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.
One year ago: Oven-Fried Onion Rings
Two years ago: Banana Cream Pie
Five years ago: Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cake
Six years ago: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
Seven years ago: Black Forest Cake
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.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
This recipe was originally published on May 21, 2003.
I made this recipe a few times and it’s one of our favorites!! Question: with the cost of crabmeat skyrocketing, can immitation crabmeat be substituted?
I’ve made this so many times, it’s always a requested item. highly recommended!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes. I’d beem looking for s good crab dip recipe for Christmas Eve. They always seem to come out bland when I make them. I love your jalepeno popper dip and was even considering substituting crab for the bacon. Do you think that would be good or should I stick with this recipe?
Hi Laura, Thank you so much for the kind words! If you’re looking for a true crab dip recipe, I would stick with this one. The flavors are quite different than the jalapeno popper dip, although that one is fantastic in its own right!
I will go off my diet for this one it looks so good!!
Note: 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 lump crab meat (drained, if canned)
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (227 grams) mayonnaise
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup shredded)
¼ cup (28 grams) Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Can you use imitation crab for this instead of canned crab?
Hi Laura, I would not recommend it – it’s a totally different taste and texture.
Cheesy crab dip is one of my favs. This recipe looks awesome!
This looks absolutely wonderful, and I love the idea of serving it with toasted crostini and maybe a little fresh chopped tomato! You’re right about the wealth of amazing seafood restaurants in the DC area – we just moved here about 8 months ago and have barely even scratched the surface, but we’re amazed every time! We’re looking forward to getting out to Annapolis this summer and exploring!
Oh! This looks amazing! I need it in my life!
I made this for Easter and it was a hit. I added leftover boiled shrimp cut into chunks and thought it was delicious! Definitely making this again!
This crab dip rocks! We tried it with crostini and pita chips; liked both, but preferred the crostini fresh from the oven. An excellent appetizer with happy hour …. dirty martinis especially :)
This crab dip is the best I have tasted, and I haven’t baked it yet. When I am looking for a recipe, the Brown Eyed Baker is a go-to site.
Can you substitute the yellow onion for maybe like a 1/2 cup of scallions (Green onions)?
Hi Mel, Sure! That sounds delish :)
I made this to take to a Super Bowl party last night and it was a big hit! I mistakenly bought claw meat instead of lump meat and it was delicious. I think next time I will try it with greek yogurt instead of mayo just to see what it does to the taste… The host of the party said it may just well be the best crab dip she’s ever had!
Can the crab dip be prepared as directed but placed in individual miniature wonton cups, sprinkle with the topping, and baked about 10 minutes?
Hi Cheryl, I haven’t tried this, so I’m not sure how it would work, but it sounds like a fun idea. Please stop back and let me know how they turned out!
Is that red bell pepper or red pepper? I am so making this dip. I have looked for months to find a crab dip recipe that sounded good and I think this is it!
Hi Rhonda, Red bell pepper. So sorry for the confusion, I will fix that!
From one Pittsburgh girl to another… I am a lover of anything crab, or actually from the sea. Being from the Jersey shore originally, I am always craving seafood… this one sounds yummy
My crab dip recipe has four ingredients and taste great so this one must taste fabulous, I’ll be trying it our for sure!
Can you tell me what kind of crab you use? I’ve tried some and they can be very salty.
Hi Renee, I think the brand was Great Blue.
Delicious! Just the recipe for leftover blue crab. I added Old Bay to the dip and topping because it didn’t smell seasoned enough before I added it to the baking dish.
Thank you for this delicious recipe! I put some of the leftovers into an omelette for my son, and he loved it! Of note, I used imitation crab, and it was just fine for our taste.
Making this for a bbq tomorrow… If I double it and put it in a 9×13 baking dish what would you suggest the bake time? Thanks!
Hi Kelsey, I have not tried that so I can’t say for sure, but not too much longer, maybe 25 to 30 minutes.
This was excellent!!! I made it the night before and then added the bread crumbs and baked it at serving time. Didn’t change any ingredient amounts even though I was nervous about the hot sauce :D Thanks again!
Fritos with crab dip? Not a combination I’d usually put together. It’s sort of like spray cheese on stone ground wheat crackers.
Made this the other day & it was soooo good! Tasted great the next day too. Thanks again for another great one. Your recipes never fail me :)
Sounds yummy! Can it be made ahead of time, refrigerated overnight and then topping added and baked before immediately before serving?
Hi Kelsey, Definitely, just make sure the crab is completely drained and dry so it doesn’t make the mixture watery as it sits overnight.
Thanks! I love your blog, thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes :)
Can this be made in the crockpot?
Leave out the panko and you have an atkins approved low carb dip! Just serve with zucchini rounds.
Can I use another seasoning if I dont have Old Bay Seasoning?
Sure, you can also use a homemade blend of what goes into Old Bay: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Bay_Seasoning
this looks fabulous, except for the mayo. Can anything be substituted for that?
You could try substituting sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. I haven’t tried either, so I’m not sure how the flavor would be affected, but you could certainly give it a go.
thanks! I was thinkin greek yogurt but had never done that before. I’m going to give it a whirl!
Crabby & creamy & crispy, what’s not to love!?!
So creamy – what a yummy dip!
Wow! This recipe looks really good. My husband & I love crab. I am going to make this over the long 3 day weekend. Perfect! Then I plan to make it for a family get together next month where there will be a lot of crab lovers.
This looks really yummy!
This looks delicious!
I will have to try this! looks delicious!
Your crab dip looks and sounds insanely delicious! I am not too happy about that right now because I have a June wedding to attend and need to lose 5 lbs. before then or I won’t be able to fit into the dress I’ll be wearing! But there’ll be a lot of summer left after that…
At our house, we often have “Dip for Dinner.” This looks perfect for the next time! Love the addition of Old Bay…my fave.
I love, love, LOVE crab dip! I really can’t be trusted around it! This looks fabulous!
I love cheesy crab dips. This looks phenomenal!
Wonderful! Reminds me of growing up on the Coast of North Carolina!
This dip sounds absolutely amazing and looks great on the bread!!
I love crab dip! This recipe sounds amazing! My mouth is watering! :-)
Mmm! I just made crab melts and they are very cheesy just like this!!
YUMMMY!… I also think of crab dip in summer… sitting on the patio, sipping an ice cold beer and this as an appetizer!
Crab dip does the same for me- reminds me so much of summer. One of the great things about it..THAT and the amazing taste!
I just love your food photography.. beautiful captures as always :)