Hot Crab Dip

published Dec 9, 2023
Crab Dip Recipe

Made with fresh lump crabmeat, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and Old Bay seasoning, this hot and creamy dip is a party classic.

Serves12

Makesabout 5 cups

Prep15 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 28 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

The best — and easiest way — to serve crab at any party is in an ultra-creamy dip. Not only is it quick to whip up, but guests also won’t be able to resist going back for more of that bubbly-hot, rich dip. Packed with fresh lump crabmeat, two kinds of cheese, and Old Bay seasoning, it’s one of the very best things you can snack on this time of year.

Hostesses in the 1950s knew this well, turning the crab dip into a trend so hot that it stuck around for decades and eventually became a classic. It fits in at any New Year’s Eve fête while also looking right at home nestled amongst a full spread for a Sunday football watch party. 

Ingredients in Crab Dip

The main components of crab dip are fresh crab, a creamy cheese base, and seasonings. 

  • Crab: Look for small plastic tubs of cooked crab near the butcher or seafood counter at your grocery store. Jumbo lump crabmeat makes this dip decadent, although a bit pricey. You can use crab claw meat if you’re on a budget, but skip the canned crab. 
  • Cheesy base: Whipped cream cheese combined with tangy sour cream, rich mayo, and sharp cheddar cheese makes for an irresistible dippable base.
  • Seasonings: Zesty Old Bay does most of the heavy lifting here, but Worcestershire sauce also adds depth of flavor. Lemon juice helps cut through the richness. Ground mustard and garlic powder round out the flavors.

Can You Freeze Crab Dip?

Some dairy products do not freeze well, and crab dip is one of them. When you heat it up, the fats will break, making the dip greasy and grainy. 

What to Serve with Crab Dip

There are many options to choose from when it comes to accompaniments to serve alongside hot crab dip. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Crab Dip Recipe

Made with fresh lump crabmeat, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and Old Bay seasoning, this hot and creamy dip is a party classic.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 28 minutes

Makes about 5 cups

Serves 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 1/2 cup

    sour cream

  • 1/4 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    Old Bay seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon

    dry, ground mustard

  • 1 teaspoon

    hot sauce, such as Tabasco

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1 pound

    fresh lump crabmeat or claw meat

  • 3

    medium scallions

  • 8 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups shredded), divided

  • 1/4 medium bunch

    fresh parsley (about 8 sprigs)

  • Baguette slices, crackers, chips, or vegetables, for serving

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Cut 8 ounces cream cheese into 8 pieces. Place in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals until softened and easy to stir, about 45 seconds total.

  3. Transfer the cream cheese to a large bowl if using an electric hand mixer, or a stand mixer bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula.

  4. Juice 1/2 medium lemon until you have 1 tablespoon and add to the bowl. Add 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning, 1 teaspoon dry, ground mustard, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Beat until the mixture is light, fluffy, and looks like buttercream frosting, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes.

  5. Drain 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat or claw meat and pick through to discard any shell or cartilage bits. Finely chop 3 medium scallions until you have about 1/2 cup. Grate 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater if needed.

  6. Add the crab, scallions, and 1 cup of the cheese to the sour cream mixture and gently fold together with a flexible spatula until combined.

  7. Transfer the mixture into a shallow 2-quart baking dish or 10-inch cast-iron skillet and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover the baking dish or skillet tightly with aluminum foil.

  8. Bake until the cheese on top is melted and the dip is bubbling around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, pick the leaves from 1/4 medium bunch fresh parsley and finely chop until you have about 1/4 loosely packed cup.

  9. If you want the dip to have a browned top, uncover the dip and broil on high until browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with baguette slices, crackers, chips, or vegetables.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Prepare the dip as directed but stop before baking. Cover the baking dish or skillet with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bake covered at 375°F until hot and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover and broil if desired.

Storage: Leftover crab dip can be transferred to an airtight container or covered tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Do not freeze. Reheat in a 375°F oven until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, microwave in smaller portions in 30-second intervals until heated through.