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Mom’s best crab dip recipe is an easy 10-minute appetizer that can be served hot or cold. With cream cheese and mayonnaise, the decadent, perfectly seasoned snack is loaded with big chunks of tender, buttery crabmeat for a crowd-pleasing treat!

Copper bowl of cold crab dip on a plate with crackers

Simple is always best when entertaining, so you’re going to want to hold onto this recipe because I guarantee that it will come in handy VERY soon!

Why This Recipe Works

  • This crab dip is just one of those great easy appetizers that’s appropriate year-round — hot or cold — and it disappears in a flash.
  • You can prep the dip in advance and just pull it out when your guests arrive.
  • It’s quick to stir together, and it’s absolutely perfect with a glass of wine, a cold beer, or a fancy champagne cocktail on New Year’s Eve!
Blue and white plate with hot crab dip and crackers

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of crab dip. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Cream cheese: use full-fat block-style cream cheese for the best flavor and texture. Make sure that it’s softened so that it mixes easily with the rest of the ingredients. See my notes below to soften cream cheese quickly in the microwave.
  • Mayonnaise: we prefer Duke’s brand.
  • Dijon mustard: for a touch of acidic, zesty kick.
  • Dried minced onion, garlic powder, and seasoned salt: add flavor to the dip.
  • Fresh parsley: a bright touch.
  • Crab: jumbo lump crabmeat is the best, but you can substitute with more affordable options like claw meat or a “special” blend.
Ingredients for hot or cold crab dip recipe

How to Quickly Bring Cream Cheese to Room Temperature

If you forgot to leave your cream cheese out to soften, you can bring the block of cream cheese to room temperature quickly with either of these two methods:

  • Remove cream cheese from packaging, cut it into small cubes, and allow the cream cheese to sit out on a plate for 15-20 minutes; or
  • Remove cream cheese from packaging and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave in 10-second increments, flipping the cream cheese over after each 10-second segment, for a total of about 30 seconds (or until the cream cheese softens). Be careful that you don’t completely melt the cream cheese!
Glass bowl with crab dip ingredients and an electric mixer

How to Make a Cold Crab Dip Recipe

While this recipe can be served hot or cold, we always offer it as a cold dip on an appetizer tray. See my instructions below for the heating instructions if you like it warm.

  1. For the cold crab dip, it’s really just a two-step process. First, use an electric mixer to blend together cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, garlic powder, and salt.
  2. Then just fold in the parsley and the crab meat. Cover and refrigerate the dip until your guests arrive!

For a Hot Crab Dip

If you want to serve a hot crab dip for a cozy snack on a chilly day, transfer the crab mixture to an oven-safe baking dish and bake at 350°F until bubbly and heated through (about 15-20 minutes). You can add some sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, or Parmesan cheese if you like.

Copper bowl of crab dip garnished with fresh parsley

What do you eat crab dip with?

On the side, offer a handful of options for dipping, such as:

  • Ritz crackers or Townhouse crackers (perfect flaky, buttery texture and flavor)
  • Wheat Thins (a nice sweet-and-savory flavor profile; try the “big” size for dipping)
  • Carr’s Table Water Crackers (my grandmother’s favorite!)
  • Triscuits (thick and sturdy — perfect for scooping)
  • Potato chips
  • Bagel chips
  • Pita chips
  • Tortilla chips
  • French baguette slices or other toasted bread
  • Vegetables, such as carrot sticks, celery sticks, and cucumber rounds

Preparation and Storage

  • The perfect party appetizer is one that you can make ahead, and this crab dip is no exception. Mix it up at least one hour in advance (or even the day before), cover it tightly, and store it in the refrigerator until your guests arrive. There’s no last-minute stress or fuss!
  • Properly stored in an airtight container in the fridge, your crab dip will stay fresh for about 2-3 days
  • I do not recommend freezing the dip, since the cream cheese base will “break” or develop an undesirable texture when thawed.

Recipe Variations

  • Scale the recipe up or down to feed your crowd. For instance, cut the ingredients in half for a smaller batch, or double all of the ingredients for a big group.
  • Add Old Bay seasoning for that classic Maryland crab dip taste. You might like to use this in place of the seasoned salt, since Old Bay is also salty on its own.
  • A dash of Worcestershire sauce gives the dip a salty, umami flavor, or a tablespoon lemon juice for a bright, acidic note.
  • For a spicy crab dip, add a dash of hot sauce, cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Include other seafood as well, such as cooked, diced shrimp or imitation crab meat.
  • Garnish with crispy bacon for even more decadent, smoky flavor.
  • Chopped green onion works well in lieu of the dried minced onion.

Tips for the Best Crab Dip Recipe

  • Use full fat block-style cream cheese for the best flavor and texture.
  • Make sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature before you try to prepare this easy crab dip recipe. This will ensure that all of your ingredients blend smoothly together. See my tips above for quickly softening cream cheese if you forgot to leave it out at room temp.
  • Use an electric mixer instead of a simple whisk. The electric mixer makes the base of the dip nice and smooth.
  • Use high-quality crab meat. My mom always splurged on jumbo lump crab meat for holidays! Sometimes I’m not able to find the pricey jumbo lump crab meat at my little rural grocery store, though. In that case, the refrigerated claw meat is a good substitute.
Close image of crab dip in a copper bowl and crab dip spread on crackers

More Dip Recipes to Try

Shrimp Dip

1 hr 10 mins

5-Minute Corn Dip

5 mins

4-Ingredient Cream Cheese Apple Dip

5 mins

Square side shot of a bowl of crab dip with crackers on a plate

Crab Dip

4.86 from 7 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings 7 people
Calories 196 kcal
This easy crab dip recipe can be served hot or cold, and it only requires about 10 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 16 ounces jumbo lump or claw crabmeat, drained

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to blend together cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, garlic powder, and seasoned salt. Fold in parsley and crab meat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • This dip can be served hot or cold. For a warm dip, place in an oven-safe dish and bake at 350°F until bubbly and heated through.

Notes

  • Make sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature before you try to prepare this easy crab dip recipe. This will ensure that all of your ingredients blend smoothly together. See my tips above for quickly softening cream cheese if you forgot to leave it out at room temp.
  • Use an electric mixer instead of a simple whisk. The electric mixer makes the base of the dip nice and smooth.
  • Use high-quality crab meat. My mom always splurged on jumbo lump crab meat for holidays! Sometimes I’m not able to find the pricey jumbo lump crab meat at my little rural grocery store, though. In that case, the refrigerated claw meat is a good substitute.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 196kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 14gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 900mgPotassium: 191mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 505IUVitamin C: 5.5mgCalcium: 65mgIron: 0.6mg
Keyword: cold crab dip recipe, crab dip, hot crab dip recipe
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in December, 2015. It was updated in October, 2018.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. I found a typo:

    “…Microwave in 10-second increments, flipping the cream cheese over after each 10-MINUTE segment…”

    I’m sure you meant “after each 10-SECOND segment.”

    This occurs twice in this article.