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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

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
  

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!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Crab dips always remind me of my Grandma, and she used to make something similar when I was younger. This dip looks fantastic, Blair! I love that it can be served hot or cold. I would devour this in no time!

    1. Yes, Gayle! Crab dips are such a classic, right?! I’m taking this one to a holiday party with the girls tomorrow night!

  2. Great post and I love that you found this in cards your mom gave you. I’ve actually taken photographs of mom and Nanny’s recipe cards so I could have them digitally in their handwriting. Thanks for the post and for sharing your family recipe!

  3. I would love to make this for my family Christmas dinner. What would be the best way to make this enough for 25 people? Thanks!

    1. Hi, ak! That’s great — I’m so glad that you’ll give it a try! It obviously depends on how much dip each person eats, but I think you would be safe if you double or triple the recipe. For instance, use 3 packages of cream cheese, 1 cup of mayonnaise, 3 teaspoons of Dijon…etc. Does that make sense? Enjoy!

  4. Question….have you ever made it and froze it until ready to heat and eat? Would love to make and take on a sailing trip to the Caribbean. There will be 8 of us and it would make a fantastic appetizer

    1. Hi, Jill! No, I have never frozen it. I make it ahead and keep it in the refrigerator, which works really well, but I’m not sure what the texture would be like if you freeze/thaw it. Your trip sounds wonderful!!!

    1. 5 stars
      Hey, Crystal! I splurge and use the fresh crabmeat. It’s not cheap, but it’s SO worth it for a special occasion!

  5. How can you splurge for fresh crab meat when the pictures show canned crab? I live in the midwest and we are limited, so we either pay an arm or.leg or half an arm or leg. But ive never seen “”Fresh Canned Crab.”

    1. I meant splurging on the refrigerated cans of lump crab meat that you can find in the seafood section near the fish (rather than the inexpensive cans of other crab parts that you can find near the tuna fish in the canned goods section). Hope that helps to clarify. 🙂

  6. Hello Blair! This looks fabulous and I’d like to make it for a New Year’s Eve gathering. I’ll be serving it cold. Do I need to let this sit out for a while to make it easy to spread? Thanks for posting!

    1. Hi, Clare! You should be able to spread it straight from the fridge, but it will definitely soften nicely as it sits out. I wouldn’t worry about it too much — it can’t hurt to give it about 20 minutes to warm up on the counter (if possible), but it’s not a huge problem if you don’t have that extra time. 🙂

  7. Tried this and it was outstanding and makes a huge bowl of dip. With about half left over I mashed it into small cakes and made fried crab cakes out of the rest the next day. Delicious!

  8. 4 stars
    I made this tonight, it’s actually chilling in the fridge now. I added a pinch of Old Bay in addition to the Lawry’s. It tasted pretty good and I’m hoping that it will become even more flavorful as it chills. I’m
    Hoping it will be a hit at a NYE gathering tonight. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  9. I have never used parsley in a recipe before. Is it regular parsley or Italian parsley you use? This looks delicious!

    1. I actually use both. Normally I’ll use flat leaf Italian parsley in a recipe, but I often garnish with curly leaf parsley. Either is fine — it’s just a matter of personal preference. Enjoy! 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    I made this crab dip several times for family and friends over the last few years and everyone Has loved it. We’ve had it hot and cold. It never lasts very long. Last month we had a crawfish boil and had a bunch leftover. So I substituted the crab with crawfish. It turned out awesome. So naturally I tried chopped shrimp from the boil and again the dip turned out great. Spices from the boil really added a kick. I think I see a combination of crab, crawfish and shrimp in the near future. Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. I love the idea of the combination of shellfish in the dip. Your twists on the original sound delicious, Alan! Thanks for taking the time to come back here and leave a note. 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    Super quick and delicious. Added some finely chopped red bell pepper for color and texture. Thanks for sharing this delightful recipe!

    1. Hi, Maureen! Sour cream has a very different flavor than cream cheese, as well as a thinner texture. Yes, you can make that substitute, but the dip will not be the same and won’t have that same cheesy flavor.

  12. How many days in advance do you think you could make this? I am thinking that the flavours would meld the longer in the frig

  13. 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.