Original Old Bay Crab Cakes Recipe


Indulge in a taste of Maryland’s culinary heritage with our authentic Old Bay crab cakes recipe. Bursting with the bold flavors of Old Bay seasoning and tender lump crab meat, these crab cakes are a true seafood delicacy. Join us as we explore the history of this beloved dish and share our time-tested recipe for creating crab cakes that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, just like they’re meant to be.

The History of Old Bay Crab Cakes: Originating from the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, crab cakes are a quintessential dish that celebrates the abundance of fresh crab found in the area’s waters. Old Bay seasoning, a blend of herbs and spices with a distinct flavor profile, has been a staple ingredient in Maryland cuisine since its introduction in the 1940s. Its savory and aromatic blend of spices, including celery salt, paprika, and mustard, adds depth and complexity to traditional crab cakes, making them a beloved culinary tradition.

Recipe: Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lump crab meat, picked over for shells
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Tartar sauce or remoulade sauce for dipping (optional)


  1. Prepare the Crab Cakes: In a large mixing bowl, combine the lump crab meat, mayonnaise, beaten egg, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Gently fold the ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Form the Crab Cakes: Divide the crab mixture into equal portions and shape each portion into a crab cake, about 1/2 inch thick. Place the crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Chill the Crab Cakes: Refrigerate the crab cakes for at least 30 minutes to firm up before cooking. This step helps the crab cakes hold their shape during cooking.
  4. Cook the Crab Cakes: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. Once hot, carefully place the crab cakes in the skillet and cook until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side.
  5. Serve and Enjoy: Transfer the cooked crab cakes to a serving platter and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve hot with tartar sauce or remoulade sauce on the side for dipping, if desired.

Health Benefits: Crab meat is a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium. It is low in fat and calories, making it a nutritious and flavorful seafood option. By using quality lump crab meat and minimal filler ingredients, our Old Bay crab cakes recipe allows the natural sweetness and briny flavor of the crab to shine through.

Serving and Storage Tips:


  1. Presentation: Serve the Old Bay crab cakes hot and fresh for optimal flavor and texture. Arrange them on a platter garnished with lemon wedges for a decorative touch.
  2. Accompaniments: Pair the crab cakes with your favorite side dishes such as coleslaw, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad. Offer tartar sauce or remoulade sauce on the side for dipping.
  3. Appetizer Option: Serve the crab cakes as an appetizer at parties or gatherings by shaping them into smaller, bite-sized portions. Top each crab cake with a dollop of sauce and a sprinkle of chopped parsley for an elegant presentation.


  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftover crab cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Place a piece of parchment paper between the layers to prevent them from sticking together.
  2. Reheating: To reheat the crab cakes, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Freezing: While crab cakes can be frozen, it’s best to freeze them before cooking for optimal texture. Place the shaped crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag and store for up to 1 month. To cook, thaw the crab cakes in the refrigerator overnight before following the cooking instructions.
  4. Quality Check: Before serving reheated or frozen crab cakes, check for any signs of spoilage such as an off odor or appearance. If the crab cakes look or smell questionable, it’s best to discard them to avoid foodborne illness.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Old Bay crab cakes remain fresh, flavorful, and ready to enjoy whenever you crave a taste of Maryland’s culinary heritage.

Variations of the Recipe:

  1. Maryland Crab Cake Sliders: Serve the crab cake mixture on slider buns with lettuce, tomato slices, and a dollop of tartar sauce for a handheld twist on the classic crab cake.
  2. Crab Cake Benedict: Top toasted English muffins with crab cakes, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce for a decadent brunch option that combines the flavors of crab cakes and eggs benedict.
  3. Asian-Inspired Crab Cakes: Add chopped scallions, minced ginger, and soy sauce to the crab cake mixture, and serve with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce for a flavorful Asian twist.
  4. Crab Cake Stuffed Mushrooms: Spoon the crab cake mixture into cleaned mushroom caps, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, and bake until golden and bubbly for a delicious appetizer or party snack.
  5. Crab Cake Salad: Serve the crab cakes over a bed of mixed greens with avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, and a tangy vinaigrette for a light and refreshing salad option.
  6. Crab Cake Tacos: Fill warm corn tortillas with crab cakes, shredded cabbage, avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime juice for a fresh and flavorful taco variation.
  7. Crab Cake Sandwich: Place a crab cake between slices of toasted bread or a buttered brioche bun, and add lettuce, tomato, and a drizzle of spicy aioli for a satisfying sandwich option.
  8. Crab Cake Benedictine: Spread a layer of cucumber-dill cream cheese spread on toasted baguette slices, top with crab cakes, and garnish with cucumber slices and fresh dill for a refreshing appetizer.
  9. Crab Cake Quesadillas: Layer shredded cheese and crab cake mixture between flour tortillas, and cook until golden and crispy for a deliciously cheesy quesadilla variation.
  10. Crab Cake Pizza: Spread pizza dough with marinara sauce, top with shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced bell peppers, onions, and pieces of crab cake, and bake until bubbly and golden for a unique and flavorful pizza option.

Experiment with these variations to create a variety of delicious dishes that showcase the versatility of Old Bay crab cakes and elevate your dining experience with the flavors of Maryland’s culinary heritage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I use canned crab meat for making crab cakes? Yes, canned crab meat can be used as a convenient alternative to fresh crab meat. Just be sure to drain it well before adding it to the crab cake mixture.
  2. What is the best type of crab meat to use for crab cakes? Lump crab meat or jumbo lump crab meat are preferred for making crab cakes, as they have large, tender chunks of crab that provide the best texture and flavor.
  3. Can I make crab cakes ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the crab cakes ahead of time and refrigerate them for up to 24 hours before cooking. This allows the flavors to meld together and makes for easier meal preparation.
  4. What can I serve with crab cakes? Crab cakes pair well with a variety of side dishes, including coleslaw, roasted vegetables, rice pilaf, or a fresh green salad. Tartar sauce or remoulade sauce is also a popular dipping option.
  5. Can I bake crab cakes instead of frying them? Yes, crab cakes can be baked in the oven for a healthier alternative to frying. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
  6. How do I prevent crab cakes from falling apart? Chilling the crab cake mixture in the refrigerator before shaping and cooking helps them hold their shape better. Additionally, gently patting the crab cakes with breadcrumbs before cooking can provide a protective coating that helps them stay intact.
  7. Can I freeze crab cakes? Yes, crab cakes can be frozen before or after cooking. To freeze uncooked crab cakes, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag and store for up to 1 month.
  8. How do I reheat crab cakes? To reheat crab cakes, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-12 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in a skillet over medium heat with a little oil.
  9. Can I make crab cakes gluten-free? Yes, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed gluten-free crackers as a substitute for traditional breadcrumbs in the crab cake mixture. Be sure to check the labels of all ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free.
  10. Are crab cakes suitable for a low-carb diet? While crab meat itself is low in carbohydrates, traditional crab cake recipes often include breadcrumbs or crackers as a binder. You can make a low-carb version of crab cakes by using almond flour or crushed pork rinds as a substitute for breadcrumbs.


Experience the rich culinary heritage of Maryland with our authentic Old Bay crab cakes recipe. Whether enjoyed as an appetizer, main course, or part of a seafood feast, these crab cakes are sure to impress with their bold flavors and tender texture. With just a few simple ingredients and a pinch of Old Bay seasoning, you can recreate this beloved dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. Try our recipe today and savor the taste of the Chesapeake Bay with every bite.

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