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Whenever I’m entertaining, I love to have at least one dip that can work for everyone, no matter if they are gluten-free, low carb, or just eat everything. And that’s this hot crab dip recipe. My 5-minute cold crab dip is always a hit, but when you want a warm, but still easy crab dip, it’s so easy to make that adjustment.
This one is even creamier and cheesier than the cold version. And if you make this crab dip recipe as part of an appetizer spread, it’s sure to be one of the first things to go.
Why You’ll Love This Hot Crab Dip Recipe
- Rich crab flavor with plenty of lump crab meat
- Smooth and creamy dip
- Quick 5-minute prep in one bowl
- Great source of protein (9.6 grams per serving)
- Easy to make ahead
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for this crab dip recipe, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Cream Cheese – The base of this hot crab dip recipe. Use full fat cream cheese for best flavor, but light or neufchatel works fine, too. Make sure your cream cheese is softened at room temperature, so that it mixes in well.
- Sour Cream – If you want to lighten it up a bit, substitute Greek yogurt.
- Mayonnaise – Make homemade mayo or use store-bought; either will work in this hot crab dip. You can also use only sour cream or only mayo instead of both, but combining them tastes better in my opinion.
- Lemon Juice – Brightens the flavor. Lemon almost always goes well with seafood dishes like this one. Fresh lemon juice is the most flavorful, but bottled lemon juice can be a convenient time saver.
- Old Bay Seasoning – This classic seafood seasoning makes an easy crab dip without messing with multiple spices individually, and it gives it a delicious, classic flavor.
- Cheddar cheese – We’re using shredded cheese, so buy it shredded to save some time or shred it yourself. Feel free to swap some of the cheddar for others, such as mozzarella or parmesan cheese.
- Crab Meat – If possible, look for jumbo lump crab meat. It will make the best hot crab dip recipe with big crab chunks!
- Backfin crab meat, which is a combination of small pieces of lump crab meat and flakes of white body meat, is a cheaper alternative that is okay to use, but the texture of the dip won’t be as good as using only lump crab.
- Claw meat is the cheapest kind and you won’t get any chunks, but it does have a hearty crab flavor.
- If you have leftover fresh crab meat (such as from making crab legs), this is an excellent choice and tastes even better than the kind from a can.
- Imitation crab meat works from a recipe standpoint, but the flavor is actually quite different.
- Chives – These add delicate flavor and a pop of color. You could also use thinly sliced green onions instead.
How To Make Crab Dip
This section shows how to make hot crab dip, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Mix creamy base. In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning, until smooth. Use a hand mixer to make this easy!
TIP: Soften your cream cheese if you need to.
If your cream cheese doesn’t mix smoothly with the other ingredients, you can microwave the mixture for about 30 seconds to soften it, then stir until completely uniform.
- Add cheese, chives, and hot sauce. Stir until uniform. Taste and adjust hot sauce and/or Old Bay seasoning if you like.
- Add crab. Fold in the crab meat using a spatula.
TIP: Be gentle when folding in the crab.
You want lumps of crab throughout the dip, so don’t overmix.
- Transfer. Spoon the mixture into a small baking dish (this one is the perfect size). Smooth the top.
- Bake. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake crab dip until hot.
- Serve. If desired, garnish hot crab dip with more chives. Serve with your favorite dippers (see below for ideas).
If you want to take this dip to the next level, try one (or more) of these additions:
- Garlic – Add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Hot sauce – The amount on the recipe card still keeps it quite mild, but feel free to omit it. If you like some heat, add more hot sauce or even some finely diced jalapenos.
- Worcestershire Sauce – I decided not to include this due to the sugar content, but many crab dip recipes add this sauce for flavor depth and light sweetness. Feel free to add 1-2 tablespoons if you like.
- Salt – I don’t usually find it necessary to add any salt, since the cream cheese, cheddar, and Old Bay seasoning are already salty, but feel free to adjust to your taste.
- Bacon – Make bacon in the oven (my favorite method for crispy bacon), air fryer or microwave, crumble it and mix it into the dip.
- Spinach Artichoke – Stir about 1/2 cup drained frozen spinach and 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts to the dip, or simply add crab meat to spinach artichoke dip.
- Jalapeños – Add 1-2 jalapeños, finely diced, for a spicy kick.
- Store: After cooling the crab dip to room temperature, keep leftovers in refrigerator for 2-3 days. If you have leftover crab meat, use it to make a crab salad.
- Make Ahead: You can make the dip ahead, place in a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Bake right before serving.
- Reheat: Bake crab dip in a 350 degree F oven, or heat gently in the microwave. (I recommend the oven.)
- Freeze: I don’t recommend freezing this dip, as the dairy will change texture during freezing/thawing process. It’s safe to eat, but the texture won’t be as smooth.
What To Serve With Hot Crab Dip
Serve this recipe for crab dip hot with your favorite dippers:
- Raw Veggies – My favorite! Mini bell peppers, celery sticks, cucumber slices, and carrots are all great for scooping up dips.
- Crackers – Any kind will do, but flax seed crackers or almond flour crackers are delicious, healthy options.
- Breads – Sliced baguette is a common choice. For a low carb, gluten-free alternative, try almond flour bread.
- Chips – Use tortilla chips (or almond flour tortilla chips), light and crispy zucchini chips, or any other kind you like.
More Easy Crab Recipes
If you like this recipe for hot crab dip, you might also like some of these other crab recipes:
Hot Crab Dip Recipe
Hot Crab Dip Recipe (Easy & Creamy!)
This easy hot crab dip recipe is creamy, cheesy, and loaded with lump crab meat! It makes the perfect irresistible party appetizer.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning, until smooth and creamy.
Stir in the cheddar cheese, chives, and hot sauce, to taste. Adjust Old Bay seasoning to taste if needed.
Using a spatula, fold in the crab meat. (Do this gently and don't over-mix. You want some lumps of crab throughout.)
Transfer the crab dip to a small baking dish (mine was this oval one). Bake for about 20 minutes, until hot.
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Serving size: 1/4 cup
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