Chock full of jumbo lump crabmeat, the 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. 

Two crab cakes stacked on a white plate with a dollop of tartar sauce on the top and a lemon slice.

Crab Cakes

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.

best crab cakes on a white platter with a bowl of tartar sauce.

How To Make Crab Cakes

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.

  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and mustard.
  2. Pick over the crabmeat for shells.
  3. Fold the crab meat and breadcrumbs into the sauce being careful not to break up the crab too much.
  4. Shape the crab into 6 equal size patties and arrange on a baking sheet.
  5. Chill the patties for 30 minutes to allow them to firm up.
  6. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  7. Add the crab cakes to the pan and cook until golden. Flip and continue to cook on the other side until golden.
  8. Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon.

What are Crab Cakes

If you’re a crab lover, crab cakes are 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 even mix in Old Bay seasoning which adds a nice eastern shore flavor but I prefer to make them without it. 

crab cakes on parchment on a cooling rack 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.

crab cakes on a white platter with gold forks.

Tips for Perfect Crab Cakes

  • 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 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 them remain light and tender.
two crab cakes stacked on a white plate.

How To Freeze

  1. Arrange crab cakes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment and transfer to the freezer. 
  2. Freeze until firm.
  3. Wrap each cake in plastic wrap and transfer to a freezer bag or freezer safe container. 
  4. 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.

mini crab cakes on a white platter.

Best Sides for Crab Cakes

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 in the mood for crabs in the shell, these Dungeness crabs are as easy as they are tasty!


crab cakes on a white platter with gold forks.

Get the Recipe: The Best Crab Cakes Recipe

Maryland style Crab Cakes made with jumbo lump crab meat and very little filler! The BEST crab cake recipe you'll ever make.
4.91 from 66 votes


  • 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


  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 skillet


  • 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.


YouTube video


To freeze: Arrange the crab cakes in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To cook, thaw completely and then cook as instructed in the recipe card.
Serving: 6g, Calories: 234kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 835mg, Potassium: 179mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 0g, Vitamin A: 180IU, Vitamin C: 7.6mg, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 0.9mg