Baked Crab Cakes (with Minimal Filler!)

Dairy-Free

This Maryland crab cake recipe is baked in the oven instead of fried, so they come out perfect every time with less oil. My simple recipe uses minimal filler (and no mayo!) for the best texture and intense crab flavor. They’re so easy to make, with just 5 steps.

A white platter with 6 giant baked crab cakes and a small dish of remoulade on a grey background.

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of chicken and beef pretty quickly. The problem is that, since I always default to those protein options, it can be hard to break out of the rut and think of something different to make.

I usually end up doing something with shrimp or sausage, but I recently couldn’t get crab cakes out of my head. I used to make them all the time, but at some point, they must have fallen off my radar.

I’m so glad I remembered though because crab cakes are such a perfect alternative to more standard proteins and these crab cakes are seriously fast and easy to make.

These simple baked crab cakes are a great way to make your next weeknight dinner feel extra special.

And since I bake them instead of frying them and use minimal filler, they were the perfect contribution to this month’s #ProgressiveEats, where we’re sharing healthy twists on some of our favorite recipes. (More on that later!)

Ingredients for making the best crab cakes: lump crab meat, eggs, Worchestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and species.

Ingredients for Maryland crab cakes

To make these delicious crab cakes at home, you’ll just need 6 ingredients. And I bet you have most of them in your kitchen already!

  • Crab meat. First off, you’ll need crab meat. But what kind of crab meat is best for making crab cakes? I use lump crab, which comes from the body of the crab (not the legs or claws) and has an intense crab flavor. It typically comes in pretty large pieces, so it gives crab cakes great texture, too. For the best quality, look for refrigerated crab meat. You can also use canned lump crab meat. This has a lower price-point, but the texture can be a little more mushy than fresh crab.
  • Eggs. Eggs add moisture and help the crab meat bind together so you can form cakes with it. Traditional crab cakes often use mayonnaise for this, but I never have that in the house and eggs work just as well.
  • Ritz crackers. Along with the eggs, crab cakes typically use some breadcrumbs or crackers to help bind them together. I love the subtle buttery flavor that Ritz crackers give these crab cakes. They also add a slight crunch to the outside of the cakes! I like my crab cakes to taste like crab, not bread, so I use a very minimal amount of cracker crumbs. Just enough to get the job done!
  • Worchestershire Sauce.
  • Dijon Mustard.
  • Old Bay Seasoning.
  • Paprika.

How to make crab cakes

To make crab cakes at home, start by whisking together the wet ingredients and seasonings in a large mixing bowl.

Next, stir in the cracker crumbs. You can use a food processor or blender to make the crumbs or just do what I do and use your hands to crush them into a fine powder.

Finally, add in the crab meat and stir everything together. It will look like there’s way more crab meat than anything else. That’s ok! These are crab cakes after all. Cutting down on the filler keeps calories down and maximizes flavor. Talk about a win-win!

Stirring in tons of lump crab meat.
Finally mix in the crab meat, and then let every thing for at least 30 minutes

Next, let the crab mixture chill for at least a half hour. This will help it firm up so your crab cakes hold their shape!

Finally, it’s time to for them crab mixture into cakes.

Divide the crab evenly into six portions. The, using damp hand, form each portion into a thick patty. Place the crab patties onto the baking sheet.

The crab cakes will very very fragile at this point, so treat them delicately!

Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the cakes for about 15 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and crisp on the top.

Pro-tip: For perfect and consistently sized crab cakes, use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop out the crab cake mixture, then gently compress the cakes with damp hands.

A sheet pan with uncooked crab cakes and a measuring cut filled with the crab mixture.

Baked v. Fried

People can have strong opinions when it comes to whether crab cakes should be baked or fried.

Personally, I prefer baking them. Here’s why:

The steady heat of the oven cooks the crab cakes gently, so you don’t need to worry about the outside of the cakes getting to browned before the insides are cook through.

Frying the crab cakes also gives them a thicker, crunchier exterior that I find competes with the soft, delicate nature of crab. Baked crab cakes will still be a little bit crispy, but the overall texture will be more consistent and the exterior crust won’t compete with the soft insides.

Baked crab cakes also don’t need any oil. This keeps the fat content down and prevents you kitchen from taking on that fry oil smell.

Finally, it’s just plain easier. All six crab cakes can bake at the same time, so you don’t have to worry about cooking them in batches.

What to serve with crab cakes?

I served these easy crab cakes with lemon wedges and plenty of Greek Yogurt Remoulade Sauce.

On the side, I made baked potato wedges. These were also great dunked in the remoulade!

For a lighter meal, you could also serve these crab cakes on top of a salad. I like to use baby lettuces and balsamic vinaigrette.

They’re also fantastic as a crab cake sandwich! Try them on a soft brioche bun and to p them with plenty of remoulade or your favorite tartar sauce.

Overhead view of two crab cakes on a plate, with potato wedges on the side. One crab cake is topped with remoulade.
Baked Crab Cakes (with Minimal Filler!) 1

Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is about making favorite recipes healthier, and our host is Susan who blogs at The Wimpy Vegetarian.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. The host for the month chooses the theme and members share recipes on that theme suitable for a delicious meal or party. Then you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. So come along and see all of the delicious and inspired dishes!

Healthier Versions of Favorite Dishes

Cocktail

Appetizers

Main Courses

Sides

More fish and seafood recipes you’ll love:

overhead view of crab cakes and remoulade sauce on a white platter.
overhead view of crab cakes and remoulade sauce on a white platter.

Baked Crab Cakes

Yield: 6 crab cakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

These lump crab cakes are baked instead of fried and use minimal filler, resulting in the best flavor and texture. Serve these piping hot with lemon wedges and plenty of remoulade or tartar sauce!

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • 9 Ritz crackers, crushed

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, mustard, Worchestershire, Old Bay, and paprika until smooth. Stir in the cracker crumbs until fully incorporated, then fold in the fold in the crab meat.
  3. Refrigerate the crab mixture for 30 minutes to help it firm up.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, divide the crab mixture into 6 equal portions. Use damp hands to press each portion gently into a loose patty.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the tops of the crab cakes are golden brown and slightly crisp
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 115Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 135mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 16g

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By on January 28th, 2021

About Lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren! I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook.

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7 thoughts on “Baked Crab Cakes (with Minimal Filler!)”

  1. I absolutely love that you baked these crab cakes and because there is no mayo my husband would really enjoy them!! What a great way to make this recipe healthier!

    Reply
  2. The last time I had crab cakes was over a year ago, my neighbors folks live in Baltimore and came to town over the holidays and brought fresh crab cakes with them. Very much like yours. It was a CRAB cake, not a celery and onion cake with a tiny bit of crab!

    These look and sound delicious; now wondering where I can source some lump crab meat. Lobster and crab in the Rocky Mountain region are mythical creatures. 🙂

    Reply
  3. omg, I’m going to be thinking about these crab cakes all day. I buy crab cakes at a grocery store in Reno that are mostly crab and I love them. And now I can use your recipe to make them at home. I can’t wait!!!

    Reply
  4. My crab cakes always fall apart, so will be following your recommendations and recipe with my next batch! They look amazing!!!

    Reply

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