This hot crab dip is cheesy, creamy and full of sweet crab flavor. It’s exceptionally easy to make and just so delicious!
Growing up in the mid-atlantic, with the Chesapeake Bay within spitting distance means a few things…. easy trips to the beach…wharf front dining in any number of quaint river towns… driving on long bridges with Hopper-esque sailboats drifting underneath in the bay…
But as memorable as those experiences may be, the most influential to my growing up is where two amazing things intersect: Old Bay seasoning and the blue crab. My uncle Bobby had an annual crab feast… and to this day I still long to sit at the newspaper table rubbing elbows with family. If I close my eyes I can see my uncle’s shaggy dog running under the tall trees, the briny smell of crab wafting in the air… and me covered in butter and Old Bay and not getting in trouble for making a mess of myself.
I’m not sure if it’s the smell, or the taste, but the memories of crab smothered in Old Bay makes my soul light up.
Now, there are 1000 ways to combine these two things, and they’re almost all delicious beyond speech, but there is one way to use it that is PERFECT for parties, particularly ones that happen around a certain football game that shall not be named. That preparation is a hot crab dip.
Not only it it extremely tasty, it’s got to be the easiest recipe EVER! We are talking 10 minutes of work for all the oohs and ahs a normal sized ego can absorb. There will be unbridled face stuffing and finger licking and for a moment you will ignore the lack of manners. You’ve made everyone deliciously happy while barely lifting a finger.
Guys we’ve made our share of complicated crowd pleasers from fancy fried green tomatoes to butter chicken meatballs. There’s nothing wrong with slow food… I mean, our recipe for fried mozzarella balls stuffed with caramelized onions and pumpkin is epic! But sometimes the easiest dish is also the best dish and that proves true with this hot crab dip recipe!
This appetizer is heavy on the crab, full of savory flavor and it’s HOT! This is particularly important as it’s been snowing for the better part of the day. But don’t let the hot bubbly cheese convince you this is only a winter dish. It’s great anytime of year for just about any occasion. It’s a bit like the perfect outfit that can be dressed up or down. You just can’t go wrong here!
Tips for making hot crab dip
Okay, so yes it’s easy but let’s cover a few details. Parties are notorious for having TOO MANY DAMN THINGS TO DO! So you’re probably asking can I make this hot can dip ahead of time? The answer is YES! You can make the filling, load it into your gratin dish and refrigerate it until it’s time to get the party started.
HOWEVER, I suggest a MAX of 24 hours. That’s because crab is an extremely delicate ingredient. It can go bad in a heartbeat, so caution is warranted. That also goes for any leftover crab. Eat it, don’t let it go to waste, so make Maryland crab soup, crab fritters, whatever, but don’t let it spoil, because nothing goes bad as fast as crab meat.
So what should you serve with crab dip? We like our hot crab dip with crostini but if you need an easier option crackers will do. You’ll want a buttery cracker. Don’t go for fancy rice crackers or seed crackers because they will totally blow out the crab flavor. Instead, if you have to serve something gluten free, skip the bread crumbs and serve the dip with potato chips and carrot slices.
I also like to have celery and other veggies to munch on because calories! Hopefully it will also help stretch the dish because crab is expensive. As such, I suggest getting lump crab and not jumbo lump crab which is twice as expensive. And if you’re on a summer beach vacation, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to pick your own crabs!
Wherever you are when you make this recipe, I hope you find it delicious!
Hot Crab Dip Recipe
- 4 oz cream cheese , room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- zest of one lemon
- 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives or scallions greens
- 1-1/2 cups lump blue crab
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a bowl mix together the cream cheese and sour cream with a wooden spoon.
- Add the lemon zest, old bay, hot sauce and cheeses and beat until smooth.
- Fold in the chives and crab being careful to not break up the crab.
- Spread dip into an oven safe dish and top with panko bread crumbs and bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Serve immediately with crostini or crackers.
- This recipe makes about 3 cups of dip, but it's super easy to cut in half, double or even triple for parties. The only difference between a small or large batch will be baking time.
- We've made it in a small 7 inch skillet and in traditional gratins dishes. Really any baking dish will work, just make sure that the dish isn't full to the brim because the mixture will bubble up as it gets hot.
- The dip can be prepped a day in advance. Make the dip but don't add the bread crumbs. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Add the bread crumbs when ready to bake.
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