This Hot Crab Dip recipe is an absolute outstanding way to celebrate the humble crab. Made with cream cheese instead of mayo, this dip recipe is packed with classic flavors including shallots and Old Bay seasoning. 

A stack of 3 Wheat Thins crackers with a scoop of Hot Crab Dip on the top cracker. There is a dish of the crab dip in the background and the crackers are sitting on top of a wood cutting board.

I don’t know what it is, but even in the middle of the summer, a hot and cheesy dip always sounds like a good plan. It doesn’t seem to matter how much a kitchen can suffer from oven heat in July; as long as the dip is worth it, I don’t mind. 

And this hot crab dip is worth it. Actually, it’s perfect any time of the year but summer seems the right time for a crab dip, doesn’t it?

A stack of 3 Wheat Thins crackers with a scoop of Hot Crab Dip on the top cracker. There is a dish of the crab dip in the background and the crackers are sitting on top of a wood cutting board.

I pulled this dip together the night before my family’s lobster and clambake last month then popped it in the oven for about 35 minutes right before the party started.

Out came a bubbling dish of cracker-crusted cheesy crab dip, not with wisps of crab meat here and there, but HUNKS of lump crab in every bite. It’s kept super creamy with the addition of cream cheese and half-and-half (so, definitely not health food) and it won’t seize up when it cools like so many cheesy dips can do – my cheese dip nemesis. 


Here’s the basic shopping list for this dip but be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full list.

  • unsalted butter
  • shallots
  • cayenne pepper
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • dry mustard powder
  • dry white wine
  • half-and-half
  • full-fat cream cheese
  • sharp white cheddar cheese
  • Gouda cheese
  • fresh lemon juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • lump crab meat
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Ritz or butter crackers

Overhead photo of a dish of Hot Crab Dip. The baking dish is oval and white and it's set on a wood cutting board on top of a striped napkin. There is a bowl of Wheat Thins next to the cutting board and a stack of crackers with a scoop of the crab dip on the cutting board.

If there’s one thing I would do differently next time, it would be to make more dip because again, it’s another dish I was sad to see come to an end.

More Fancy-ish Appetizer Recipes

A stack of 3 Wheat Thins crackers with a scoop of Hot Crab Dip on the top cracker. There is a dish of the crab dip in the background and the crackers are sitting on top of a wood cutting board.

Hot Crab Dip

Yield: Enough for a big crowd
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Hot crab dip is a fabulous way for you to ramp up your appetizer dip game. You can make this dip a day or two in advance; just cover and refrigerate the dip before you bake it, adding 5 to 7 minutes to the baking time if the dip is baked right from the fridge.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ¼ cup half-and-half
  • 12 oz (1 ½ bricks) cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 4 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 4 oz Gouda cheese, grated (about 1 ½ cups)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 16 oz raw lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage and broken up into smaller hunks of meat
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • ½ sleeve of Ritz or butter crackers, crushed into pea-sized pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. You'll need a 13x9-inch or 3-quart baking dish - no need to grease it.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the shallots, cayenne, Old Bay, and dry mustard, and cook until the shallots have softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Stir in the half-and-half and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the cream cheese a couple ounces at a time, whisking to incorporate the cheese before adding more. Turn down the heat to low. By the handful, stir in the shredded cheddar and Gouda, again combining into the mixture before adding more. Stir in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and allow the whole mixture to warm through for 3 to 5 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Fold in the crab and half of the parsley.
  4. Transfer the dip to the baking dish and bake the dip for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle crushed crackers over the top. Continue to bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until the dip is hot and bubbly. If the crackers seems to brown too quickly, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top towards the end. Let the dip rest for 10 minutes before sprinkling the remaining parsley over the top and serving.

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Leave a Comment

  • Christine Chong
    August 27, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    Oooh yum! I’m going to have to try this. I’ve always loved the Cajun crab dip from Fresh Market, but alas we don’t have FM in WA. I’m sure this will be a new favorite!

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    November 21, 2013 at 10:06 PM

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  • Sarah
    November 28, 2015 at 9:02 PM

    Made this today, so so so good.