Maryland Crab Cakes are an iconic Maryland dish, and here on the Eastern Shore, most people eat crab daily during the summer months. There are almost as many ways to use crab in dishes as honey. Almost. Voiceover Forest Gump: Crab meat is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, steam it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, crab-cakes, crab creole, crab gumbo. You can fry crab, deep-fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple crab, lemon crab, coconut crab, crab soup, crab stew, crab bisque, crab salad, crab and potatoes, crab cake, crab sandwich. That- that’s about it…and you get the picture. If you live in Maryland for any period of time you develop a taste for crab cakes.
You probably have most of the ingredients that you need for this recipe already in your fridge and pantry: breadcrumbs, eggs, mayonnaise (I love Sir Kensington’s), Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay Seasoning, some tartar sauce, and a little honey. All it takes is some delicious backfin lump crab meat (fresh from your local fish market, if possible) to make them spectacular.
What makes a Maryland style crab cake?
First thing’s first, Maryland crab cakes are made from blue crabs that are found in the Chesapeake Bay. The way that the cake is made is with very little filler so that you can really appreciate the taste of the meat without being distracted by a bunch of bread. And it is without question that a Maryland Crab Cake must also contain old bay seasoning a seasoning blend made in Maryland by McCormick Spice.
Some notes on handling crab meat:
- When you bring the lump crabmeat home from the market, make sure that they pack it up with ice. Even if you are only traveling a short distance, this is delicate seafood and it can spoil quickly. Better safe than sorry.
- When you get home, it’s best to gently rinse the crab meat under cold water.
- While rinsing, it’s wise to pick through the meat and be sure to remove any shells that may have been missed in the packing of the meat.
Can you freeze crab meat?
Yes, you can freeze crab meat, but thawing it out involves a trick or two. First, don’t leave it in the freezer for more than a couple of weeks, especially if it’s lump crab meat. There are air spaces in between the lump and in a short while, in my experience, the crab meat gets freezer burn.
Can you freeze crab cakes?
Yes, you can, but they won’t be as good when you thaw and reheat them. It’s best to get fresh crab meat and enjoy eating fresh crab cakes.
How do you store crab cakes?
Store crab cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. I put them on a folded paper towels to draw any oils out and prevent them from becoming soggy.
How do you reheat crab cakes?
Preheat the oven to 325, cover a cookie sheet with foil, place crab cakes into oven for 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to leave them in the oven too long as they will dry out and become chewy.
How to Make Maryland Crab Cakes
First, you’ll need to gather up all of your ingredients to make this crab cake recipe. When it comes to purchasing backfin, we look to our fishmonger for the very best, most fresh-picked crab meat that we can get. Frozen crab meat just doesn’t cut it. Please find only the very best ingredients. Here is a list of what you’ll need:
- Jumbo lump backfin crab meat
- Sir Kensington’s mayonnaise
- Challah breadcrumbs
- Fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Dry mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
- Waxing Kara Honey
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Extra virgin olive oil
Making this Crab Cake Recipe
You’ll be using your hands a lot for this recipe, it’s just easier that way. Make sure that they are clean when you get started. Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients, follow these steps to make the best crab cakes, ever:
Step One: Check the crab meat for shells
This is a very important step. You don’t want anyone choking or getting hurt from shells. Some crab comes “cleaner” than others and you don’t want to make any assumptions. pick through the meat carefully so that you don’t lose the shape of the lumps. After all, that lump is what makes a Maryland style crab cake!
Step Two: Mix the crab cakes
Mix together all ingredients except for crab and butter. Add in crab and mix well with your hands. Once mixed well (without losing the shape of the lump) Measure out 1/2 cup size mounds and form 5-6 medium-sized crab cakes. Or for crab balls In miniature measure 1 generous tablespoon and roll into a ball shape. Crab balls are a perfect party “pick-up” food.
Note: if the meat isn’t sticking together well enough, adjust bread crumbs if needed I find that if I am using my hands for the making of the cakes, I can dip my hand in the bread crumbs and use what sticks to my hand and that’s just enough to hold it all together. On the other hand, if the meat is too dry, add a little mayo.
Step Three: Pan-fry the crab cakes
I prefer to pan-fry these cakes over medium-high heat in a butter and olive oil combination. You may also choose to broil your crab cakes. Broiling takes more babysitting and if you lose track of your crab cakes you can burn them in the broiler. I don’t like to risk burning the crab cakes.
This is a rare fried recipe on this blog.
That being said, we feel that frying up the crab cakes is essential; without the heat of a skillet, they won’t get the golden crispy exterior that we all love. You can also broil crab cakes if you prefer not to fry them to achieve a golden brown cake. Just know that they won’t have the same golden appearance along with that crunch we expect from fried cakes. When pan-frying, we use both a little butter and a little olive oil, but you can always use just olive or coconut oil.
You’ll want to make a big batch of these Maryland Crab Cakes they go fast!
What do you serve with these easy-to-make Maryland crab cakes?
- For a whole meal, you can serve these crab cakes with a fresh salad, or seasonal grilled veggies
- Make crab balls (miniature crab cakes) and serve as an appetizer with a side of Russian dressing
- These cakes even make a perfect sandwich just add one crab cake to a delicious brioche top with a slice of tomato, lettuce, and a dollop of mayonnaise.
- In our video below, within the recipe card, we’ve served them with Honey Mustard Sauce
- In many local restaurants, crab cakes are served with a side of shrimp cocktail sauce
- Crab cakes are commonly served with a side of tartar sauce
Adapting this Easy Maryland Crab Cake Recipe
There are always many different ways to make these crab cakes your own. Switch things up a bit, try seasoning you’ve never used before or swap an ingredient with one of your favorites. We always encourage making kitchen time fun at Waxing Kara Honey House. Here are some ideas:
- Prepare the cakes the night before, allowing them to set overnight will make them more flavorful
- Instead of using mayonnaise and dry mustard, use an equal amount of dijon mustard in place of the two ingredients
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice over top and sprinkle with fresh parsley just before serving for a flavorful twist
So. Darn. Good.
If you decide to try these fantastic recipes, be sure to take a photo and share them with us using #waxingkararecipes on Instagram. We love seeing your photos!
Maryland Crab Cakes
- 1 lb crab meat jumbo lump backfin
- 1/2 c mayonnaise Sir Kensington's
- 2 tbsp. breadcrumbs challah
- 1 tbsp. parsley fresh
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp. Waxing Kara Honey Waxing Kara Eastern Shore
- 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- Mix together all ingredients except for crab and butter.
- Add in crab and mix well, forming about 6 medium sized crab cakes. Adjust bread crumbs and mayo if needed (add more bread crumbs if too wet, add a little mayo if too dry).
- Pan-fry over medium-high heat in butter and oil combination.
Whatever way you serve these crab cakes, you, your family and or your guests will fall in love at first bite. Watch our video below to see how easy it is to put this recipe together. Enjoy these crab cakes with the honey mustard sauce we make in this awesome recipe:
Honey Mustard Sauce with Soft Pretzel Bites
Serve these crabcakes with our Southern Cornbread for a perfect pairing!
This Watermelon Feta Salad goes well with these crab cakes. Perfect summer pair!