This hot crab dip recipe comes together quickly, and it’s always a big hit with my friends and family! You can bake it in in a pie dish, or use a couple of sourdough bread bowls for a fun, edible presentation.
I’ve been eating steamed blue crabs since I was a little kid. While I have almost no patience these days for digging through crabs to pick out those precious little jewels of meat, I’m always looking for new ways to add crab to recipes. That’s why I decided to create a crab dip recipe, which my whole family went nuts for when we got together over Christmas.
One of my dirty little secrets is that for the past several years, I’ve always ordered snow crab legs when we dine out. Jeff, who is not a born and raised Marylander, always gets the traditional option: large steamed blue crabs doused in Old Bay. I often joke that I should probably turn in my Maryland card, but I also don’t care what anyone thinks. Snow crab legs are easier and less messy. Anyway, I still love fresh blue crab meat when it’s in a big tub. My grandmother’s jumbo lump crab cakes are to die for, and people are constantly asking me to make these bite-sized jumbo lump crab bites for parties.
Here’s the thing, though. The cost for a pound of jumbo lump crab meat has gotten so ridiculous, and I don’t think you can even find it in many parts of the country. I’m very stubborn about always using it in grandma’s crab cakes, but it’s time for me to start sharing some recipes that use other versions of blue crab (I don’t typically have access to options like Dungeness crab on the east coast).
I still used lump meat for this hot crab dip because around here, that’s usually all I can find for sale at the seafood counter. I personally don’t like the way canned crab meat tastes, so it doesn’t make sense for me to use it in a recipe. Unfortunately, regular lump meat is also a lot more expensive than it used to be. You can use whatever type of crab meat you enjoy and/or is regionally available to you. It will work in this recipe. No judgement zone.
- Even if the cream cheese is at room temperature, it will sometimes get lumpy when mixed with sour cream because it’s so much thicker. I recommend dividing the cream cheese into sections on a plate (like you would with butter), and microwaving it in 7-9 second increments, flipping it over, until it’s soft and slightly warm, but not melted.
- When possible, I highly recommend purchasing crab meat from plastic container versus a can. The taste and texture difference is noticeable (think fresh versus canned tuna). You’ll find this at the seafood counter or at a seafood market (whereas cans are sold near the canned salmon and tuna).
- If using, look for bread bowls that are approximately 6 to 8 ounces. Sourdough bread bowls are a great option that hold their shape well, and are often sold at self-serve soup stations (check your grocery store near the salad bar. I found mine at Safeway). To prepare the bowl, I sliced off the top, then scooped out as much of the bread filling as possible while making sure not to tear the edges.
- You can also bake this up in a 9-inch round pie dish (or something similar sized), or two smaller oven-safe dishes that are similar in size to the bread bowls. Basically, use what you have.
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (see notes)
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 pound lump crab meat (see notes)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated mild cheddar cheese, plus more if desired
- Optional: 2 bread bowls for baking (see notes)
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Crostini, crackers or chips for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix cream cheese, sour cream, Old Bay, mustard and Worcestershire in medium bowl until well blended. Fold in the crabmeat, tossing gently to avoid breaking up the lumps.
- Spread in a buttered 9-inch pie pan or spoon into two bread bowls with the centers scooped out. Top with cheddar cheese and additional sprinkle of Old Bay, if desired (Note: Old Bay contains salt, so don’t go overboard).
- Bake the dip for 30 minutes, or until the top is bubbling. Optionally, you can turn on the broiler for the final 1-2 minutes to add some additional color to the top. Keep an eye on it.
- Top with parsley, if using. Serve immediately.
- Cover and store any unused dip in the refrigerator. It reheats well in the microwave!
Even if cream cheese is room temperature, it will sometimes clump up when mixed with sour cream. I recommend dividing the cream cheese into sections on a plate (like you would butter), and microwaving it a few times in 7-9 second increments, flipping it over, until it’s soft and slightly warm, but not melted.
When possible, I highly recommend purchasing crab meat from plastic container versus a can. The taste and texture difference is noticeable. You’ll find this at the seafood counter or at a seafood market (whereas cans are sold near the canned tuna).
Look for bread bowls that are approximately 6 to 8 ounces. Sourdough bread bowls are a great option that hold their shape well, and are often sold at self-serve soup stations (check your grocery store near the salad bar).
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About the Author
Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.