Crab cake

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A crab cake is a variety of fishcake that is popular in the United States. It is composed of crab meat and various other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard (typically prepared mustard, but sometimes mustard powder), eggs, and seasonings. The cake is then sautéed, baked, grilled, deep fried, or broiled. Crab cakes are traditionally associated with the area surrounding the Chesapeake Bay, in particular the states of Maryland and Virginia.[1][2]

Crab cake served on a bun, from a Maryland tavern

Crab cakes are particularly popular along the coast of the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic states, where the crabbing industry thrives. The earliest use of the term "Crab cake" dates to Crosby Gaige's New York World's Fair Cook Book in which they are described as "Baltimore crab cakes".[3] They can also be commonly found in New England, the Gulf Coast, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northern California coast. While meat from any species of crab may be used, the blue crab, whose native habitat includes the Chesapeake Bay, is the traditional choice and generally considered to be the best tasting. In the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, the Dungeness Crab is a popular ingredient for crab cakes, and the cakes are prepared at many restaurants throughout the region.

Many restaurants and fish markets advertise their crab cake product as "Maryland Crab Cake" or "Maryland-Style" crab cake, which implies the crabmeat is the domestically-sourced Blue Crab; however, it is a widespread practice to substitute cheaper Blue Swimmer Crab, which is imported, usually from Asia. The foreign product is often harvested using methods and practices that would be considered unsustainable in the United States, where the crabbing industry is carefully regulated to ensure sustainability.[4]


Crab cakes topped with greens, served at a London museum
Crab cakes with sweet potato fries and cole slaw, as served at a Massachusetts restaurant

Crab cakes are often prepared with no filler, consisting of all-lump (backfin) crab meat served on a platter or sandwich.

The choices of sides are usually french fries, cole slaw, potato or macaroni salad. Restaurants serve crab cakes with a lemon wedge and saltine crackers and sometimes with other condiments such as a remoulade, tartar sauce, mustard, cocktail sauce, ketchup, or Worcestershire sauce. Many restaurants give their patrons the choice of having their crab cake fried or broiled. Crab cakes vary in size, from no bigger than a small cookie to larger than a hamburger.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Stern, Jane (Jun 4, 2009). 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late: and the Very Best Places to Eat Them. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 81. ISBN 9780547416441.
  2. ^ "The History of Maryland Crab Cakes - Brookside Inn Restaurant - Oxford". Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  3. ^ GourmetSleuth. "Crab Cakes". Gourmet Sleuth. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  4. ^ Spiegel, Anna (April 1, 2015). "New DNA Study Finds Impostor Foreign Crab Filling Maryland Crab Cakes". The Washingtonian. Retrieved June 30, 2020.

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