Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes


In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: "This is the best crab cake recipe you will ever find. If you don't overmix, and don't pack your mounds too tightly, you will experience pure, unadulterated crab cake heaven," Andrew Zimmern says. "Seriously, they are that good. Follow the steps to the letter and you will be making these cakes every opportunity you have. For years I searched for a great crab cake recipe. I wanted one that didn't have a lot of filler. There is, in fact, a right and a wrong way to cook some foods, and putting a lot of junk in a crab cake is one of the biggest transgressions I find in American cookery. Anyway, one night about 20 years ago, my best friend's wife (who is from Baltimore) shared her mother's secret 'country club' recipe for crab cakes. This is it, verbatim. I make these in double batches and put the leftovers in the fridge. If you haven't eaten a cold crab cake on toast with sliced tomato and Russian dressing, then you are really missing out. For parties, instead of just eight, I make 24 to 26 mini donut-hole-size crab cakes. Team these with homemade slaw, a warm potato salad, and some fruit salad."

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over

  • 20 saltine crackers, finely crushed

  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.

  2. In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  3. Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

    Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes
    This crab cake from F&W contributor Andrew Zimmern has been the most popular recipe on since it went live in 2012. The reason is simple: It’s the best. Period. Zimmern explains why: “It doesn’t have a lot of filler, has no minced red pepper, no parsley—none of the usual crap that chefs typically ruin a good crab cake with.” This recipe originated with Zimmern’s best friend’s wife (a native of Baltimore), who calls this her “secret country club recipe.”. © Greg DuPree

Make Ahead

The crab cakes can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight.

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