Juicy and delicious Maryland-style crab cakes with Ritz crackers will be your next favorite seafood recipe! With just a bit of filler and delicious lump crabmeat, this easy recipe is perfect for holiday entertaining or an easy weeknight dinner!
Why You Should Make These!
Here are the top 5 reasons you should make this recipe - the best homemade crab cakes with Ritz crackers!
- Restaurant-quality jumbo lump crab meat recipe that is perfect for the holidays or any season!
- Serve this traditional Maryland crab cake as a main dish alongside mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, or green beans, or make as a mini-sized appetizer.
- Can be made ahead and frozen!
- Simple and easy to make with canned crab.
- Perfect texture with crispy outsides and tender and juicy insides.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Here are the ingredients you need to make this recipe. Reference the recipe card at the bottom for exact measurements and the notes below for substitution ideas.
What Crab Meat Is Best for Crab Cakes?
Canned lump crabmeat (also labeled as jumbo lump crab) is easy to use and can be easily found in the seafood section of the grocery store. You can use fresh crab meat, but it is more work to prepare!
Generally using snow crabs versus blue crabs provides more meat and a sweeter flavor.
What Is the Binding Agent in Crab Cakes?
Keep them from falling apart by using a combination of Ritz crackers, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, and eggs.
- Mayonnaise: Just a bit of mayo helps to lend a moist texture. Use Dijon mustard, sour cream, Miracle Whip, or Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise.
- Greek yogurt: A bit of Greek yogurt gives a delicious and slightly tangy flavor. Use sour cream as a substitution.
- Ritz Crackers: Buttery Ritz crackers have a delicious flavor and a bit of salt that holds the crab cakes together with a little filler. Homemade breadcrumbs, saltine crackers, or gluten-free breadcrumbs will work also.
The mixture of eggs, Ritz crackers, Greek yogurt, and mayonnaise provides a binder that helps to keep them together.
Also, placing the uncooked crab cakes in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before frying or baking will help to keep the them together.
What Flavors Go Well With Crab Cakes?
Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, and a bit of green onion provide a delicious fresh, and balanced flavor for crab cakes.
- Old Bay seasoning: Old Bay is a delicious seafood seasoning that is a little bit spicy with a salty flavor.
- Lemon juice: Lemon provides a little bit of freshness and tang that offsets the salty qualities of these crab cakes.
- Green onions: Green onions are optional, but provide a delicious onion flavor and add to the texture.
Is it better to cook crab cakes in butter or oil?
Butter is the best fat to pan-fry them. You can use coconut oil or avocado oil, however, butter works best with the flavors in the recipe.
How to Make the Best Maryland-Style Crab Cakes with Ritz Crackers
Below are step-by-step instructions for how to cook this recipe. The recipe card at the bottom shows the exact cooking time and temperatures.
Pan Fry Instructions
Crush the Ritz crackers into cracker crumbs using a food processor.
Combine all of the recipe ingredients, except for the butter, in a large bowl. Mix the ingredients very gently using a spatula or wooden spoon.
Using an ice cream scooper, scoop out 8 large crab cakes. Place the sheet pan into the refrigerator and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Place the cakes into the butter and fry for 4-5 minutes per side or until each side is golden brown.
Is It Better to Pan Fry or Bake Crab Cakes?
Frying, baking, and air-frying crab cakes are all great methods. All of the cooking instructions for each method are included below and in the recipe card.
Cook Ritz cracker crab cakes in the oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes per side. Broil for the last few minutes to crisp up the outside.
Air Fryer Instructions
My recipe for air-frying crab cakes is a lighter and healthier version than this Maryland-style crab cake with Ritz crackers.
You can use that recipe, or air fry them at 370 F for about 10 minutes.
How long do I cook crab cakes from frozen?
The best way to cook frozen ones is to air fry them. You do not have to thaw air fryer crab cakes with remoulade sauce, although you can if you want to.
If they are frozen, add an additional 3-5 minutes to the recipe cooking time.
How to Make Mini-Sized Crab Cakes
To make minis, use a small cookie scoop or half a large scoop to make approximately 20 appetizer-sized portions. Reduce cook time to 5-7 minutes depending on size.
Make Ahead, Storage, Freezer, Serving & Reheating
- Make-Ahead: Assemble and form crab cake patties and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and store for up to 1 day before making them.
- Storage: Store cooked crab cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Freezer: To freeze and pan-fry later, follow the recipe instructions until heating up the butter. Place the cakes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place them into the freezer for about 1 hour or until frozen. Store frozen ones in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
- Serving: Serve with mashed potatoes and a veggie side dish like zucchini or broccoli. May also be served as an appetizer mini crab cake with remoulade for dipping.
- Reheating: Reheat leftover crab cakes in the oven at 350F with a bit of butter on top until heated through, for about 10 minutes.
Other Expert Tips
- Allow crab cake patties to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- Do not over-mix the crab cake mixture as this will mince the crabmeat and remove large chunks of crab.
- A fish spatula makes flipping much easier.
- Top with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon.
- Serve with lemon wedges, and cocktail sauce or a simple tartar sauce if desired.
- Sprinkle with a bit of hot sauce, or add in a bit of cayenne pepper for a spicy version.
Other Delicious and Easy Seafood Recipes to Try!
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Maryland-style Crab Cakes with Ritz Crackers
- 1 sheet pan
- 1 sheet of parchment paper
- frying pan
- 16 oz canned jumbo lump crab meat
- ¾ cup Ritz crackers
- 2 large eggs
- 1 green onion minced
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon butter
- Use a food processor to grind the Ritz crackers into crumbs.¾ cup Ritz crackers
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the crab, eggs, onion, Old Bay seasoning, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, and lemon juice. Combine gently without over-mixing. Use an ice cream scoop to make 8 large patties. Set the crab patties onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.16 oz canned jumbo lump crab meat, 2 large eggs, 1 green onion, 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Allow the patties to sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat until melted.2 tablespoon butter
- Cook the patties in the butter for 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown.
- Bake the crab patties in the oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes per side. Broil for the last few minutes to crisp up the outside.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Air fry at 370 F for about 10 minutes. You do not need to flip them, but you can if you want.
- Make-Ahead: Follow the recipe card through the steps for mixing and shaping the crab patties. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before making them.
- Storage: Store cooked cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Freezer: To freeze, follow the recipe instructions for mixing and shaping. Place the cakes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place them into the freezer for about 1 hour or until frozen. Store frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Reheat leftovers in the oven at 350F with a teaspoon of butter on top until heated through, for about 10 minutes.