Just the right amount of creaminess and crab flavor, this baked crab dip is one dip you’ll be making over and over!
Technically, this recipe is an appetizer. But if you choose to do as the Godfather and I did, and just have it for dinner. It’s also an excellent choice. Either way, you’ll want to bookmark this recipe and make it again and again. This baked crab dip is perfect for the holidays, ladies’ night, a date night in, Tuesday. You get the idea…
Funny story about this recipe, I got the idea from a book. I really needed some “fluff” reading and distracted myself with The Nantucket Inn book series on my library’s audio app. The books would play while I edited photos, folded laundry, etc.
If you look up the books, don’t expect any serious reading. The storylines all work out in the end. The characters all lead a charmed life overall, and all “challenges” are resolved almost immediately. Strictly fun reading that is definitely not real life.
And the books talk a LOT about food. For being described as mostly slender, the main characters are basically always eating rich dishes. Of course, I’m always interested in food, so I’m for it.
One of the dishes that appeared in all of the books was a baked seafood dip. I think in one it was clam, in another crab, maybe something else. The point is, on two occasions the dip mentioned butter, whatever seafood, and Ritz crackers.
I’m always on the lookout for a good dip recipe, and we do love all things seafood. So naturally, I had to find this recipe and make something.
But searching for a baked crab dip recipe led me down a rabbit hole with all sorts of variations? And mixed reviews. That wasn’t going to do at all!
So into the kitchen, armed with notepad, crab, and crackers, we got to work! After you try this dip, I think you’ll agree it was a good investment of time.
What kind of crab do I need?
The first thing you might be thinking – especially if you live in a land-locked state – is about the price of crab! I’m going to scandalize everyone in the coastal regions and say… canned crab is fine! Or frozen if you can find it.
We tested this recipe with both canned crab and fresh lump crab. When I talk about canned crab, I’m talking about the kind you find near the tuna at room temperature.
This is not the ideal crab for crab cakes, because there are not really chunks. But it works very well in a crab dip recipe, and it’s super budget-friendly.
I discovered it accidentally walking through the grocery store. They had a display by the tuna and it was on sale. Why not test it out, right? It’s literally my job to try these things for you.
Of course, if you can get fresh lump crab, it’s wonderful.
Baked crab dip recipe tips…
The rest of the recipe is pretty easy, but there are a few more things I want to cover.
First, the cheese. You have a few options. Cheddar is wonderful, but if you’d like a milder flavor so is a cheddar jack or a Mexican blend. Anything that compliments the mild flavor of crab will work. I would avoid cheeses that are smoky or pungent.
Second, sherry. There isn’t much called for in the recipe. If you don’t have dry sherry on hand, you have plenty of substitution options! The recipe calls for dry sherry, which you find with the fortified wines, and not in the vinegar section. There is a cooking sherry, which is fine.
Sherry vinegar, on the other hand, is not okay to use without dilution. It will make your dip bitter. You may dilute apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar in water. 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of water.
You may substitute the sherry with a tablespoon of a broth of your choice.
Finally, you can assemble this dip a few hours before you heat and serve! So if you’re planning for a special meal or guests, make this in the morning. Follow the recipe up to adding the cracker crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until it’s time to bake.
Then, add the cracker crumbs and bake. Place on your platter, serve, and get some on your plate before it disappears!
This dip is excellent served with Ritz crackers (or a similar savory butter cracker) and crunchy vegetables.
- 1 pound crab meat (see notes)
- 1/3 cup finely diced onion
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, like Old Bay (see notes)
- 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers (about 8 crackers)
- Preheat your oven to 375 F.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sherry until well combined. You may use a mixer or a fork. Scrape the side of the bowl.
- Stir in your diced onion, Old Bay, and 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
- Fold in your crab. If you are using fresh lump crab, try not to break up too many of the big chunks. If not, just carefully fold in the crab.
- Place the mixture in a 6-inch round baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the crushed crackers and remaining cheese. Sprinkle evenly over your crab dip.
- Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and warmed through.
- Serve immediately with additional crackers and crunchy vegetables like celery and carrot sticks, if desired. Enjoy!
- If there are leftovers, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- You may use fresh lump crab, canned crab, or thawed frozen crab. If you don't want to use crab, chopped shrimp will also work, or shredded chicken.
- Crabmeat may still have bits of shell in it, especially if it's fresh. Take a minute to look over it and remove any stray shell fragments should you find them.
- Dry sherry can be found with fortified wines. Otherwise, look for cooking sherry. You may also substitute with white wine or white cooking wine. Apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, or sherry vinegar can work if mixed with water in a 1:1 ratio.
- If you cannot find Old Bay seasoning, any brand of seafood/crab seasoning will do. If you can find any seafood seasoning, Cajun seasoning is also really good and will add a bit of kick to the dish.
- If you are making the dip in advance: You can prepare the dip a few hours before you plan to bake and serve. Mix the ingredients and place the mixture in your baking dish. Cover tightly and refrigerate until it's time to bake.
- If you happen to have leftovers, use them in tea sandwiches, or add them to some scrambled eggs for a rich breakfast dish!
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.