When you live in Maryland, eating Chesapeake blue crabs is practically a religion—and, in my family, we are all loyal devotees. Every summer, we hit all of our favorite crab shacks, from local joints all the way to dives on the Eastern shore, where you can look out over the Bay and put your feet in the sand. I’d never attempt making steamed blue crabs at home (live crabs, giant steamers—yikes!) but I do often make crab cakes, which are just as delicious and so much easier to prepare, not to mention eat. The key is to use fresh lump crabmeat and to go light on the filler. These have just enough filler to bind the crabmeat together and also add great flavor. I love them with the quick tartar sauce below, but you could also serve them with lemon wedges or cocktail sauce.
The most important thing when you’re making crab cakes is to use fresh, good quality lump crab meat. I get mine at Whole Foods, which can be expensive, but one pound is enough to make six generous crab cakes (or 12 mini ones), which feeds my family of four easily.
To begin, combine the eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay, salt, celery, and parsley in a bowl.
Add the crab meat (be sure to check the meat for any hard and sharp cartilage) and panko; gently fold mixture together until just combined, being careful not to shred the crab meat.
Shape into 6 crab cakes (about ½ cup each) and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This is really important to help the crab cakes set.
Preheat a large nonstick pan to medium heat and coat with canola oil. When oil is hot, place crab cakes in pan and cook until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Flip and cook 3 to 5 minutes more, or until golden. Be careful as oil may splatter.
Meanwhile, make the tartar sauce.
Combine the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sweet pickle relish, red onion, lemon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Whisk well, then cover and chill until ready to serve with the crab cakes.
My Recipe Videos
Maryland Crab Cakes with Quick Tartar Sauce
For the Crab Cakes
- 2 large eggs
- 2-1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup finely diced celery, from one stalk
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 pound lump crab meat (see note below)
- 1/2 cup panko
- Vegetable oil, for cooking
For the Quick Tartar Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
- 1-1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced red onion
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Crab Cakes
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
- Combine the eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay, salt, celery, and parsley in a large bowl and mix well. Add the crab meat (be sure to check the meat for any hard and sharp cartilage) and panko; using a rubber spatula, gently fold the mixture together until just combined, being careful not to shred the crab meat. Shape into 6 crab cakes (each about ½ cup) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This helps them set.
- Preheat a large nonstick pan to medium heat and coat with canola oil. When the oil is hot, place the crab cakes in the pan and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Be careful as oil may splatter. Serve immediately with tartar sauce or a squeeze of lemon.
For the Quick Tartar Sauce
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
- Note: If you can only find jumbo lump crab meat, you may need to break the pieces up a bit. If the clumps are too large, the crab cakes won't hold together well.
- Note: The nutritional information is for the crab cakes only.
- Serving size: 2 crab cakes
- Calories: 299
- Fat: 14 g
- Saturated fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 9 g
- Sugar: 1 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 32 g
- Sodium: 1141 mg
- Cholesterol: 275 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.