Crab Dip

$5.07 recipe / $0.63 serving
by Monti - Budget Bytes
5 from 3 votes
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This creamy, spicy crab dip is so good you’ll be pushing a cracker into the corners of your serving dish to scoop up the last schmear. At least that’s what Beth and I did when we annihilated it in the Budget Bytes Kitchen (In the name of research, of course, 😂 ). It’s so easy that it comes together in three steps. And you can serve it hot or cold! Get ready for your new favorite thing to bring to the party.

Overhead shot of crab dip in a white bowl surrounded by veggies.

What You’ll Need

This crab dip comes together in ten minutes. You should chill it before serving to thicken the cream cheese base, but you don’t have to if you’re low on time. Just serve it in a container set over ice. You can also bake it for a few minutes if you prefer to serve it hot.

Crab Meat – the real stuff is expensive, so we used imitation crab meat, and the results were divine. Choose your own adventure, but my money’s on the fish forgery. If you use real crab, drain it well, or your dip will end up runny.

Cream Cheese – acts like a binder and helps keep everything together. It also thickens the consistency of your dip.

Sour cream – adds an undeniable tang and smooth mouth feel.

Cheddar Cheese – the shreds will add texture and a sharp, earthy flavor.

Old Bay Seasoning – this blend of celery salt, red and black pepper, mustard powder, cayenne, and paprika adds a citrusy heat that doesn’t overpower the sweetness of the crab meat. You can substitute it with Cajun seasoning or Crab Boil seasoning.

Garlic Powder – raw garlic has a robust flavor that takes over a crab dip. Instead, use garlic powder which has mellow, roasted notes.

Hot Sauce – adds a smoky heat. Use as much (or as little) as your heart desires. You can substitute hot sauce with red pepper flakes or cayenne.

Lemon Juice – you need this hit of acid to break through the fattiness of the cream cheese and sour cream. If you don’t have lemon, use any white vinegar.

Scallions -add a soft onion flavor, texture, and freshness. You can also garnish with chopped Italian parsley or finely chopped raw onion. Soak raw onion in cold water for a minute to decrease its sharpness.

Crackers, Toasted Bread, Chips, Raw Veggies – lean into plain or lightly flavored crackers, so they don’t overpower the crab. Toasted bread and chips should be sturdy so they don’t break when dipped. Sweet peppers, celery sticks, and carrots sticks are all easy and economical choices.

Hand dipping cracker in crab dip.

Do I Serve Crab Dip Hot or Cold?

You can do both! If you want to prepare a hot version, sprinkle an additional 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar over the top and then warm in a 350°F oven until the cheese has melted and the crab dip is bubbly—about fifteen minutes. To serve cold, chill it in the fridge for at least a half hour. If you’re low on time, place the crab dip container over a bed of ice and serve right away.

What Goes With Crab Dip?

Crackers, toasted bread, chips, and raw vegetables are the traditional items served with crab dip. But you can also use it as a spread on toast or chicken. Drizzle it on fried eggs or french fries. Try to stick with milder flavors that won’t overpower the sweetness of the crab.

How To Store Leftovers

Place leftovers in an air-tight container with plastic film or wax paper directly over the surface of the dip. Refrigerate for up to five days and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen crab dip in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat thawed crab dip that you’d like to serve hot in a 350°F oven.

Hand squeezing lime on crab dip.
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Crab Dip

5 from 3 votes
This creamy, spicy crab dip is so good you'll be pushing a cracker into the corners of your serving dish to scoop up the last schmear! It comes together in three easy steps and you can serve it hot or cold.
Overhead shot of crab dip.
Servings 8 1/4 cup servings
Prep 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened ($1.10)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream ($0.31)
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning ($0.16)
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed ($0.39)
  • 2 tsp hot sauce ($0.04)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.04)
  • 2 green onions, sliced in 1/8th inch rounds ($0.22)
  • 8 oz imitation crab, chopped ($2.50)
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese* , shredded ($0.31)

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.
  • Mix in Old Bay Seasoning, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic powder, and green onions.
  • Mix in crab meat and cheddar cheese.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve.*

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Notes

*Use 1/4 cup more shredded cheddar to melt on top of the dip if you are serving it hot
*If you are serving the crab dip hot, top it with an additional 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and warm it in a 350°F oven until the cheese has melted and the crab dip is bubbly, about fifteen minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 109kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSodium: 256mgFiber: 0.4g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Cracker in a bowl of crab dip.

How to Make Crab Dip – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of cream cheese and sourcream.

In a medium bowl, mix the 4 ounces of cream cheese and 1/4 cup of sour cream until smooth.

Overhead shot of spices in a bowl.

Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning, 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 2 green onions sliced in 1/8th inch rounds (about 2 tablespoons).

Overhead shot of crab and cheese in a white bowl.

Mix in 8 ounces of imitation crab and 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Overhead shot of finished crab dip.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve with crackers, bread, chips, or raw veggies. If you’re running low on time, place the serving dish over a bed of ice and serve right away. Get ready for this incredible crab dip to steal the show!

Overhead shot of crab dip.

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  1. SO tasty! I used a third of the hot sauce because I don’t like it spicy but did everything else the same and it turned out so good. Super easy to make the night before for parties or gatherings.

  2. Great recipe. One word of warning, this was wonderfully spiced for the first day or so. We had leftovers that once they sat for another day, they Old Bay mellowed, in the future, I would add a wee bit more before serving.
    We did let it sit at room temp for about 30 minutes before serving the second day.

  3. Great recipe! Now I won’t have to shell out for the supermarket version, which isn’t just expensive but sometimes far too thick.

  4. Crab dip has been around a long time, and almost always made from surimi, or imitation crab–which is real seafood, composed mostly of pollock, a variety of cod. It often contains some crab, but whether or not, it’s delicious. It’s nearly always what’s inside of crab wontons or crab Rangoon, and also nearly always a component of deli seafood salad. I like it best hot, and it can be topped with the same buttered breadcrumb topping mentioned a couple of posts ago, mixed with some cheese to make it really bubbly. It makes yummy sandwiches, but when I’ve served it as a dip, there’ve rarely been any leftovers for sammies. This recipe is a particularly delicious version–I had to try it right away, so was at the supermarket as soon as I saw this recipe, and we ate it as hot sandwiches for lunch. Think crab melts. I plan to use some of the leftovers from this recipe for Crab Rangoon later today. For crab salad, add some chopped celery and sub mayo for the cream cheese.