The hometown favourite outworked his Scottish opponent over 12 close rounds, eventually taking the verdict via scores of 116-113, 116-114 and 117-112.
Both fighters came into the fight on the back of defeats, with Crolla losing back-to-back WBA title fights with Venezuela's Jorge Linares while Burns surrendered his WBA light-welterweight belt to Namibian Julius Indongo in April.
The fight began slowly as both men worked on the jab in the opening two rounds before Crolla found more of his range with two right hooks to Burns's body to edge the third.
Burns then tried to land some big right hands in the fourth but Crolla ducked under them before replying with left hooks to his opponent's body.
The Scot tried to reassert his accurate jab as the contest reached its mid-rounds, but the momentum remained with Crolla, who unleashed a flurry of left and right hooks to the body to stay in control.
A burst from the Englishman looked to have edged the eighth but Burns hit back with a left jab that connected on the nose of Crolla in the next, before they continued the final three rounds in counter-punching fashion.
When the final bell sounded, the two fighters embraced before each claiming victory with a wave to the crowd, with the judges subsequently giving the bout to the Mancunian.