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Crab Cake Sandwiches



Crab Cake Sandwiches being held in a sandwhich
Photograph by Isa Zapata, food styling by Kendra Vaculin, prop styling by Emma Ringness

Becoming this lofty, flavorful crab cake sandwich is the ultimate dream for any young seafood puck. If you were a crispy Maryland-style crab cake, cradled between swooshes of Old Bay–spiked tartar sauce and squished cozily inside a toasted brioche bun, you’d be pretty happy too.

Various styles of prepared crab meat are available refrigerated or frozen in the seafood section of most grocery stores; whatever you find within your budget (jumbo lump crabmeat, claw meat, blue crab, etc.) will work. We swapped in panko breadcrumbs for the usual Italian-style ones, which keeps the crab cakes from getting dense or stodgy. We also kept the seasoning light to keep the focus on the sweet crabmeat, but if you’re craving heat, a few dashes of hot sauce wouldn’t hurt anything.

To cut down on prep time, we relied on precut slaw mix (though you can, of course, make your own coleslaw if desired). Assemble the slaw before you start working on the crab so that the cabbage has time to soften before piling onto the sandwiches. Apple cider vinegar brings the tang to this slaw, but if you’ve got a lemon, you can grate the lemon zest into the crab cakes and use the lemon juice in the slaw for an extra hit of brightness.

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    35 minutes

  • Yield

    4 servings


8 oz. store-bought slaw mix
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
1 large egg
8 oz. lump crabmeat, picked over
½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped tender herbs (such as parsley, chives, and/or dill)
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 Tbsp. plus 1 cup mayonnaise
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. finely chopped dill pickles
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
4 brioche buns, split


  1. Step 1

    Toss 8 oz. store-bought slaw mix, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt in a large bowl to combine. Set dressed slaw aside.

    Step 2

    Mix together 1 large egg, 8 oz. lump crabmeat, picked over, ½ cup panko, 2 Tbsp. finely chopped tender herbs (such as parsley, chives, and/or dill), 1 garlic clove, finely grated, 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise, and ½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt in a small bowl; season with freshly ground black pepper. Divide mixture into 4 portions and pat into 3"-wide patties. Gently place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill 10 minutes.

    Step 3

    Meanwhile, whisk 3 Tbsp. finely chopped dill pickles, 1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning, a pinch of kosher salt, and remaining 1 cup mayonnaise in a small bowl. Set sauce aside.

    Step 4

    Whisk ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, a pinch of kosher salt, and remaining 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning in a shallow bowl. Working one at a time, dredge patties in flour mixture on both sides to coat, tapping off excess. Transfer to a plate.

    Step 5

    Heat a dry large skillet over medium. Working in 2 batches, cook 4 brioche buns, split, cut side down, until lightly toasted, 15–30 seconds per batch. Transfer to plates. Wipe out skillet if needed.

    Step 6

    Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in same skillet over medium-high. Cook patties until golden brown, 2–3 minutes per side. Spread cut sides of buns with reserved sauce. Build sandwiches with patties and reserved slaw.

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  • Native Marylander here. Sigh. Maryland crab cakes are much simpler than these. Crab needs very little competition. (And you need to check the picked meat at least twice through to make sure there aren’t any shell or cartilage pieces in there.) For the filler, crushed saltines work better than panko or bread crumbs. Garlic doesn’t belong. Herbs, if you must, should be simple - I’d allow parsley. I’ve never dredged a crab cake in flour in my life, nor have I seen it done in Maryland. Slaw is good, but it belongs on the side. I’m sure these are fine, but they are not Maryland crab cakes.

    • MK from MD

    • Severna Park, Maryland, USA

    • 6/5/2024

  • Non-native non-Marylander here. But someone who actually cooked the recipe before leaving a review. Tasty and easy. Fun for summer.

    • JN

    • Grand Rapids, MI

    • 6/8/2024

  • I made these with our frozen local BC Dungeness crabmeat. We liked these crabcakes but found the sauce a little too Old Bay-forward. Next time I will reduce the Old Bay, and use fresh Dungeness crabmeat which our Finest at Sea shop has available picked over on Friday and Saturday.

    • Valerie

    • The “Left Coast”, Canada

    • 6/17/2024

  • These are great! However 1 tbs old bay is way too much for mayo 1/2 tsp would suffice.

    • Chinois

    • Auburn, NY

    • 6/18/2024

  • So tasty! But I could not for the life of me get the cakes to stay together. Anything with Old Bay gets an extra point from me though.

    • Claire

    • Baltimore, MD

    • 6/29/2024

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