Old Bay Crab Cakes Recipe

A table scene featuring several Old Bay Crab cakes, lump crab meat, garnishes and crab claws.

This Old Bay Crab Cakes recipe has everything you could ever want in this classic seafood appetizer. The crab cakes are plump, flavourful, and full of succulent crab meat and seasoned to perfection. Serve them with a dollop of lively Cajun aioli, recipe included.

Attention seafood lovers! There’s plenty of fish in the sea… and seafood recipes on this blog. Enjoy air fried Teriyaki Salmon Bites as a quick weekday dinner option or treat your family to a weekend Instant Pot Shrimp Boil.

Three golden fried crab cakes on a white plate with a dollop of Cajun aioli and fresh dill covering the front crab cake.

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Old Bay Crab Cakes Recipe

At our house, crab cakes are a treat for special occasions like birthdays, New Year’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. Sometimes I buy them pre-made but if I can source real crab (Dungeness or Maryland Blue Crab), even better. We love these Maryland style crab cakes packed with plenty of sweet jumbo lump crab and flake crab meat.

The most important thing to remember while making any crab cake recipe is not to allow the other ingredients to outshine the delicate crab meat. Maryland crab cakes contain only a little filler, just enough buttery cracker crumbs to bind with the egg, seasoning, and crab. 

A stack of golden fried crab cakes topped with a dollop of Cajun aioli and fresh dill garnish.

These golden fried crab cakes are such a treat. The flavour is buttery, spicy, and sweet all at the same time with a delightful crunch from the outer layer of crispy panko crumb. I never can eat just one.

Eat these crab cakes all on their own or dip them in Cajun crab cake sauce (see recipe card). The combination of capers, Old Bay Seasoning, garlic, and Dijon mustard in a creamy aioli is pure magic!

Ingredients for this Old Bay Crab Cakes Recipe

While the ingredients list looks extensive, a portion of the items belong in the Cajun crab cake sauce. Feel free to omit the sauce and serve crab cakes with a squeeze of lemon and fresh dill.

Ingredients required for this Old Bay Crab Cakes Recipe.
  • Eggs
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chives
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Lemons
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dill
  • Black Pepper
  • Crab
  • Crackers
  • Panko Crumbs
  • Butter
  • Avocado Oil
  • Champagne Vinegar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Capers
  • Cajun Seasoning
Process images showing how to mix form and cook crab cakes.

The eggs in this recipe serve two functions. Firstly, they bind with the cracker crumbs and help the crab cakes keep their shape. Secondly, eggs are an important component of homemade mayonnaise and in this recipe, Cajun aioli.

Using fresh chopped chives (or green onions), fresh dill, fresh lemon juice, real garlic, and freshly ground black pepper will give the best flavour results. You’ll notice there’s no salt in the crab cake mixture, as Old Bay seasoning contains enough salt to properly season the mixture.

You can’t have Maryland crab cakes without Old Bay Seasoning… the components of this famous seafood spice blend from Maryland are a closely guarded secret. Known ingredients include paprika, red pepper powder, celery salt, and black pepper.

A series of process images showing how to make Cajun aioli in a mason jar.

While some prefer saltine crackers in their crab cakes, I love to use buttery crackers (such as Ritz) in my crab mixture. Why? Because butter is always better! The outer panko crumb layer is not necessary, but I love how extra crispy these crab cakes are once they are fried.

Butter adds flavour while the Avocado oil combines with the butter to lower its smoke point. This prevents the butter from prematurely browning and the crab cakes from getting too dark as they cook.

What is the Best Crab Meat for Crab Cakes?

If you have access to fresh Maryland Blue crab, it makes the best crab cakes. Otherwise, use fresh jumbo lump or lump Dungeness crab meat. Crab meat sold in plastic tubs will also work but avoid canned crab meat or the flavour of your crab cakes will suffer.

A white plate featuring three old bay seasoned crab cakes, lemon slices, and Cajon aioli.

How to Make Old Bay Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are one of the easiest seafood appetizers to make and this Old Bay Crab Cake recipe creates some of the most flavourful crab cakes you’ll ever eat.

Old Bay Seasoning was originally created to compliment seafood without overpowering it. Add a little lemon juice to brighten the flavours and these crab cakes really steal the show. 

To begin mixing the crab cakes, place the eggs, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, black pepper, chives, and dill in a large mixing bowl. Mix gently until well combined.

A golden fried crab cake on a white plate with a dollop of Cajun aioli.

Gently fold in the crab meat and cracker crumbs into the egg mixture, taking care not to over-mix, and keeping all that lovely lump crab meat intact. Carefully form the combined ingredients into 6 crab cakes.

Next, place crab cakes on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight. Don’t skip this resting step as it helps to firm up the cakes before cooking.

To cook the crab cakes, heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Press panko breadcrumbs onto both sides of each crab cake and fry each side until crispy golden brown. It usually takes about 5 minutes cook time per side.

A group of four golden fried crab cakes on a white plate.

Crab cakes are done cooking when the outside becomes golden brown and crisp and the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

To make a larger batch of crab cakes, feel free to pan-fry the crab cakes, then bake them in the oven until they reach 145 degrees.

How to Make Sauce for Crab Cakes

This vibrant Cajun aioli is the ideal sauce to serve with crab cakes.

Cajun aioli is so simple to make, you can whip it while the crab cakes are frying. The easiest way is to place the eggs, vinegar, Dijon, and salt in a large mason jar. Next, slowly add the oil over the top so the ingredients settle into separated layers.

A fork cuts a portion of a Cajun aioli topped crab cake.

Lower an immersion blender in the egg layer and blend for 30 seconds, watching as the emulsification process begins. Slowly move the blender up and down to thoroughly combine and emulsify the ingredients. Finally, stir in the garlic, capers with brine, and Cajun seasoning.

How to Serve Old Bay Crab Cakes

These Old Bay Crab Cakes make a great party appetizer or dinner party starter. However, you can also eat them as a main alongside a supporting side dish.

To serve crab cakes as an appetizer or starter, place cooked crab cakes over a bed of mixed greens and top with Cajun aioli or regular aioli and fresh dill weed or chopped fresh chives. Serve hot with a side of lemon wedges.

Crab Cakes topped with Cajun aioli served with lemon wedges and fresh greens.

Sides dishes that go well with crab cakes include a fresh salad, sautéed, or roasted vegetables. Pair them with a homemade soup, a rice or pasta dish, or just a side of fries for a fun spin on fish and chips.

Storing and Reheating Leftover Crab Cakes

Cooked crab cakes will keep up to 3 days in an airtight container in your refrigerator. You can fry them in a pan or use an air fryer to reheat. You can also freeze them to enjoy later!

Pinterest image for Old Bay Crab Cakes recipe featuring golden fried crab cakes topped with Cajun aioli and fresh dill.

Hi! I’m Bernice Hill and I am the sole recipe developer, photographer, and writer at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen. It is my pleasure to share easy to follow recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and approachable for the whole family.

If you make this Old Bay Crab Cakes Recipe, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section or a recipe rating. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please share your photos and tag me on Instagram. I hope you like this recipe!

Yield: 6 crab cakes

Old Bay Crab Cakes Recipe

A golden fried crab cake on a white plate with a dollop of Cajun aioli and fresh dill.

This perfect Old Bay Crab Cakes recipe is everything you could ever want in this classic seafood appetizer. The crab cakes are plump, flavourful, and full of succulent crab meat and seasoned to perfection. Serve them with a dollop of lively Cajun aioli, recipe included.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large Eggs; beaten
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp Chives or Green Onions; finely sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Dill; chopped
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb Dungeness Crab Meat
  • 1 cup buttery Crackers; crushed
  • 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Avocado Oil
  • Crab Sauce, Spring Mix, Lemon Wedges, and extra Dill to serve

FOR THE CAJUN AIOLI

  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp Champagne Vinegar or White wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup of light-flavored Oil
  • 2 tsp Garlic; finely grated using a microplane
  • 1 Tbsp Capers with a bit of brine (or substitute pickle relish)
  • 2 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning

Instructions

    FOR THE CRAB CAKES

  1. Add the eggs, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, black pepper, chives, and dill into a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.
  2. Gently fold in the crab meat and the cracker crumbs; do not over-mix. Form the combined ingredients into 6 crab cakes.
  3. Place into a refrigerator on a parchment-lined sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for one hour or overnight.
  4. Heat butter and oil in a large saute pan, press panko bread crumbs onto both sides of each crab cake and fry each side until golden brown and crisp. It usually takes about 5 minutes per side over medium heat.

    FOR THE CAJUN AIOLI

  1. As the cakes are frying, start the sauce. Add the eggs, vinegar, Dijon, and salt in a large mason jar. Slowly add the oil over the top so the ingredients settle into separated layers.
  2. Press an immersion blender firmly over the egg and blend for 30 seconds, watching as the emulsification process begins. Slowly move the blender up and down to thoroughly combine and thicken the ingredients.
  3. Stir in the garlic, capers with brine, and Cajun seasoning.

    TO SERVE

    Serve Crab Cakes over spring mix with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and top with Cajun aioli or serve aioli on the side. Enjoy!






Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 835Total Fat: 63gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 50gCholesterol: 230mgSodium: 2499mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 42g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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22 comments

  1. Jenny

    Beautiful crab cakes, nice and tender, full of flavor. I especially loved the cajun aioli, it pairs perfectly with the crabcakes. Thank you so much.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Wow! Thanks for the great review Jenny. I’m so glad you loved these crab cakes.

  2. Moop Brown

    The seasoning used in this recipe adds so much flavor and tastiness to the crab cakes. The sauce is a nice addition as well. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes!! Old Bay seasoning is the BEST! Thank you for the great review Moop.

  3. Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer

    I love crab cakes and these were so good! Such an easy and absolutely delicious recipe!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thanks for letting me know Lori. I’m so glad you loved this recipe.

  4. Carrie Robinson

    You can never go wrong when adding some Old Bay in! 🙂 These crab cakes look incredible. Can’t wait to make these for my family soon.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s the perfect seafood seasoning and it’s great on other things as well. Happy cooking Carrie!

  5. Loreto and Nicoletta

    These are brilliant 👏 Love how juicy they look and with the crackers and old bay seasoning I am imagining the flavor to be out of this world. This is a great appetizer, or even a meal on its own. Great photography and a lovely recipe! 👍 😋 😍

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes, we’re empty nesters now and sometimes we do just have a nice treat like this for dinner!

  6. Asha

    These crab cakes were very flavourful. I think they would be nice served in a bun, as well.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh yes!! With some crisp fresh lettuce. That’s perfection right there.

  7. Enriqueta E Lemoine

    It’s stone crab season in Florida, so I’ll go to the fish market soon to get some crab legs and make your recipe. It’s perfect for the Lent season, too. Thank you, Bernice.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Perfect timing!! I know you’ll love these crab cakes, especially with fresh crab.

  8. Marie-Pierre Breton

    Another recipe with Old Bay Spice! I am starting to think I should begin to import this into Europe! It sounds like a dreamy touch to many dishes, especially those yummy-looking crab cakes! Yum!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I think it would be worth it! It’s even good on roasted potatoes for a simple side dish.

  9. silvia

    This was a perfect recipe for lenten Fridays. they were so delicious and flavourful, especially that cajun aoli, omg, I could put that on top of a hundred things!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      For sure! It’s an extremely versatile sauce. So glad you enjoyed the crab cakes Silvia.

  10. Dennis

    I love a good crabcake and will definitely keep your recipe in mind the next time I make them.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Ah… same! They’re such a treat. Thanks for stopping by Dennis.

  11. Gloria

    I love crab cakes. Old Bay Seasoning is super delicious. Add some fries and call this dinner.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Oooh yes, I’m here for it. That’s a great combination.

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