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Traditional New England crab cakes

New England crab cakes taste best with a spicy aioli mayonnaise sauce.

When I stopped at my local fish market to buy some crab meat, I asked the fishmonger what he had available. He told me had frozen crabmeat, and when I inquired whether I'd have to pick it over to get out little pieces of shell, he shot me a look and said, "This crab meat is without equal." How could I pass that up? He was absolutely right, and the crab, which is not local to New Engand though we have made crab cakes our own, was plump and sweet, and clean. This recipe, which I got many years ago from my friend Jennifer, makes eight large crab cakes, which would be a perfect lunch for four people, or a dozen smaller bite-size treats for appetizers. Tartar sauce or aioli mayonnaise make the perfect slathering sauce.

Traditional New England crab cakes, a summer favorite.

Traditional New England crab cakes

Makes 8 large or 12 small (appetizer size) crab cakes.


1/2 onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter
1 egg
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
3 shakes Tabasco or other hot sauce, or more to taste
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-1/4 cups panko (or breadcrumbs)
1 lb fresh lump crab meat, picked over to remove any bits of shell
Olive oil for frying

Tartar sauce, aioli mayonnaise, or cocktail sauce, for serving


In a small frying pan, sauté onion in butter until translucent. Remove from pan to a large bowl, and let the onions cool for a few minutes.

Stir in the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, Old Bay, black pepper and panko. Fold in the crab meat.

Form into 8 large patties, and place on a plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Film the bottom of a large (12-inch) frying pan with olive oil, and heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the crab cakes and cook, without moving, 5 minutes or until the bottoms are brown. Then turn and cook the second side, 5 minutes or until brown. Remove from the pan and let drain on a plate covered with a paper towel, to remove excess oil.

Serve warm, with optional tartar sauce or aioli mayonnaise.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More traditional New England recipes:
Baked stuffed shrimp, from The Perfect Pantry
Quick and easy white clam chowder, from The Perfect Pantry
New England clambake, from Leite's Culinaria
New England lobster roll, from A Family Feast

Traditional crab cakes, a New England summer favorite. Serve them with spicy aioli mayonnaise or tartar sauce.

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I am particularly fond of collecting (and making!) local residents. A life-long Rhode Islander, I happily add this to my files. Saved.

My family of origin and I ate steamed blue crabs, steamed spiced shrimp, and steamed littleneck clams for dinner while we were all together last weekend. What a feast!
My dad is the best crab picker of the bunch, and he took home the leftovers to pick--but I think my brother must have gotten the meat as it sure didn't come home with me.

I got a trash bag full of kale instead.

This sounds like a wonderful lunch or dinner! I've only had crab cakes in restaurants, but have always enjoyed them.

Connie, next to clam cakes, these are my favorite.

Kirsten, kale is fine, but, well, you did get the short end of the stick there. I'd much rather have a little bag of picked crab meat.

Kalyn, these are a true summer treat, even though most of our crab meat comes from farther south (Chesapeake Bay area). Crab cakes and steamed corn on the cob, which isn't in season until mid-July, is a New England classic.

I love crab cakes and these look amazing!
Love them!

Gloria, it wouldn't be summer without crab cakes.

A few weeks ago my friend Deb made a similar recipe using GF panko and the crab cakes were fantastic! I'm going to make yours this week!

Mary, sometimes GF bread crumbs absorb liquid differently, so let me know if you have to adjust the recipe at all.

Looks like I'm making these crabcakes; my mouth just watered!

Angela, invite me! I think I could eat these every day.

Being a Maryland girl, we love our crab cakes - there's nothing better than a traditional one.

By the way, I like to cook with local recipes; I do not cook local residents. Ever.
That's what I get for not proofing...

Jeanette, I love the different styles of crab cakes in Maryland. Some are bigger, rounder, and looser than these.

Connie, we never doubted you!

I wish all sellers of crab meat had that guy's standards! This recipe is very similar to my crab cake recipe (which was derived from the recipe on the back of the Old Bay can and a friend's recipe). When I went gf, I just started subbing gf breadcrumbs and that has always worked fine. :-) Yay for delicious crab cakes!


Shirley, I know that some gf breadcrumbs are more absorbent than others, just as some wheat crumbs are more absorbent. It's great that there's such an easy substitution to make these crab cakes gluten-free.

Mayonnaise goes perfectly well with these very delicious crab cakes.

I love crab cakes but I've always been unsure if I could make them. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I'm bookmarking it!


Jeff, that is true. But spicy mayo is better!

Sarah, you can make them. I promise!

Hi Lydia. That's an excellent idea. I'm gonna use spicy mayonnaise next.

I always use panko crumbs! I also make them up the day before and then press them in extra panko crumbs just before cooking. Saves time and everyone always raves about them! I serve with a garlic and old bay seasoning aioli or sometimes add a bit of dill and chopped dill pickle mixed into Garlic aioli. Yum!

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