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

June  7, 2018

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. 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.

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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.

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Top Comment:
“of crabs to get 2 lbs of meat- with luck, in season you might get away with $60-70 for the crab.”
— Smaug

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.

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!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Smaug June 7, 2018
Wowza- I don't know about east coast crabs; with the Dungeness on the west coast it's going to take about 10 lbs. of crabs to get 2 lbs of meat- with luck, in season you might get away with $60-70 for the crab.
paseo June 11, 2018
Then the Dungeness have shrunk a lot since I lived in Seattle. Wowza, indeed
Smaug June 11, 2018
It's not a matter of the size of the crabs, it's the percentage of meat they contain, generally somewhere in the 15% to 25% range.
paseo June 11, 2018
Actually I am aware of that having been married to a commercial fisherman. But it's a lot easier to get a decent amount of meat from Dungeness than our crabs here in Maine or Maryland