. And the crab dip is seriously my most asked for recipe for me to make at relatives (other than cocktails of course)

  3. What a wonderful recipe! I am going to have to make these for my husband this summer. He loves crab cakes and usually only gets them if we travel to florida. Pinning this now

  4. Crab cakes are one of my favorite dishes to make and your recipe looks perfect! I often make this as my main course with a simple salad.

  5. Dried mustard and horseradish sound like wonderful additions to the mix. Wonderful instructions on the preparation too!

  6. You didn’t know it – but – this recipe is so well timed! I love crab cakes but have been on the fence about making mine and get store bought instead. But, not anymore! You make these exquisite beauts so easy to make – and so flavor packed!

  7. I love crab. These look delicious. I think I will get hubby to cook some of these on the grill this week for dinner.

  8. They look so fresh and healthy! Perfect light dish for the upcoming warmer days! Great photos too!

  9. These look delicious. I am not sure I can find canned crab meat where I am right now. I guess tuna would be a pretty poor substitution I’ll bookmark this and try it once back in Canada.

  10. These sounds so good! I am vegetarian, but I have heard that chopping up artichoke hearts works as a great substitute for crab in crab cakes. Can’t wait to try it!

  11. i can never say no to these…your version looks exceptionally delicious!

  12. You are so funny, Elaine, your posts always put a smile on my face 🙂 . And your crab cakes are delicious! Pretty easy and super yummy!

  13. Crab cakes are one of my favorite dishes and I love the horseradish and tarragon in your dish! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Crabcakes are one of my family’s favorite parts of our annual Maryland vacation. Yours look just like the ones we get there! YUM!

  15. I love crabcakes! It’s one of those things I have a hard time passing up when I see it on a menu!

  16. Oh my goodness…these look DIVINE! I worked in a restaurant when I was in college and they had the best crab cakes….ok yours look 1000 times better! I’m so making these soon!!

  17. I love the flavor of tarragon with seafood. This crab cakes are totally calling my name and I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  18. My husband loves crab cakes, but it’s usually a treat reserved for nights out. I’m definitely going to have to surprise him with these sometime!

  19. You mentioned old bay seasoning initially but did not include it as an ingredient in the recipe. Was that an oversight?

    1. Hi Monica! Definitely an oversight. I’d switched recipe cards and a few of my recipes dropped an ingredient. I caught those but didn’t catch this. I updated the recipe card – it’s a scant 1/4 teaspoon, because a little goes a long way, in my opinion.

  20. I’d like to try this soon at our island rental, where I can get very fresh crab. It looks great and sounds easy. I need more info on is the sauce you mentioned, which seems to be drizzled on the crab cakes in the photo. You said horseradish aioli – is there a brand you can buy or did you make it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sandrine, I bought the sauce at the grocery store by the seafood. It was Stonewall Kitchen’s horseradish aioli. It was quite delicious! I hope you can find it, but I bet any horseradish aioli brand would work. I hope you enjoy the crab cakes when you make them. And there is nothing like fresh crabs!!

  21. I so enjoy your site and your recipes. Would you please consider adding a print option so we can enjoy your recipes a little more easily. Thank you.
    Regards
    rose martine

    1. Rose, there is a print option both at the top of the post and in the recipe card. Thank you for your kind words!