The Best Crab Cakes Recipe
Chock full of jumbo lump crabmeat, the Very Best Crab Cakes are light on fillers for the most perfect tender bite you’ll ever take. Simple to prepare, these crab cakes are perfect for easy weeknight dinners or elegant dinner parties.
If you didn’t get your fill of seafood this summer, you’re in luck. I’m sharing my FAVORITE recipe ever with you today and it’s made the only way it should be. The Best Crab Cakes ever made have very little filler making them tender, succulent and perfect.
I’m a very picky crab cake eater so I tend to shy away from them at restaurants. A lot of places tend to keep their costs down by plumping up their crab cakes with tons of fillers…mainly breadcrumbs. Lots and lots of breadcrumbs.
Then, they dredge them in MORE breadcrumbs before frying them….and basically what you’re left with is a mealy crab dip, deep fried and coated in crusty crumbs. I’m more of a purist when it comes to my crab cakes.
If you’re a crab lover, crab cakes are like the best thing ever. Maryland crab cakes are a type of fish cake, similar to my salmon patties, made of crab meat mixed with mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, lemon, mustard and little else.
They’re usually pan fried, baked, broiled or even deep fried but this recipe we use the pan frying method because it gives the outside a nice crust but leaves the inside tender.
Some versions of crab cakes even mix in Old Bay seasoning which adds a nice eastern shore flavor but I prefer to make them without it.
How To Make Them
This easy Crab Cake comes together quickly making it ideal for a quick dinner.
I like them loaded with jumbo lump crab meat, a little mayo, a little mustard, a teensy bit of breadcrumbs, parsley, a squeeze of lemon and some seasoning. Keep it simple and you will have the best Maryland style Crab Cake in your life.
Step by Step Instructions
Whisk together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and mustard.
Pick over the crabmeat for shells.
Fold the crab meat and breadcrumbs into the sauce being careful not to break up the crab too much.
Shape the crab into 6 equal size patties and arrange on a baking sheet.
Chill the patties for 30 minutes to allow them to firm up.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Add the crab cakes to the pan and cook until golden. Flip and continue to cook on the other side until golden.
Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon.
What Type of Crab To Use
We use jumbo lump crab only for this recipe. Jumbo lump crab comes from larger crabs and is sold in tubs or cans in your grocer’s seafood department.
It is quite expensive so you can use a less expensive lump crab for this recipe if you prefer or if Jumbo Lump is unavailable.
- Pick over the crab meat for shells. I guarantee you’ll find one or two and you definitely don’t want to find them when you’re eating your crab cakes.
- Fold the crab meat into the sauce, carefully. You can’t to keep as much of the crab in tact as you can so don’t manhandle it when mixing the ingredients together.
- CHILL your crab cakes before cooking. By chilling your crab patties, this will help them from falling apart while cooking.
- Breadcrumbs matter. We use Panko Breadcrumbs, which are lighter and less dense than traditional breadcrumbs. The lighter crumb helps the crab cakes remain light and tender.
How To Freeze Crab Cakes
To freeze your Maryland Crab Cakes, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment and transfer to the freezer.
Freeze until firm.
Wrap each crab cake in plastic wrap and transfer to a freezer bag or freezer safe container.
Freeze for up to 6 months.
This homemade Crab Cake recipe is great for weeknight dinners because they come together in less than 30 minutes. But they also make a great first course for entertaining or make little mini crab cakes for a passable appetizer for the holidays.
What To Serve Them With
Crab Cakes are super versatile and can be served with just about anything. We love them in a casual setting the Baltimore way with a side of coleslaw and a pile of Truffle Fries.
We also love to make the ultimate crab cake sandwich for a low key summer dinner!
Or you can serve them surf and turf style with a juicy Filet Mignon! Top them with homemade cocktail sauce or drizzle them with hollandaise.
They’re a great addition to a buffet with this simple Shrimp Cocktail and these super amazing Tuna Sundaes (don’t let the name sway you…they’re spectacular.)
I bet you never knew how versatile and easy a crab cake can be, am I right? And this is the World’s Best Crab Cake Recipe…..for reals.
More Easy Crab Recipes
If you’re looking for something a little more along the lines of a dip….may I tempt you with this super easy, extra cheesy Hot Crab Dip?
We also love this crab dip because you just, basically, mix all the ingredients in a bowl then start the dipping. Or try these super simple Stuffed Mushrooms.…stuffed with CRAB.
This super easy Crab Salad is basically throwing a bunch of stuff in a bowl and tossing it around. OR this Maryland Style Crab Soup is healthy and packed with veggies….we make it all the time and it DOES have Old Bay in it.
If you’re in the mood for crabs in the shell, these Dungeness crabs are as easy as they are tasty!
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Get the Recipe: The Very Best Crab Cakes Recipe
- 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over for shells
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce, I use Tabasco
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a medium bowl, carefully pick over the crab and remove any shells.
- In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, dijon, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, egg, pepper, lemon zest and parsley.
- Add the mayonnaise mixture to the crab and, carefully, fold together being careful not to break up the crab meat too much. Gently fold in the breadcrumbs.
- Form 1/3 cup of the crab mixture into 8 patties and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Chill for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the crab cakes and cook over medium heat until golden, approximately 3-4 minutes. Turn the crab cakes over with a spatula. Cook until golden brown, crispy and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with tartar sauce and lemon wedges, if desired.
115 Comments on “The Best Crab Cakes Recipe”
Didn’t see where in the recipe to add parsley.
I updated the recipe, thank you!!!
Could I use imitation crab meat instead?
You could but the flavor will not be the same. Imitation crab meat is really fish, I’d stick with the real stuff.
Was looking for low calorie option. Impressed with your recipe. Please tell me 2700 calories is a misprint.
Ha ha! Yes! I have a new recipe card that calculates nutrition facts. We’re working out the kinks. I’ll make the adjustment for you now.
“Form 1/3 cup of the crab mixture into 8 patties “. — why only us 1/3 cup of the mixture. What are you doing with the rest of it?
Made these with my daughter last night, who loves crab cakes, and is very picky. We all loved them! Even the 7 year old loved them. I’ll have to double the recipe next time. Thanks for an easy and delicious recipe!
Thank you so much for commenting! I’m so glad everyone loved them and, yes, we double the recipe every time now! 🙂
I didn’t have parsley (I know, who doesn’t have parsley) so I chopped up some cilantro instead and the crab cakes turned out just fine. I halved the recipe, because I only had 8 ounces of crab meat, but kept the 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs and didn’t find it too bready. I like to put in a pinch of Old Bay seasoning because that’s the recipe I grew up with.
Sometimes I like the addition of Old Bay, too! Cilantro probably gave it a great citrusy flavor….I’m going to have to try that!
The flavor of these crab cakes is perfect. The texture didn’t hold up. I’m wondering what would bind them more without changing the flavor.
If you wanted to freeze these when would you do it? Before or after their cooked?
I’d freeze before they’re cooked and then either thaw, then cook according to directions OR cook from frozen by baking on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.
6 minutes total… right?
Going to try this recipe this weekend, due to the fact that I have a very expensive 4 year old that loves fish, shrimp, lobster, and sushi. So I am excited to try it.
LOL! My 6 year old loves them! He’s expensive, too. 🙂
so in the nutrition facts, is ‘per serving’ equal to ‘1 crab cake’?
Approximately 1 crab cake depending on the size you make them.
I can’t seem to see the recipient for the very best crab cakes. Could you please send it to me?
Thanks in advance.
It’s at the bottom of the post. Just scroll down. Thanks!
Yup, this is exactly how I like my crab cakes, too! I love how thick and fabulous these look!!!
I am always up for crab cakes!
Being from Maryland and all. 🙂
What an awesome idea!
Those are the most perfect looking crab cakes I have ever seen!
Nothing I love more than large chunks of crab in my crab cakes… the more the better. It always annoys me when there is more filler than crab!
Looks sooo yummy. Gotta try making these.
Dynamite! These were very good. I actually followed the recipe and made three big-ass-crab-cake sammies. The flavor was excellent. When you’re spending a crap ton of money on expensive jumbo lump crab, you want the crab flavor to come through, and, with this recipe, it did just that. This was a $30 adventure, and, even so, it was worth the money. With that said, they’re super easy to put together. I probably only did about 15 minutes of prep work. The only thing I did differently was to saute’ the veggies first. I don’t like them mushy, but I don’t like them uber crispy, either.
I am soooo glad you loved them and came back to comment. This is, by far, one of my favorite recipes. I like your suggestion to saute the veggies…..definitely a good move and I’m sure it added tons of flavor. Thank you!
Has this recipe changed? I don’t see any veggies listed
Hi! Yes, slightly. I used to add bell peppers and now have just gone straight crab.
I made these last night and they turned out excellent. Very moist and little breading. Very good recipe.
I noticed a comment about sautéing the vegetables? What vegetables? Thanks
Ha ha! Right???? So glad you liked them, though!
So good and so easy to make! Just the right amount of heat! Hubs is already asking when I’ll make it again 🙂
Yay! I’m so glad you loved them!
Like you, I want my crab cakes filled with nice lump crab meat & not loaded with breading. Finally found a good restaurant that fits the bill. Your recipe sounds just like the crab cakes they serve. I am thrilled to find a recipe I can make at home & save $28!
Thank you so much! I’m glad you love them as much as we do!
I made this tonight per recipe and it was wonderful. Made 6 crab cakes and cooked for 4 min per side. YUMMMM.
Yay! So glad you loved it….I hate when recipes don’t work out especially when the ingredients are pricey like this one. So, I try and make sure they work for everyone that tries them. 🙂 Thanks so much!
This is so true about restaurant crab cakes! I’m going to try your recipe.
I hope you love them as much as we do!
Love that you don’t skimp on the crab here! I can’t wait to try this recipe!
I have been searching for a great crab cakes recipe for YEARS…Did I mention YEARS?? All prior seemed to lack “something…” This recipe is simple, and fantastic. Even reheated as leftovers! I believe I will get this recipe tattooed on my arm…..So I have it forever! (LOL!) Thank you, thank you, for giving me a recipe I will cherish for years to come!
Thank you so much for your comment! I feel the same way about other crab cake recipes. So many people stuff them with so much “stuff” they totally lose their crab flavor. I’m so glad you loved them!
Excellent recipe, Kellie. Cooked these this afternoon and they were delicious. Thank you.
For those of you who are not chefs, such as myself, but enjoy trying new recipes, here are a few clarifications. 1. The crab cakes need to be cooked at 340-350 degrees. Medium heat means nothing to me. 2. 1/2 cup of mayo was a little too much. Drop it to 3/8 or 1/4. 3. 1/4 cup of bread crumbs were not enough to bind it together. Consider using a little more.
As I said, I’m not a chef, so take my comments with a grain of salt.
For not being a chef, you are sure full of suggestions. 🙂 So, the mayo is the binding agent, you cut that back and you’re losing your “glue” so to speak. Then you would need more bread crumbs, which if you’ve ever had a true maryland crabcake, there’s little to no filler. Yes, they tend to fall apart a bit but if you don’t manhandle they stay moist and tender as they are intended.
Also, I don’t know about your stove but my stovetop does not have 340-350 degrees on that little knob so unless you’re using an instant read thermometer, most home cooks go by the low/medium/high guidance. Medium heat means medium on your little knob. Turn to medium and cook away. Overall, I’m glad you liked the recipe and offered up your suggestions. Thanks for your time.
This was amazing!!!!!!!! I added shallots and roasted red peppers. This really is the beat crab cake recipe. Thank you
I’m so glad you loved it! And thank you for the comment, I love that you added shallots and roasted red pepper….such a great idea!
No old bay?
Nope. No Old Bay.
Tonight we are using your recipe for the third time.
It’s a flawless recipe that gets easier each time.
Good work Kellie.
Got anything up your sleeve for manta rey?
Thank you…..and no. No manta rey here.
Making these tonight, hope they taste as good as they look, my worry is that they’ll fall apart
They’re amazing….just be sure you chill them before trying to cook them or they will, absolutely, fall apart. Also, handle gently. Enjoy!
I am a vegetarian, so I will not be able to enjoy the tastes of this recipe but I liked the video very much!!!
Hi Kellie!! I tried your recipe last night, exactly as you wrote it. They were amazing. Our neighbors said they were super yummy and delicious. My family asked for more the next day!
Less filler is the key. You are sooo right!
Thank you so much, Nancy!
Where do you say about the egg I see in picture?
In Step 2, you mix it with the other ingredients.
DELISH!!! My 8 year old granddaughter requests them all the time.
I’m so glad!
It can’t be a Maryland crab cake if it doesn’t have any Old Bay in it! Otherwise, it is a good recipe.
I beg to differ….that’s an opinion, not a fact. The best crab cake I’ve had in a restaurant was in Inner Harbor and it did not have Old Bay in it. But thank you!
Delicious! What a wonderfully easy, yet impressive dish! This is a wow-maker for sure!
These crab cakes were a huge hit with everyone in my family! I need to make them again and double the batch! Yum!
Oh my goodness my daughter and I love crab anything! She’s going to be so excited to try these!
making these for an ap for a dinner party tomorrow night. I was going to cook them today and heat them in the oven before guests arrive. Would you suggest I make them into patties and place on a baking sheet and cook them fresh tomorrow for a better result?
Hi Deb! You can absolutely cook them fully today and then place them on a baking sheet to reheat. It actually works very well!
The best crab cake I have ever tasted. Just the right amount of ingredients. I will try several of your recipe , which I know will be great!
Thank you so much!
This recipe was a big hit! My family really enjoyed their crab cakes! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much! I’m so happy you loved them as much as we do!
Made these crab cakes tonite while camping. Made them gluten free, as well. Forgot to bring the GF panko so used crushed GF unsalted crackers. I did pack a little bit of Old Bay, just in case it needed it. It did NOT need it! So very delish! Thank you for a great recipe. Definitely will make these again & again!
Thank you for your comment! I’m so happy you loved the recipe!!
The ingredients are ok, but nothing extra or special here (boring?). However your directions and assembly (video) are absolute amateur hour. From starting with adding the crab first. Crab goes in last, with your crumbs – after everything else has been thouroghly blended – egg included.
That’s your version…..everyone has their own way (and special ingredients) for their crab cakes. Lots of other readers loved them so if you have a better recipe….feel free to make that one. Thanks for your kind comment.
Easy and delicious
Sorry, I’m from Maryland and this is not how we do it. You have to use Old Bay seasoning or something similiar not hot sauce.
Hi Debbie, I know chefs in Maryland that do it a variety of ways…..this is my spin from a restaurant version I tried in St. Michaels. You can certainly make them with your own Maryland twist.
Yum! Best crab cake recipe I have ever made, and I have tried many recipes. I would suggest buying jumbo lump crabmeat and follow the recipe.
I’m so glad you loved it!
I forgot, I did add old bay seasoning.
A great addition!
So good. My family does not like old bay seasoning. Can’t taste the crab that way. These were excellent!
Thank you, Patti!
We live in the Pacific NW so we have LOTS of fresh Dungeness crab, not the Maryland type. It is so wonderful and sweet right out of the shell, but last night I made this recipe as a crab cake first course to dinner. It was fantastic and guests raved! I served with a little homemade lemon aioli. Definitely this will be my crab cake “Go To!”
We LOVE Dungeness crab!!! I bet this was a phenomenal crab cake because of it!
The Eastern Shore of Maryland was my backyard growing-up in the 80’s.. In the open water, we’d float by crabbers and trade a case of beer for a bushel of crabs…. This recipe impressed me. Only variation, I used 1/3 cup mayonnaise and substituted cilantro (parsley tastes like grass to me). The acidity of lemon wedges put this over the top. Great recipe! Thank you for posting…
Thank you so much!!!
Hi Kellie, Just came across your recipe for the best crab cakes and was wondering if you could make them in an air fryer instead of in a pan with oil?
I haven’t tested them out in an air fryer but you can bake them in the oven at 350˚ for 15-20 minutes until crispy on the outside so I assume it would work in an air fryer.
I just came across this recipe a little bit ago and wrote it down, but forgot to make it. Yall it was so good! Our family is not crazy about crab meat anything, but this was so good! I didn’t even have any leftovers left! I was hoping to sneak one for lunch today, guess Ill have to make more!
We made these crab cakes last night for dinner and they were so delicious. An easy recipe that will be on our menu often.
Thank you so much! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!
This is one of the best crab cake recipes that I have tried! It was easy to make, the instructions are also easy to follow. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you for your comment!
I love how I can make delicious crab cakes at home! Not too difficult and so good!
Mmmm!! I could way more than I should!! Crisp & golden, but still soft & delicious!! These are such a crowd-pleasing appetizer!!
We loved these! I am so surprised how easy they are to make, great recipe!
They’re our favorite! So glad you liked them!
I’m a former fish market owner. I made these to bring for Christmas. They were spot on. I did coat the outside with Panko before frying. That way they held together better. Made a simple lemon remoulade.
Sounds perfect! Thank you for your comment!
This looks really good please send me the website thank you
You are on the website, the recipe is above where you left a comment.
The recipe card is right above where you left the comment.
Excellent and easy recipe. Followed directions exactly and got rave reviews. I am going to try your crap salad next. Thank you
Thank you! You’ll love the salad.
I just love to cook all types of food
Me too, thank yoU!