Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Apr 27, 2011 07:58 AM

Maryland Crab Puffs/Fluffs

I've heard that I have to try Maryland Crab Puff's but I see different descriptions of them.

Are they battered and fried crab cakes? Or just breaded? I also saw some that are like a pate a choux paste (like a cream puff) but with crab inside?

What exactly ARE Maryland Crab Puffs? Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's a "crab fluff" and it's a battered and fried crab cake.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hon

      Do you have any restaurant recs for who you think makes them well? Thanks so much for your reply!

      1. re: LuckyThirteen

        last time I had one was eons ago but it was at the Ocean Pride in Lutherville just north of Baltimore City

      2. WOW....this is a blast from the past! Don't see these around too much anymore....can't think of a more unhealthy way to eat crab. It's a crab cake dipped in a heavy pancake batter ...then deep fried.
        Used to get these at Buds on Pratt Street and the Millrace Inn in Woodlawn back in the day....not a Pate a choux paste...that would be much lighter.

        14 Replies
        1. re: MDicecreamguy

          Doesn't sound very "fluffy". A crab puff is made with a Phyllo dough.

          1. re: GraydonCarter

            I've never heard of a classic crab fluff made with phyllo dough. It's usually a batter that puff's when it's fried. Where have you had a phyllo dough version?

            1. re: GraydonCarter

              Lived in Maryland for 52 years and have never seen a crab fluff/puff made with filo crust. Where did you you have that? I'm intrigued!

              1. re: Terrie H.

                I'm sure there are a few caterers out there who have thought putting a crab filling (lots of filler) between sheets of phyllo. But the original poster was referring to the old Maryland version of crab fluff, which is essentially a ball of fried batter with some crab thrown in. The key, of course, is the crab content. That usually fluctuated with the market price of crabs. The last fluffs I had, probably 15 or more years ago, tasted mostly of bread. I think I got them at Bud Paolino's, now gone.

                Bud Paolino's Restaurant
                3919 E Lombard St, Baltimore, MD 21224

                1. re: MartinDC

                  batter with crab thrown in is not at all what a crab fluff is, it's a battered and fried crab cake. What you described would be crab fritters.

                  from the Gunnings website:
                  Crab Fluff Jumbo Lump crab cake, dipped in our special batter and golden fried. Served with today's vegetable

                  1. re: hon

                    See what I mean about being away from B'more for 15 years? I do recollect fritters. But I did have what Bud's called a crab fluff, and there wasn't a crab cake inside. Must have been when crabs were scarce. But a couple points:

                    1. Do Marylanders really recognize crab fluffs/puffs/fritters as part of the inviolable Crab Canon? No one I knew actually paid them any attention -- and that they were popular among young kids and the inevitable guests who thought streamed crabs were gross.

                    2. Marylanders are really stubborn about what is in side their crab cakes, particularly when it comes to the amount of fillers. Ergo, I have a hard time believing that enshrouding a perfectly good crab cake in junk batter would thrill a native-slash-traditionalist.

                    Just wonderin'.

                    1. re: MartinDC

                      I make my own cakes rather than order them in restaurants and certainly don't ruin perfectly good crab meat by maiking a "crab fluff". Agree with two other posters that Ocean Pride and Gunning's are two fine Maryland seafood houses, but would give the edge to Ocean Pride.

                      1. re: elgringoviejo

                        What is you receipe for "carb fluff" if you don't mind sharing

                        1. re: agarnett100

                          I often use McCormick's mix for cakes, never made a fluff since I don't do deep fat frying, the issue being fats not carbs.

                    2. re: hon

                      The Gunnings website might describe the crab fluff that way, but unless they changed their recipe, I'd describe their crab fluff as more of a crab fritter. Gunnings is the only place I've eaten crab fluffs but it has been a few years. (fluffy certainly is not the way I'd describe them.) They used to include it as part of their crab feast dinner when they had it as a special.

                      1. re: ivysmom

                        I have always found Ocean Pride on York road to be a solidly traditional Maryland seafood eateing house.

                        1. re: ivysmom

                          I always see them on the menu at Gunnings, but never ordered them. Gunnings has a solid crabcake, so that's what I stick with.

                  2. re: GraydonCarter

                    That sounds like something they'd pass around at a cocktail party.

                  3. re: MDicecreamguy

                    A blast from the past, indeed! I last had a crab fluff around 1971 or so at Bo Brooks, back when it was still in Gardenville.

                    Bo Brooks Restaurant
                    2701 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                  4. I believe the new Sterlings stand in Lexington Market offers a crab fluff. I am not positive because for less than $2, I can't get beyond their fish cakes.

                    Lexington Market
                    400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: KAZ

                      Not only does Sterling's have a crab fluff, they also have an old-school fried hard crab. That's a steamed crab that has been cleaned of its innards then filled with a crabcake, dipped in batter and deep fried.

                      1. re: Vidute

                        The fried hard crabs Mom use to make were never steamed, but live crabs, cleaned ,dipped in batter and deep fried in lard!!!

                        1. re: Hue

                          mine of my youth were always made from live crabs