Southern Style Crab Cake Recipe

This Southern Style Crab Cake recipe offers a delicious twist on the traditional recipe. They use crushed saltine crackers, adding a distinct flavor. Despite this change, these crab cakes match the taste and quality of Maryland crab cakes, especially when made with backfin crab meat. Enjoyed throughout the year, many seafood enthusiasts rank them among the best. Ready to give them a try? Let’s dive in!

southern style crab cake recipe

Different Grades of Crab Meat

Crab meat is graded according to its quality and the part of the crab it comes from. The four main grades of crab meat are lump, backfin, special, and claw.


Lump crab meat is the highest quality grade and is made up of large, whole pieces of white meat from the body of the crab. Lump crab meat is generally considered to be of higher quality than backfin crab meat. This is because it is made up of large, whole pieces of white meat from the body of the crab, which are more flavorful and tender than the smaller pieces of meat found in backfin crab meat.

Lump crab meat is also more visually appealing than backfin crab meat, as the large pieces of meat retain their shape and appearance when cooked. In addition, lump crab meat is less likely to contain any shell or other debris, making it a more desirable choice for many consumers.


Backfin crab meat is a medium-grade crab meat that is flakier and less uniform in texture than lump crab meat. Despite this, it is still a high-quality, flavorful option for many dishes.

One of the main benefits of backfin crab meat is that it is less expensive than lump crab meat, making it a more budget-friendly option. It is also easier to work with than lump crab meat, as the smaller pieces of meat are more pliable and can be shaped or molded more easily.

Additionally, backfin crab meat is still made up of white meat from the body of the crab, so it has a similar flavor and texture to lump crab meat. Overall, backfin crab meat is a great choice for many dishes, offering a high-quality, tasty option at a more affordable price.


Special crab meat is an excellent choice if you’re looking to add delicate, flavorful crabmeat to your dishes. This type of crabmeat is best used in dishes where good color and flavor are more important than visual impacts, such as dips, bisques, omelets, and mayo-based salads. It offers a subtle, delicate flavor and can add a tasty, satisfying touch to many different dishes.

Claw meat

Crab claw meat is the lowest grade of crab meat and is made up of brown meat from the claws and legs of the crab. It is less flavorful and less tender than the white meat from the body of the crab, so it is typically used in dishes where the flavor of the crab meat is not the main focus.

Claw meat is often used as a filler in dishes where a large quantity of crab meat is needed, such as in crab cakes or crab bisques. It can also be used in dishes where it will be cooked for a long time, such as in stews or soups (see Corn and Crab Chowder), as the long cooking time helps to tenderize the meat.

Overall, crab claw meat is best used in dishes where its flavor will not be the main focus, and where it can be used as a filler or cooked for a long time to improve its texture.

easy crab cake recipe using saltine crackers instead of bread crumbs

Easy Southern Style Crab Cake Recipe

Serving Size:
1 crab cake
20 minutes


  • 16 oz fresh jumbo lump Maryland crab meat
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs, whole
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • ¼ tsp ground mustard
  • 6 saltine crackers crumbled
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and form into (4) individual patties, lightly packed.
  2. To broil a crab cake, preheat your broiler to high heat and place the crab cakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven, about 6 inches away from the heat source.
  3. Broil the crab cakes for 3-5 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy on top. Serve the crab cakes immediately, garnished with lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauce.

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