The recipe for the best baked crab cakes is packed with fresh crab and pairs perfectly with a homemade lemon mayo sauce! Use fresh lump crab and skip the time over a frying basket.
As someone who grew up in Maryland, my love for crab cakes runs deep. I take them (and all my fresh seafood recipes) very seriously, which is why I’m excited to share this easy recipe with you!
Crab cakes are a classic dish that can be found all over the East Coast of the United States. They are made from lump crab meat, bread crumbs, herbs and spices, and other ingredients that vary depending on your preference. The result is an irresistibly crunchy outer layer and a deliciously tender center with bursts of flavor from the herbs.
What makes these homemade crab cakes extra special is the 3-ingredient crab cake sauce: lemon juice, mayo, and salt! This gives the crab cakes a hint of tartness and brightness that will just make your mouth water! And if you enjoyed this recipe for crab cakes, be sure to check out my 10-Minute Crab Dip!
Watch how easy they are to make
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This baked crab cake recipe is incredibly easy to make and can be prepared in just 30 minutes or less.
- It uses simple ingredients like lump crab, spices, herbs, cornflake crumbs, and more that you may already have in your kitchen.
- The homemade lemon mayo sauce gives it a zesty tartness and brightness that takes the crab cakes to a whole new level of deliciousness.
- It’s perfect for entertaining or just a simple family dinner that can be served with your favorite side dishes!
Ingredients you’ll need
- Shallot – A chopped shallot gives the crab cakes a mild onion flavor that pairs well with the rest of the ingredients.
- Garlic Cloves – Adds bold garlic flavor to brighten up the crab cakes.
- Fresh Lump Crab Meat – You can find this at your local seafood market, or in the seafood counter at your grocery store. You can use canned crab meat for a cheaper option. Make sure what you purchase is high quality and fresh for the best results.
- Mayonnaise – Gives a nice moist texture to the crab cakes while allowing the flavors to blend nicely.
- Salt – Helps balance and enhances the natural flavors in the dish.
- Egg White – Binds everything together, so they are set properly when baked.
- Corn Flake Crumbs – This gives the crab cakes a nice crunch and helps elevate the texture.
LEMON MAYO SAUCE
- Mayonnaise – Makes up the creamy base of the sauce.
- Lemon Juice – Gives the crab cakes a tart and fresh citrus flavor that pairs well with seafood.
- Salt – Brings out the flavor of the lemon and adds flavor to the sauce.
The Home Cook’s Guide to Salt
Learn about the basics of salt, plus the best salt for cooking (hint: it’s Kosher salt!) with this easy-to-understand guide to salt for home cooks.
How to make baked crab cakes
Cook the shallot: Add a small amount of cooking oil to a skillet and cook the shallot and garlic over low-medium heat until they are soft and release their flavor. Set aside and let cool.
Assemble the crab cakes: To a large bowl, add the crab meat, mayo, salt, egg white, and cornflake crumbs. Use a fork to break up the crab meat gently until the mixture is well combined. If the mixture is too wet, add additional cornflake crumbs. If it’s too dry, add a bit more mayo. Then, mix in the cooled shallot and garlic.
Form the crab cake patties: Use your hands to form four individual crab cake patties and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for up to one hour. While chilling, preheat the oven to 375F.
Bake the crab patties: Bake for 15-20 minutes on one side, then gently flip. Continue baking for an additional 10 minutes or until the crab cakes are cooked through and have a golden brown color.
Make the lemon mayo sauce: While the crab cakes are baking, scoop the mayo into a small bowl, then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until well combined. Top the crab cakes with a dollop of sauce. Enjoy!
- Make sure you use high-quality fresh lump crab meat for the best results.
- Ensure that the crab meat is fully drained in order to keep the patties from getting too wet.
- If the mixture is too wet, add additional cornflake crumbs to absorb the extra moisture and help shape the patties better.
HOT TIP: Spend the extra buck to get really good quality lump crab meat. It makes all the difference!
What kind of sauce to serve with crab cakes?
These crab cakes are topped with a dollop of my 3-ingredient crab cake sauce, which makes me a very happy girl. It’s so easy, so good, and in my opinion, totally necessary.
What goes with crab cakes?
This dish is versatile because there are so many sides it pairs well with. Try these serving suggestions below!
- Grilled veggie platter
- Crispy smashed potatoes
- Sauteed greens
- Creamy coleslaw
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- Baked beans
- Rice Pilaf
- Caesar salad
- Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Cauliflower mac and cheese
Storing and Freezing
Storing: Any leftover crab cakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freezing: Place any baked crab cakes in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until hard. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container or bag and keep frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat, bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
Reheating: The best way to reheat crab cakes is in the oven on a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 375F and bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in a skillet over low heat, but this will take longer, and they may break apart in the skillet.
What is the best way to form crab cakes?
The best way to form crab cakes is with your hands. Make sure the mixture has enough moisture, so it holds together but is not too moist, or else it will be hard to shape. Use a light touch when forming, and do not over-pack the patties.
How can I customize this recipe?
This baked crab cake recipe is very versatile, and there are many ways to customize the flavor. Try adding fresh herbs, spices, or other seasonings to the mixture for a unique twist. You can also try adding chopped bell pepper, celery, or onion for some extra crunch and flavor.
How can I tell when my crab cakes are done?
The best way to tell when the baked crab cakes are done is by looking at their color. They should have an even golden brown color on both sides. You can also insert a toothpick into the center of one of the patties; if it comes out clean, then they are done cooking.
More Seafood recipes
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The BEST Baked Crab Cakes
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Seafood
- Method: Oven baked
This baked crab cake recipe is packed with fresh crab and pairs perfectly with a homemade lemon mayo sauce. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees.
- 1 shallot (chopped)
- 2–3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 16 ounces fresh lump crab meat
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg white
- ½ – ¾ cup corn flake crumbs
Lemon Mayo Sauce
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- Juice from 1–2 lemons
- Salt to taste
- Sauté shallot and garlic over low heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Combine crab meat, mayonnaise, salt, egg white, and corn flake crumbs into a large bowl. Mix together using a fork, slightly breaking up the crab meat until the mixture is well combined. If mixture is too dry, add a little more mayonnaise. If the mixture is too wet, slowly add a little more corn flake crumbs.
- Add the sautéd shallot and garlic to the crab mixture.
- Form crab cakes into individual patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. About a half cup for each patty, or a handful. Place formed patties in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes on one side, then flip and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Cakes should be a nice golden brown color.
Lemon Mayo Sauce
- Scoop mayonnaise into small bowl. Mix in freshly squeezed lemon juice until you reach the consistency that you like. Add salt to taste.
garlic and onion does not belong in a crab cake – not a true Maryland CC…oh and lemon juice NOOOOO only serve this on the side
The good news is, you can make them however you like! This is my take on a crab cake and I happen to love it. Do what makes you happy!
Can you make this with crabmeat that is already cooked? I made it with fresh once and it was really the star of the show. I want to make it again but can’t find fresh crabmeat.
I don’t recommend it. If you a Costco near by they sell a great fresh crab in a can.
Just made these with fresh Dungeness Crab that I bought at the docks. Easy recipe and they were amazing. Going to get more crab tomorrow to make them again.
Oh man, I’m coming over for dinner!
Thanks for sharing the recipe and I am really impressed. Use of mayo in making crab-cake is a customary recipe need, but I have replaced mayo with grass-fed ghee. It’s just a value added change as my ghee-cooked crab cakes are really tasty. It is a safer choice too as ghee is a safe oil, nutritious, and flavorful.
I prefer using Milkio grass-fed ghee for all my recipes.
Third time making these crab cakes! So easy and so delicious!
One of my favorites too! Thanks for leaving a review!
I loved this recipe. It was so easy to make ( I used canned crab) and reminds me of the great taste of crabs in a shack by the ocean!
Hooray! Thanks for leaving a review!
Thanks for the cornflake crumbs idea. Although I used my own version of other ingredients, I would not have thought of the cornflake crumbs. I tossed a bunch of cornflakes in a baggie, got out the rolling pin, and a minute later I had crumbs. We do have blue crabs here in Massachusetts, and I had crab meat left over from the last catch. Having eaten some steamed, and then some as crab salad on a roll, I figured I’d finish them off as cakes. (As the cakes were on the small-to-medium side, just 10 minutes at 400°F did it.) I’m giving 5 stars for two reasons: the brilliant use of cornflake crumbs and my evaluation of the recipe. Thanks again!
Thank you so much for the awesome review! So glad you enjoyed them
I made this as an appetizer on Christmas with a garlic caper sauce. The recipe was easy to follow and delicious. Thank you, Laney! The entire family loved them! I did use the whole egg instead of just the whites and it worked for us.
Hooray! SO happy the entire family enjoyed it. Such a special treat!
So simple and easy!!!! Made for a fancy but simple Christmas Eve dinner tonight. Golden and delicious.
Hooray! So happy you loved them!
Was planning to make these ahead of time for Xmas dinner. Can I freeze them and then bake them the day of?
Hi I made the crab cakes using can crab meat.
Followed your direction. Was wondering why my cakes never browned🤔
Life is but a Dish
You can try turning up the heat in your oven or putting them under the boilers for a min or two
The best! Hubby says better than any he’s had in a restaurant. I live in Northern VA, very near all of that yummy MD crab, so we get really good restaurant crab cakes. But these are the bomb! Thank you for sharing, will be making these often.
I’m a Maryland girl too. I grew up in a little town called Stevensville, it sits right on the Chesapeake. I now live in MA and would trade a lobster for crabs in a second. I’m definitely going to give your recipe a try…I was just wondering??? Where’s the Old Bay?
Life is but a Dish
No Old Bay needed! But always welcome!
Dee Mac in BC…. Makes the BEST EVER , MARYLAND CRAB CAKES!!! And, IM FROM MARYLAND.!!!
Life is but a Dish
Do you use fresh or canned crab meat? Which brand if canned?
Life is but a Dish
Made tonight with fresh caught crab in BC. Love that the recipe is simple, no fillers! Seriously, these could have been featured at a high end restaurant. Perfection!! Thanks for publishing!
Life is but a Dish
I’m so happy you love them as much as I do!
Hi. Wand crab meat did you use: Jumbo or just Lump? Thx!
Life is but a Dish
I just used lump!
Fellow Marylander here. Crab Claw was the best ever when I lived there. We used to slip in the back way by the steps. We would see Billy there at the steamers, hand him $20 and then go get a drink on the Main Street. When we returned Billy would have a table off to the side for us and couple dozen monsters, fire red and steaming hot!! FL now JO spice too.
Wow can’t wait to make!
We have some pretty darn good crab out in Washington and Oregon, home of the Dungeness Crab. May have to try the cornflake crumbs – we use soda cracker crumbs. Otherwise, this is the perfect recipe!
Life is but a Dish
Thanks Janet! Mmmmm, would love to try some Washington and Oregon crabs one day! Let me know how you like the cornflake crumb twist!