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Cheesy Spicy Baked Crab Dip

This spicy, cheesy crab dip is a got-to recipe for years, and it never disappoints! It's flavorful, ultra cheesy, just-the-right-amount-of spicy, and it only takes minutes to prep.

This dip happens to be gluten-free and low-carb, though I certainly did not think about any of that when working on this recipe! I simply wanted a delicious hot baked crab dip to enjoy. :)

Baked crab dip with jalapeno for garnish.

Easy baked crab dip

Looking for a crowd pleasing party recipe or appetizer? This is it.

This baked crab dip is based on a recipe from Emeril Lagasse that I found about 15 years ago. I've simplified it over the years, and also made it more affordable by using canned crab instead of fresh, lump crab.

It's amazing spread on crackers (my husband loves it on Triscuits) or slices of baguette (my personal favorite).

And some friends of ours came up with the brilliant idea of putting some of this crab dip on top of steak, which was mind-blowingly good.

Cheesy crab dip in a baking dish.

Related recipe: Baked Goad Cheese Dip with Bacon

What kind of crab to use for crab dip

Obviously fresh steamed crab meat is the best to use for any dip or crab recipe. However, that's not affordable or practical for many people who can't get fresh crab at a good price year-round, so I recommend using canned crab meat.

For this recipe, I use canned lump crab meat and canned crab claw meat. This combination of canned crab meat yields the best results while being the most budget-friendly. Sort of like a crab ROI. :)

The lump crab meat makes for delicious chunks of crab meat in this dip, while the smaller claw meat mixes in the the rest of the creamy crab dip ingredients, making sure this crab dip does not lack in flavor.

Ultimately, any crab meat that you have on hand will do. And if you want to make this even more budget-friendly, you can substitute some of the crab meat with finely diced cooked shrimp.

More appetizer ideas: Smoked Salmon and Egg Salad Sandwiches


You'll also need: An 8x8-inch or 8x5-inch baking dish.

Related recipe: Sloppy Joe Dip

Optional add-ins

The basic crab dip is pretty dang good on its own, but here are a few add-ins to stir in if you want to switch things up or add even more flavor!

  • Crumbled cooked bacon
  • Diced scallions
  • Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • Finely diced cooked shrimp
  • Pepper Jack cheese for more spice
  • Breadcrumbs on top

If you want to make the dip creamier, stir in ¼ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

Related recipe: Stromboli Roll Ups


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Combine all ingredients except parmesan cheese in a bowl and mix well.

Mixing together ingredients for a cheesy crab dip.

Step 3: Spread mixture into an 8×8-inch or 8x5-inch baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over the top.

Step 4: Bake for about 25 minutes or until just beginning to bubble/brown on the top.
Switch oven setting to broil, and broil until top is golden brown (about two minutes - do not let it burn!). Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve with baguette slices or crackers.

More appetizer recipes: Smoked Salmon Potato Bites

How to serve cheesy crab dip

This dip is best served hot out of the oven (well, let it cool for a few minutes so it's not hot like lava). I like baking this in a ceramic baking dish so that it can be served directly from there.

I always serve mine on a wooden trivet and a towel wrapped around the outside so guests know not to touch the baking dish because it is HOT! And make sure to warn them, too.

This crab dip reheats very well, too, and is just as good the next day (or a few days later). The pickled jalapenos and hot sauce give it the perfect amount of kick.

We typically serve this as a hot appetizer with crackers, sliced toasted baguettes, and veggies/crudités for dipping.

One super creative way to serve this dip is on top of steak, for a delicious twist on surf and turf.

You can also spread the crab dip over a toasted baguette and top with thinly sliced medium-rate steak. That sounds REALLY good, doesn't it?!

Shortcuts and cooking tips:

  • To save money, I use a combination of canned lump crab and canned crab claw meat. You can certainly use all lump meat if you desire, but it's not necessary.
  • Time saving tip: If you really want to, you can microwave all the ingredients (except for the Parmesan) stir it together to make sure everything is melted and well-mixed, then transfer to a broiler-safe baking dish, top with Parmesan, and broil until golden brown. Preheat the broiler while the dip ingredients microwave.
  • You can use minced jarred garlic in this recipe and it won't alter the flavor.
  • Don't forget the step of turning on the broiler at the end of the baking process. This is what gives it a nice golden, bubbly top.
  • Adjust the spice: If you love spice, don't be afraid to add some extra hot sauce to the recipe. OR reduce the hot sauce for a more kid-friendly dip. The good thing about this recipe is that there are no raw ingredients in it, so you can give it a taste before baking it and adjust the flavor to your liking!
Cheesy spicy crab meat in a baking dish with a spoon.

Cheesy Spicy Crab Dip

Just 5 minutes to prep and super easy to make, this Cheesy Crab Dip makes a great hot appetizer and is AMAZING served over steak for a twist on surf anf turf.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 184kcal
Author: Kate


Special equipment


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Combine all ingredients except parmesan cheese in a bowl. Give it a taste and see if you need to adjust spice, lemon juice, or salt.
  • Spread mixture into an 8x8-inch or 8x5 baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over the top.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until just beginning to bubble/brown on the top.
  • Switch oven setting to broil, and broil until top is golden brown (about two minutes). Allow to cool for a few minutes, and serve hot with crackers or a sliced baguette.


  • Optional add-ins: crumbled cooked bacon, diced scallions, chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, finely diced cooked shrimp, pepper Jack cheese for more spice, breadcrumbs on top.
  • If you want to make the dip creamier and not as thick, stir in ¼ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
  • In a time crunch? You can microwave all the ingredients (except for Parmesan) and microwave in 30-second increments until melted and mixed well. Preheat the broiler while microwaving. Add the Parmesan (and/or breadcrumbs) and broil for 2 minutes, or until golden brown.


Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 488mg | Potassium: 91mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 140IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 1mg
Recipe Rating

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