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No Filler Crab Cakes

I love crab cakes, and I realized that making my own wasn’t all that hard- and brought far better results than frozen crab cakes from the store!

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No filler crab cake

Crab cakes are a staple favorite in the south and make a perfect addition to any seafood dinner. Sadly, so many recipes pack in all kinds of filler- taking away from the beautiful crab flavor that makes these cakes so good, to begin with.

No filler crab cakes champion the incredible flavor of the crab rather than masking it, and the best recipes use every ingredient to compliment the taste even further. The recipe below does exactly that.

I love crab cakes, and I realized that making my own wasn’t all that hard- and brought far better results than frozen crab cakes from the store!

Since discovering this simple method to make top-quality, extremely tasty no filler crab cakes, my family and I can enjoy seafood goodness whenever we want.

Keep reading for details of everything you need to make this tasty fishy dish and a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

There are only seven steps and the nine ingredients used are things you probably have in your cupboard at home (well, except the crab meat).

Ground mustard in dish

My Ultimate Easy Crab Cake Recipe

I take my inspiration for this recipe from Maryland crab cakes for flavor, consistency, and ingredients. This is a very good recipe with very little filler- exactly what we want when making crab cakes.

The method itself is pretty simple.

All in all, you should set aside at least an hour and a half to make this crab cake recipe to give the patties plenty of time to chill (see step five). The spare hour can be used for prepping other things- and trust me, it is worth the wait.

Everyone should have a great recipe for delicious crab cakes under their belt- and I think this is the perfect one. It is straightforward, doesn’t replace juicy crab meat with filler, and packs a serious punch in the flavor department.

Let’s get started!


  • Jumbo Lump Crab Meat

In my opinion, the best crab cakes use lump crab meat. It works best because it is juicy and flavorful- two things every crab cake should be. You need around one pound of the meat to make six good-sized patties.

Make sure the meat is fully thawed if you bought it frozen- you will have a much harder time with this if it is still a bit hard.

  • Crackers

Any salty cracker will do. Saltine crackers are my go-to when making crab cakes, but Ritz crackers are equally good. You can use a wholegrain cracker if you want a heavier flavor.

I usually use around seven Saltine crackers. You need half a cup of crushed cracker crumbs- so use as many of whatever crackers you choose as is needed to produce that amount.

  • Mayonnaise

Standard mayo is fine- but I definitely think you can taste the difference when using a real egg full-fat mayonnaise, just like with my crab salad recipe. If you want to make your crab cakes healthier, low-fat products are a good substitute. You need half a cup- so it makes a difference to the overall fat content.

Don’t worry if you don’t like the taste of mayonnaise- it doesn’t really impact the flavor very much. It is used as a binding agent, so you can’t really cut it out of the recipe all together.

  • Egg

One large, free-range egg will do the job. Crack it into a cup and beat it lightly before you start.

  • Old Bay Seasoning

You simply cannot have a Maryland crab cake without Old Bay seasoning! I use a whole tablespoon of the stuff in this recipe- and you can add more if desired.

  • Dried Parsley

Dried parsley flakes are preferable to powdered dry parsley. My recipe also uses a tablespoon of this herb.

Some recipes ask for fresh parsley, but I think the crab patties hold together better with dry ingredients. Plus, it doesn’t really impact the flavor whether you use fresh or dried.

  • Ground Mustard

Dried ground mustard has a powerful punchy flavor that I love- and I think it works beautifully in this crab cake recipe. Dijon mustard is another excellent option- but don’t use American mustard- it doesn’t really work out the same (I have tried it!).

  • Black Pepper

Have a little powdered black pepper for seasoning- half a teaspoon is enough unless you want the taste to come through stronger.

  • Worcestershire Sauce

Last- but not least- a dash of Worcestershire sauce gives these crab cakes the final flavor kick they need! I usually just throw in a slosh from the bottle, but if you want to measure it, a generous teaspoon is an ideal amount.

What Else Will You Need?

Other than your ingredients, you will need a few simple kitchen tools:

  • Colander
  • Sealable plastic bag
  • Two mixing bowls
  • Large sheet pan
  • Foil wrap
  • Skillet
  • Fish slice or spatula

A Few Side Notes

Fresh Crab Meat is Best!

Whenever I cook crab cakes, I always use real crab meat- preferably lump crab meat if I can get it. Imitation crab meat is just not the same- it doesn’t have the incredible punchy flavor.

Canned crab meat can be ok if you are craving crab cakes and can’t get lump crab meat. Some canned crab meat is actually pretty tasty, but fresh jumbo lump crab meat is always the winner.

Jumbo crab meat in bowl

Why Not Spice Things Up?

My family loves crab cakes with a hint of spice, so I often add hot sauce to the mixture. You just mix it with the rest of the seasoning (how much depends on the heat you want and the sauce you use).

You get a better spicy flavor by adding it to the actual crab cake mixture rather than using it as a dip because it is evenly spread through the whole patty. If you want to try another hot crab dish, try out my spicy crab sushi roll recipe!

Crackers crushed on plate

Bread Crumbs VS Cracker crumbs

Some crab cake recipes call for panko bread crumbs, but I personally find they make the cakes too heavy. Cracker crumbs are tastier and combine better with the crab mixture.

Authentic Maryland crab cakes use crackers instead of bread crumbs- and if it is good enough for Maryland, it is good enough for me!

Crab cakes on platter

Storing Your Crab Cakes

If you have any leftover crab cakes, you can easily store them in a refrigerator. Pop them in an airtight container or cover them with plastic wrap and keep them for up to three days.

I do not recommend keeping them longer than that- nor do I think it is a good idea to freeze them.

Chances are the crab meat has already been frozen and thawed, so I prefer to avoid freezing it again.

You have three days to use them up, which won’t be hard once you taste them! Eat them as they are, crumble and put them through a salad, or break up the patties to make mini crab cakes- it is up to you.

Crab cake dipped in sauce


There you have it: a homemade no filler Maryland-style crab cake in an hour and a half! Master this simple recipe, and you are sure to be a hit at the next dinner party.

I think this is the best crab cakes recipe I have tried- and it is also one of the easiest! Of all the methods I have tried, this comes closest to a simple DIY true Maryland crab cake.

Yield: 6 servings

No Filler Crab Cakes

No Filler Crab Cakes

I love crab cakes! I realized that making my own wasn't all that hard and brought far better results than frozen crab cakes from the store.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1/2 c. crushed crackers
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce


  1. Start by draining your crab meat using the colander. Make sure it is drained thoroughly. Otherwise, your mixture will be too wet and leave you with a soupy texture that won't bind properly with the other ingredients. Once drained, take a fork and gently flake the crab meat. It doesn't need to be shredded, just break down the chunks to a reasonable size. Don't forget to check for any shells in the crab mixture!
  2. Set your crab aside and grab your crackers of choice. Put the whole crackers into a sealable plastic bag and crush them using your hands or a rolling pin. I also sometimes use a cup to crush the crackers into crumbs. Don't worry about the crumbs being uniform. They just need to be reasonably small and fine enough to work as a binder. The important thing is to make sure the bag is sealed (I speak from experience).
  3. Take a second mixing bowl and add the crushed crackers, all the seasoning, and everything else except the crab mixture. Stir the bowl until everything is nicely combined. Ideally, you don't want any big clumps of seasoning, crumb, or mayonnaise.
  4. Next, gently fold in the crab meat with the rest of the ingredients. Be careful not to break up the lovely chunks of jumbo lump when you are mixing. Bit by bit, coat the crab in the seasoning mixture until everything looks even.
  5. Now, you will form your patties. Making the patties is easiest when done with your hands. Grab a lump of the mixture and carefully flatten and shape it into a round disk roughly half an inch thick. This recipe makes about six crab cakes.
  6. Get a sheet pan and cover it with nonstick spray or a baking sheet. Place the patties evenly spread across the pan (make sure they are not touching) and cover them with foil. Put the patties in the fridge to chill for at least one hour. If they are not chilled, they will fall apart when cooking.
  7. When the hour is up (you can leave them longer if needs be), remove the patties from the fridge and prepare them for cooking.
  8. Using a cast iron skillet with a bit of melted butter (make sure it doesn't burn), gently fry the cakes over medium heat until golden brown. They cook quickly when pan frying- so don't take your eyes off them! It doesn't take any more than a few minutes on each side. Four or five minutes is a good gauge to go by. Once they look ready, set them aside on a parchment-lined baking sheet to soak up any extra grease before serving.
  9. Your crab cakes are now ready to serve!


  • If you want to, sprinkle more Old Bay seasoning over the top of the patties before cooking to give an extra bolt of that classic Maryland crab cakes flavor.
  • There are plenty of ways to serve crab cakes. A simple splash of lemon juice or lemon zest to a whole range of sauces, dips, and dressings will be a nice addition to these cakes!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 227Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 776mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 15g

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