Old Bay Crab Cakes!

Old Bay Crab Cakes are straight from Baltimore. So good and so easy to make you must make them! #crabcakes #OldBay #seafood www.thisishowicook

Something about the smell of spring always finds me needing crab cakes. It appears to be a biological urge related to my pregnancy, about 24 years ago. Yes, I know it sounds weird. I also “needed” McDonald’s small cheeseburgers, that now I would probably throw up if I had a bite. The same street also found me at a Chinese restaurant needing sesame chicken. And I kid you not; that was the best sesame chicken I ever ate. Alas, that restaurant is a long time gone. Luckily, I have the recipe and make it when necessary. But today I’m feeling crab cakes.

No, Denver is not known for crab cakes. But the year I was pregnant found me doing a lot of travelling. Yes, I was doing as much as I could before being home with two babies. And I was charmed and feeling good. I couldn’t stand the smell of breakfast, but anything after that was fair game. So, April of that year found me in DC and Baltimore where Manservant had a conference.

I remember I had a big red top with a white Peter Pan collar which made me a very stylish, very pregnant, woman. Definitely one that  was on a quest to find the best crab cake in the area. While Manservant was busy doing whatever it is manservants do, I was off tasting crab cakes. Really. I went to the market in Baltimore. I went to Annapolis. I went to where ever anyone told me I should go. Yes, I was on an adventure to digest as many crab cakes as I could before I had to fly back to Denver. After all, big red tops hide a lot! Presumably.


Old Bay Crab Cakes are straight from Baltimore. So good and so easy to make you must make them! #crabcakes #OldBay #seafood www.thisishowicook

I like crab cakes. They aren’t as messy as eating the crab with the shell. And they almost always come with French fries. They are easy to make, totally simple to eat and they are special. At least when you live in Denver. Shout out here, please. Do any of you East coasters take crab cakes for granted? I hope not. And don’t even get me started on clam rolls or lobster. Those were devoured on another trip to Cape Cod and I wasn’t even pregnant then.


So Trader Joe’s opened across the street, about a mile down the road. (That totally makes sense, I know.) In Denver, this was a BIG deal. I am really not believing the traffic because of this. But anyway, I’ve never had a Trader Joe’s to shop at, and I am still wondering what all the fuss is about. However, what I’ve bought from there is really good. And really cheap. For the most part. Maybe that is what all the fuss is about!  I just wish they would give their flowers water. Poor flowers.


Well, you know where I’m going with this. Trader Joe’s had lump crab meat. And It was labeled Abbe’s crab meat. Well, not really. But I do really feel it had my name on it. It was packaged by Chicken of the Sea and though it didn’t come from Baltimore, it was pretty good. Not quite as salty sweet as the ocean, but in Denver we have learned to sacrifice. And I did sacrifice one 8oz can to make 4 good sized crab cakes which was enough for Manservant and me.


Old Bay Crab Cakes are straight from Baltimore. So good and so easy to make you must make them! #crabcakes #OldBay #seafood www.thisishowicook

No, I didn’t make the French fries. We are on a diet. Hush, I say. And are crab cakes dietetic? Well, I suppose that depends what kind of diet it is and my lips are sealed. Well, this diet requires a lot of protein and that’s all I’m saying. After all, the best crab cakes are filled with crab, not breadcrumbs. This is an important fact when it comes to crab cakes. You get what you pay for, folks! Don’t pay crab prices for bread! The crab monger in Baltimore told me this. And he told me how he makes crab cakes, which is basically what I do. At least the part I remember. After all, it was a long time ago…

This recipe is a fancy Baltimore crab cake. At least how I remember a Baltimore crab cake. I’d be happy to visit again to see if my memory serves me right! Always buy lump blue crab, if possible. You have to splurge a bit because you really want to be able to taste the crab and having big pieces of crab allows that. I have also bought good crab at Costco, and I’m telling you that because I know we are on a need to know basis here. Right?

I served my crab cakes on a cauliflower chutney. Weird, I know. But it was really good. I mean REALLY GOOD. I’ll give you that recipe next. The spicy sweetness of the chutney really blended well with the richness of the crab. And besides the recipe was courtesy of the Tribeca Grill, so you know it has got to be good. Let’s face it crab cakes are good on their own, on a brioche roll with tartar sauce, or even over mashed potatoes. From my experience there is no bad way to have a crab cake, UNLESS it is a bready crab cake. Horrors!

So let’s get to it. Be ready to stuff your face with crab!


Old Bay Crab Cakes are straight from Baltimore. So good and so easy to make you must make them! #crabcakes #OldBay #seafood www.thisishowicook

Old Bay Crab Cakes
Adapted From: Tribeca Grill
Yield: Serves 2
8 oz lump crab meat
1 T finely diced red pepper (optional)
1 T finely diced yellow pepper (optional)

1 T finely diced red onion

1 T Old Bay seasoning (this is also great on fries or potato chips)
1 1/2 T mayonnaise
1/2 T yellow mustard
1/2 T dijon mustard
1 large egg
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t minced Italian parsley
1/2 c panko bread crumbs or cornmeal

In a mixing bowl, add peppers, onion, Old Bay, mayonnaise, mustards, egg, Worcestershire, parsley and 1/4 c panko bread crumbs. Mix well. Slowly fold in crab, trying hard not to break up the big pieces.

Form into 4 cakes. Dredge on all sides in the other 1/4 c of panko crumbs or cornmeal. I like that, too! Place on plate and chill in fridge for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

Heat 2 T oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add the crab cakes and cook on one side until golden brown. Flip carefully and brown the other side. This usually takes about 5 minutes per side.

Serve this in the chutney which is coming next or serve on a nice soft toasted bun with fancy tartar or cocktail sauce. Or you can eat these without any accompaniments at all! These are out of this world. And remember, you should always trust a pregnant woman, even when she isn’t pregnant!


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Old Bay Crab Cakes are straight from Baltimore. So good and so easy to make you must make them! #crabcakes #OldBay #seafood www.thisishowicook

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  • shannon weber
    May 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    i absolutely LOVE crab cakes, or crab anything, really, but crab cakes for sure. Trader Joe's is just somehow a thing: ours are the same way in terms of traffic, and i get and at the same time do not get the huge deal. Certainly great deals and some really good quality things in there, and i think it's fun to sort of seek out random items? but i can't imagine doing all my shopping there. maybe it's just the specialty of it, but for me it's an occasional trip versus regular.

  • Anna and Liz Recipes
    May 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    We love crab cakes! Great recipe and love the peppers added in there too!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe! Have a great week!

  • Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    May 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Hey Abbe – I live about 50 miles south of DC and am here to tell you, these people are serious about their crab cakes. Everybody has a recipe, and an opinion, about what makes the best cakes. You came to the right place to devour a few 🙂 Hurry back and we'll try some together. Have a great week – your recipe sounds terrific.

  • Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens
    May 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I loooove crab cakes, too! And totally agree – they should be all about the crab, not the breadcrumbs! Your version looks sensational, and I can't wait to see what this cauliflower chutney is all about! Loved the story of your pregnancy and its intersection with foods like crab cakes and cheeseburgers! When I was pregnant with my twins, I was sick as a dog for weeks upon weeks and sometimes had to work awfully hard to eat enough good stuff to keep those little dudes thriving. High-five on donning that red top and scouting the eastern sea coast for the ultimate crab cake! That's my kind of mission! 😀

  • Carol at Wild Goose Tea
    May 18, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I live in the Pacific NW. In fact I live on a town on the water. Crabbing is a common situation. AND we do take our crab cakes very seriously. Lol. I like the idea that these are East Coast influenced crab cakes. They look luscious. I am in step with crab cakes are all about the crab and not the bread filler. Hear! Hear!

  • Cooking Gallery
    May 17, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    I love crab cakes but I have never made them myself, this looks like the perfect recipe and I'll definitely give it a shot. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ansh
    May 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I have never made my own crab cakes or crab anything. These look delightful and crispy and not bready :)) I do agree a bready crab cake is horrid. Now I am waiting for the cauliflower Chutney !

  • Spicie Foodie
    May 17, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I would love to travel to New England just for some crab cakes. I love them so much and yours look fantastic! Thanks for sharing:)

  • vanillasugarblog
    May 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I'm ready!
    Oh so ready for these bad boys

  • Shirley Tay
    May 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Totally love crab cakes! Honestly, I haven't tried making my own. This homemade ones are screaming for me to try them, Abbe!

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    May 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I haven't had crab cakes in so long… now I'm craving.. hard! Yum!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      May 16, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      Have to fulfill those cravings, Pamela!

  • Purabi Naha
    May 16, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I have never seen Old Bay seasoning in India. This Baltimore-style recipe sound great! I would love to try this. What does to seasoning consist of?

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      May 16, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      Old Bay is a mixture of seasonings that come in a tin labeled Old Bay.The seasoning mix includes mustard, paprika, celery salt, bay leaf, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, mace, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger. I took this from Wikipedia. I use it on chicken, french fries and popcorn. Love it!

  • Sharon D
    May 16, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Wow..that looks super yummy, Abbe ❤ I could go on this diet everyday ..lol ^.^

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      May 16, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      Sharon, in all honesty, I hope you never have to! Diets are just no fun! But crab cakes are!

    • Sharon D
      May 21, 2014 at 3:28 am

      Agree! =)

  • Bam's Kitchen
    May 16, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Love crab cakes and I also love old bay seasoning. Great combo. I know exactly what you mean about not being able to face the world until lunch time when you are pregnant. I remember going into work at 0700 and having to stand outside the report room as just the smell of the coffee brewing inside was enough to make me feel green. I am so glad those days are far and gone. Take Care, BAM

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      May 16, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      I'm with you BAM. But I still think I would have loved a third!

  • Cathleen
    May 16, 2014 at 4:34 am

    I have never actually had crab cakes before! (I know, weird right?) This looks so good!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      May 16, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Cathleen! What are you waiting for?

  • Angie Schneider
    May 16, 2014 at 2:38 am

    They are my favourite!! These look mouthwatering, Abbe.
    So when are you going to show us your big red top with a white Peter Pan collar? Next time when you made crab cakes? 🙂
    Have a wonderful day!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      May 16, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      I love doing favorites! That top? I'll tell you what happened…I washed it at the wrong temp and the red bled onto the white. How do I remember that stuff? I am not very good at laundry. One time I made all of Manservant's tightie whities pink. This was in college. He did the laundry from then on!

  • Kitchen Riffs
    May 16, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Crab cakes are such good stuff! I haven't made them for a while (in fact I have them tentatively on blog schedule this summer just so I won't have an excuse) and really need to. I'm with you on the breadcrumb issue — you want crab, and as much as possible. These look great — thanks.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      May 16, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      A blog schedule? That could make my life easier, but it would be so unlike me! No excuses, please! Thanks, John!

  • Denise [email protected] Brazil To You
    May 15, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    I love crab cakes… and these look absolutely delicious!

  • Karen Harris
    May 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I love crab cakes too. Growing up on the gulf coast we usually had just deviled crab. I used to think that was the best until I had my first crab cake. I'll have to head over to TJ's and pick some up. These look amazing.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      May 16, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Did you know that Manservant grew up near Galveston? He talks about those deviled crabs, too. But I'm with you. I'm all over crab cakes!

  • Barb | Creative Culinary
    May 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    One of my favorite things and thanks; you've given me a great idea! Now if only you had brought me some of these…come on, pack your jammies and come on down!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      May 16, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      I am available after May 29th for about 10 days. Manservant is ditching me to go to Sweden. Bummer, huh? I LOVE crab cakes!