Maryland Chicken Chesapeake is a chicken cutlet topped with a creamy, crab imperial and an Old Bay cream sauce.
We didn't go out to restaurants often when I was a kid, but when we did, it was almost always for seafood. I remember ordering Chicken Chesapeake as a kid and receiving this huge plate - a crab stuffed chicken breast, topped with more crab and a creamy sauce on top.
Now, I don't even know of any restaurants that still have this on their menu, which is a shame! It's a delicious recipe and everyone should get to enjoy it!
What is Maryland chicken Chesapeake?
The recipe seems to vary from person to person and from restaurant to restaurant. But my take on this crab topped chicken recipe is a pan-fried chicken cutlet, topped with crab imperial and then drizzled with an Old Bay cream sauce.
Which begs the question - what is crab imperial? Crab imperial is like a looser crab cake, made with the same ingredients as a crab cake, but more mayo is used in the recipe, and it's topped with a creamy imperial sauce.
- chicken cutlets
- crab meat
- Old Bay
- Worcestershire sauce
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick. Set aside.
Then, prepare the crab imperial. Whisk mayo, egg, Panko, Worcestershire sauce and milk together in a medium bowl. Pick through the crab meat and remove any shells. Then gently fold the crab meat and Old Bay into the mayo mixture until combined. Form into balls or loaves and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, pan fry the chicken cutlets. Season chicken cutlets on both sides with Old Bay and cook in a skillet with olive oil for 5-7 minutes on each side, over medium high heat until browned and almost cooked through.
Then finish cooking the chicken. Place the chicken cutlets onto the baking sheet with the crab imperial. Place the crab on top of the chicken. Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the crab is golden brown.
Next, prepare the Old Bay cream sauce. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Then whisk in the flour until fully combined. Pour a little of the cream into the pan, while whisking. Continue pouring the cream into the pan, while whisking until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the heat to medium low and add Old Bay seasoning. Once thickened, remove from the heat.
Finally, serve the Maryland Chicken Chesapeake with Old Bay cream sauce. Plate the chicken topped with the crab. Drizzle the Old Bay cream sauce on top and garnish with parsley.
Many recipes choose to use a chicken breast that has been stuffed with a crab imperial mixture and serve additional crab on top. I don't like stuffed chicken breasts so I chose to serve the crab entirely on top of the chicken. If you want to stuff the chicken breast, I recommend using my Maryland Crab Dip recipe as the crab portion.
Imitation crab should never be used. Blue crab meat is the preferred choice for all Marylanders. Backfin meat is the most affordable, but if you're making this dish to impress, splurging on lump meat is definitely the way to go.
Many recipes will wrap their chicken in bacon or place shredded cheddar cheese on top before the final cooking.
Crab imperial topped chicken pairs with just about any side dish, but I recommend Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes or Parmesan Parsley Roasted Potatoes and a green vegetable like Garlic Parmesan Green Beans. And this dish pairs really nicely with white wines like a dryer Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc.
More Maryland recipes you'll love
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Maryland Chicken Chesapeake
- 4 oz crab meat
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Panko
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 chicken cutlets
- 1.5 teaspoon Old Bay
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Old Bay Cream Sauce
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon Old Bay
- ½ teaspoon parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Gently pick through the crab meat to remove any shells, then set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the imperial ingredients, then gently fold in the crab meat.4 oz crab meat, ⅓ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup Panko, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon Old Bay, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon parsley, ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- Form into balls or loaves and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.
- Season both sides of the chicken with Old Bay.2 chicken cutlets, 1.5 teaspoon Old Bay
- Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and once hot, add in chicken cutlets, cooking for 5-7 minutes on each side, until mostly cooked through.1 teaspoon olive oil
- Transfer the chicken to the baking sheet and place the partially cooked crab imperial on top. Return to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Old Bay Cream Sauce
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet.2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute, then whisk in the milk, a little at a time until fully combined.1 tablespoon all purpose flour, ½ cup milk
- Cook, whisking frequently until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Old Bay.½ teaspoon Old Bay
- Plate the chicken cutlet topped with the crab meat. Drizzle the cream sauce on top and garnish with parsley.½ teaspoon parsley