Authentic Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes ~ @SavorySimple

I’ve lived in Maryland for my entire life and I can tell you one thing for sure: we love our crabs. Steamed, boiled, fried, soups, dips, pretzels, crab cakes… it’s what’s for dinner.  When I have friends visit from out of town they always want to go out for crabs and beer.  It’s a tradition!  My family has been having steamed crab get togethers forever.  It’s what we do.  And my grandma has been making these crab cakes for as long as I can remember.  I can tell you with complete certainty: these are the BEST crab cakes you’ll ever have.   All jumbo lump meat, very little filler, no unnecessary ingredients. This recipe is legit.

First note of importance: you need good quality Maryland jumbo lump crab meat for this recipe.  I’m not saying it won’t still be good with grocery store canned meat, but if you want the authentic experience you need to get the good stuff.  We buy ours from a shop attached to a seafood restaurant that sells nothing but fresh seafood prepared in house and the standard fixings: coleslaw and potato salad.  I realize that many areas will not have shops like this but do your best.  Ask around.  Ask your local seafood restaurant for recommendations.

Next: we’ve always used the exact same brands for certain ingredients.  Old Bay, Spice Island’s Fines Herbs, Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard and Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs.  If you follow my blog you know that I don’t typically make a bazillion brand recommendations for a specific recipe.  I’m not saying any old breadcrumb or dijon mustard will cause the recipe to fail but these ingredients are tried and true.  If you use them I guarantee this recipe will live up to its full potential of awesomeness.  This is how I’ve been eating them for over 30 years.  This is how my mom makes them.  This is how my aunt makes them.  Why mess with success?

Last note: these crab cakes freeze very well.  Like everyone else in the family, I tend to make a double recipe and then freeze the leftovers (wrap individually).  They reheat in a couple of minutes and are a perfect meal.  In fact, I think I’ll go defrost one right now!

Authentic Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 5-6 crab cakes
  • 16 ounce container fresh Maryland jumbo lump crab meat (Louisiana crab meat is an acceptable substitute)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup regular mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • ⅛ teaspoon fines herbs
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Set the oven to broil and place the oven rack near the top.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, carefully pick through the crab meat to remove any shells. Try not to break up the lumps.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then whisk in the mayonnaise until well combined.
  4. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Add the Old Bay, fines herbs and garlic powder.
  5. Add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce, stir until well combined.
  6. A little bit at a time, gently stir the wet mixture into the crab meat. This part takes some patience because you really want to avoid breaking up the lump meat.
  7. Carefully form 5-6 crab cakes.
  8. Lightly grease the bottom of a baking sheet (baking spray works well for this) and place the crab cakes on the sheet.
  9. Place a small piece of butter on top of each crab cake.
  10. Broil for 10-15 minutes, keeping a close eye to make sure they do not burn. Don't flip the cakes, just allow them to cook on one side the entire time (the lack of filler makes them very delicate). If the tops seem like they're going to burn, lower the oven rack or switch the broiler to a lower setting. You're not cooking the meat but you want the filling to solidify and the egg to cook through.
  11. When the tops are golden brown, remove the pan from the oven and allow the crab cakes to cool slightly before serving.
I personally like to serve these with saltine crackers and some dijon mustard. That's it.

  • Cooking Spree

    How fantastic! Living on the other coast, I wonder how it would go using all the ingredients you suggest but King crab instead. I think I need to try…

    • Aly

      I can say try it, but the crabs on this coast are just not the same! I miss the Maryland crabs so much. The meat is sweeter, has a lot of flavor, and the texture works better.

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    These are the crab cakes of my dreams!

  • Carolyn Chan

    These look delicious !! So interesting that you only broil them on one side – thanks for explaining that it’s the egg you want to cook through otherwise I would have probably flipped them ! And doubly great that you can freeze these.

  • Baker Street

    I am crab cake fiend! These look insanely delicious, Jen! I’ve never tried the broil them only on a side but that does sound very interesting and something i’m going to try over the weekend.

  • Roger Stowell

    Love crab cakes and love the picture. NIce post

  • Mad Dog

    They do sound absolutely delicious!

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Would you laugh at me if I said that one of the reasons I want to visit Maryland is to try the crab cakes! Yours look wonderful and with a generous amount of crab too!! :D

  • Natalia @ Hot, Cheap & Easy

    These look delicious and beautiful. And I love the Ziplist thing…terrific idea!

  • Joy (enjoywithjoy)

    I love crabs and I love it prepared any way possible. I want to visit Maryland on their Crab Festival, that would be awesome. I understand how some certain ingredients really works, you don’t have to change anything… I have to try this :-)

  • Becca from It’s Yummilicious

    OMGosh Jen… these look AHH-MAZING! I’m a HUGE seafood lover. Your recipe has been pinned!

  • Carol | a cup of mascarpone

    I live over the border from Maryland in Virginia and have never been able to make a good crab cake. These look incredible!!!

  • yummychunklet

    Yum! My friend just went crabbing in the Bay, so I’ll forward this recipe to her!

  • Valerie

    They’re thick, and chunky, and look absolutely perfect!

  • Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi)

    oh yeah. This is definitely a good crab cake recipe. Unfortunately, the older I get the worse my seafood allergy gets. Since I am married to a life long Marylander, and he loves crabs and anything with a shell… I fail miserably in that department. :-)

  • Bill

    Crab cakes are one of my all-time favorite things. I’m sure I would fall in love with these!

  • Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    I think I love you. Crab is my FAVORITE ever. Being off the West Coast, you can’t seem to find better crab than in San Francisco (well, I haven’t been to the East Coast, so I cannot attest to this scrumptious Maryland crab :)) However, I hate when you order crab cakes and it’s all stuffing and little crab–such a bummer! These look SO juicy and plump-full of insanely good looking crab. I need!

  • kristy @ the wicked noodle

    I absolutely LOVE crab cakes. Yours sound (and look) perfect. I’m seriously craving these now!!

  • Nazneen

    The crab cakes look delicious and I want I try a good crab cake. I had one once that was just horrible and now I am quite reluctant. Of course, being land locked in Colorado doesn’t help matters much!


  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet

    You just made me cave seafood. And that does not happen very often! Stunning photo!

  • Cassie

    Mmmm, I adore crab cakes. These look perfect, can’t wait to try!

  • claire

    I freaking lOVE crab cakes!!

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook

    As a seafood lover, I have a weakness for crab cakes. I developed some allergic reaction to crab when I was mid 20s (I still cannot believe it) but that doesn’t make me give up on these… I still enjoy them moderately (not crazy like before) and your crab cakes seem like one of the best I’ve seen on food blog! I love the jumbo size, and so happy to see Old Bay seasoning! My husband bought it a while ago and I didn’t know what to do with it. Great recipe!

  • Debra

    I love crab cakes! I’ve never made them, and I would really like to try this recipe. It just sounds fantastic! :-)

  • Laura Dembowski

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a crab cake. I love that this recipe is light and has little filler because that’s what always scares me away from ordering them. This is a great recipe for the end of summer too!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks

    About a month ago i had it in my head that i wanted to blog & make crab cakes and went to the TJs for crab meat and the groc store and they were both sold out. The only other option would have been another groc store or WFs and I didn’t feel like dealing so those crab cakes never happened (became salmon cakes) but your crab cakes have me re-inspired!

  • Deborah

    I would die for a trip to Maryland right now – just for the crab!! Crab is hard to come by here in Utah, but I want one (or 3!) of these!

  • Katie @ Blonde Ambition

    Yum, that golden crust looks mouthwatering!

  • Rachael {SimplyFreshCooking}

    Oh, you live in Maryland?! I’m so jealous! It’s my dream to live there being the seafood lover I am! This recipe looks simple but perfect… thanks for sharing your family recipe! :)

  • Liz

    My neighbor grew up on east coast crab meat…she won’t eat crab cakes with the crab you can buy around here (can you blame her?). I’m hoping someday to eat some fantastic crab cakes like yours with real Maryland crab. They look phenomenal!

  • Kiran @

    Crab cakes are definitely one of my weaknesses! That looks absolutely scrumptious ;)

  • Mama’s Gotta Bake

    These are one of the things I miss most about living on the east coast. I used to drive to Maryland for the crabs all the time. Hopefully I can find some decent crab meat to make these crab cakes. Look amazing!

  • Jenn and Seth

    gorgeous crab cakes!

  • Jeff

    These look amazing!

    • Savory Simple

      Aw, thank you hunny.

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction

    Baltimore resident here! Yup, this is exactly how you do it Jen! LOVE me some crab cakes. And fresh crab, absolutely!!!! I am craving some right now Jen. Let’s have a crab cake date haha!

  • Anne @ Webicurean

    You know, I never order crab cakes because the portions always seem so small–I don’t know why I don’t just make them myself! These look beautiful–I’m clipping this page for later use!

  • angela@spinachtiger

    I grew up on these, and a very similar recipe. Looks just delicious and takes me back to home. We used blue crab.

  • Rosa

    A wonderful speciality! Those cakes look so scrumptious. It is sad that crab costs a fortune here… If it had not been the case, I would have tried making such a dish since long.



  • Ashley – Baker by Nature

    I’ve always wanted to make my own crab cakes – this is seafood inspiration :)

  • Jess @UsedYorkCity

    These sound amazing! My grandparents live in Maryland and every summer we’d have our annual crab party…the crab cakes were always the best part!:-)

  • Jenny @ BAKE

    this sounds delicious! I’ve never had crab before I’m going to have to try it soon!

  • Angie@Angie’s Recipes

    These crab cakes look so delicious! Would be great with some spicy remoulade sauce.

  • Aly

    Another Maryland girl here! This isn’t too different than what my family makes. We usually use the backfin meat because it has a little more flavor than the lumps, but the lumps are fun! Some friends got us crabcakes from G & M which had nice lumps, but little flavor. We had to top them with lots of Old Bay! :)

  • Katerina

    Crab is quite expensive here in Greece and not very easy to be found! These cakes look super delicious, perfect for a light lunch or dinner!

  • Rowena (Apron and Sneakers)

    I love crabs and I will eat them in whatever form they are cooked. I love these cakes! I wish I can find some here. They are not so common around here. I really should look for some and try your recipe.

  • Kim (Feed Me, Seymour)

    I’ve lived in Maryland for a few years now and have yet to try an authentic crab cake. And I haven’t been to any sort of crab eating festival and STILL haven’t even found a good crab restaurant in my area. But these… these definitely fit the bill!

    • Savory Simple

      Are you near Baltimore? Bo Brooks has great crabs. Obryckis was the best but they just closed. The Crab Shanty in Ellicott City is the restaurant attached to the store I linked but I haven’t eaten there in years so I can’t vouch for it. Don’t go to any chains.

  • Priscilla | ShesCookin

    That’s right… if it’s not broke – don’t fix it :) Crab cakes are my absolute fave and yours look fabulous!

  • Stephanie @ 52 Kitchen Adventures

    These sound amazing! I’m jealous of your fresh crab. I’ll have to see what I can get around here because this sounds like something that’s not to be missed!

  • Simply Life

    oh my gosh! those look INCREDIBLE!!! I used to live in MD and looks like you prepared them perfectly!

  • Jackie @ The Beeroness

    Now I need to go to Maryland, even if JUST for the food, and the beer (of course). I’ve always wanted to go, but have never seemed to make it out there.
    And Old Bay is a must for crab cakes.

  • icakepops

    Beautiful photography work on these crab cakes. I bet they taste amazing!

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  • Kristi Rimkus

    It’s early in the morning and I’m already drooling over these delicious looking crab cakes.

  • Barb Kellogg

    Thank you SO much for a recipe that doesn’t have peppers in it!!! And it looks easy enough even for me, the cooking challenged. I’m glad you included this in your year end blog post. Now to find good crab in Minnesota.

    • Jennifer Farley

      You are so welcome! Let me know what you think if you make these, they’re very near and dear to my heart!

  • grainne

    I am from ireland but I spent 2 wonderful summers in the mid 80s working in Ocean City MD and remember Crab Cakes so well. OMG, When ever we went out for dinner I had crab cakes. I even get old bay sent to me when I can from my friends in the US or pick it up when Im over there.!. lovely post full of memories for me.

  • Christine

    I made these tonight exactly as directed and they are delicious! I’m a Maryland girl and your recipe was perfect! Thanks for sharing your family recipe. :)

    • Jennifer Farley

      I’m so happy you liked it!

  • Amy Morris

    Yummmm….. A great Valentine’s dinner thanks to this recipe!! My husband says “better than Timbuktu!!!” I followed the recipe and served with a homemade lemon aioli!! Thank you SOOOO MUCH for sharing!! These will forever be in my recipe book!! Cheers!!!

    • Jennifer Farley

      This made my day! I’m so happy you liked them :)

  • Mary

    My mom’s from Sykesville, Maryland. Spent many happy summer afternoons & evenings there at my grandmother’s, either picking steamed crabs around a table with my relatives, or eating the crab in crabcakes or soup. The gal who posted the recipe from the restaurant in Brooklyn? Well, that’s much closer to what I’m used to – crab, a touch of mayo, Saltine crumbs, salt & pepper; maybe a touch of Old Bay. I’m sometimes amazed by the recipes that are supposed to be “THE authentic Maryland crab cake”. What I’m coming to realize is that authentic varies, depending on whatever we grew up with. BTW, my family on that side is from Maryland back to at least the mid-1800s. Thanks!

  • AGaither

    These look great! I can’t wait to try this recipe… Thanks for sharing..