A Bite Inspired by… Baltimore, Maryland:
If you’re a crab lover like me, this crab pie recipe will seriously change your life! Deliciously buttery with piles of jumbo lump crab meat topped with a crispy, flavorful crust– TO DIE FOR. I’ve also included my very own Baltimore Travel Guide in this post with all my best food, attraction, and hotel recommendations. Between the recipe and the guide, I hope you’ll be inspired to visit the magical city of Baltimore very soon!
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I grew up just a few hours away from Baltimore, Maryland, so my family and I used to take frequent weekend trips there, while I was growing up. I’ve been to Baltimore at least 50 times throughout my life and have never had a dull trip there. Since I know the city very well, I decided to use this post as sort of a travel guide for those considering visiting Baltimore, in addition to my recipe inspired by the city. It really is a fantastic city with a lot more culture and vibrancy to it than most people assume. Plus, the food scene is on point. As you can imagine, some of the best seafood in the whole wide world can be found in Baltimore. Specifically, CRAB. Maryland is famous for the blue crab, which has a gorgeously delicate and sweet flavor. It’s perfect in crab cakes, but also equally delicious on its own with a bit of Old Bay and vinegar. Mmm.. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
So, of course, the recipe I have created inspired by Baltimore is a crab centric dish. It’s essentially a crab pot pie filled with tons of succulent jumbo lump crab meat swimming in delicious chive butter and topped off with a golden, slightly sweet breadcrumb mixture that complements the crab perfectly. This dish is a crab lover’s dream come true—beautifully buttery with a delightful crunch. If you love crab, you absolutely have to try this dish. It’s simple enough to highlight the crab, but complex enough to elevate its flavors. It’s honestly one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever come up with.
I used my Le Creuset 3.5 quart French Oven to bake this pie because 1) I’m obsessed with it and 2) you get a more even bake. My Le Creuset Dutch oven was my first big cookware investment– they’re on the pricey side, but they are totally worth it. I’ve had mine for 10 years and it’s still in perfect condition. If you’re interested in a Dutch oven, but Le Creuset is a little pricey for you, I also like this Lodge Dutch Oven. Alternatively, you can bake this pie in a regular, medium-sized baking dish.
Below is my travel guide for Baltimore. If you’ve never been (or even if you have been) and you’re anywhere near Baltimore, I really encourage you to check it out! There’s honestly an infinite amount of recommendations I could make, but for practicality’s sake I’ve narrowed it down to some of my favorites. I tried to create a guide with a good mix of well-known, “touristy” places, as well as “off-the-beaten-path” type places that not as many people know about, but are definitely worth a visit! If you’re visiting Baltimore and are in need of specific recommendations, feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll try to help you out. Also, if you’ve been to Baltimore before or live nearby and have some recommendations of your own, feel free to drop them below, as well!
If you’re not planning on visiting Baltimore ever and just want to make the recipe, feel free to scroll past all this and get on with some buttery, crabby goodness. My crab pie will make you feel like you’re there, feasting on crabs by the Chesapeake Bay, without ever having to set foot near Baltimore to begin with. 😉
Okay, enough chit chat. Here we go!
Baltimore Travel Guide
Where to Eat:
- Faidley’s Seafood– If you eat nowhere else the whole time you’re in Baltimore, make absolutely sure that you hit up Faidley’s for the world’s best crab cakes. Tucked away in the iconic, Lexington Market, Faidley’s is well-know by locals for being the meatiest, most delicious Maryland crab cake in the whole state. Don’t miss it!
- Thames Street Oyster House– Located in historic Fells Point, Thames Street serves delicious, upscale seafood for a very reasonable price. Be sure to try the hot lobster roll! It’s buttery, meaty, and so delicious!
- Ten Ten: An American Bistro– Although Ten Ten is not as seafood centric as the two restaurants above, it’s still a delicious choice for good American fare. My family and I took my fiancé and his mom there when we were all visiting Baltimore and they were big fans! If you have a hankering for soup, salad, or a sandwich while visiting Baltimore, be sure to check out Ten Ten!
- Joe Benny’s– PIZZA. Enough said. Joe Benny’s is actually technically a “Focacceria” meaning they serve all their pizzas on focaccia bread. If you love pizza, Joe Benny’s is not to be missed. It’s located in Little Italy, so it will also give you a great chance to check out that area!
- Roy’s Baltimore– Although Roy’s is a chain restaurant, the food here is very good and the seafood is extremely fresh. Roy’s is a high-end restaurant serving upscale Hawaiian fusion food. If you’re a fan of fish, consider trying their signature dish, the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi with lobster sauce. I had it a few years ago on my birthday and it was dynamite! Also their Pineapple Upside Down Cake is to DIE for!
- Andy Nelson’s Southern Pit Barbeque– Andy Nelson’s is actually off-the-beaten path a bit and technically located about 30 minutes from downtown Baltimore in Cockeysville, MD. Only venture there, if you have a car. You definitely can’t miss it due to the giant PIG located on the roof of the restaurant. Very good pit BBQ, especially considering MD is not really a BBQ state. Plus, it has an interesting ambiance.
Where to Visit:
- The Inner Harbor– The Inner Harbor is the tourist hub of Baltimore and for good reason. Pretty much all of downtown Baltimore’s major attractions are located here. You can ride a Water Taxi on the Chesapeake Bay (highly recommend!), dine overlooking the water, shop at The Gallery Mall, visit the aquarium or the science center, and a whole host of other things. If it’s your first time in Baltimore, you definitely want to check out the Inner Harbor. As I mentioned above, the Baltimore Water Taxi is a fun, cheap way to get around, so you can check out some of the cool neighborhoods like historic Fells Point. It also goes to Fort McHenry National Monument. There’s some pretty neat attractions at the Inner Harbor many of which, I discuss below.
- Historic Ships in Baltimore– I actually did the Historic Ships with my parents and fiancé on my most recent trip to Baltimore and we all got a huge kick out of it. My fiancé and I are big history nerds, so we really enjoyed all the exhibits aboard the ships. You can see what kind of food they ate, where they kept ammunition, the kind of medical equipment they used, the captain’s quarters, and a whole host of other things. There are 4 ships in total, plus a lighthouse, and you can choose how many you’d like to visit. We had limited time, so we only saw the USS Constellation (we were told this is the best one.) If you only have time for one, I recommend the USS Constellation. It took us about 1.5 hours to see the whole ship, but we were going pretty slowly. It would definitely be doable in an hour. Great for kids too!
- Maryland Science Center– The Maryland Science Center, also located at the Inner Harbor, is a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. I actually went on an overnight field trip there in 5th grade and had a BLAST because they let us stay up until midnight, gave us unlimited ice cream, and let us sleep in sleeping bags among the exhibits. Plus, one of my friends ate one of those lollipops with a bug in it, so that kept us entertained for a few hours. I’ve been back a few times as an adult too and still find it fascinating, so there must be more to it than just ice cream and bugs. Definitely worth a visit!
- Little Italy– If you love Italian food, you have to check out Little Italy. Just a short walk or drive from the Inner Harbor, Little Italy boasts some of the best Italian food in the entire area. I recommend Joe Benny’s (discussed in the above section), but you really can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants there.
- The Hippodrome Theatre– I’m a huge fan of the arts so I’m obsessed with The Hippodrome. They have wonderful musicals and plays there, so if you’re into theater, be sure to check out what’s playing. I’ve seen Little Shop of Horrors, War Horse, and Shrek: The Musical at The Hippodrome and they’ve all been excellent! Plus, the theater is very iconic with a rich history (it used to be vaudeville house back in the day.)
- Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum– This place is super cool, especially if you’re a baseball fan. They have tons of memorabilia, mementos, and short movies about Babe Ruth’s life and career. If it’s baseball season, be sure to also check out Oriole Park at Camden Yards and try to catch a game!
- National Aquarium– Not to be missed! It is truly one of the best aquariums in the entire country. There is so much stuff going on at this aquarium, I can’t even begin to describe it. Everything from jellyfish to frogs to sharks. Check it out for yourself!
- Sherwood Garden– This gorgeous little garden is located only 15 minutes away from the Inner Harbor (by car), but it feels like a whole other world. The huge assortment of flowers and trees are breathtaking. It’s very quiet and serene—perfect for a little rest and relaxation! Definitely stop by if you’re visiting Baltimore in the spring!
- Bengies Drive-In Theatre– Bengies is located about 30 minutes away from the Inner Harbor and, boy, is it not to be missed! This old-fashioned drive-in movie theatre has been around since 1956 and boasts the biggest movie screen on the East Coast! Coming to Bengies really is a treat and a blast from the past for the whole family. They play old-school commercials and everything about it is just so classic. Plus, you get to see 2-3 movies (depending on what day of the week you go) for less than the price of one movie at most other theaters. One of my favorite places to go in the Baltimore area, hands down. Open in the spring, summer, and early fall only.
Where to Stay:
- Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel– If you’re looking for a place to stay right near the Inner Harbor, where all the action is, we love staying at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. It’s literally across the street from the waterfront and feeds right into The Gallery mall. I loved stayed here both as a little girl and an adult! The rooms are nice and clean, albeit a tiny bit rundown. The lobby is gorgeous! It’s definitely a little pricey, but the convenience can’t be beat!
- Springhill Suites Downtown– I haven’t stayed here myself, but my fiancé and his mom did and they really liked it. Clean, comfortable, modern, and located a good walking distance from the Inner Harbor.
- For the pie filling:
- 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat, picked through for shells
- 1 cup salted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- For the crust:
- 30 buttery crackers (I used Ritz crackers)
- 2 plain graham crackers, broken into fourths
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- Additional chopped chives, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread crab meat evenly across the bottom of a 3.5 quart Dutch oven or a medium baking pan.
- Pour 1 cup melted butter on top of the crab meat. Mix well, so the crab is evenly coated.
- Add the chives to the crab. Stir well.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well.
- Add buttery crackers and graham crackers into a food processor. Process on high until small, even crumbs form.
- Put the cracker crumbs into a bowl. Add the 6 tablespoons of melted butter and mix well.
- Using a spoon, carefully spread the cracker mixture evenly over the crab.
- Cover with foil and put in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes until bubbly around the edges.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the crust browns.
- Divide among four plates and garnish with chives, if desired. Enjoy hot!