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Maryland Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 3


This crab cake recipe is inspired by the crab cakes served at Dockside in Virginia Beach. Dockside uses Old Bay seasoning in their crab cakes, but I could barely taste it and because I’m not a huge fan of it anyway, I just omitted it. If you like Old Bay, go for it, but don’t over do it — the crabmeat is so tasty on its own.


  • 1 lb. jumbo lump or backfin crabmeat
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade with tarragon
  • 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) panko bread crumbs
  • squeeze of lemon (less than half of a lemon, so maybe a teaspoon)
  • a couple of tablespoons of freshly chopped tarragon, parsley or chives, for mixing with the mayo
  • melted butter, for brushing
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • tartar sauce (recipe below), for serving, optionalfor the Tartar Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade with tarragon
  • 8 cornichons, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • pinch kosher salt


  1. Place crabmeat in a large mixing bowl. Being careful not to break up the lumps too much, spread out the crabmeat into a single layer in the bowl. Season lightly with salt. Add the mayonnaise, panko, lemon juice and herb (if using). Gently fold all of the ingredients together using your hands or a spatula. The mixture should barely hold together when formed into a cake.
  2. Preheat the broiler. (Rack should be about 4 inches from the heat source.) Lightly grease a sheet pan with butter. (Note: Before doing this, take a look at your broiler and make a visual note about where the burning elements will line up with your pan. For instance, I have two coils in my broiler, so when I greased my sheet pan with butter, I greased only the parts where I was planning on placing the crab cakes, which would eventually line up with the two heating elements in the broiler. Hope that makes sense.)
  3. Portion your crab mixture into 8 cakes. I use my 1/4 cup measuring cup as a portioner and my hands to gently form the cakes. Place cakes on sheet pan and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  4. Brush each cake with melter butter. Broil five minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce on the side if desired.
  5. Make the tartar sauce: Place all ingredients in a bowl. Stir. Taste. Adjust accordingly.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes