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Close up of crab cakes with tartar sauce dripping down on a bed of lettuce
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5 from 1 vote

Maryland Style Crab Cakes (without Old Bay Seasoning)

Guaranteed additive and MSG-free, this recipe is packed full of lump crab meat and uses a simple mix of spices that are common in Old Bay seasoning. These also can be made gluten free, and are dairy free. Don't forget to serve with the Whole30 tartar sauce!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Chilling30 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Salt
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 351kcal
Author: Alicia


  • 1 pound fresh, lump crab meat * I get mine from Whole Foods or Central Market
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons good mayonnaise * I used Sir Kensington's
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard * I use Annie's or HEB
  • ½ teaspoon ground bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (can be gluten free)
  • ½ cup panko (can be gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup grapeseed, canola, or avocado oil - you may need more or less depending on the size of your pan


  • In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil (or just more of whatever oil you want to use for frying) and saute the chopped celery and red pepper over medium heat until softened - about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Combine crab (watch out for rogue shells) with cooked pepper and celery, scallions, egg, mayo, mustard, spices, and flour. Cover a sheet or plate with parchment paper and shape into large pucks as best as you can (mixture will be a bit sticky). You should have 6-7 large crab cakes. Pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour, which will help them hold together.
  • In a bowl or deep plate, add your panko. Gently press each crab cake into panko, coating both sides. In a large, nonstick pan, add oil and heat over medium high. When the oil is hot, add the crab cakes and cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side. If you have a splatter screen, I highly recommend using it.
  • Lay out paper towels on a sheet pan and place cooked crab cakes on top. If you're working in batches, you can place the drained crab cakes in a warm oven (about 200 degrees) until all are finished. Top with homemade tartar sauce.


  • If you find your mixture falling apart before frying, the best thing you can do is chill it an adequate amount of time. 
  • If the mixture is too wet, you can add more flour, however, these should be a little on the wet side so they don't dry out.


Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 1898mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 396IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 2mg