Homemade Crab Pretzels

Homemade chewy, super soft pretzels piled high with cheesy crab dip made with fresh jumbo lump crab. This snack is a Maryland favorite!

Homemade chewy, super soft pretzels piled high with cheesy crab dip made with fresh jumbo lump crab. This snack is a Maryland favorite!

If you’ve ever lived in Maryland, you’re probably pretty stoked right now. Yeah, stoked. 

Crab pretzels are a regular where I live. You can find them on nearly every bar or pub menu. Kevin and I order them all the time and wash them down with a cold beer. They’re a Maryland classic. Comfort food at its finest. The best darn appetizer you’ll ever taste.

And they’re quite overpriced. So uh… just make ’em at home.

Homemade chewy, super soft pretzels piled high with cheesy crab dip made with fresh jumbo lump crab. This snack is a Maryland favorite!

Crab pretzels served at your favorite Maryland restaurant are typically the size of a large dinner plate. It’s a giant chewy and super soft pretzel, topped with warm crab dip (made with pricey lump crab meat, if done right) and topped with cheese. And of course, Old Bay seasoning. Broil it in the oven until the cheese is nice and crispy.

Yeah, heaven.

I took it upon myself to make one of our favorites this weekend at home. I have a wildly popular soft pretzel recipe, a Quinn family specialty. Now I just had to whip up some homemade cheesy crab dip and slather it on top. Easy peasy.

Your mind’s about to be blown.

Homemade chewy, super soft pretzels piled high with cheesy crab dip made with fresh jumbo lump crab. This snack is a Maryland favorite!

First, start with some quality crab meat. None of that cheap stuff in a can. REAL lump crab meat. I bought a pound of it (double the amount of what you’ll need) and it cost me $25. But trust me, lump crab meat is so worth the extra money. Don’t grab claw meat, don’t buy the stuff in a can.

This luxurious crab meat will be the base of your homemade crab dip, which must be made before the pretzels. It doesn’t take long, don’t worry.

Along with the crab, you’ll need cream cheese, mayonnaise, grated parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce (which I can absolutely never ever pronounce correctly no matter how many times I practice), fresh lemon juice, hot sauce, old bay, and garlic. Sometimes I throw a few Tablespoons of finely minced onions in there too, but I left them out this time.

I’m not a fan of mayonnaise at all, but don’t worry. You won’t even notice it. I’m sure you could replace it (or some of it) with Greek yogurt, but I cannot vouch for those results.

Homemade Cheesy Crab Dip by @sallybakeblog

Now bake the crab dip for about 30 minutes, which is about 10 minutes less than the amount of time it should be baked. This is because it will go back into the oven on top of your homemade soft pretzels. If you’re only making this hot crab dip (and not putting on top of pretzels) – make sure to bake for 30 minutes, throw some cheddar cheese on top, and bake for 10 more minutes. Serve with veggies, pita bread, crackers, or my homemade soft pretzels!

Now, you’ll make my homemade soft pretzels. Whip up the 5 minute pretzel dough. Yep, 5 minutes is all you’ll need to stir it all together. There’s no rising with my pretzel dough! I love a solid, quick recipe.

But wait, my homemade soft pretzel recipe gets even better. There is no mixer required for the dough and all of the 5 ingredients (+ water!) are probably sitting in your pantry right now. Mix the first few ingredients together and when it’s time to add the flour, do so a little bit at a time. You’ll want to add flour *just* until the dough is no longer sticky.  Adding any more than that could create tough (not soft) pretzels.  Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead. The total amount of flour I typically use is 3.75 – 4 cups.

Before kneading the dough, I throw 9 cups of water and 1/2 cup of baking soda into a large pot. Bring to a boil as you knead.

Knead the dough for just about 3 minutes. Shape into a ball and cut off 8 even pieces, which is about 1/3 cup of dough each. Roll into long, thin ropes – about 20 inches in length. To roll into a pretzel shape, form the rope into a “U” shape with the ends pointing away from you.  Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.  You all know what pretzels look like!

How to Make Pretzels

Working with one pretzel at a time, lower them into the boiling baking soda/water. Give them a nice dunk for 30 seconds. Raise them out and let some of the water drip off.  Place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the pretzels. My baking sheet only holds 4 pretzels, so I did this in two batches.

This very quick baking soda “bath” will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color while keeping the inside white and fluffy. Don’t be nervous, the baking soda bath is so easy!

Bake your pretzels for 10 minutes. Yup, only 10 minutes in the oven. Remove the pretzels from the oven and top with your semi-baked crab dip. Just spoon it on top. Trust me, it doesn’t have to look perfect. Depending how much you pile on top, you may have leftover crab dip. Leftover cheesy crab dip is something I’ve never heard a complaint about though.

Now, top with some cheddar cheese:

Homemade chewy, super soft pretzels piled high with cheesy crab dip made with fresh jumbo lump crab. This snack is a Maryland favorite!

Throw back into the oven for 5-8 more minutes until the pretzels are golden and the cheese on top has browned.

I sprinkled a little bit more Old Bay on top of the pretzels when I removed them from the oven. Alternatively, you could sprinkle with some parmesan cheese or pepper. Perhaps a little cayenne to spice things up, too? YUM!

Fluffy, plump, soft pretzels smothered in homemade hot crab dip. Slightly spicy (you can control the spice!), salty, ultra cheesy, and filled with fresh lump crab. This east coast favorite is so good, I can’t even handle it. I’m just going to to throw it out there… this homemade crab pretzel is life changing.

Homemade chewy, super soft pretzels piled high with cheesy crab dip made with fresh jumbo lump crab. This snack is a Maryland favorite!

I’m sitting here this morning, just finishing a run, and now all I want is more crab pretzel. These babies are loooong gone, though. We gobbled them up over the last few days. Kevin finished the last one for breakfast this morning. Seriously, a breakfast of champions.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Homemade Crab Pretzels

Homemade chewy, super soft pretzels piled high with cheesy crab dip made with fresh jumbo lump crab. This snack is a Maryland favorite!


  • 1 (8 ounce) package full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced (or 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (add 1 tsp more for extra spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, free of shells
  • fresh pepper, to taste
  • Homemade Soft Pretzels
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until creamy and free of lumps. On low speed, beat in the mayonnaise, grated parmesan, garlic, Worcestershire, fresh lemon juice, hot sauce, and Old Bay. Add the jumbo lump crab and beat for a quick 5 seconds to very slightly break up any huge lumps.
  3. Spoon the crab dip into an 8-inch or 9-inch casserole dish. I simply used a 9-inch pie dish. Top with a sprinkle of pepper, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool as you prepare the soft pretzels.
  4. Turn the oven up to 425F degrees. Make my homemade soft pretzels through step 5 (including the baking soda bath, which is step 5. Do not use the egg wash in step 6). I usually make the pretzels while the crab dip is baking.
  5. Bake the pretzels for 10-11 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon crab dip on top of each pretzel. I used about 1/3 cup - 1/2 cup of crab dip on top of each pretzel, but the amount is entirely up to you. Sprinkle each with cheddar cheese. Place crab pretzels into the oven and bake for 5-8 more minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the pretzels have slightly browned. Optional: top finished crab pretzels with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, Old Bay, or pepper.
  6. Serve crab pretzels immediately. Crab pretzels taste best immediately after they are made, though they keep well for up to 2 days stored at room temperature covered tightly. We warmed up the leftovers for about 30 seconds in the microwave before digging in.


Recipe Notes:

*You may simply make this hot crab dip and serve as it is, without baking on top of my soft pretzels. Simply bake the crab dip for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and top with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Place back into the oven for 10 more minutes and serve with veggies, pita bread, crackers, or alongside my homemade soft pretzels!

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


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  1. Jennie @themessybakerblog on December 31, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I could easily take down two of these in one sitting. You can’t go wrong with a soft, chewy pretzel topped with creamy deliciousness and gooey cheese. Happy New Year, Sally!

    • Sally on December 31, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Yes! Me too. Easily two of them. They are so darn good. Happy New Year!

  2. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry on December 31, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    These need to go on the menu for my new years party! Nobody can resist pretzels and crab dip.

    • Sally on December 31, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Yes! They’re so good, Nicole. Happy New Year!

  3. Christina @Sweet Pea's Kitchen on January 1, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Oh man Sally! You are killing me! These pretzels look amazing! I love anything when crab is involved! Happy New Year! 🙂

    • Sally on January 1, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Happy New Year to you Christina!!

  4. Deborah on January 1, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Ok, so I am living under a rock because I’ve never heard of a crab pretzel, and I’m obviously missing out!! I need one of these in my life!!

  5. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures on January 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I live in DC for over 2 years and have never had a crab pretzel! I seriously need to change that very soon!

    • Sally on January 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Yes you do, Laura!!

  6. Jessie on January 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    CANNOT WAIT! Sounds perfect for the a Super Bowl snack!

  7. Nutmeg Nanny on January 6, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Oh my god, so flavorful! I am drooling over these 🙂

  8. MDtripmom on March 15, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Ummmm, the word stoked doesn’t even scratch the surface! Being an Annapolitan, crab is my middle name! I can’t wait to recreate these beauties in my own kitchen. I’m drooling already but will have to settle instead for your cinnamon rolls currently baking in my oven until I can get myself to the store to buy some crab meat.

  9. Melissa Klotz on May 14, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    If I close my eyes and wish hard enough, these will magically appear in front of me right this second…

  10. Damali on August 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Wow, looking at these photos on an empty stomach should be a sin. I could cry it’s so beautiful.

    Great job.

  11. Emily on September 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I love Crab Pretzels, I lived in Baltimore for several years and became hooked. When I moved back to Philadelphia I made hot crab dip and served with it with soft pretzels bites but wasn’t the same. Have you tried making the big pretzels like at Bill Bateman’s? If so about how many large pretzels would the recipe make? Thanks!

    • Sally on September 15, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      You have to try these Emily! I’ve never tried making those iconic giant pretzels at home. But they are incredible.

  12. Ashley V on December 17, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Can I mix this up and put it in my small crockpot??

    • Sally on December 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      definitely! I would set it on low; I’m unsure how long it will take.

  13. Bittypunk on February 23, 2015 at 1:38 am

    These look delicous. And I’m dying to make them. However, no crabmeat available here. Can I simply use fish instead? Suggestions, please.

  14. Roni on May 29, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Well, I wanna tell you, I was born and raised in Maryland, almost 40 yrs.-moved to S.C. in 91-and have to say I never had these! I love pretzels and crab and had I ever seen them, I’d have been eating as often as possible! There’s nothing like Maryland seafood! Really miss it here.

  15. Sharon on February 4, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Being a Marylander I was estatic to find your recipe for homemade crab pretzels and can’t wait to make them.  They look fantastic!  Could you please let me know what oven rack to bake them on?  

    • Sally on February 5, 2016 at 8:19 am

      Jus the middle rack. Happy you love crab pretzels too!

  16. Stephanie on May 13, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Hello! I’m guessing that I could make the pretzels and crab dip, through baking the pretzels 10 min, in step 5, a day ahead? I could transport to a gathering and finish baking the recipe in the oven? Thanks!

  17. Diane on February 20, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    How would you reheat a crab pretzel that was stored in the refrigerator?

    • Sally on February 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Microwave for 20-30 seconds or in a 350F oven for 10 minutes or so. 🙂



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