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Maine Crab Cakes Recipe

Crispy edges and a flavorful, slightly sweet but also savory inside make these Maine Crab Cakes a standout. Plus they are easy to make.

In some ways, it feels like my move to Maine about a decade ago was inevitable. Even though I hadn’t given the state serious consideration as a place to live, it had been dwelling in the peripherals for awhile. In fact, I’d joked more than once about escaping the high taxes and high pressures of life in Connecticut for Maine — but only because it seemed so distant from the life I was living.

But really, Maine had been everywhere — it was the place a colleague hailed from and spoke reverently about in the early 2000s. It was a place that Loralai and Rory escape to after a broken engagement on Gilmore Girls. It was also the setting of Murder, She Wrote, Once Upon a Time and other shows I loved.

But ultimately, it wasn’t the state itself that drew me north. It was the perfect job at the perfect time that ultimately made me choose Maine.

And then my kids and I chose Maine back. It’s been a great place to raise two brilliant children who have both formed strong bonds with people and places here.

On another level, as a food writer, it’s also been a great place to really understand the limits of foodways.

Growing up in New York and living in Connecticut for years, I was spoiled by the wide variety of foods available at all times. Cheese counters everywhere sold fresh mozzarella made in house. If I wanted to try a new-to-me produce item, I had dozens of grocery stores that might carry it (and ultimately, one always did). Even with my travels outside the tri-state area, I didn’t really learn about how regional food selections can be until I had to grocery shop in central Maine.

But it’s all subtle.

As a cheese loving woman, I first noticed it in the cheeses. Not just the absent housemade fresh mozzarella but also in other cheeses that we bought regularly before the move and even in the brands available of basics like shredded cheddar. The subtle changes were elsewhere too — in every aisle of the grocery store, really.

Sometimes it’s even more dramatic though. For instance, despite a good selection in the local produce departments, endive has been missing for months. Sometimes vegetables I consider ubiquitous like cauliflower become completely unavailable.

But what we do have is plentiful fresh seafood. And we’re fortunate — at least in the Bangor area — to have a good rotation of fresh seafood caught off the coast of Maine. And that includes crab meat that’s hand picked by people employed by my favorite fish market.

You don’t get much fresher than that. And with that freshness comes a flavor that’s slightly sweet and briny, but not at all fishy. There is no substitute for good, fresh Maine crab meat, if you ask me.

You did ask me, right?

And that’s what led me to working on this crab cake recipe. Though I grew up on canned crab meat, only fresh will do for these perfect Maine crab cakes.

Making these crab cakes is so simple and easy. You mix together the crab and other ingredients in a bowl with a fork — yes, a fork. The tines of the fork will help the crab meat, egg, cracker crumbs and more optimally combine with minimal effort. Then you use a large cookie scoop (the three tablespoon size — about the size of the old school ice cream scoops) to drop balls of crab meat into a pan with hot oil. Flatten them and cook, flipping once. Then you have these perfect, golden, delightful crab cakes ready to enjoy.

The recipe yields eight crab cakes, which can feed four (lighter portion) or two (dinner portion).

I usually serve these crab cakes with cocktail sauce. For sizes, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, buttered pasta or rice are all good. And don’t forget the vegetables. Perhaps some roasted broccoli?

Maine Crab Cakes

Maine Crab Cakes

Yield: 4 servings (2 crab cakes each)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Crispy edges and a flavorful inside make these Maine Crab Cakes a standout. Plus they are easy to make.


  • 8 oz fresh Maine crabmeat (or fresh crabmeat of your choice),drained and picked over
  • 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the crabmeat, crushed Ritz crackers, egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, thyme, chili powder, salt and pepper with a fork until fully combined.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat on the stove.
  3. Using a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoon capacity), drop balls of crab cake mixture into the skillet and press with the fork to flatten into a round of uniform thickness (about 1/2 inch thick). Cook for about 6-8 minutes per side, flipping once, until golden and cooked through.
  4. Remove the crab cakes to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat the cooking process until all the mixture has been used.
  5. Enjoy immediately.

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