The juiciest, most flavorful Crab Cakes you’ll ever eat! These Maryland-style crab cakes are only loaded with hunks of crab meat and very little filler making them extra tender and succulent. Made with lump crab meat, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, Old Bay seasoning, worcestershire, garlic, and fresh herbs…so insanely delicious, y’all!

six crab cakes with slices of lemon on white oval platter

How many of you love crab cakes? They’re one of my favorite eats but not everyone or every restaurant makes them the same. I’ve had a good share of crab cakes that range on a scale of drool-worthy to what the absolute f*ck, ha! Listen, it’s 2023 and we’re not putting up with anything less than scrumptious on our plates mmkay. Thus, I’ve put forth my version of what I (and those luckiest to eat my food) deem as the best crab cakes, ever. Welcome.

The Best Crab Cakes, Ever!!! 👅

These crab cakes are insanely flavorful and super light and buttery. Unlike a lot of crab cakes that call for bread crumbs or crushed crackers, these crab cakes are sooo juicy and plump instead of tough, hard pucks. No judgment, all crab cake variations are loved, just stating why these will hit different 😆 lol.

That’s right, this one here is a crab cake recipe using very little filler. This means that these crab cakes are only packed with succulent crab meat, and a variety of flavorful binding ingredients that enhance that crab meat goodness!

More recipes: spiced sorrel tea, my jalapeño cheddar cornbread, crispy parmesan crusted chicken, these fun lemon pepper chicken tenders, and cozy delights like jamaican curry chicken or brown stew chicken– yass.

closeup of crab cake with gold fork on the side

Ingredients Needed For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Egg: The binding ingredient to help give structure to the crab cakes.
  • Mayonnaise: The creamy magic of mayonnaise is a common ingredient in crab cake-making. It’s full of flavor, ensures a level of moisture, and another helper in the binding department. If you’re not a fan of mayo, no worries, the crab cakes don’t have a huge mayo-y taste.
  • Onion: I love the addition + texture of onion here that adds some depth.
  • Chopped parsley: For freshness and flair, herbs are clutch.
  • Dijon mustard: The tang that mustard provides is so delicious- dijon!
  • Worcestershire sauce: It has a unique combo of flavors from various ingredients. Also, it kinda acts like an umami flavor bomb.
  • Old Bay seasoning: The seasoning of choice when it relates to crab.
  • Garlic: Lots of garlicky goodness to further enhance the flavor profile.
  • Lemon zest & juice: The pop of fresh lemon zest + juice, chef’s kiss.
  • Crab meat: The star of the show, fresh (refrigerated) lump crab meat.
  • Melted butter: For brushing over the cakes right before baking, swoon.

How To Make Crab Cakes (sooo easy!)

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Combine the mixture: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Then add in the mayonnaise, onion, parsley, dijon mustard, worcestershire, Old Bay seasoning, garlic, lemon zest + lemon juice. Whisk well to combine.
  2. Fold in the crab meat: Add the lump crab meat into the bowl and use your hands or a rubber spatula to fold the crab into the mixture, very gently, being careful not to break up the crab meat too much.
  3. Chill the crab mixture: Cover the bowl with a lid or secure tightly with plastic wrap/foil. Transfer the crab meat mixture into the refrigerator to chill for 45 minutes or up to 1 day.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  5. Shape into cakes: Grab the chilled crab meat mixture from the fridge. Use a heaping 1/3 cup measuring cup to divide the crab meat mixture into 6 portions. Gently shape each cake into a nice mound- do not flatten or press on the shaped crab cake. Place the assembled crab cakes onto the prepared baking sheet. Then brush the tops of each crab cake with melted butter.
  6. Cook & serve: Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the crab cakes are golden-brown and slightly crispy around the edges and top. Serve immediately with tartar/remoulade sauce, hot sauce, and/or lemon wedges, as desired. Enjoy!

Best Crab Meat For Crab Cakes

Crab meat varieties are plenty, especially depending on the region you live in. In Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay accounts for the famous blue crabs- the origin of crab cakes. Additionally, there are 4 main types of crab meat: jumbo lump, lump, backfin, and claw. The former (jumbo lump) is usually the most expensive variety at the store because of where it comes from on the crab.

Lump meat comes from the body of the crab with smaller chunks than jumbo lump, but still nice and sturdy. Its finer texture and flavorful taste make it an ideal choice for crab cakes. Fresh (refrigerated) *lump crab meat* is what I recommend for this recipe. It’s always best practice to ensure that your crab displays that it is “hand-picked” as well. This means that the crab has been picked over to remove any shells/cartilage- aka the work has been done for you.

Any refrigerated lump crab meat will do, I do not recommend buying unrefrigerated crab meat. The fresher the crab meat, the better tasting crab cakes you’ll have. I usually buy my lump crab meat sold in the refrigerated section of my local grocer/seafood area (like Costco or Whole Foods!). The one I grab is typically sold in a convenient little 1-pound plastic tub.

crab cakes and corn on the cob on white oval platter

Let’s Talk Crab Cake Filler

For starters, folks are very opinionated when it comes to crab cake filler. Some like flour, bread crumbs, crushed crackers (like Saltine crackers), and some prefer none at all. I gotta say, I’m definitely in the camp of zero bread crumbs/crackers. Why? In my crab cake opinion, a crab cake should be succulent and buttery-tender where the crab meat truly shines. That’s exactly what we have here: big mouthwatering bites of juicy crab and flavorful ingredients that are just enough to hold it all together!

I’ve always preferred Maryland-style crab cakes where the crab is front and center. Honestly, I find the breading to produce dense, dry crab cakes. Without them, you’re left with ones that are fork-tender and extra moist 🤤

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • No fuss involved. This crab cake recipe is wildly easy and straightforward.
  • Flavorrr galore. Even with its simplicity there’s big-time flavor.
  • Perfect treat or special occasion. This recipe is amazing for a perfect anytime treat or saved for more special occasions like date night-in, birthdays, anniversaries, or holiday-centered celebrations.
  • So tender. There’s no tough, puck-like, or dry mess here. These crab cakes are incredibly succulent and beaming with the juiciest crab-filled mixture!
crab cakes with coleslaw on small white plate

Tips + Tricks, FAQs & More

You may have additional questions about this crab cake recipe. Like other recipes, I always advise sticking to the recipe as it is written in the recipe card directly below. However, here’s some extra info you might find helpful:

  1. Season to taste. I’ve written the recipe to include 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning. However, seasoning is all very much rooted in personal preference. Use more or less and tailor it to your desired taste.
  2. Chill crab cakes. Do not skip the chilling step. With very little filler, the crab meat mixture needs to be thoroughly chilled prior to shaping into cakes!
  3. Make ahead. Prep the crab cake mixture up to 1 day in advance. Cover/refrigerate and then shape into cakes and bake on the following day.
  4. Cooking method. This recipe calls for baking. Cooking crab cakes via the stovetop forces you to press on/flatten the crab cakes as they cook. This leaves you with flat, pancake-like crab cakes- oof. I heavily recommend baking or air frying (instructions in recipe card) for the best crab cakes that remain juicy, plump, and thickity-thick…gahhh!
  5. Storing leftover crab cakes: Keep leftover crab cakes stored inside of an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can freeze leftovers for 2 months- let thaw in fridge. Reheat crab cakes in the microwave until warmed through.

What To Serve With Your Crab Cakes

The possibilities are endless, peeps. These babies are truly perfect by themselves as they’re so flavorful and juicy like that. However, there are some really great (and tasty) pairings that I do so recommend:

  • corn on the cob
  • creamy coleslaw
  • roasted potatoes or veggies
  • saltine/ritz crackers
  • a side salad
  • sandwiched between toasted bread or rolls
  • tartar/remoulade/cocktail sauce or aioli
  • or a simple squeeze of a lemon wedge!
crab cakes with sliced lemon and coleslaw on white oval platter

These Crab Cakes are so juicy, tender, and freakin’ delicious…the obsession is very much real over them. Yummm. Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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crab cakes and corn on the cob on white oval platter

BEST Crab Cakes, Ever (Little Filler!)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 crab cakes 1x
  • Category: Appetizer & Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
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Description

The juiciest, most flavorful Crab Cakes you’ll ever eat! These Maryland-style crab cakes are only loaded with hunks of crab meat and very little filler making them extra tender and succulent. Made with lump crab meat, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, Old Bay seasoning, worcestershire, garlic, and fresh herbs…so insanely delicious, y’all!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup full-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, smooth or whole grain
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/22 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, from zested lemon
  • 1 lb (16 ounces) fresh lump crab meat – see notes

For finishing & serving crab cakes:

  • 34 tablespoons butter, melted- for brushing
  • for serving- optional: tartar/remoulade sauce or aioli, hot sauce, lemon wedges, creamy coleslaw & corn on the cob (as pictured), etc.

Instructions

  1. Combine the mixture: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Then add in the mayonnaise, onion, parsley, dijon mustard, worcestershire, Old Bay seasoning, garlic, lemon zest + lemon juice. Whisk everything together well to thoroughly combine.
  2. Fold in the crab meat: Add the lump crab meat into the bowl and use your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) or a rubber spatula to fold the crab into the mixture, very gently, being careful not to aggressively handle to avoid breaking up the crab meat too much- just until combined.
  3. Chill the crab mixture: Cover the bowl with a lid or secure tightly with plastic wrap/foil. Transfer the crab meat mixture into the refrigerator to chill for 45 minutes or up to 1 day. [Do not skip this step…as there is very little binder/filler here, the crab meat mixture needs to be thoroughly chilled prior to shaping into cakes!].
  4. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  5. Shape into cakes: Grab the chilled crab meat mixture from the fridge. Use a heaping 1/3 cup measuring cup to divide the crab meat mixture into 6 portions. Place the portioned crab meat mixture into your hands (as pictured) and gently shape it into a nice mound- do not flatten or heavily press on the shaped crab cake. Tuck in any straggling pieces, as needed. Place the assembled crab cakes onto the prepared baking sheet. Then brush the tops of each crab cake with melted butter.
  6. Cook the crab cakes: Bake the crab cakes for 17-20 minutes or until the crab cakes are golden-brown and slightly crispy around the edges and top. Let cool for 5 minutes and then use a spatula to gently transfer the crab cakes to a serving platter and serve immediately with tartar sauce, remoulade sauce, a few shakes of hot sauce, and/or lemon wedges, as desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Crab Meat notes: I highly recommend fresh (refrigerated) lump crab meat. See blog post for additional details on crab meat.
  2. Storing leftover crab cakes: Keep leftover crab cakes stored inside of an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can freeze leftovers for 2 months- let thaw in fridge. Reheat crab cakes in the microwave until warmed through.
  3. Can I pan-fry crab cakes on stovetop? Cooking crab cakes via the stovetop forces you to press on/flatten the crab cakes as they cook. This leaves you with flat, pancake-like crab cakes- oof. I heavily recommend baking or air frying (instructions below) for the best crab cakes that remain juicy, plump, and thickity-thick…chef’s kiss!
  4. Air fryer instructions: Wanna use your air fryer for these crab cakes? Let’s do it! Follow the same instructions as directed in steps 1, 2, 3, and 5. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F and spray the basket with cooking spray. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to work in batches. Place the crab cakes into the basket and brush the tops with melted butter. Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until golden-brown and slightly crispy. Serve, stat!
  5. For best recipe success, please read the blog post & notes in its entirety with video tutorial before beginning.
crab cakes with corn and coleslaw on white plate