These broiled Baltimore crab cakes are made with meaty, tender lumps of crab meat and very little filler! This recipe combines lemon, worcestershire, dijon, fresh parsley and old bay seasoning. Makes 12 delicious crab cakes!
What are Baltimore crab cakes?
Baltimore style crab cakes are also referred to as Maryland crab cakes. They’re made of large pieces of crab meat and are held together with little or no breading. There are actually two types of Maryland/Baltimore crab cakes:
- Restaurant style crab cakes are just held together with egg and contain no breading or mayonnaise.
- Boardwalk style crab cakes contain more ingredients and are held together with just a small amount of breading. Both are prepared with old bay seasoning and fresh lemon.
Why you’ll love this recipe
This recipe mimics boardwalk-style crab cakes. I use panko breadcrumbs because they’re light and more delicate than regular bread crumbs. The crab cakes are flavored with dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, lemon, old bay seasoning and fresh parsley.
The crab cakes are brushed with butter, baked and then placed under the broiler for a few minutes so they form a golden-brown crust.
Frequently asked questions
Use handpicked jumbo lump or lump crab meat. Make sure it’s the refrigerated variety. Refrigerated crab meat is usually located in the refrigerated section of your grocer’s seafood section.
Yes, traditional Baltimore crab cakes are made with blue crab, however this type of crab is only native to the Maryland/Chesapeake bay area. If you have access to blue crab, certainly use it! You can also buy it online.
Handpicked simply means that the crab meat was picked from the shell by hand. Machine picked crab meat tends to have broken pieces of the shell in it, so that’s why hand-picked is preferred.
This version is healthy because the crab cakes are baked and broiled instead of fried. They also contain little filler (breading) which means they’re low in carbs.
Here’s everything you’ll need to make Baltimore crab cakes. Refer to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- 1 pound of handpicked lump crab meat – use hand-picked jumbo lump, or lump crabmeat. Make sure it’s the refrigerated kind.
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Large egg
- Dijon mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
- Lemon juice
- Old bay seasoning (see recipe card notes for substituting the old bay)
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Salted butter – melted
- Non-stick cooking spray – to keep the crab cakes from sticking to the baking sheet
- Cocktail sauce or tartar sauce for dipping
- Lemon wedges for serving
Steps 1 & 2: Prep the ingredients
Preheat your oven to 400°F and drain your crab meat. You can gently pat the crab meat dry with a paper towel, but don’t handle the crab meat too much! You don’t want the crab meat breaking apart.
Place the crab meat in a bowl and inspect it for broken shells. In a small separate bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and dry seasonings together.
Step 3: Combine all ingredients
Add the mayo mixture to the large bowl of crabmeat. Add the egg, panko and chopped parsley. Mix everything together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Try not to over-mix, you want the lumps of crab to remain in tact.
Step 4: Form the crab cakes
Using an ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup, portion the crabmeat mixture into mounds. Don’t flatten flatten the crab cakes! Arrange the crab cakes on a greased baking sheet as you portion them.
Step 5: Brush each crab cake with butter
Melt 4 tablespoons of salted or unsalted butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the butter has melted, brush each crab cake with a generous amount of butter.
Step 6: Bake then broil the crab cakes
Bake the crab cakes in the oven for 13 minutes, then turn your broiler on and let them sit under the broiler for 3-5 minutes more. Watch the crab cakes closely to make sure they don’t burn.
Step 7: Plate and serve the crab cakes
Remove the crab cakes from the oven and use a large metal spatula to loosen the crab cakes from the baking sheet. Transfer the crab cakes to a plate or serving tray.
Garnish with fresh parlsey and lemon wedges. Serve the crab cakes with fresh lemon, melted butter or cocktail sauce.
Best sides for crab cakes
Simple sides really compliment Baltimore style crab cakes. Here are some ideas:
- Corn on the cob
- Roasted potatoes
- Mixed greens salad
- Clam chowder or seafood bisque
- Condiments: melted butter and lemon, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, remoulade or aioli
Substitutions and Variations
- Crab cake enthusiasts swear by using saltines rather than panko as the filler.
- You can substitute regular breadcrumbs for panko.
- If you don’t have old bay seasoning, refer to the notes section of the recipe card below.
- Restaurant-style crab cakes: eliminate the mayo and panko completely. This version is also gluten free.
- Healthier, low-carb crab cakes: reduce the amount of panko and mayo.
- For bigger crab cakes: double the size of the patties, or halve them for smaller ones
- Make a delicious crab cake sandwich or sliders, by serving the crab cakes on brioche buns or slider buns. Brush the buns with remoulade or aioli. Lettuce and tomato are optional.
Storing and reheating leftovers
Store any leftover crab cakes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the crab cakes on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes.
Crab cakes can be frozen for up to six months and then baked and broiled. You can pre-bake them or just freeze the uncooked patties. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag prior to freezing
- Use refrigerated, handpicked lump crab meat
- Inspect the crab meat for shells, even when using handpicked crab meat.
- When making the crab cake mixture, be gentle not to break the crab meat up too much
- Don’t pack or flatten the crab cakes
- Use non-stick cooking spray to grease the baking sheet so the crab cakes don’t stick.
- Pay close attention while broiling, so the crab cakes don’t burn.
Recipes you’ll love
- Crab Spinach and Artichoke Dip
- Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl – New England Style
- Connecticut Lobster Roll Recipe – No Mayo
- Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw Recipe
Easy Baltimore Crab Cakes Recipe
Crab cake ingredients:
- 1 pound lump crabmeat hand picked, refrigerated
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
- ⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- non-stick cooking spray
- cocktail sauce tartar sauce or melted butter
- extra lemon wedges
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain the liquid from the crabmeat, using a mesh strainer. You can gently pat the crab meat dry with a paper towel if you wish. Transfer the crab meat to a mixing bowl. Inspect the crab meat closely to make sure there are no shells.
- In a small separate bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and dry seasonings together.
- Add the mayo mixture to the large bowl of crabmeat. Add the egg, panko breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Mix everything together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Try not to over-mix because you want the lumps of crab to remain in tact.
- Using an ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup, portion the crab meat mixture into mounds. Don't pack or flatten the crab cakes. Arrange each crab cake on a greased baking sheet as you shape them.
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter over a low flame until fully melted. Use a pastry brush to brush each crab cake with a generous amount of butter.
- Bake the crab cakes in the oven for 13 minutes, then turn your broiler on and let them sit under the broiler for 3-5 minutes more. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
- Remove the crab cakes from the broiler, and remove each crab cake from the baking sheet using a large, metal spatula. Arrange them on a platter and serve with fresh lemon wedges, melted butter, tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon celery salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon of onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Use refrigerated, handpicked lump crab meat.
- When making the crab cake mixture, be gentle not to break the crab meat up too much
- Don't pack or flatten the crab cakes
- Pay close attention while broiling, so the crab cakes don't burn.
Here are some everyday food safety tips:
- Make sure to inspect your crab meat for any shells
- Never leave the crab cakes unattended while they’re broiling!
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
- Don’t leave the crab cakes sitting at room temperature for extended periods. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.