Crab cakes are a staple dish of Maryland cuisine, but making the perfect lump crab cake can be a challenge. Discover the secrets to creating the most delicious crab cake you’ve ever tasted.
Have you ever tasted a perfectly made lump Maryland crab cake? The kind that melts in your mouth, leaving you craving for more? I didn’t realize how good crab cakes could be until I lived in Virginia.
I am about to reveal the secrets I learned to making the best lump Maryland crab cake you’ve ever had. I’ll show you how to select the freshest crab meat, choose the right binder, use the perfect spices and seasonings, cook it like a pro, and present it like a champion.
This crab cake recipe comes from a very well known seafood restaurant in Annapolis MD, a place my family and I would frequent when we lived in Virginia. They also had the most fabulous tartar sauce to go along with these crab cakes.
So, grab a lobster bib, put on your chef’s hat, and let’s get started!
What is different about Maryland style crab cakes?
Before we delve into the binder ingredients for your lump Maryland crab cake, let’s talk about the importance of selecting the freshest crab meat.
When selecting your crab meat, look for meat that is moist, plump, and has a sweet, briny aroma. The meat should be a light beige color with hints of pink or brown, but avoid any meat that looks discolored or has visible dark spots.
It’s also important to consider the texture of the meat. Ideally, you want meat that is firm and chunky, with large pieces of lump crab meat. Avoid meat that is shredded or flaked, which will not hold up well in your crab cake.
Choosing the Right Binder
When it comes to making the perfect lump Maryland crab cake, selecting the right binder is just as important as choosing the right crab meat. A binder is used to hold the crab cake together and give it the perfect consistency – not too dry, not too wet.
You have a few different options for binders when making crab cakes. Many people use mayonnaise, which adds moisture and flavor. Others swear by beaten egg, which provides a firmer texture. Some people even use breadcrumbs or crackers, which help to bind the crab meat together and absorb any excess moisture.
Jumbo Maryland Crab Cake Ingredients:
While some recipes may call for a laundry list of ingredients, it’s important to remember that less is more when it comes to binders as well as seasoning crab. The goal is to enhance the natural sweetness and brininess of the crab, not mask it.
This recipe follows the Maryland way of making them which has very little filler.
- Lump Crab – Blue crab if you can find it or jumbo crab and claw meat
- Dry Binder – You can use bread crumbs, crackers, saltine crackers, or homemade breadcrumbs. My choice are old fashioned saltine crackers everytime!
- Wet Binder – Large egg, mayonnaise, Dijon (trust me on this)
- Dry Spices – Old Bay seasoning, it’s the only way
- Wet Spices – Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon juice
Jumbo lump crab meat can be found in most supermarkets in a can in the seafood section. It will look like the picture below. You should be able to see chunks of meat, no binder, filler or imitation crab meat.
How to Make Maryland Style Crab Cakes:
- Gently fold the crabmeat, crackers, Old Bay and parsley together. Refrigerate while going to step 2.
- Combine the mayonnaise, egg, Worcestershire and parsley together in bowl and combine with the refrigerated crab.
- Gently form into patties (for an appetizer, this will make 12 or 6 dinner size patties)
- Preheat your broiler and grease a baking sheet or use a Silpat. This gets very hot and parchment can burn.
- Place the crab cakes on the sheet and brush them with a small amount of melted butter to help them crisp up. Broil for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
Presentation and Pairings
Now that you know how to cook up a delicious crab cake, let’s talk about presentation and pairings. A well-presented meal can elevate any dish and make it even more enjoyable. Start by serving your crab cakes on a bed of fresh greens with freshly sliced lemon wedges. This not only adds color and texture to your plate but also helps to balance out the richness of the crab cake.
You can also pair your crab cakes with some classic sides such as coleslaw, potato salad, or start the meal off with a seafood inspired soup such as our crab bisque with sherry. It’s the most incredible soup you’ll ever have!
Finally, don’t forget the sauce! A simple tartar sauce or aioli can enhance the flavors of the crab cake and add some tanginess to your dish.
More Seafood Recipes You Will Love:
- Start the party right with our Roasted Garlic Shrimp Cocktail – you will never boil shrimp again!
- Buttery Garlic Baked Scallops – a TEN in my book
- Fish ‘n Chips always hits the spot.
JUMBO MARYLAND CRAB CAKES
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Fresh Jumbo Lump Maryland Crabcakes
- Total Time: 35 min
- Yield: 12 small or 6 large 1x
Discover how to make some the freshest best Maryland crab cakes you’ve ever had, right in your own home!
- 1 lb Backfin or Lump Crab Meat
- 1 lb Claw Crabmeat
- ¼ – ½ Cup crushed crackers (start with ¼ cup and add if necessary)
- 1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
- ½ Cup Mayonnaise
- ½ Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten
- ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Juice from ½ Lemon
- Gently fold the crabmeat, cracker crumbs, Old Bay and parsley together, being careful not to shred the crab meat. Cover with a damp paper towel and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, egg, Worcestershire sauce and parsley. Add the crab to the bowl and gently combine with a spoon or your hands. Make sure the crab cake mixture is cold.
- Portion the crab into 4 oz. mounds and gently shape into a hockey puck, patting ever so lightly and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all the crab is gone and lightly sprinkle them with more Old Bay seasoning.
- When ready to cook, gently brush the crab cakes with a little olive oil to help them brown.
- Preheat the broiler and broil for 10 minutes or until crab cakes are golden brown.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS:
THE MOST INCREDIBLE CRAB BISQUE
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cook Time: 10 min
- Category: Dinner
- Serving Size: 1 crab cake
- Calories: 168 calories
- Sodium: 848 mg
- Fat: 12 gr
- Carbohydrates: 13.96
- Fiber: 0.6
- Protein: 8.3
- Cholesterol: 56 mg
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Excellent recipe! I am from Maryland and this is the best recipe I have tried.
These were amazing! I don’t do mayonnaise so I substituted Greek yogurt I used most of the cracker mix but it was like there was no filler at all. Broil low if you can if not it’s less than 10 minutes on high
I just made this recipe for the very first time and they taste amazing.
I broiled them to perfection. Thanks for sharing the recipe and especially the tips
These sound wonderful, but if I use parchment under the broiler won’t it catch on fire?
hi Dana – you can use a Silpat if you prefer.
Great recipe. I made a few adjustments. I don’t like how Old Bay can overpower the natural taste of the crab so I omit the seasoning. Folks can sprinkle on if they like. I also use panko breadcrumbs instead of crackers.
Can these be made the night before, refrigerated, and then broiled the next day?
yes they can Barbara
An avid follower
OUTSTANDING recipe. I’ve made several dozen crab cake recipes through the years and I’ve always been disappointed. This one WILL NOT disappoint. Fabulous with some homemade tartar sauce (I just add a little pickle relish to mayo and squeeze of lemon). Truly outstanding. Thanks !!!
Should I broil on high or low?
there is usually only 1 setting on an oven to broil,my oven goes to 500 degrees when it’s on broil mode.
1st time making and I followed the recipe exactly. They were great and even better the next day. I got 8 4oz cakes. Will definitely make again.
This recipe if fantastic. We’ve made them several time now and they always come out perfect.
So glad I found your website. I followed your recipe to a T and it was awesome!
These were outrageously good. A little expensive but I made them for appetizers and everyone loved them. Thx deb!
I made these tonight and loved it! Couldn’t go to Virginia Beach this year with Covid and was craving crab cakes of catch 31 at the Hilton. These are simply awesome truly made this girl happy tonight. Thank you for sharing your recipe
How many does this make with the basic recipe?
I got 8 4oz cakes…very nice serving.
This recipe reminds me of Gabler’s, which was on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. They had the BEST crab cakes. Jumbo lump crab, Old Bay Seasoning and just enough filler to hold it together. $ 5.00 for 1 jumbo lump crab cake. People came from NY, NJ, PA as well as MD for their crab cakes. Sadly, they closed down 20+ years ago.