These Whole30 + Keto Maryland Crab Cakes are a healthier version of the classic Eastern Shore favorite. They are gluten free, dairy free, paleo, and made with very little filler!

Whole30 crab cakes that are gluten free with lemon

This post is a long time coming! After living in Maryland for the last 20+ years (minus a brief stint in Charleston, SC), crab cakes have become one of my favorite foods. Crab cakes & football – it’s what Maryland does! The Eastern Shore is the ONLY place to get a good crab cake. I’ve ordered them in other cities (pre-Celiac diagnosis), and nothing compares! Since having to eliminate gluten from my diet, it’s been tough to find a crab cake that I can actually eat. Most are made with bread or bread crumbs, which help to bind everything together. I decided to create a recipe that is not only gluten free, but completely Whole30 compliant and Keto-friendly, too!

gluten free crab cakes

What type of crab should I use for these Whole30 + Keto Maryland Crab Cakes?

This is definitely going to depend on where you live and what is available at your grocery store! Make sure to look for “hand-picked” or “fresh-picked”, and to use the freshest crabmeat you can find. I use a combination of lump crab and backfin, which I found in a plastic container at the seafood counter (at Safeway). I would not recommend using canned crab meat (unless it is the type that is refrigerated at the seafood counter) or any fake crab meat for this recipe. Jumbo lump crab meat is going to be the most expensive, followed by lump, and then backfin.

crab cakes that are dairy free and gluten free

What ingredients do I need for these Whole30 + Keto Maryland Crab Cakes?

  • Crab meat, lump or backfin – the most important ingredient and star of the show
  • 1 egg
  • Mayo – my favorite Whole30 compliant brand is Sir Kensington’s Avocado Oil Mayo. I get a big jar at Costco.
  • Fresh parsley
  • Old Bay Seasoning or Primal Palate New Bae Seasoning
  • Dijon mustard
  • Coconut aminos
  • Almond flour (you can also sub coconut flour – just use 1 tbsp).
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Ghee

That’s it! These are so simple to make and take no time at all. If you want, you can mix up a simple Whole30 Cocktail Sauce for dipping. Combine compliant ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, and coconut aminos! Tastes SO GOOD! (recipe below). And if you’re looking for a good Whole30 Tartar Sauce, check out this recipe for Whole30 Fish & Chips!

Now that I’ve made these twice in 2 days, I want to keep making them all the time! Unfortunately that would become an incredibly expensive habit, LOL.

healthy crab cakes

It’s important to not over-mix your batter. You want the lump crab to remain in tact so you get those delicious juicy chunks in every bite!

If you make these Whole30 + Keto Maryland Crab Cakes, make sure to tag me on Instagram @maryswholelife so I can share it!

Looking for other crab recipes? Check out my Whole30 Maryland Crab Soup!

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something using one of my links, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Mary’s Whole Life!


Whole30 + Keto Maryland Crab Cakes

A delicious Whole30 and Keto version of the classic Eastern Shore favorite
4.97 from 26 votes
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  • 1 lb fresh lump crab meat, look for hand-picked at your seafood counter/refrigerator section.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup mayo, I like Sir Kensington's avocado oil mayo
  • 1 tsp Primal Palate New Bae Seasoning , or Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp almond flour, can sub 1 tbsp coconut flour for nut free
  • 2 tbsp ghee, melted

Whole30 Cocktail Sauce

  • 1/2 cup compliant Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos


  • Whisk egg, mayo, seasoning, lemon juice, coconut aminos, dijon mustard, and parsley in a large bowl. Add crab meat and almond flour and use a spatula to gently fold the mixture together. You want to be careful not to break the crab pieces apart.
  • Chill the mixture in the fridge for minimum 20 minutes (up to overnight) - this will ensure it stays together when you form the cakes!
  • A few minutes before you are ready to bake the crab cakes, preheat the oven to broiling. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Brush 1/2 of the melted ghee onto the baking sheet.
  • Use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the mixture into 6 cakes and place on the baking sheet. Use your hands to shape them/gently press down and secure any loose pieces of crab. Mine were about 1.5 inches thick and 3.5 inches wide. Brush the top of each one with the remaining melted ghee.
  • Broil for 9-11 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the sides are crispy. Serve with a wedge of lemon and Whole30 cocktail sauce, if desired. Enjoy!

Whole30 Cocktail Sauce

  • Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve with the crab cakes. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.


To make these for an appetizer, spoon the mixture out to form 12 smaller crab cakes. These will take less time - keep an eye on them until the tops are browned and crispy. 


Serving: 1crab cake, Calories: 224kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 1087mg, Potassium: 190mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 192IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 56mg, Iron: 1mg