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This Maryland Hot Crab Dip is going to be the star of your next gathering! Serve it up with crusty baguette slices, salty pretzels, or crispy, crunchy celery sticks for an indulgent, flavor-packed crowd-pleaser that will be gone before you know it!

We love seafood in all its forms at our house. Some of our other party-perfect favorites are Classic Shrimp Cocktail, New England Fish Chowder, and Maryland Crab Cakes!

baguette slices in a skillet of hot crab dip

The Best Hot Crab Dip

We love to travel, but with the way the world has been lately we haven’t been able to explore like we used to. But fortunately I have been working on a series where we visit new places by making the foods they are best known for. I call it my American Eats series and right now I’m cooking my way through some of the most recognizable recipes from the state of Maryland!

This cheesy, savory hot crab dip showed up on every Food Network, Taste of Home, and MSN list of foods that are super popular in Maryland, so I knew I had to make it! Our family loves dips and party foods, so it was a no-brainer that this would go over well with them.

melted cheese on top of crab dip

And what’s not to love? It’s got a creamy, tangy base made with cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream with big, robust flavor thanks to some delicious lump crab meat. And it’s got a little kick thanks to a generous scoop of Old Bay seasoning that goes really well with the other ingredients.

I mean, if seafood isn’t your thing, then okay, maybe this one isn’t for you. But if you like seafood at all, you’re going to LOVE this hot crab dip! Serve it for your next game night! Make it for the holidays when you have friends and family around and want something filling for everybody to graze on. It also freezes really well so if you have a smaller family (like we do), you can always save the leftovers for another day.

creamy crab dip in a skillet with a spoon

Hot Crab Dip Ingredients

Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients for this creamy crab dip. This is almost one of those “dump in the bowl and stir” kind of recipes and everything you need is readily available. If you need to, you can always ask at the meat counter to be directed to the fresh or frozen crab if you have a hard time locating it at the store. Bonus points if you can get your hands on Maryland Blue Crab for this recipe!

  • Crab: You want to look for real lump crab meat, not imitation or canned crab meat. It will either be fresh or frozen. I actually picked up a 1-pound container at Costco in the refrigerated aisle and was pleased with how good it was! To be really authentic, it should be Maryland blue crab, but I can’t ever get that out here in California so I used dungeness and it was still delicious.
  • Cream cheese: Go for full fat cream cheese for the best taste and creamiest texture. It helps to let it sit out at room temperature for an hour to soften so that it mixes better.
  • Mayonnaise & sour cream: These two work hand-in-hand to add a tangy, rich flavor. If you want to make things a little healthier, you could swap plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream with hardly any noticeable difference. You could even use it for the mayo too, although the flavor starts changing at that point and it isn’t as good.
  • Cheese: You can use all cheddar or a combination of sharp cheddar and monterey jack, which is what I opted for here.
  • Old Bay seasoning: This fabulous spice blend is the ultimate New England flavor enhancer and was invented in Maryland, so it only makes sense that they use it in their famous hot crab dip.
  • Freshly ground black pepper: You actually don’t need salt in this recipe (the mayo, cheese, and Old Bay take care of that) but a little pepper helps round out the flavor profile.
  • Lemon juice: What seafood doesn’t benefit from a squirt of lemon juice to keep things tasting fresh and light?
  • Dry mustard: A little dry mustard enhances the other flavors and adds depth to this dip. You won’t notice it taste “mustard-y” at all.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Another flavor enhancer, Worcestershire sauce has the “it” factor for adding saltiness and umami to this recipe.
  • Green onions: One of my favorite ingredients of all time! These add a bit of textural crunch and freshness that goes so well with the creaminess of the other ingredients and the sweet crab meat.
hot crab dip ingredients in individual bowls

How to Make Hot Crab Dip

  1. Beat the cream cheese until smooth: If you are going to go wrong anywhere on this recipe, it’s right here. Cold cream cheese doesn’t mix well with other ingredients, but even if you forget to pull it out of the fridge in advance you can smooth it out by beating the cream cheese by itself for a bit before adding everything else.
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients: Dump in the mayo, sour cream, spices, freshly grated cheese (it melts so much better than the pre-grated kind), and green onions and mix it all together. Stir in the crab and you’re almost done!
  1. Bake: Dump the crab dip mixture into a 9-inch skillet, pie plate (affiliate link), or square baking dish and heat in the oven until everything is all hot and bubbly and the extra cheese sprinkled on top is melted. You could even turn the broiler on for a minute or two at the end to get a little extra color on your dip if you feel like going the extra mile.
  1. Serve: Lay out a spread of baguette slices, sturdy crackers, pretzels, or cold, crunchy veggies for dipping into your hot crab dip, which should be served warm. Celery sticks are my personal favorite with this dip.
a cast iron skillet filled with Maryland hot crab dip

Tips & Tricks

  • Make ahead: This dip can be assembled up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge until you are ready to bake.
  • Storage: Leftovers will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. Just be sure to store in an airtight container, then reheat in the microwave or transfer to a baking dish and heat in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes or so until hot.
  • Other idea for leftovers: If you have leftovers, try mixing them with cooked elbow macaroni noodles and an extra cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese for an easy crab mac and cheese. You could even go the extra mile and sprinkle some Panko breadcrumbs tossed with melted butter over the top for a crunchy finish!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this dip be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze the dip either before it has been baked or after if there are leftovers. Either way, just cover well with plastic wrap and freeze for 2-3 months. Transfer it to the fridge to thaw the day before you want to serve it, then bake in the oven until hot and bubbly.

Can I make hot crab dip in the slow cooker?

You sure can! Most dips are great in the slow cooker because you can prep ahead of your event and they will stay nice and hot. Just combine everything through step 2 of the recipe (where you add the crab), but don’t sprinkle the last bit of cheese on top. Cook it on LOW heat in the slow cooker for 3-4 hours until it is hot all the way through. When it’s close to party time, just sprinkle the reserved cheese on top and let it melt.

More Delicious Dip Recipes

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Maryland Hot Crab Dip
Yield: 10 servings

Maryland Hot Crab Dip

This Maryland Hot Crab Dip is going to be the star of your next gathering! Serve it up with crusty baguette slices, salty pretzels, or crispy, crunchy celery sticks for an indulgent, flavor-packed crowd-pleaser that will be gone before you know it!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2-3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 pound fresh lump crab meat

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with hand mixer until smooth. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, 1 1/4 cups of the cheese, green onions, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, dry mustard, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine. Add the crab meat and stir by hand just until combined.
  3. Transfer to oven-safe 9-inch skillet, pie pan, or baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve warm with plenty of sliced baguette, crackers, pretzels, celery sticks, carrots, or sliced cucumbers.

Notes

  • Make ahead: This dip can be assembled up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge until you are ready to bake.
  • Freezing: This dip can be frozen either before or after baking for 2-3 months. Just thaw and reheat or bake as directed until hot.
  • Slow cooker method: This dip can be made in a slow cooker. Just combine everything through step 2, then cook on LOW for 3-4 hours without the reserved cheese on top. About 30 minutes before serving, add the cheese to let it melt.
  • Storage: Leftovers will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. Just be sure to store in an airtight container, then reheat in the microwave or transfer to a baking dish and heat in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes or so until hot.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 264Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 593mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 13g

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

I was inspired by and adapted my recipe from Savory Experiments and Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Curious about foods from other states in my American Eats series? Check them out below!

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