This Costco Freezer Find Is the Best “Impulse” Buy I’ve Ever Made

COSTCO on Raleigh Road. Headquartered in Issaquah, WA, Costco Wholesale Corp. is a membership-only warehouse club that provides a wide selection of merchandise.
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Though I’m a proud native New Englander with a lifelong soft spot for a buttery lobster roll, I’m also a big fan of a good Maryland-style crab cake. To me, a quality crab cake should be chock-full of big, juicy lumps of meat and well-seasoned with Old Bay.

Unfortunately (and trust me, I’ve sampled my fair share of crab cakes), many of the seafood cakes available at grocery stores — even behind the glass cases of fish counters — are more breadcrumb than crab. Until I made an impulse Costco buy of Philips Maryland-Style Crab Cakes, I was sure that the only way to enjoy a great crab cake at home was to make it yourself.

Phillips crab cake in packaging.
Credit: Lizzy Briskin Credit: Lizzy Briskin

What’s So Great About Philips Maryland-Style Crab Cakes?

These frozen cakes from Philips look and taste like what you’d be served at a Baltimore seafood joint. The first ingredient is wild-caught crab meat, which is essential for a quality cake. The patties are kept super moist thanks to a creamy binder of seasoned mayo. Breadcrumbs are one of the last ingredients listed, so you know you’re paying for quality seafood, not cheap filler. 

These cakes are seasoned with fresh parsley, paprika, and a vital secret ingredient that adds major umami: anchovies. This subtle addition gives the cakes more depth, a stronger seafood-forward (but not fishy) flavor, and a nice amount of saltiness.

Crab cake in plastic packaging.
Credit: Lizzy Briskin Credit: Lizzy Briskin

The cakes are sold frozen and fully cooked. I prefer to thaw them in the fridge overnight if I remember, but in a pinch, the quick-defrost method in the microwave works just fine. To prepare the cakes, you simply pan-sear them for five to six minutes. This brings out their natural golden-brown color and builds a nice crispy crust on the outside. Voilá: dinner is served.

Crab cake on plate with side of lemon.
Credit: Lizzy Briskin Credit: Lizzy Briskin

What’s the Best Way to Eat Philips Maryland-Style Crab Cakes?

These crab cakes make a great last-minute dinner that feels fancy and festive with minimal effort. I like to serve the crispy cakes over a chopped salad or between a toasted hamburger bun. The juicy cakes have their own built-in sauce from the seasoned mayo in the mix, and I’ll often serve them with more mayo mixed with lemon juice and chopped tarragon. A squirt of sriracha is also a nice way to add some heat.

Bite taken out of crab cake.
Credit: Lizzy Briskin Credit: Lizzy Briskin

Of course, you can’t go wrong pairing your crab cakes with a crunchy homemade slaw or crispy potatoes for a classic Old Line State experience. 

Philips Crab Cakes are available frozen at Costco and Target so you don’t have to travel far or wait until summer’s crab season to enjoy sweet, fresh crab cakes at home. 

Buy: Philips Maryland-Style Crab Cakes, $8.99 for 2 cakes at Target

What’s your favorite Costco impulse buy? Tell us about it in the comments below.