Hot Crab Dip

scooping hot crab dip with a cracker

Hot Crab Dip is the queen of hot cheesy appetizers, and so easy to make. Serve it with toasted bread, crackers, or chips, but don’t hold back because it always disappears fast!

hot crab dip just out of the oven

hot crab dip (aka Maryland crab dip) is a crowd pleaser!

There’s nothing quite like the moment when you pull it, all cheesy and bubbling, out of the oven. People will swarm around you waving all manner of dip-ables like toasted bread, crackers, and chips. Best stay out of their way, hot crab dip is powerful stuff.

hot crab dip with oven mitts

what you’ll need

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CRAB, so supporting flavors should be kept to a minimum. You can taste the mixture before you bake to adjust it to your liking. You can spice it up with a few dashes of hot sauce, or add lemon for an acidic punch. Anything more is not acceptable to purists.

  • lump crab meat ~ canned is fine, but you can step up your game with fresh or pasteurized crab meat.
  • cream cheese
  • sour cream
  • mayonnaise ~ if you can’t stand it use yogurt.
  • Parmesan cheese ~ I like to use moist shredded Parmesan, not the dry powdery stuff.
  • smoked paprika ~ you can use sweet paprika, or Old Bay Seasoning as alternatives.
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • salt ~ be sure to add this to taste, you may not need it at all!
folding crab into crab dip

make crab dip in 3 easy steps

  1. Blend together cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, and seasonings.
  2. Fold in crab meat, gently so you don’t break it apart!
  3. Spread into a shallow baking dish, top with a little additional cheese, and bake until browned and bubbly.

make crab dip ahead

This is the ideal appetizer for entertaining because you can assemble the whole thing up to a day ahead and bake it off when you need it.

mixing up crab dip in a bowl

what type of crab to use for crab dips

LUMP CRAB MEAT IS BEST FOR THIS DIP, but it is expensive, so I’ve used 6-8 ounces. If you want to boost the crab presence in this dip feel free to add more.

  • jumbo lump ~ the highest grade crab meat, it’s pure white, firm, with a delicate flavor.
  • lump ~ lump crab meat is also white and delicate, but in smaller pieces than the jumbo grade.
  • backfin ~ smaller pieces of lump, plus other random bits of crab body meat.
  • claw meat ~ darker, oilier, and ‘fishier’, this is the lowest grade, and doesn’t have much texture.
dipping a cracker into hot crab dip

serving suggestions

Plan to serve your dip immediately while it’s piping hot. You can serve with chips, toasted bread, or plain crackers. It’s best to stick to plain, unflavored breads and crackers so as not to compete with the delicate crab flavor. I used water crackers, but saltines or Ritz crackers are great for this dip, too.

Crab dip can safely sit out for a maximum of 2 hours, so plan accordingly.

baked crab dip

bring on more hot dips!

hot crab dip with crackers and lemons
scooping hot crab dip with a cracker
5 from 7 votes

Hot Crab Dip

Hot Crab Dip is a delicious hot cheesy appetizer, perfect for holidays and game days, but easy enough for everyday ~ it always disappears fast!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 12 servings
Calories 196kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • Shallow oven proof dish or cast iron skillet


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus a little more for sprinkling on top of the dip
  • 1/2 tsp salt Note: I recommend adding this to taste, you may not need it at all.
  • 6-8 ounces lump crab meat Note: if your crab is from a can drain any excess liquid, but do not rinse.


  • lemon wedges
  • fresh thyme, green onion, or chives


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Blend the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce in a food processor. You can also use electric beaters, or do it by hand, but this will take some elbow grease to get it smooth. Note: when you use a food processor you can start with cold cream cheese, but if you are doing this by hand, softened cream cheese will be easier to work with.
  • Fold in the Parmesan, then taste the mixture to add salt and adjust the seasonings. Gently fold in the crab and spread it into your baking dish. Sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan over the top.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Finish under the broiler if you want more browning, but be very careful not to burn the dip.
  • Serve hot with bread, crackers, or chips.

Cook’s notes

  • This dip can also be made as a cold dip. Just mix it up and dip away!
  • Addition suggestions include: corn, artichoke, chopped celery, garlic, green onion.
  • Add a kick with a bit of cayenne.
  • Use shredded cheddar or pepper jack in place of Parmesan cheese.
  • You can go low carb with sliced cucumbers, and celery and carrot sticks for dipping.
  • Can you use imitation crab meat? Absolutely.


Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 428mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Nicole Krause
    December 29, 2021 at 10:39 am

    WHat size baking dish?

  • Reply
    December 7, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    Could this be made in a small crock pot? I realize it wouldn’t have the crusty goodness on the top, but do you think it would work otherwise?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 7, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      Yes, for sure. I would definitely miss that crusty top, but it will work!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Oh boy. We moved from Baltimore six years ago to our hometown in the Upper Midwest, and the ONE thing I miss about Baltimore is the crab dip. Will serve this for the Packers/Ravens game in a few weeks!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2021 at 8:20 am

    Ahhhh! Maryland girl here. Old Bay is a must. You can get it from almost any grocery in the US or online. Can’t imagine paprika, let alone smoked. Otherwise a spot-on recipe for crab dip. Old Bay has lots of salt so take that into account when seasoning. Happy Holidays from the shores of the Chincoteague Bay!

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