The History of Crab Cakes

Did you know that crab cakes are the second most popular way to consume crab? The first is by eating crab right out of the shell, of course, but crab cakes hold a close second. They’re even some people’s top choice due to their fantastic flavor. All foods have a history behind them, and crab cakes are no different. Learning the history behind food helps you appreciate it more, plus, it never hurts to have a few fun history facts to share around the dinner table!

Types of Crab Cakes 

Not every crab cake is created the same. In fact, there’s some major difference in how crab cakes are prepared and what they taste like depending on your location. Northern areas that are closer to Maryland stick to a more traditional method of making crab cakes. This involves letting the crab cakes rest for several hours after forming them before they’re cooked, and serving them with a thick white sauce. 

The eastern shore uses a more basic method for crab cakes that involves little ingredients besides the crab itself. Egg and flour are used to help form the cakes, but that’s about it! More western and continental areas go further away from tradition, using breadcrumbs or crackers as a filler to form the crab cakes. These fillers create a better formed crab cake, but they also cut down on the crab flavor in them compared to more traditional cooking methods. 

Native American Cuisine 

Crab cakes are said to be one of the first dishes that settlers in America adapted from the Native Americans. Traditional indigenous methods of making crab cakes involved removing the crab meat from the shell by hand and adding minimal ingredients to form the cakes. 

Transporting Crab Cakes 

Crab cakes were only consumed in the north and north eastern regions until late in the 1920’s, when refrigerators began being used in the food transportation process. As crab could be refrigerated and transported across the country, continental methods of making crab cakes came to fruition and crab became popular regardless of the location.


At Mare Oyster Bar, we serve great seafood to the historic North End area of Boston. We pride ourselves on using only the freshest ingredients and sticking to traditional cooking methods to create the best flavor possible for our customers. Boston is located in an area that has access to great, fresh seafood, and we take full advantage of that! Seafood can be tricky to prepare on your own, so it’s best to leave it to the professional chefs at Mare Oyster Bar for the best seafood experience possible. Contact us today to make your reservation and come try an authentic crab cake and other delicious seafood!