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This is perhaps the most luxe and lush hot dip of all time, creamy and studded with chunks of sweet, briny crab. It’s super impressive, but equally at home at a holiday party and a game-day gathering. And it only takes about 10 minutes to pull together, 10 minutes to bake, and besides the crab, only a handful of ingredients that you may already have in your fridge and your pantry! Make sure you get yourself a few bites before you move on to other things – it won’t last long.

This dip truly features the crab as the star of the show. The other ingredients are meant to highlight the special flavor and texture of the crab but not overshadow it. You can pick the type of meat that fits your budget. But no one loves a crab dip that tastes mostly of cream cheese or mayonnaise — that’s not where the fun is! If you’re in the market for luxe crab recipes, also check out Hot Crab and Corn Dip or Crab Cakes.

Woman spooning hot crab dip on toasted baguette.

Best Easy Hot Crab Dip: This simple appetizer is so easy to pull together, but such a luxurious start to a meal or decadent bite to serve with cocktails.

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Ingredients

Crab, Worcestershire, chives, and other crab dip ingredients on marble.
  • Cream cheese – Make sure to bring your cream cheese to room temperature, which will make the dip easier to blend.
  • Mayonnaise – Adds creaminess.
  • Sour cream – Adds a little tangy flavor and contributes to the creamy texture.
  • Cheddar or Swiss cheese – Choose your favorite cheese (or use what you have!), which gets all melty when the dip is baked.
  • Scallions – Scallions pair so well with crab. Use the white and green parts for the most flavor and appealing color.
  • Shallot – Mince the shallot finely so it almost melts into the dip.
  • Lemon juice – Adds a little freshness and acidity.
  • Worcestershire sauce – This is one of those stealth ingredients that adds so much depth and complexity.
  • Hot sauce – This is optional, but I like a subtle heat to balance out the creaminess.
  • Kosher salt – Be very judicious with the salt, as crab can be very salty. You might not even need any added salt.
  • Chives – Sprinkle some chopped chives on top of the dip after it comes out of the oven for a nice presentation.
  • Crab meat – Lump crab meat is the gold standard for crab dips with its sweet flavor and bigger chunks, but you can use whatever crab fits into your budget.
  • For dipping – Crostini, celery, crackers, carrots, and peppers are all great options for dipping in this crab dip.
Carrots, celery, peppers, crackers, and pita chips for dips.

Best Types of Crab for Crab Dip

Lump is the optimal type of crab meat for this dip, and fresh is best, but it’s quite expensive. Fresh crab meat is available at fish stores and good fish counters in supermarkets. It’s also available at Costco and other price clubs. You’ll find it sold at the fish counter in packages kept chilled over ice. 

Good crab meat won’t taste “fishy” at all but super fresh and evocative of the sea. You can use whatever crab meat fits into your budget, and if you can’t get fresh, buy a high-quality canned crab and make sure there is plenty of time on the can before it expires. Don’t bother with jumbo lump crab for this dip since when it’s all combined, it will break apart into smaller pieces anyway. When you add the crab, make sure there are no little bits of shells that got left behind when the crab was shelled and packaged.

Use the best crab you can justify splurging on! But please don’t use imitation crab meat — this is just not where that belongs. Explore different types of crabmeat options

How to Make Hot Crab Dip

  1. Blend the dip: Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheddar, scallions, shallots, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and salt. Then add the crab meat and stir until combined, without breaking up the crab too much.
  2. Bake: Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Serve hot.
Baked hot crab dip in dish with spoon.

Pro Cooking Tips

  • Drain any excess liquid from the crab so it won’t make the dip watery.
  • Go light on any added salt since the crab itself will also be fairly salty. Taste your crab and see if you even need to add salt to the recipe. I’ve found that out the hard way, and it’s an expensive lesson to learn!
  • The hot sauce is optional, but a small amount will just perk up the flavors without overpowering them. 
  • Once you add the crab to the dip, don’t overmix it; just blend until the crab is evenly distributed. Over-blending will break up the crabmeat more than necessary, and you want those nice little chunks of crab throughout the dip.
  • I like using thick shredded cheese vs. finely shredded as this creates little melted cheesy pockets in the dip.

Make-Ahead and Storage

This dip can be made up to 1 day ahead of time and then stored in the fridge, covered, until ready to bake. If you are baking it straight from the fridge, you’ll want to add another 5 minutes or more of baking time for it to become hot and creamy.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. You can reheat them in a 350-degree oven until warm or heat them in the microwave if you prefer.

Woman scooping baked clam dip from dish with spoon.

Variations

  • Chilled Crab Dip: This dip is also terrific at room temperature or chilled! No need to cook it. You can make it up to a day ahead of time and store it in the fridge.
  • Crockpot Crab Dip: This dip can be made in a slow cooker as well. Instead of baking it, transfer the dip to a crockpot and cook on low for 1 to 2 hours. You can also keep it warm in the slow cooker and even serve it from the slow cooker if you have a casual situation. 
  • Herbed Crab Dip: You can add a tablespoon of minced fresh tarragon or dill to the dip to change things up and give it a fresh herbal note.
  • Artichoke Crab Dip: You can sub in ½ pound chopped canned artichoke hearts for half of the crab. This also is a more economical option, and crab artichoke dip is another fan favorite.
  • Cheesy Crab Dip: You could sprinkle another half a cup of shredded cheese over the top of the dip before baking for a cheesy crusty top. 

What to Serve With Hot Crab Dip

Crackers are great vehicles for scooping up this substantial. Some old-school buttery crackers like Ritz or Townhouse Cracker would be awesome. Pita chips, tortilla chips, potato chips, all great. Crostini or toasted slices of good bread would also be excellent. And if you’re leaning towards virtuous, it pairs very well with carrot and celery sticks, slices of bell pepper or cucumber, or endive leaves. Not that this dip is virtuous, but I guess if you want to balance it out a little…

Big Fat Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Simple Herbed Grilled Chicken

Peach Clafoutis

Crostini topped with hot crab dip on white plate.

More Hot Dip Recipes

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Best Easy Hot Crab Dip

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 People
This simple appetizer is so easy to pull together, but such a luxurious start to a meal or a decadent bite to serve with cocktails.

Ingredients 

  • 1 (8-ounce package) cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1 large shallot (finely minced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • Chopped chives to serve (optional)
  • 1 pound lump crab meat (drained; see Note)

To Serve (optional):

  • Carrot or celery sticks
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Pita chips
  • Toasted good bread
  • Crackers

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheddar, scallions, shallots, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce (if using), and salt. Blend until completely combined. Add the crab meat and gently stir until it is blended evenly into the creamy mixture.
  • Transfer the dip to a 1-quart baking dish and smooth the top. Bake for about 25 minutes until heated through and bubbly around the edges. Serve hot, sprinkled with chives if desired, with whatever accompaniments you like.

Notes

  • Lump is the optimal type of crab meat for this dip, and fresh is best, but it’s quite expensive. You can use whatever crab meat fits into your budget, and if you can’t get fresh, buy a high-quality canned crab and make sure there is plenty of time on the can before it expires. Don’t bother with jumbo lump crab for this dip, since when it’s all combined, it will break apart into smaller pieces anyway.
  • Drain any excess liquid from the crab so it won’t make the dip watery.
  • Go light on any added salt since the crab itself will also be fairly salty. Taste your crab and see if you even need to add salt to the recipe. I’ve found that out the hard way, and it’s an expensive lesson to learn!
  • The hot sauce is optional, but a small amount will just perk up the flavors without overpowering them. 
  • Once you add the crab to the dip, don’t overmix it; just blend until the crab is evenly distributed. Over-blending will break up the crabmeat more than necessary, and you want those nice little chunks of crab throughout the dip.
  • I like using thick shredded cheese vs. finely shredded as this creates little melted cheesy pockets in the dip.
Make-Ahead and Storage
This dip can be made up to 1 day ahead of time and then stored in the fridge, covered, until ready to bake. If you are baking it straight from the fridge, you’ll want to add another 5 minutes or more of baking time for it to become hot and creamy.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. You can reheat them in a 350-degree oven until warm or heat them in the microwave if you prefer.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 614mg, Potassium: 175mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 189IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 161mg, Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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