The Best Easy Crab Dip
This is the BEST easy crab dip – full of flavor and perfect for summer parties. It always reminds me of visiting Maryland and sitting at a restaurant outside on the water. Dig in with your favorite chips or serve on baguettes!
Crab dip always makes me think of summer – warm, breezy days sitting somewhere near water and enjoying a meal without a care in the world. When my husband lived outside of Washington, D.C., we ate at a lot of restaurants when I would visit for the weekend. Crab dip was always one of our go-to appetizers, especially if it was during the spring or summer. If it was on the menu, there was a 99% chance we’d order it. Some of our favorite crab dips came from restaurants in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and in Annapolis.
Unfortunately, you don’t find crab dip on menus nearly as often here in Pittsburgh as in the D.C. area, which means I had a kitchen project to tackle. It took a little while, but a few years ago I finally put together a crab dip recipe to rival those that we would enjoy in Maryland-area restaurants.
While the flavors and textures of the crap dips we enjoyed varied from restaurant to restaurant, there were quite a few similarities – plenty of crab, creamy, cheesy, with a pop of lemon flavor and a touch of spice. I blended together a lot of different flavors and textures to create this dip and was thrilled with the result. It reminded me of sitting outside, the warm sun on my face, enjoying a leisurely weekend lunch (sidebar: with two little ones around, that seriously feels like an entire lifetime ago! I no longer have any idea what a “leisurely” weekend lunch is, ha!)
This is a fabulous appetizer for any summertime get-together; it will be devoured in no time.
For the Dip
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 16 ounces (453.59 g) lump crab meat, drained, if canned
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup (224 g) mayonnaise
- 4 ounces (113.4 g) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup shredded)
- ¼ cup (25 g) Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) Old Bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
For the Topping
- ½ cup (30 g) Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 1½-quart casserole dish; set aside.
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the red pepper and onion and cook until softened and all moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Remove the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool.
- Add the rest of the dip ingredients to the bowl with the pepper mixture and gently stir together until combined, being careful not to smash the crab meat too much. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish.
- With a fork, toss together the bread crumbs, Parmesan and melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the top of the dip.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with baguette slices or your favorite tortilla or pita chips. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
This recipe was originally published on May 21, 2003.