This hot Crab Dip is the ultimate holiday-worthy appetizer that is perfect for major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. It’s loaded with lump crab meat and tastes like the filling for Crab Rangoon. It’s creamy, cheesy, and irresistibly good. You can even assemble it ahead and bake it just in time for your party or gathering. 

We love creamy dips like Spinach Artichoke Dip and of course our Hot Shrimp Dip. If you are a fan of decadent mouthwatering dips, this Crab Dip Recipe is a must-try. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is.

Crab dip served with cracker

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The Best Hot Crab Dip Recipe

This creamy and cheesy crab dip will steal the show at your holiday party. This crab dip recipe can be spendy when using Fresh King Crab meat, so keep an eye out for sales on crab legs which using happen just before the holidays.

Frankly, this crab dip is one of the best ways to stretch king crab meat and serve a crowd with a couple of large crab legs. I also have some delicious substitution options if you want a less expensive dish that will still impress everyone. 

Crab Dip Recipe Video

Watch Natasha make this Hot Crab Dip. You will be surprised at how easy it is to make this creamy dip. Make it for your next celebration and everyone will be so impressed.

Ingredients

The key to making great crab dip is to make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature. This will ensure a super creamy base without lumps. Find exact measurements in the print-friendly recipe below.

  • Cream Cheese, Sour Cream and Mayo– Create a creamy, rich, and flavorful base for the dip. Use full fat (not reduced fat for the best results).
  • Mozzarella Cheese – creates an irresistible cheesy dip when you put it inside the dip and sprinkling more on top creates an irresistible golden crust.
  • Chives and Garlic – aromatics that add great flavor and aroma
  • Lemon juice – cuts the richness and brightens the dip
  • Hot Sauce – use your favorite hot sauce and add it to taste.
  • Old Bay Seasoning – this is our go-to seasoning for seafood, but you can substitute it (see Common questions section)
  • Lump Crab Meat – fresh is best, especially freshly cooked king crab legs (see substitution options below). You’ll need 12-16 oz of crab meat for this recipe.
Ingredients for Crab Dip

What is the Best Crab Meat for Crab Dip?

We love king crab meat from cooked king crab legs. I purchased it at Costco and was able to get 12 oz of meat from 1.6 lbs of shell-on crab legs. The crab in this dish is the star of the show, if you want to substitute it with different seafood, see suggestions below.

If you really want to love this dip, avoid any canned crab meat (both the tin jars on the shelf or the refrigerated lump crab meat variety). I’ve tried canned crab meat in this recipe a couple of different times, which includes lump crab meat sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, and every time it was slightly fishy and not the best.

King Crab legs for dip

Pro Tip: To remove meat from king crab legs, start by shaping the legs apart by breaking them at the knuckles then use sturdy kitchen shears to cut through the shells lengthwise. Pull the shells apart to reveal the meat. 

Can I Substitute the Crab Meat? 

There are less expensive options for king crab meat in this recipe:

  • Shrimp – Try cooked shrimp meat as we used in our Shrimp Dip.
  • Imitation Crab – this isn’t real crab meat (hence the name), but it will still turn out a decent crab dip. It’s also less expensive. 
  • Snow Crab Legs – snow crab meat will work here, but it can be difficult to pluck that much meat from the crab legs. Wear gloves or you’ll end up with sore hands. 

How to Make Crab Dip

  1. Beat together – cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo in a large mixing bowl until creamy.
  2. Stir in flavorings – add mozzarella cheese, chives, garlic, lemon juice, hot sauce, and old bay seasoning. Stir to combine.
  3. Add crab – fold in crab until combined. Spread the mixture into a 1.5 to 2 qt casserole dish (I used my 10.5×7.5) and sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella.
  4. Bake at 400˚F for 25 minutes until hot and bubbly. Broil for the last minute for a golden brown cheese crust. Garnish with chives and serve with crackers, pita chips, or chips.
Step by step photos how to make crab dip

Common Questions

Can I substitute old bay seasoning? 

You can substitute old bay with a simple seasoning mix of 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, and 1/8 tsp paprika. Be careful not to over-salt since crab meat is usually fairly salty. 

Can I serve this cold?

This dip should be heated and served hot or warm. Since it is dairy-based and perishable, it should be refrigerated after two hours at room temperature.

How to get the fishy smell out of crab meat? 

Crab meat should not smell fishy. If your crab smells bad, you should return or discard it. If you are able to smell your crab legs before you purchase them, they should smell sweet and not pungent. Do not use crab meat that has a bad odor.

Do I need to rinse cooked crab legs?

We prefer to rinse cooked crab legs in cold water to help get rid of the extra salt on the outside and on the exposed meat. 

How to Cook Crab Legs

Most of the crab legs in the US are sold pre-cooked and there’s no need to re-cook it before using it in the dip, just thaw if frozen. If you catch some fresh uncooked crab legs, follow our tutorial on how to cook crab legs before proceeding with this recipe. 

Casserole of hot crab dip garnished with chives

To Serve

We love to serve this warm while it’s gooey and cheesy. We love to dip into this with:

  • Crackers – Ritz or artisan crackers. I prefer crackers that aren’t too salty since the dip already has a fair amount of salt.
  • Tortilla chips – use your favorite corn or whole grain tortillas.
  • Cucumber – fresh slices of cucumber are a great gluten-free and fresh option.

Make-Ahead

Since this dip has dairy and seafood, to be safe, make sure it doesn’t sit out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours without refrigeration. That said, this dip does keep and reheat well.

  • To Refrigerate: As long as your crab is very fresh, you can make this 1 day ahead then refrigerate and bake it just before serving.
  • Leftovers: Once the dip has cooled to room temperature, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 2 days.
  • Freezing: We don’t recommend freezing this dip since it is dairy-based.
  • To Reheat: Bake the uncovered casserole dish in a hot oven at 350˚F for about 12-15 minutes or until steamy hot, or heat portions in the microwave in 30-second intervals until hot.
Dipping a cracker into cheesy crab dip

This hot Crab Dip Recipe is always a hit at parties. Any seafood lover will appreciate this. You’ll know who they are when their eyes light up knowing it’s King Crab Dip! You’ll definitely find me hovering over a good crab dip. It’s a real treat and one of the best ways to treat a crowd to crab meat.

More Appetizer Recipes

If you love this crab dip, then you won’t want to miss these part-favorite appetizer recipes:

Crab Dip Recipe (VIDEO)

5 from 26 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Crab Dip served with cracker
This hot Crab Dip is the ultimate holiday-worthy dip. This tastes like the filling for Crab Rangoon. It’s creamy, cheesy and irresistibly good. You can even assemble it ahead and bake just in time for your party.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 people
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives or green onion, divided, plus more to garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or grated
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp hot sauce, or added to taste, we love Cholula
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 12-16 oz lump crab meat, *preferably fresh meat from cooked king crab legs, patted dry with paper towels.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400˚F and butter a 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish.
  • In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. Use an electric mixer to beat them together until smooth.
  • Add 1 cup of the shredded cheese, chives, garlic, lemon juice, hot sauce, and old bay seasoning. Stir to combined then fold in crab meat until combined.
  • Spread the mixture into your prepared casserole dish, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese and bake uncovered at 400˚F for 25 minutes or until hot, bubbling and browned in spots. If more color is desired on top, you can broil for 1 minutes at the end.
  • Garnish with remaining green onion and serve with tortilla chips, mini toasts, cucumber slices, pita chips or your favorite crackers.

Nutrition Per Serving

306kcal Calories4g Carbs15g Protein25g Fat11g Saturated Fat7g Polyunsaturated Fat6g Monounsaturated Fat0.03g Trans Fat71mg Cholesterol703mg Sodium186mg Potassium0.1g Fiber2g Sugar609IU Vitamin A6mg Vitamin C238mg Calcium0.5mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Crab Dip Recipe (VIDEO)
Amount per Serving
Calories
306
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
25
g
38
%
Saturated Fat
 
11
g
69
%
Trans Fat
 
0.03
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
7
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Cholesterol
 
71
mg
24
%
Sodium
 
703
mg
31
%
Potassium
 
186
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
4
g
1
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
15
g
30
%
Vitamin A
 
609
IU
12
%
Vitamin C
 
6
mg
7
%
Calcium
 
238
mg
24
%
Iron
 
0.5
mg
3
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crab dip, creamy crab dip, hot crab dip
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$$
Calories: 306
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Wayne
    March 30, 2024

    You are fast becoming my go to for fantastic recipes. Was a big hit at our party. The crab cakes were so delicious as well. Thanks

    Reply

  • Mark
    November 3, 2023

    excellent dip. but the crab meat is very expensive. ! great recipe tho.

    Reply

  • Kim
    January 18, 2023

    I have left overs…believe it or not! How many days will this last in the fridge?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 18, 2023

      Hi Kim! See my notes above under “make-ahead”. It will be good refrigerated for up to 2 days.

      Reply

  • Margaret
    December 29, 2022

    This recipe is very similar to mine! I live in Maryland, so fresh crabmeat is usually always available (but $$$ now a days!). Gotta have the Old Bay too! Staple in our house. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 29, 2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed that, Margaret!

      Reply

  • Michelle
    December 28, 2022

    This looks nice and easy to make but wondering if this can be a side dish as well?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 28, 2022

      Hi Michelle! I think it could work as a side if you prefer. I’d still serve it with chips, crackers, or pita crisps.

      Reply

  • Allison
    December 27, 2022

    This was so simple & quick to make & it was delicious! It was good leftover reheated as well. Will definitely be one of our go-to appetizers!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 27, 2022

      That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite, Allison!

      Reply

  • Kelsie
    December 24, 2022

    OK, so I’m not here to ask about the food, I’m here to ask where you got your lipstick that you were wearing in the crab dip video that you posted on YouTube! The crab dip looks absolutely delicious, and I would love to try it sometime, but I am curious where you got your lip color because I really really like it!! Haha! 🙂 I’ve been looking for a similar color!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 26, 2022

      Hi Kelsie! Thank you! The lip color is #105 Craving amplified lipstick from Mac. 🙂

      Reply

  • Kristal
    December 24, 2022

    Hi Natasha! I’ll be making this tomorrow for Christmas, I got store bought “jumbo lump crab” hope it turns out ok! Sounds delicious!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 24, 2022

      Hi Kristal! I hope you love this recipe. Merry Christmas!

      Reply

  • roy toole
    December 23, 2022

    Hi Natasha i cannot get your vidio to play for the crab meat. also how many servings

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 23, 2022

      Hi Roy, the video is just beneath the section titled: Crab Dip Recipe Video. It is a Youtube embed and has an image of me as the thumbnail. I just checked and it is there and is playable.

      Reply

  • Kristyn
    December 23, 2022

    We have made this & LOVED it!! I am making it again for New Year’s. I know it will be a hit!! It’s so cheesy & has a ton of flavor!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 23, 2022

      The perfect dip for a New Year’s celebration!

      Reply

  • Abby
    December 23, 2022

    Made this for my husband because he loves seafood and he loved this! He loved the texture and that the crab was the star of it.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 23, 2022

      So glad to hear that, Abby! Thank you!

      Reply

  • Will T
    December 23, 2022

    The BEST dip! We used fresh crab meat and everyone loved it. Total crowd pleaser!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 23, 2022

      I am so happy you love the crab dip recipe. Thank you for the great review!

      Reply

  • Elizabeth Gail Wilkie
    December 23, 2022

    Could make a clam dip the same way? I’m looking for a good clam dip.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 23, 2022

      Hi Elizabeth! I think it could work, but I haven’t tested it myself to advise.

      Reply

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