In this article we provide a local wellposedness theory for quasilinear Maxwell equations with absorbing boundary conditions in H m for m ≥ 3. The Maxwell equations are equipped with instantaneous nonlinear material laws leading to a quasilinear symmetric hyperbolic first order system. We consider both linear and nonlinear absorbing boundary conditions. We show existence and uniqueness of a local solution, provide a blow-up criterion in the Lipschitz norm, and prove the continuous dependence on the data. In the case of nonlinear boundary conditions we need a smallness assumption on the tangential trace of the solution. The proof is based on detailed apriori estimates and the regularity theory for the corresponding linear problem which we also develop here.