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Side shot of crab cakes on a plate with beer and french fries in the background
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5 from 2 votes

How to Make Crab Cakes

Showing you how to make Crab Cakes with this easy family recipe that's full of jumbo lump crab meat and minimal filling!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword best crab cake recipe, crab cake recipe, crab cakes, how to make crab cakes, maryland crab cake recipe, maryland crab cakes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 195kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
  • 5 saltine crackers, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil, for frying (or more, as needed, to coat pan)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Tartar sauce or cocktail sauce, for serving


  • Whisk egg, mayonnaise, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add crab, saltines and parsley. Gently fold together, just until combined.
  • Form into 4 patties (about ¾-inch thick). Wrap patties in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add crab cakes and cook until golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  • Serve with lemon and tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.


  • Add about 1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning to the crab mixture for some added zest and classic Maryland flavor.
  • Baked Crab Cakes: Pan-frying gives the patties the best flavor and a crispy, golden brown exterior. That said, you can also bake them in the oven. For baked crab cakes, preheat the oven to 450°F. Generously grease a rimmed baking sheet with butter, place patties on the pan, and brush the patties with melted butter. Bake crab cakes for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown, flipping halfway through.
  • If you don't want to splurge on a container of jumbo lump crab meat, you can also use lump crab meat (which is a little bit smaller than the jumbo lump) or even backfin crab meat in a pinch. Shelf-stable canned crabmeat (near the tuna fish) and claw meat are not my preference for this recipe.
  • Chilling the patties for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours) before frying helps them stay together when they cook.
  • The eggs and mayonnaise act as a binder, but a filler is also important to help hold the patties together when they cook. Saltine cracker crumbs make the best filler for crab cakes. We keep the amount of breading to a minimum here, using just 5 crackers for the whole recipe. I do not recommend substituting with Panko breadcrumbs, which are flavorless and too crunchy. Instead, just put the Saltines in a little Ziploc plastic bag and crush them finely with a rolling pin or mallet. You can also process them in a mini food processor if you prefer.
  • Scale this recipe to feed any size crowd. If you're cooking for just two people, cut the ingredients in half and buy an 8 ounce container of crab meat. For a larger family, double all of the ingredients and cook the patties in batches.


Serving: 1crab cake | Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 1395mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 346IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 1mg