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Jan 16, 2008 11:34 AM

True Maryland Crabcakes

Looking for a recipe for these. What makes them different from other crabcakes? Any hounders have any good recipes? Thanks in advance!

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  1. What makes them different is that they are the best!

    1. Outside of Cheap Frozen Crabcakes....

      I like them all.....with filler or with out...but I like Ritz crackers better than Saltines or Oyster Crackers as binding filler.

      One thing that does make a difference for me.....if it is to be coated on the outside....I prefer Panko instead of traditional bread crumbs or cracker meal. It makes for better contrasting textures.

      The basic recipe:

      Jumbo Lump Crab Meat
      Bay Seasoning
      Mayo or Egg

      1. My friend's sworn by recipe for MD Crabcakes and the one they use in her restaurant (in Baltimore) is right off the back of the Old Bay seasoning package. They're good and easy to make. You can doctor them if you'd like but then, of course, they'll no longer be MD Crab Cakes.

        CRAB CAKES:
        2 slices bread, crusts removed
        1 tablespoon parsley flakes
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        1 tablespoon mayonnaise
        1 tablespoon baking powder
        1 egg, beaten
        1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
        1 teaspoon OLD BAY SEASONING
        1 pound crab meat

        Break bread into small pieces and moisten with milk. Add remaining ingredients; shape into cakes. Fry or broil until golden brown.

        2 Replies
        1. re: aussiewonder

          I have to interject that true MD crab cakes are made with crushed saltines or cracker meal, not bread. I would eliminate the bread and use 5 pulverized saltines instead. Eliminate the tablespoon of baking powder too, it's not needed and add a tablespoon of good mustard.

          1. re: hon


            I would interject only to suggest if you do use bread, use a bread similar to Pepperidge Farm's brand white.....make fresh bread crumbs in your food processor, and use to coat the outside of your crab cakes for pan frying to give added my original suggestion of Panko. Just my opinion.

        2. Well, what truly makes them (potentially) great is that they use lump Maryland Blue Crab. Where I am (NJ) the local grocers sell some rubbery crab product (yes, it is actually crab), but not sure where it comes from) that does not come close to the flavor of the blue crab. However, I can get the real thing if I don't mind spending about $25/lb (which is fine every now and then). Beyond that you will see many, many opinions about what should and shouldn't go into them. Some like Old Bay, some don't. Saltines, egg, mayo, fresh herbs, all ingredients/amounts that are quite contentious. A really great crab cake should, of course, highlight the crab over everything else. But, a crab cake with nothing but crab is not actually a crab cake (it might be heavenly to quickly heat some lump crab in butter, but is isn't a crab cake).

          10 Replies
          1. re: bnemes3343

            Yes, the most important thing is to avoid the rubbery crab product and use the correct balance between lump crab and binder. For herbs, I find adding a little fresh tarragon to crab cakes is just the ticket.


            1. re: bnemes3343

              It's sad but the reality is that 99.9% of all restaurants use that pasteurized blue swimming crab which is an imported product. This is not the same crab or even the same sub-species as the Maryland blue crab. IMO with out domestic blue crab it's just an imitation wanna be crab cake. If their real please don't ruin mine with Old Bay. I use Old Bay in the crab boil but not in the cakes.....errr unless your from Ma.

              1. re: Docsknotinn

                Shockingly, I ordered a dish of sauteed crab meat in OC Maryland a few years back, and it was the rubbery stuff. Not sure where it comes from, and it is probably (maybe?) delicisous fresh from the water, but it certainly is a waste of time and money in a crab cake. I also like tarragon

                1. re: Docsknotinn

                  And I do like Old Bay, but not too much; but the OB is really a personal and somewhat contentious subject... Main thing, as you say, is the crab meat.

                  1. re: bnemes3343

                    I like Old Bay but IMO a real crab cake needs very little to accent it's flavor. 20 years ago no one would have even thought about using canned crab. Now prices are through the roof. When I was younger I worked in several fish camps. I recall one in particular where we had a couple of older ethnic ladies who would come in and pick all of the crabs in the live wells as the fresh ones got brought in. For lunch I would throw a bun on the flat top, grab a handfull of fresh picked crab add a little mayo and some old bay. That would be a $25 sandwhich today. LOL I hardly even see fresh blue crab any more. I was on the Outter Banks of NC last spring and there were some markets there that had it.

                  2. re: Docsknotinn

                    doc, i did notice the last time that i used it- that the latin name for the crab species- was listed on the can. is it really not even the same subspecies?
                    i confess i'm surprised at this.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      The imported "Blue Swimming crab" is a completly different beast! Further the blue crab name or "blue swimming crab" on the imported cans are just good marketing. This products latin name is Portunus pelagicus while true domestic blue crabs are Callinectes sapidus. There was a report on this some time back on 60 minutes. Remember theese products come from Indonesia, Vietnam etc and they are not subject to the same standards we have. Here is a couple of links that are well worth reading.



                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        You are abolutely right! I am a Maryland commerial crabber. That junk in the cans is crap verses what we catch in the Bay. To get the best crab meat, you should buy live crabs, cook them and pick them.
                        Our season in Maryland doesn't open until April first and we really don't start before May 1. And our soft-shelled crabs... I can't wait to pull the first one from our tanks! Beware what you buy.

                    2. re: bnemes3343

                      bnemes3343: Good luck to you. After 25 years in Maryland I now live somewhere else. Recently bought (for large money) a refrigerated pound can of crabmeat with a brand name that was something like Tilghman's Island or Crisfield or some such, very Eastern Shore. I expected Maryland Blue Crab. On the bottom of the can, stamped in fine print: Product of Indonesia.

                      1. re: Querencia

                        When crab meat is in season you can get it from:
               (a bunch of guys from Crisfield MD who got a big grant to start their website and online business but they are real deal
                        )and other places I am sure I just know those two are solid during season for the real thing, off season it is probably coming from VA, NC or gulf though, or frozen, I don't know.

                    3. My favorite crabcake is from Faidleys. Doing a google search yields this:


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        20 saltines per pound of crab meat is way too much filler, I only use 5 saltines crushed very fine.

                        1. re: hon

                          Yeah, I thought the ratio of filler to crab was too high. I'm not sure if that's the original recipe as the crab cakes I've had at Faidley's was mostly jumbo lump crab meat. And they were sooooo good!