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Easy Maryland Crab Cakes

These easy Maryland crab cakes showcase the delicate flavor of crab without buying it under a ton of ingredients you just don’t need. Fast and easy for a weeknight dinner, get my best tips for making this treat on a budget. 

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crab cakes in a pan with a lemon slice with parsley on the side

Someone out there will probably faint when they read this easy Maryland crab cakes recipe because I use canned crab meat. I know. Don’t die.

If you have access to fresh, please feel free to use that here but y’all I live in Kentucky and crab meat doesn’t come cheap OR it’s not fresh. So I go with canned if I can’t get my hands on anything else.

Not to mention that canned is more affordable. Because I don’t walk into the grocery store thinking “Man, I sure hope I can buy $15 worth of crab meat to feed the four of us one meal at home.”

I’m all for fresh ingredients but in this case, I really am okay with canned. If you aren’t and you have the budget for fresh, please go for it. I don’t doubt they will be wonderful.

How do you cook Maryland crab cakes?

These easy Maryland crab cakes are lightly fried. Not deep fried because I’m sure they would fall apart, but just a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet will do it. I know some people get a little nuts-o and try grilling them. You can, but you’re going to still need to put them on a solid surface (not on the grill directly) and control your heat well.

a close up photograph of a crab cake in a skillet

What do you serve with your easy Maryland crab cakes?

That’s a great question. For me, it’s a simple baked potato and salad kind of thing. You could also do cole slaw  or another roasted vegetable. They are so versatile you can’t really do a bad match up.

Other tips for your Maryland crab cakes

  • You’ll want to chill your mixture in the fridge before cooking it so they will firm and hold up when you cook them. Remember your crab cakes will be delicate so avoid pushing them around a lot and let them get a crust on one side before you flip them.
  • The crab is already cooked when you start, so please don’t cook these to death. You only need to heat them through and get them to set.
  • Feel free to add fresh herbs (I love some parsley in mine sometimes) if you like them.
  • Don’t skip the Old Bay Seasoning. You can find it in the spice aisle in a yellow tin. It’s also great in my salmon patties.
Easy Maryland crab cakes in a skillet

Easy Maryland Crab Cakes

Crab can be pricey--don't cover it up with extra ingredients you don't need! Do it just right with these easy Maryland crab cakes. 
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 154kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard


  • 1/3 cup celery finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 6-ounce cans white crab meat drained
  • 1 6-ounce can lump crab meat drained
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs gluten free works well too
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying


  • Heat a 9-inch skillet over medium-high. Add the olive oil and the celery. Cook until just softened, stirring often--about 4 minutes. Set aside. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, Old Bay, egg, mustard and lemon juice. 
  • Add the crab meat and celery and stir gently so you don't break up your crab too much. 
  • Add the bread crumbs and salt and mix again gently.
  • Refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes so the mixture can firm slightly. When chilled, form 5 to 6 patties about 1 inch thick. 
  • To fry: heat the same 9-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the vegetable oil and add the patties three or four at a time to the skillet. Cook on one side until golden brown--about 4 minutes. Flip gently and cook 4 minutes more on the other side. 
  • Serve with your favorite sauce or just eat them straight up! 


Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 188mg | Potassium: 17mg | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 1.4mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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