Hot Crab Dip Recipe

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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. My 5-minute cold crab dip is always a hit, but when you want an easy warm 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 hot 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
Warm crab dip in a baking dish, showing inside texture.

Ingredients You’ll Need

This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for this warm 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 will give the baked crab dip delicious and 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.
Optional Additions:

Optional 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.
Hot crab dip ingredients.

How To Make Warm Crab Dip

This section shows how to make hot crab dip, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, see the recipe card below.

  1. 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.

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.

  1. Add cheese, chives, and hot sauce. Stir until uniform. Taste and adjust hot sauce and/or Old Bay seasoning if you like.
Cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning mixed in a bowl.
Cheddar cheese, chives, and hot sauce added to warm crab dip base.
  1. Add crab. Fold in the crab meat using a spatula.
TIP: Be gentle when folding in the crab.

TIP: Be gentle when folding in the crab.

You want lumps of crab throughout the dip, so don’t overmix.

  1. Transfer. Spoon the mixture into a small baking dish (this one is the perfect size). Smooth the top.
Crab dip mixture with lumb crab meat added.
Dip transferred to baking dish.
  1. Bake. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake crab dip until hot.
  2. Serve. If desired, garnish with more chives. Serve with your favorite dippers (see below for ideas).
Baked hot crab dip on a platter with carrots and celery.

Storage Instructions

  • Store: After cooling to room temperature, keep leftovers in refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  • 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. (Oven is recommended.)
  • Freeze: I don’t recommend freezing this dip, as the dairy will change texture during freezing/thawing process. It’s safe to eat, but texture won’t be as smooth.
Warm crab dip cheese pull with carrot stick.

What To Serve With Hot Crab Dip

Serve this recipe for crab dip hot with:

More Easy Crab Recipes

If you like this recipe for hot crab dip, you might also like some of these other crab recipes:

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Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1/4 cup

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.

Calories 206

Fat 17.7g

Protein 9.6g

Total Carbs 2.3g

Net Carbs 2.2g

Fiber 0.1g

Sugar 1.4g

Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.

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Hot crab dip recipe pin.

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