Why It Works
- Lump blue crabmeat offers a good proportion of large chunks.
- Panko bread crumbs are the perfect binder: light, airy, and flavorless enough to disappear into the cakes.
- Mayo and egg help hold the cakes together and add moisture.
Real Maryland crab cakes are all about the pure indulgence of lump crab, with as little filler and breading as possible to get in the way—just enough to keep them from falling apart. Here's how to make crab cakes so that they come out deeply flavorful, with large chunks of perfectly seasoned crabmeat, every time. To be honest, they're so good that they don't even really need the lemon wedge, or condiments like tartar sauce.
- 1 pound (450g) lump blue crabmeat, picked over for shells
- 1/3 cup (80ml) mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (1 ounce; 30g)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 4 dashes Tabasco
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and/or unsalted butter (45ml/45g), plus more as needed (if pan-frying)
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Tartar sauce, for serving (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, combine half of crabmeat with mayonnaise, panko, egg, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper and stir until thoroughly combined.
Gently fold in remaining half of crabmeat until just combined; try not to break apart the lumps of meat any more than necessary as you stir.
If pan-frying, form crab mixture into patties and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. In a large cast iron or nonstick skillet, heat oil (and/or butter) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add patties and cook, rotating and flipping occasionally for even browning, until browned and crispy on both sides, about 10 minutes. Lower heat at any point to prevent burning, and add more oil or butter as needed if pan goes dry.
If broiling, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and preheat broiler. Form the crab mixture into handball-size balls and mound on the prepared baking sheet. Broil about 5 inches from the broiler element until well browned on top and heated through, about 4 minutes.
Serve right away with lemon wedges and tartar sauce, if desired.
Large cast iron skillet or nonstick skillet, rimmed baking sheet