Crab Cakes: A Classic Seafood Delight

Crab cakes are a popular seafood dish that is enjoyed by many people around the world. Made from fresh crab meat, these patties are seasoned with various herbs and spices and then fried or baked until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Crab cakes are often served as an appetizer or as the main course, and they are a great addition to any seafood lover’s menu.

One of the reasons why crab cakes are so popular is because they are versatile and can be prepared in many different ways. Some people prefer their crab cakes to be spicy, while others like them mild. Some people like to serve their crab cakes with a side of tartar sauce, while others prefer them with a squeeze of lemon juice. Whatever your preference, there is a crab cake recipe out there that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

If you are looking to try your hand at making crab cakes at home, there are many recipes available online and in cookbooks. With a little bit of practice, you can learn how to make restaurant-quality crab cakes that are sure to impress your friends and family. So why not give it a try and see for yourself just how delicious these little seafood patties can be?

History of Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are a popular dish in the United States, particularly in the Chesapeake Bay region. The origins of the crab cake can be traced back to Native American cuisine, specifically from the Chesapeake region. The same process that was used then to remove the meat from the shells is the same that is used today – it’s done by hand.

The first known recipe for crab cakes was published in the 1930s by Crosby Gaige in his book “New York World’s Fair Cook Book”. The recipe called for crab meat, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, and seasonings. Since then, crab cakes have become a staple in American cuisine, with variations of the recipe found in different parts of the country.

Maryland is known for its crab cakes, which are typically made with lump crab meat, Old Bay seasoning, and mayonnaise. The crab cakes are formed into patties and then pan-fried until golden brown. Some restaurants in Maryland even offer “all-you-can-eat” crab cake specials.

Crab cakes have also become a popular item on menus at seafood restaurants across the country. Some chefs have put their own spin on the classic recipe, adding ingredients like avocado, mango, or cilantro. However, purists argue that the original recipe is the best and that any variation is sacrilege.

Overall, the history of crab cakes is a testament to the rich culinary traditions of the United States. From its humble beginnings in Native American cuisine to its status as a beloved dish in American restaurants, the crab cake has become an iconic part of American food culture.


Crab cakes are a classic seafood dish that can be found on menus across the world. While the recipe for crab cakes can vary depending on the region and personal preference, there are a few key ingredients that are essential to any great crab cake recipe.

Crab Meat Types

The most important ingredient in a crab cake is, of course, the crab meat. There are several types of crab meat that can be used in crab cakes, including lump crab meat, backfin crab meat, and claw meat. Lump crab meat is the most expensive and sought-after type of crab meat, as it comes from the largest and most desirable parts of the crab. It has a sweet and delicate flavor that is perfect for crab cakes. Backfin crab meat is a combination of lump and smaller pieces of crab meat, while claw meat is darker and has a stronger flavor.

Binding Agents

In addition to crab meat, crab cakes require binding agents to hold the cake together. Most recipes call for a combination of mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, and eggs. The mayonnaise adds moisture and flavor, while the breadcrumbs help to absorb excess moisture and provide structure. Eggs act as a binder, helping to hold everything together.

Seasonings and Herbs

Seasonings and herbs are crucial to giving crab cakes their signature flavor. Common seasonings include Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and hot sauce. Herbs like parsley, chives, and thyme can also be added for additional flavor.

Additional Fillers

While crab meat is the star of the show, many recipes call for additional fillers to bulk up the cake and add texture. Popular fillers include diced onions, celery, and red bell pepper. Some recipes also call for cheese or bacon to be added for extra flavor.

When it comes to making the perfect crab cake, the quality of the ingredients is key. By using high-quality crab meat and fresh herbs and seasonings, you can create a delicious crab cake that is sure to impress.

Preparation Techniques

Mixing and Forming

To make perfect crab cakes, it is important to mix and form the ingredients correctly. First, the crab meat should be picked over to remove any shell fragments. Then, the crab meat should be mixed with binders such as eggs, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, and cornmeal to help the crab cake hold together. Flavor enhancers such as mustard, fresh or dried herbs, onions, peppers, and seasonings can be added to complement the crabmeat. The mixture should be gently mixed to avoid breaking up the crab meat.

Once the mixture is ready, it should be formed into patties. A 1/3 cup measure can be used to portion the mixture into equally sized patties. The patties should be gently shaped into rounds, about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. It is important to not overwork the mixture as it can make the crab cakes tough.

Cooking Methods

There are various ways to cook crab cakes, including pan-frying, baking, and broiling. Pan-frying is the most popular method as it gives the crab cakes a crispy texture. To pan-fry crab cakes, heat oil and butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and the oil is hot, add the crab cakes to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Baking is another popular method for cooking crab cakes. Preheat the oven to 375°F and place the crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the crab cakes with melted butter and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Broiling is a quick and easy method for cooking crab cakes. Preheat the broiler and place the crab cakes on a broiler pan. Broil for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Overall, the cooking method used will depend on personal preference and the equipment available. Regardless of the method used, it is important to not overcook the crab cakes as it can make them dry and tough.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving crab cakes, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that they are presented in the best possible way. Here are some tips on how to serve crab cakes.


Crab cakes are often served with a variety of accompaniments that complement their flavors. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Salads: A light, fresh salad is a perfect complement to the rich flavors of crab cakes. A classic green salad with crisp lettuce, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes adds a light and crunchy element and lighter flavors to pair with the savory flavors of tender crab meat.
  • Grilled Veggies: Grilled vegetables are another great option. Charred to perfection, they add a smoky flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of crab meat. Asparagus, eggplant, squash, corn, and onions are some of the most popular vegetables to grill and serve with crab cakes.
  • Potato Salad: A classic potato salad is a popular side dish for crab cakes. The creamy texture and tangy flavor of the salad complement the flavors of the crab cakes perfectly.


The presentation of crab cakes is just as important as the accompaniments that are served with them. Here are some tips on how to present crab cakes:

  • Plating: When plating crab cakes, it’s important to consider the size of the cakes. Smaller crab cakes can be served as appetizers while larger ones can be served as a main course. A simple plating technique is to place the crab cake in the center of the plate and garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of parsley.
  • Sauces: Sauces are another important element of the presentation of crab cakes. Tartar sauce is a classic choice, but there are many other options to consider. Remoulade, aioli, and cocktail sauce are all popular choices that add a burst of flavor to the crab cakes.
  • Garnishes: Garnishes are a simple way to add visual appeal to crab cakes. Lemon wedges, sprigs of parsley, and microgreens are all popular garnishes that add a pop of color to the plate.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your crab cakes are presented in the best possible way and are a hit with your guests.

Regional Variations

Crab cakes are a popular dish in many coastal regions of the United States, but each region has its unique twist on the recipe. Here are some of the most popular regional variations of crab cakes.

Maryland Crab Cakes

Maryland is known for its crab cakes, which are made with lump crab meat, minimal filler, and seasoned with Old Bay seasoning. The cakes are typically served with tartar sauce or remoulade sauce. Maryland crab cakes are often broiled or pan-fried, and they are usually served as an appetizer or as a main course.

Louisiana Crab Cakes

Louisiana-style crab cakes are made with a blend of crab meat and shrimp, scallops, or fish. They are seasoned with Cajun spices, lemon, and herbs, and they often include more bread crumbs or filler than Maryland crab cakes. Louisiana crab cakes are typically served with rémoulade sauce or a spicy aioli.

Pacific Northwest Crab Cakes

Pacific Northwest crab cakes are made with Dungeness crab, which is a local delicacy. The cakes are usually seasoned with a blend of herbs, such as thyme and chives, and they often include a mixture of bread crumbs and panko. Pacific Northwest crab cakes are often served with a citrus-based sauce, such as lemon aioli or orange beurre blanc.

Overall, the regional variations of crab cakes reflect the local tastes and ingredients of each region. Whether you prefer the classic Maryland-style crab cake or the spicy Louisiana-style crab cake, there is a variation of this delicious dish for everyone.

Nutritional Information

Crab cakes are a seafood delicacy that are often served as an appetizer or main course. They are made from crab meat, bread crumbs, and various seasonings. Crab cakes are a good source of protein, but they also contain some fat and carbohydrates.

Here is a breakdown of the nutritional information for one medium-sized crab cake:

  • Calories: 362
  • Total Fat: 23g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.6g
  • Trans Fat: 0.4g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 5.6g
  • Cholesterol: 158mg
  • Sodium: 1286mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.2g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 23g
  • Vitamin D: 0.3mcg

As can be seen from the nutritional information, crab cakes are relatively high in fat and sodium. It is worth noting that the fat in crab cakes is mostly unsaturated, which is considered to be a healthier type of fat. Additionally, crab cakes are a good source of protein, which is important for building and repairing tissues in the body.

One way to make crab cakes healthier is to bake them instead of frying them. This reduces the amount of fat and calories in the dish. Another option is to use whole wheat bread crumbs instead of white bread crumbs, which adds more fiber to the dish.

Overall, crab cakes can be a healthy and delicious addition to a balanced diet, but they should be consumed in moderation due to their high sodium and fat content.

Storage and Leftovers

Crab cakes are a delicious dish that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. However, if you have leftover crab cakes, it’s important to store them properly to ensure that they stay fresh and safe to eat.

Storing Crab Cakes

To store crab cakes, place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Then, place them in the refrigerator. Crab cakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Freezing Crab Cakes

If you want to store crab cakes for a longer period of time, you can freeze them. To freeze crab cakes, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container. Crab cakes can be frozen for up to one month.

When you’re ready to eat the frozen crab cakes, simply thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat them in the oven or on the stovetop until they’re heated through.

Reheating Crab Cakes

To reheat crab cakes, preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the crab cakes on a baking sheet and bake them for 10-15 minutes, or until they’re heated through. You can also reheat crab cakes on the stovetop. Heat a small amount of oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the crab cakes and cook them for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they’re heated through.

It’s important to note that reheated crab cakes may not be as crispy as freshly made ones. However, they will still be delicious and safe to eat.

Pairing with Wines and Beverages

Crab cakes are a delicious and versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of wines and beverages. When choosing a wine to pair with crab cakes, it is important to consider the flavors and textures of the dish, as well as the characteristics of the wine. Here are some popular wine and beverage pairings for crab cakes:

White Wines

White wines are a popular choice for pairing with crab cakes, as they complement the delicate flavors of the crab meat. Some popular white wines to pair with crab cakes include:

  • Chardonnay: Unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnays allow the natural flavors of the crab cakes to shine through without overpowering them. These wines often exhibit vibrant citrus and apple flavors, which harmonize well with the seafood.
  • Pinot Blanc: Pinot Blanc is a fun alternative to Chardonnay, a classic crab cake pairing. It has a crisp, refreshing acidity that complements the sweetness of the crab meat.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc is another white wine that pairs well with crab cakes. The crisp, citrusy burst of flavor in a glass of Sauvignon Blanc provides great contrast for the sweet crab meat.

Rosé Wines

Rosé wines are a great choice for pairing with crab cakes, as they have the acidity of a white wine and the fruitiness of a red wine. Some popular rosé wines to pair with crab cakes include:

  • Provence Rosé: Provence Rosé is a light, refreshing wine with delicate fruit flavors that complement the sweetness of the crab meat.
  • White Zinfandel: White Zinfandel is a sweeter rosé wine that pairs well with the richness of the crab cakes. It has a fruity flavor that balances the saltiness of the dish.


In addition to wine, beer is also a great choice for pairing with crab cakes. A light, crisp beer is the perfect complement to the delicate flavors of the crab meat. Some popular beer styles to pair with crab cakes include:

  • Pilsner: Pilsner is a light, crisp beer with a refreshing flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of the crab meat.
  • Wheat Beer: Wheat beer has a slightly sweet, citrusy flavor that complements the delicate flavors of the crab cakes.

When it comes to pairing wines and beverages with crab cakes, there are many options to choose from. Whether you prefer white wine, rosé wine, or beer, there is a perfect pairing out there for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential ingredients for making crab cakes?

The essential ingredients for making crab cakes include crab meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper. Some recipes may include additional ingredients such as chopped onions, celery, peppers, and parsley.

How can I ensure my crab cakes don’t fall apart during cooking?

To ensure that crab cakes don’t fall apart during cooking, it is important to use a binding agent such as eggs or mayonnaise. Additionally, refrigerating the crab cakes for at least an hour before cooking can help them hold their shape. When cooking, it is best to avoid flipping the crab cakes too often and to handle them gently.

What are some recommended side dishes to complement crab cakes?

Some recommended side dishes to complement crab cakes include coleslaw, roasted vegetables, corn on the cob, potato salad, and French fries.

Which type of crab meat is preferred when making crab cakes?

The preferred type of crab meat when making crab cakes is lump crab meat, which has large, meaty pieces that hold their shape well. Claw meat can also be used, but it has a stronger flavor and a slightly different texture.

What are the differences between Maryland and Louisiana crab cake recipes?

Maryland crab cakes are typically made with lump crab meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, and Old Bay seasoning. They are usually broiled or pan-fried and served with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce. Louisiana crab cakes, also known as crawfish cakes, are made with crawfish tails, breadcrumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, and Creole seasoning. They are usually deep-fried and served with a spicy remoulade sauce.

Is frying or baking the better method for cooking crab cakes?

Both frying and baking can be used to cook crab cakes, but the method you choose will depend on personal preference. Frying will result in a crispy exterior and a moist interior, while baking will result in a softer texture. Baking is also a healthier option as it uses less oil.

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