Chilled Crab Dip Recipe
This chilled crab dip recipe is perfect for your next party! It’s served cold and so easy to make. You’ll love it with a glass of champagne!
I am what you might call a dip-aholic.
And the same goes for this cold crab dip recipe!
I make some iteration of it every year for Christmas Eve. It’s creamy and seafood-y and perfect for special occasions, but it’s quick and easy too.
It has a creamy layer on the bottom and a tangy, slightly spicy layer of cocktail sauce on top.
These two elements together are like fireworks in your mouth!
I hope you’ll whip up a bowl to ring in the new year tonight! It’s the perfect accompaniment to a chilled glass of bubbly!
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love this dip recipe
- Ingredients and notes
- How to make chilled crab dip
- Recipe FAQ’S’s
- Expert tips
- How to serve
- How to store and keep
- More party appetizers to enjoy!
Why you’ll love this dip recipe
Exquisite Flavor: This chilled crab dip has a rich and creamy texture, combined with the delicate taste of crab meat.
Refreshing and cooling: Served chilled, crab dip provides a refreshing and cooling sensation, making it a perfect choice for warm-weather gatherings or summer parties.
Versatility: Crab dip pairs well with all sorts of dippers, such as crackers, breadsticks, tortilla chips, or vegetable sticks.
Impressive presentation: Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or attending a potluck, chilled crab dip makes for a gorgeous centerpiece and will impress the heck out of your guests.
Make-ahead: Chilled crab dip often tastes even better when prepared ahead of time, allowing the flavors to meld together.
Ingredients and notes
Lump crab meat: The star of the dish! Fresh lump crab meat is the best choice for its sweet, delicate flavor and tender texture. You can use canned or packaged crab meat, but be sure to pick high-quality options without any additives.
Cream cheese: Provides the creamy base for the dip. Use softened cream cheese to ensure easy mixing and smooth consistency.
Mayonnaise: Adds a rich tanginess to the dip. Opt for regular mayonnaise or canola-based mayo for a lighter version.
Worcestershire: This condiment imparts a savory umami taste that rounds out the flavor of the crab meat.
Sugar: A tiny pinch of sugar balances and compliments the sweetness of the lump crab meat.
Parsley: Parsley is added for an extra burst of grassy freshness.
Cocktail sauce: A layer of spicy cocktail sauce is added to the top of the dip to add a sharp flavor contrast to the creamy sweetness of the crab dip.
How to make chilled crab dip
This recipe comes together in just 4 simple steps!
Step 1: Rinse & drain the crab
Start by draining and rinsing the crab meat.
Put it in a fine-mesh strainer and run it gently under cool water, then set it aside to drain.
This will remove any “fishy” taste.
Step 2: Blend up the base
While the crab sits and drains, blend up the creamy base.
Place the cream cheese, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, sugar (to bring out the sweetness of the crab), and some freshly ground black pepper in a bowl.
Make sure your cream cheese is very soft, so it can blend easily with the other ingredients.
If it’s too stiff and cold, pop it in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Then mix it together using the beater attachment of your hand mixer.
Step 3: Fold in the add-ins
Once the base is blended add the crabmeat, onion, parsley, and celery seed.
Gently fold these ingredients together.
Step 4: Layer in the serving bowl
Once all that’s mixed up, transfer it to your serving bowl and smooth the top of it flat.
Then top it with cocktail sauce.
I like Kelchner’s brand of cocktail sauce. I find it in the seafood section of my grocery store.
But you could also make your cocktail sauce. It’s as easy as stirring ketchup with horseradish and a squeeze of lemon.
Smooth the cocktail sauce all over the top, and your crab dip is made!
You don’t need to buy expensive crab meat for this recipe.
I buy one of those little flat cans that are sold in the supermarket, right by the tuna, and it’s great.
I’ve tried to get fancy and use jumbo lump crabmeat from the seafood section, but I like the cheap stuff better!
Just look for “lump white crabmeat” on the label. I especially like the Crown Prince brand.
You can use whatever kind of fresh onion you have on hand.
I prefer a sweeter onion such as Vidalia or Maui, but I also like red onion or shallot.
Be sure to mince it up very finely, you don’t want to bite down on a big chunk of raw onion!
There’s lots of nutritional info on this dip in the recipe card below if you’re looking for specifics.
I can also say that it is gluten-free (without the crackers, of course) and pretty low in carbs.
It might be good if you have guests that are on the keto diet, mainly if you use sugar-free ketchup in your cocktail sauce!
- Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise gradually: When mixing the cream cheese and mayonnaise, add them gradually to achieve a smoother consistency. This prevents lumps from forming and makes it easier to incorporate other ingredients.
- Balance the flavors: Taste as you go and adjust to achieve the perfect balance of flavors. You want the sweetness of the crab to shine through while ensuring that the dip has the right amount of tanginess, creaminess, and seasoning.
- Let it chill: While the dip can be served immediately, refrigerating it for at least an hour allows the flavors to meld together in the most delicious way.
- Don’t overmix: Be gentle when combining the ingredients to avoid breaking up the crab meat too much. It’s nice if the dip has visible chunks of crab running all throughout.
- Choose the right dippers: Consider the variety of dippers you offer with this dip. While crackers are a classic choice, try providing an assortment of options like toasted baguette slices, breadsticks, pita chips, or fresh veggies.
- Customize to your liking: Feel free to add your favorite ingredients or experiment with different herbs and seasonings to create a personalized version of the chilled crab dip that suits your taste preferences.
How to serve
To serve this yummy appetizer, place the bowl on a platter and surround it with your dippers.
In my family, it’s always buttery crackers, pure and simple.
But this app would be fantastic with raw veggies too. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, grape tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower, just to name a few.
How to store and keep
Can you make crab dip ahead of time?
You can immediately eat this crab dip, or cover it with plastic wrap and allow the flavors to meld in the fridge for a few hours.
A lot of times, I will make this crab dip the day before I plan to serve it and keep it in the fridge overnight.
How long can crab dip sit out at room temperature?
It’s OK to sit out at room temperature for an hour or two, but if you want some added insurance, nestle the bowl into a larger dish filled with crushed ice.
If you keep it cold this way, it should be fine for the entire duration of your party.
How long will crab dip last in the refrigerator?
Covered tightly with plastic wrap, this crab dip will keep for several days in the fridge.
More party appetizers to enjoy!
Chilled Crab Dip
- 6 ounces (170.1 g) lump white crabmeat, (1 small can)
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) cream cheese, (1 block), softened
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- black pepper, (freshly ground), to taste
- 3 tablespoons onion, (such as sweet onion, red onion, or shallot), finely minced
- 1 tablespoon parsley, , finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 cup (59.15 ml) cocktail sauce*
- buttery crackers
- Empty the can of crabmeat into a fine mesh strainer, gently run cold water over it to rinse, and set it aside to drain.
- Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and pepper together in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Add the rinsed and drained crabmeat, along with the onion, parsley, and celery seed.
- Gently fold the mixture together until blended, then transfer it to a serving bowl, smooth the top of the dip flat, and top with cocktail sauce.
- Serve with buttery crackers.