Elegant restaurant foods always feel like a treat. What if you could easily make them at home? My homemade pan fried crab cakes are the BEST! These Maryland style crab cakes are loaded with lumps of crab, little filler, and a deliciously crispy exterior! Learn how to make crab cakes that your family and friends will love!
For more seafood recipes, try this Butter Poached Lobster or Pan Seared Shrimp!
There is often lots of debate on what makes the best crab cakes. What type of meat do you use, what fillers, and how do you cook them? Well, I like to use a mix of fresh lump crab meat, fresh herbs, breadcrumbs in this classic crab cake recipe!
Did you know that most consider them Maryland-style when made with blue crab? That's because they are most abundant in the Chesapeake Bay, and Dungeness crabs are on the west coast. As long as your crab is fresh and high-quality, you can't go wrong.
- Perfect for any special occasion! These easy crab cakes are the perfect main dish for any event!
- Super easy to make! If you've never made crab cakes from scratch, I'm here to let you know that homemade crab cakes are the BEST. You can control the amount of crab to filler ratio and add as much flavor as you'd like.
- Super flavorful! This recipe uses a mix of old bay, fresh herbs, garlic, and a mix of hot sauce and Worchestershire sauce to bring all of the flavor!
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Fresh Lump Crab Meat - Look for Dungeness or Blue crab meat at the grocery store. Blue crab has a buttery sweet flavor while Dungeness crab has a more nutty mild flavor. If you can only find jumbo lump meat that's fine too, you'll just have to break it up.
Garlic and Onion - What good recipe doesn't start with these? We live for flavor! I'm so serious when I tell you this is the BEST crab cake recipe ever.
Dijon Mustard - This gives us the perfect tanginess.
Worcestershire Sauce - Salty and full of umami.
Old Bay Seasoning - The classic seasoning that will take your crab cakes to the next level. It really enhances the crab flavor! If you don't have old bay, you can substitute cajun seasoning - it's a similar blend.
Breadcrumbs - I use regular, not panko breadcrumbs here. The crumbs are finer and make a better textured crab cake.
Parsley - Fresh parsley is key. Fresh herbs add lots of flavor and a nice pop of color.
Butter and Olive Oil - Did you know mixing these keeps things from browning or burning too quickly?
- Finely dice garlic and onion as much as possible.
- Use quality lump crab meat, such as crab meat from blue crabs or dungeness crabs. If you can only find jumbo lump crab meat, break the meat into small pieces.
- Chilling the crab cakes prior to cooking prevents them from falling apart. If you’d like to cook them immediately, you can - just be very gentle with the patties.
- Whisk together mayo, egg, red onion, garlic, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, old bay seasoning, hot sauce, and parsley. Make it smooth! (Image #1)
- Check the crab meat for any shells, then fold into the meat and bread crumbs into the mayo mixture and fold together. (Image #2)
- Use a ⅓ measuring cup to scoop out crab mixture and form into patties. Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 40 minutes. (Image #3)
- Allow a large nonstick pan to warm over medium heat. Melt butter and olive oil together. Place 1-2 patties in the pan at a time and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. Flip over so both sides are browned and place on a wire rack or paper towel to remove any excess grease. (Image #4)
- Whisk together ingredients for the homemade tartar sauce and serve with lemon wedges for a little squeeze of lemon juice!
Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees. Spray the basket with cook spray and drizzle a little oil on top of the crab cakes. Cook for 8 minutes then flip them and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes, until golden brown.
I love to serve crab cakes with a simple green salad and fries. More side dishes that go well crab cakes are deviled eggs with bacon, garlic mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and grilled vegetables.
You can also turn it into a sandwich by slathering the tartar sauce on a brioche bun with a little lettuce, tomato, and red onion! So good!
I paired these crab cakes with a quick and easy tartar sauce. You can also make a remoulade, which will mimic the flavors right in the crab cakes. I also like to serve remoulade over shrimp.
Here are my favorite sauces to serve with crab cakes:
If everyone didn't gobble it all up, here's what yo do with your leftover crab cakes:
They do need to chill for 40 minutes before being pan fried, but you can plan further ahead and make them in the morning or even the night before. Prepare the crab cakes and form them into patties up to 1 day in advance. Store them on a baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. The tartar sauce can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days in advance.
The only dairy here is the butter in the pan, so you can absolutely just use more oil to keep these dairy free. The tartar sauce does have sour cream, but you can just eat them plain if you'd like.
Maryland! Here in Maryland, we have some of the best seafood and crab cakes definitely top the list!
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