What to CookCrab

The One Thing That Takes Jane’s Crab Cakes Over the Top

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As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some good-as-gold recipes. Here, fresh crab meat shines in these simple golden cakes.


When long-time Food52er saenyc learned to cook from his mother Jane, he learned a few things: how to appreciate good food, and how to keep things simple.

“As in most everything she did, she believed that simplicity stood out,” saenyc writes. “And in her mind, a crabcake should explode with chunks of crab...and the snap of horseradish...and who can argue with that?"

We'll have one of those...or three.
We'll have one of those...or three. Photo by Rocky Luten

Raised in Oklahoma by a mother who never cooked, Jane taught herself while raising and feeding three boys. While vacationing with her family on Maryland's Eastern Shore, she delighted in the bounty of fresh Maryland crabmeat. However, she wasn’t a fan of (what she considered) subpar crab cakes overstuffed with bread filling that were foisted upon diners.

Her recipe pares crab cake down to just the essentials, with fresh lump crab meat, a bit of crushed saltines, and a generous seasoning of Old Bay. The result is a delicate, tender cake that actually tastes like crab.

When making these in our test kitchen, we roughly crushed the saltines for texture and reduced the eggs to make the mixture a little dryer. They taste delicious with homemade tarter sauce or hot sauce.

Jane's Crab Cakes

Jane's Crab Cakes

saenyc saenyc
Serves 8
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons mayonaisse
  • 4 teaspoons drained horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 pinch salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay (generous)
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 dash (or 4) of Tabasco
  • 2 pounds lump or backfin crabmeat (well-picked for shell)
  • 1/2 cup crushed Saltine crackers
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
Go to Recipe

Just as comforting as crab cakes

Do you have a recipe that's been passed down in your family? Or one you want to make sure your future generations make? Let us know in the comments and it might be featured as one of our heirloom recipes!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Summer, Heirloom Recipes