This hot and cheesy Maryland crab dip gets the stamp of approval from locals and out-of-towners alike. For the best taste and texture, use fresh lump crab meat and the other 8 ingredients listed, including cream cheese, Old Bay seasoning, and cheddar cheese. Slow cooked or baked, this is the most irresistible dip. Draws a crowd every time I make it!
One reader, Jennifer, commented: “My sister and I grew up in Columbia, MD, and now live in Dallas, TX. I made this dip for NY Day football with our husbands. It was absolutely delicious! Everyone loved it, which you know as a Marylander too—we are tough critics of crab dishes. ★★★★★“
Walk into pretty much any Maryland restaurant and you’re bound to find hot crab dip on the menu. It’s our staple. Sometimes served on soft pretzels and sometimes baked in a skillet, but always a must-have order. We eat it on chicken (usually called “Chicken Chesapeake”) or in quesadillas, but the best way to serve hot cheesy crab dip is with fresh bread, pita wedges, celery, and/or sturdy crackers.
Here in Maryland, WE LOVE OUR CRAB DIP.
This Hot Crab Dip Is:
- Made with jumbo lump crab, just like crab pretzels
- Cheesy dip meets crab cakes
- Irresistibly creamy
- Old Bay-seasoned
- Baked or slow cooked, your choice
- Extra quick, no pre-cooking
- Nothing less than a huge hit, guaranteed!
This does Maryland justice!
Search the internet and you’ll find millions of crab dip recipes. They’re all centered around—you guessed it—crab, but the other ingredients can vary. I’ve tasted dozens of crab dips (I’m surrounded by it!) and I know what works, and what doesn’t.
The Best Crab Dip Ingredients
These are the 9 ingredients you need to make the best Maryland crab dip on the planet. And that’s not an exaggeration. I know lifelong Maryland locals who swear by this one!!!!
- Cream Cheese: Cream cheese is the base of this dip. No substitutions here.
- Mayonnaise: I don’t like mayonnaise and I still love this crab dip. You don’t need much—just enough to thin out the cream cheese and add that necessary creamy dip texture.
- Sour Cream: Some crab dip recipes call for just mayo and cream cheese, but I like to break down those heavier ingredients with tangy sour cream.
- Cheddar Cheese: You can use sharp cheddar or white cheddar if desired, but don’t use another cheese that has a stronger flavor because you don’t want to overpower the crab.
- Ground Mustard: A dash of mustard is a key ingredient in any Maryland crab cake recipe and we’re using something similar here, too. Ground mustard is necessary—and don’t worry, you do not taste mustard.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh, balancing flavor!
- Old Bay Seasoning: This salty spice is a staple in Maryland, where it’s made, especially with crab.
- Worcestershire Sauce: So much flavor. You don’t need a lot—just 2 teaspoons.
- Lump Crab Meat: For the absolute best crab dip, I recommend using lump crab meat or a mix of lump crab meat and backfin meat. Lump crab meat guarantees those big, mouthwatering bites of crab.
A dash of hot sauce is delicious, too!
How to Make Hot Crab Dip
You’re only about 30–35 minutes away from this bliss.
- Beat the cream cheese first. You want it super creamy and smooth.
- Beat in the rest of the ingredients, except the crab.
- Gently fold in the crab meat. Avoid using a mixer for this step because you don’t want to completely break down the lump crab.
- Slow cook or bake. Slow cook on low for 3–4 hours until hot and creamy; or bake in a casserole dish, pie dish, or oven-safe skillet for 25 minutes, or until browned and bubbly around the edges.
The process is quick, simple, and foolproof as long as you’re using the right ingredients. A handheld or stand mixer is definitely helpful and makes mixing easier, but I’ve mixed it together by hand before too.
Serving Crab Dip
For serving, keep things simple. You want the flavors from the dip to shine, so don’t serve with crackers or breads with overpowering flavors. Baguette slices, toasted artisan bread (pictured!), or sturdy crackers/pita chips are key so you can scoop up all that lump crab.
Best Crab Meat for Crab Dip
At the market, you can find canned, frozen, or fresh (refrigerated) crab meat. Unrefrigerated canned crab meat doesn’t have the freshest flavor (obviously). If you need to use canned, look for canned crab meat in the refrigerated section of your market. The fresher the crab meat, the better the crab dip will taste.
Crab meat labeled “hand-picked” or “fresh-picked” is fully cooked and sold in plastic tubs by the butcher or seafood counter. This is what I always use for crab cakes and crab dip, and highly encourage you to use the same here. It’s pricier than canned, but you have a completely different (and fresh) product. Don’t worry, all the other ingredients are pretty inexpensive, especially if you purchase store-brand or find them on sale.
Ask your grocer where to find the freshest crab meat in the store. I purchase fresh crab meat sold in a 1-pound tub from the seafood counter.
This DOES NOT disappoint!
Even More Appetizer Recipes
- Pepperoni Pizza Dip
- Roasted Garlic & Bacon Spinach Dip
- Sweet Potato Skins
- Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Jalapeños
- Soft Pretzel Bites
Crab Dip (Best Maryland Style)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: serves 8
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
For the best texture, use lump crab meat and each ingredient listed. No substitutions! Serve with crusty baguette, sturdy crackers, celery sticks, or pita wedges. For more success tips and to learn which crab meat to use, see blog post above.
- 8 ounces (225g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60g) mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream
- 1 and 1/4 cups (155g) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 and 3/4 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning*
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 pound fresh lump crab meat*
- optional: 2 dashes of hot sauce (or to taste)
- Preheat oven to 375°F (191°C).
- In a large mixing bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
- Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, 1 cup cheddar cheese, ground mustard, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce (if using). Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in the lump crab meat. If you used hot sauce, taste, then add more hot sauce if desired.
- Transfer to a 9-inch (or slightly larger) baking pan, pie dish, or oven-safe skillet. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly around the edges.
- Serve warm.
- Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a 350°F (177°C) oven until warmed throughout.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can fully assemble this crab dip, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 days before baking/slow cooking and serving. You can also freeze the unbaked or baked (and cooled) crab dip for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed; or, if already baked, thaw and heat in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 25 minutes or until warmed throughout.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Glass Mixing Bowl | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Wooden Spoon or Rubber Spatula | Oven-Safe Skillet
- Make sure you’re using a block of cream cheese, not cream cheese spread. I’ve used lower-fat ingredients with no problem like reduced-fat (not fat-free) cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo, but the dip obviously tastes richer with the full-fat versions.
- Old Bay: Use 2 teaspoons for a spicier kick. (I usually do!)
- Which Crab Meat to Use: For any questions regarding which crab meat to use, see Best Crab Meat for Crab Dip in the blog post above. I highly recommend fresh (refrigerated) lump crab meat.
- Slow Cooker: Follow steps 2 and 3. Instead of transferring to a baking dish, spoon into your slow cooker (do not add the 1/4 cup of cheese on top) and cook on low for 3–4 hours until hot and creamy. Stir occasionally as it cooks. During the last 30 minutes, sprinkle 1/4 cup reserved cheddar cheese on top.
Keywords: crab dip
Reader Comments & Reviews
I’ve made this several times ( most recently Christmas Eve). It is delicious and was a hit! I love that it’s so easy and can be made ahead. Look no further fo a great crab dip!
As a Marylander, this crab dip did not disappoint in flavor- it was however a little too liquidy- I’ll use more crab next time!!
Made this for our new years eve celebration- this is the PERFECT MD crab dip. Do NOT leave out the ground mustard, DO use the jumbo lump crab. One tip is I put the cream cheese block in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then used a whisk to make it lighter, made it easier to incorporate the other ingredients. If you’re going to invest in 25 dollars worth of good crab, please buy the 3 dollar jar of ground mustard. I did not add salt, it was perfectly seasoned. Served with thin slices of baguette and TRISCUITS!
I found lump crab for $13/pound so I decided to try this out. It was good. I don’t recommend freezing because crabmeat becomes stringy.
Longtime Marylander married to a native who is super snobby about crabcakes and crab dip. We love this recipe. My kids requested it for Christmas Eve. I add extra Old Bay, worscestershire, some hot sauce, and a pinch of cayenne. I like it with a little kick, reminds me of Riordan’s of Annapolis (RIP), which had the amazing crab dip. Sally’s recipe is spot on and 100 percent legit. My neighbors rave when I make this for parties. I like to serve it with pretzel bread, ritz, or baguette. Also pita chips.
This was my first time making crab dip, I love crab dip but have always been scared to make it myself ..omgggg this recipe is delicious. It’s spot on for Maryland crab dip, the only thing I didn’t use was the ground mustard, but it was still good . this will be my go to recipe from now on
Great Hot Maryland Crab Dip…..Delicious!…The Crab was the main flavor ….. served with Pita triangles….great for every occasion…make it Today!
I liked the flavors of this recipe but planned to make a crab stuffing for Tilapia fillets, so I cut the sauce in half and it worked very well but I also used other cheese added to the cheddar. The leftover dip was actually of perfect consistency if I was serving this as an actual dip with crackers or flatbread but in the future, I probably won’t add as much of the wet ingredients from the full recipe when I do. All in all, I was happy with the result.
Love this recipe! The picture looks like there is something green chopped on top of the crab dip, but I don’t see anything green in the recipe. Are they chopped scallions? If so, do you mix them in or just sprinkle some on top? Before or after baking?
Hi Donna, Yes, they are just sprinkled on top after baking for looks 🙂
So good! The flavor is spot on. My favorite crab dip recipe.
Omgoodness. This dip was amazing. I made it for Mother’s Day and it was the first thing to go. I’m making it again on Sunday. I’m treating my family to a Lobster bake on Sunday.
Made this yesterday for Mother’s Day and let me tell you, everyone was falling over themselves to get some. Didn’t change the recipe at all…(just doubled the ingredients cause I added shrimp) and there was a little less mayo. I favorited this page before I even made it. Thank you for the recipe and I will definitely be making this a few more times before the year ends
Simply to make, and with toasted baguette bread it is really good!!! Making it again tonight!!
way way way way too much worchestershire!!!! I’ve got a lot left and will try adding a lot more lemon juice and maybe a touch of honey to tone down the w-sauce.
Not sure if you measured the Worchershire sauce correctly but this recipe is exactly how Maryland Crab dip taste. I have made this numerous times and the ONLY change I would make (is a personal preference) is adding more Old Bay (because I am from Maryland so there is never enough). Whenever we have gatherings i always get nominated to bring THIS dip. It is always the first bowl empty and usually doesn’t last 10 mins, even when I double the recipe.
I make my crab dip the exact same way and I am a Marylander as well! Thanks for the amazing recipes like always Sally! 🙂
Winner!!!!!!! Had fresh lump crab meat that I had to use so it wouldn’t go bad. Love and now a favorite and a go to for my home entertaining parties with friends and family. I baked in oven but thrilled it can go in a slow cooker! I was nervous because I did not have mayonnaise. We only had miracle whip (yuck!) But let me tell ya! It still was delish! Love love love it. Thanks for a great recipe!
I made this crab dip last night (2/15/20) and put it on top of previously frozen soft pretzels. It was SO GOOD!! I baked the pretzels for a few minutes and also heated the crab dip through. I topped the pretzels with the crab dip, sprinkled a little cheese on top and put it back in the oven. I cut down on the amount of cheese in the dip (3/4 cup – not a whole cup). I liked that it wasn’t real greasy. Thanks for this great recipe! I am a Maryland seafood lover!!
I took this dip to a Super Bowl party yesterday and they scraped the bowl clean! I doubled the recipe and it turned out great. My family is French Creole and the crab and Old Bay seasoning created a delicious flavor similar to some Creole dishes. Thank you!
Can artichoke hearts be added without messing up the consistency?
Hi Carol, you can add artichoke hearts but the texture will change. The dip will have more (and larger) chunks.
Sally, is the worcestershire sauce necessary? I need to make it gluten free for some guests and wondered if tamari could be subbed or some kind of vinegar? I dont know the flavor of it and needed an idea. I am making it this weekend for a Bubble Guppies party and we are having a seafood theme! Thank you!
Hi Joanna! You can leave it out or replace with tamari if desired.
Hi Sally, your crab dip is the best I have ever made! The crab flavor really comes through in the dip. I made it yesterday for my husband and I as part of our 35th anniversary celebration dinner.
I have also made your crab cakes and that are the best too! Love the saltine crackers instead of bread crumbs! Thank you for sharing all of your recipes Sally. I love your blog ♥️
I have been looking and trying hot crab dip recipes for almost 20 years, trying to replicate one we had in southeastern Pennsylvania. THIS IS IT! Best crab dip ever – I sliced and toasted a baguette and my husband and I polished off the whole thing for New Years Eve!
Made it for New Years Eve and loved it. I’m from New Orleans so it tasted like home. It was worth spending $22 on lump crab meat. Will make again.
I’m from Baltimore Co but live on the eastern shore! I don’t think I knew you live in Maryland. This recipe is spot on! I had some once in a bar in Baltimore that had white wine in it and it was amazing. I’ve never tried to replicate it but I’d love to eat it again! My biggest complaint with restaurant crab dip is waaaaaaaay too much cream cheese and non-lump crab meat. Unacceptable!
Wow Sally, great recipe. We made it last night for New Year’s eve and it was a hit
I did look to make sure you were a fellow Marylander before I would even think about trying the recipe
LOL. You did Maryland proud!
Love reading this, thank you Dennis!
This was perfect as part of our New Year’s Eve snack. Even my husband loved this and he isn’t fond of crab. This will be added to our long list of Sally Favorites:). Your easy orange sweet rolls are ready for our New Year’s Day brunch. Thanks Sally!
Im from MD too!! Can’t wait to try this!! No one knows how to make good crab cakes and crab dip like a Marylander!!
Has anyone ever substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream? I wonder if there is a big difference?
Hi Tiffany, You should be able to use a plain full fat greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. Let me know if you try it!
Hi Sally. I hate mayonnaise with a passion. What can I use instead?
I’m not a fan either. You can’t taste it. I strongly recommend using it!
Normally it drives me insane when there are a ton of questions about substitutions in a fabulous recipe – but I’m about to do it myself! What do you think about substituting shrimp for the crab here? And it’s okay to say – Leigh, just fo find a shrimp dip recipe and don’t mess with this one!
I’ve never tried it! The flavors would work. I love Old Bay with shrimp.
I am from Maryland, three! This recipe is as authentic as they come and I will be making it. TBH, I sometimes click on “Maryland” recipes just to scoff at all the “nope!”. You, Sally, had me at “…we don’t want to overpower the crab”. You get it. I do have one suggestion for those unfamiliar with Maryland crabs. Please consider specifying “blue crab” crab meat. Crab dip would not be near as tasty with any other type of crab meat. Love this site!