Recipe: Phillips/Chesapeake Bay-style Crab Cakes

The finished crab cake sandwiches. Zack and Chris ate these two.

I hadn’t really planned on making crab cakes for Memorial Day. But I’d been looking for these cans of Phillips crab meat for some time and when I found them to be available at Meijer in Toledo last week for $10/can, I went ahead and bought these two cans. Phillips Foods in Baltimore, Maryland, has been processing crab since 1914 and has operated Phillips Seafood Restaurants since 1956. Phillips crab meat and other products are used in better restaurants across the country and is some of the best available.

While an enlisted individual in the US Navy I spent over six years living near the Chesapeake Bay. My oldest son was born at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland, while Adam and Briahna were born in Chesapeake and Norfolk, Virginia, respectively. Of the many things I remember about living in that area, enjoying the fresh seafood is something I miss the most.

One of the more fun activities out there is a Crab Bake. Co-workers would buy bushels of steamed Chesapeake Bay crabs seasoned with Old Bay, the trademark seasoning of the area. We would spread newspapers out on tables and just dig into the crabs, enjoying every last morsel and finishing more bushels than I can recall. It was always the kind of “picnic” I could get into.

The crab meat in these cans is Indonesian wild-caught claw meat instead of the leg meat most people are used to. More brown in color than leg meat, claw meat also has a stronger flavor. This allows it to stand up better to seasonings and other flavors in the mix. It’s really ideal for something like a crab cake.

For these particular crab cakes the recipe on the back of the can calls for Phillips Seafood Seasoning. Unfortunately for this recipe, Phillips Seafood Seasoning is largely unavailable in the midwest. This I replaced with the venerable Old Bay. I also doubled the amount of dry mustard in the recipe. Why? I like mustard, that’s all.

I also made sure to use real mayonnaise, real unsalted butter and ground mustard instead of dry mustard. To me, these just add to the overall flavors.

Chris and Zack in the rain this evening doing a live piece on water safety at the Luna Pier beach.

While the resulting crab cakes each only use 1/4 lb of crab meat, each of us, 13abc reporter Zack Ottenstein and videographer Chris Henderson, along with myself, could only eat one sandwich each. The flavor of the crab cake is extremely good and the inside meat is nice and tender. But they’re very filling, we were simply full and none of us could eat a second sandwich right away.

I may be able to eat one now …

About to fold the crab meat into the rest of the mix.

Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes

Adapted from the recipe on the Phillips crab meat can
Course: Sandwiches
Cuisine: Seafood
Keyword: cakes, chesapeake bay, crab
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb crab meat
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp mustard, dry
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise not Miracle Whip
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp mustard, prepared yellow
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted not margarine
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seafood seasoning
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, plain


  • Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F or set a skillet on the stovetop.
  • Setting the crab meat to the side, combine everything else in a large bowl.
  • Fold in the crab meat, then form the mixture into four cakes.
  • Either bake the cakes in the oven, or pan-fry them in the skillet in a little melted butter.
  • Serve on good buns, possibly grilled or toasted, with mayonnaise, lettuce, and sliced tomato.


Add a Comment
  1. Well, LPC, if no one else appreciates your crab cakes, let me tell you that I most certainly do. My wife and I spent last weekend (on her company’s tab, fortunately) in Ocean City, Maryland.

    I ate a lot of soft-shelled crabs, steamed crabs, and crab cakes.

    But I have to tell you that none of my crab cakes looked any better than the ones you whipped up.

    Congratulations on a job well done.

    Now, back to preparing our dinner of crawfish étouffée (before my wife gets home from the office).

    PS: Do you have ANY idea how many “crab” joints there are in Ocean City? I don’t either, but there must be at least 200 — LOL!

  2. Well done mate. That looks great.

    How many crab cakes (3oz each) we can make from 1 Lb of Jumbo Lump/Lump/Clawmeat???

    John R.

  3. @John, with the bread cumbs added as binder and the other ingredients, I would imagine you could get six 3oz patties. I went a little bigger, and the recipe made four patties total.

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