This hot cajun crab dip with cream cheese is absolutely delicious and perfect for parties - just mix everything together in advance, then bake once you're ready to serve! This is a creamy crab dip that is just a little bit spicy thanks to your favorite Cajun seasoning and fresh jalapeno. You. Will. Love. This.
Helloooooo party food love of my life. I ADORE crab dip. All things that involve fresh OR imitation crab are high on my list of favorite foods, and this Cajun crab dip is one of my forever favorites. We make this a few times per year at Christmas, for the Super Bowl, and anytime we need a yummy dip! Which, let's be honest, is all the time.
(I'm also not joking about loving imitation crab, one of the most popular recipes on this site is spicy crab salad like in sushi!)
- This is a hot crab dip, different than the stuff you get in the deli section at the grocery store - although I am a huge fan of cold crab dip as well.
- This version mixes cheese and cream cheese with fresh crab, jalapeno, and some seasonings. It's VERY easy to make in advance and then bake right before serving.
- I buy fresh crab in vacuum-packed cans found in the refrigerated seafood section. It's easy to work with and keeps in the fridge for awhile before you open it - so buy some on sale if you see it.
- If you have extra crab or see a buy-one-get-one deal, this she crab pasta recipe is absolutely insane and so, so yummy.
Cajun Crab Dip FAQ and Tips
Eh, sure! I find that it's so simple to make that it's not necessary, but the cream cheese and mayo stabilize the dish enough that it freezes and reheats well. Just bake it in the oven for a few minutes longer until it's hot and bubbly.
Ritz crackers are my absolute favorite tried and true crab dip dipper. But, use any kind of bread, fresh crunchy veggies, or crackers you like!
I wouldn't. It will be fine, sure, but the combo here of mayo, sour cream, and cream cheese are what make this work really, really well. Use full fat of these products for a really restaurant-worthy finished dish.
Super simple stuff here! The crab is admittedly a bit of an investment, but I find it often on sale - just keep an eye out.
- Real Crab meat: This is found in a few other classifications by the size of the crab pieces. The larger pieces in jumbo are delicious, BUT claw meat is usually more affordable and the crab meat gets broken down a bit anyway in the dip, so buying claw meat for this dip works perfectly.
- Creamy stuff: I use a combo of cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream for a perfect creamy/melty vibe without anything tasting like mayonnaise. You need all three, and full-fat versions, always.
- Shredded cheddar cheese: As sharp as you like!
- Seasonings: Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning (Tony's is my favorite!), onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. We want our dip to have a kick!
- Fresh stuff: fresh jalapeno, lemon zest, and thinly sliced scallions break up the creamy flavors and brighten up the entire recipe. YUM.
OK But this is too spicy.
Well, maybe! It's a Cajun dip, after all. If you'd like to reduce the heat a bit (and honestly this isn't that spicy as written), you can omit the cayenne pepper and the jalapeno pepper.
That said, keep in mind that the fat content of the creamy ingredients mask spice a bit, so the end result may not be as spicy as you think.
Step by Step Instructions
Before you start the dip, pick through the crab meat just a bit to be sure there aren't any pieces of shell that got missed when the crab was being packaged.
Then, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Save a few scallions for topping the dip, if you'd like - but that's just for presentation and not necessary.
Gently mix the dip together to keep some large pieces of crab intact. You can taste the dip here since the crab is pasteurized - it's very, very yummy even without the cheese being melted yet.
Transfer the crab dip to a small baking dish. At this point you can cover the dip and keep it in the fridge for a few days as a make-ahead situation.
When you'd like to serve, bake the dip at 350F for 20-30 minutes until it's hot and bubbly.
The cheese and mayo brown beautifully on top and just wowowow look at that golden beauty. Let the dip rest at room temp for 5-10 minutes, then serve!
I like this plain with crackers, but I've also seen people scoop this up with red pepper slices and endive leaves. Both are delicious!
Leftover Storage and Make-Ahead
- I often make this in advance and keep it covered in the fridge for 2-3 days, then bake it like the recipe says. You may need to add 5 minutes to the cooking time if you bake it straight from the fridge, but it works perfectly as a make-ahead appetizer.
- Leftovers are lovely in the fridge for another 2-3 days, I just microwave small bits of this in ramekins for snacks. It is a LOVELY treat a few days after a party.
The result here is: creamy, spicy, sweet from the fresh crab and bright from the lemon zest and scallions. The combo of flavors here is SO good, and you'll make this again and again - promise.
I hope you love this one!
Cajun Crab Dip
- 1 pound fresh crab meat picked through for shells
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 12 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ fresh jalapeno finely chopped
- 1 lemon zest only
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- Before starting, pick through the crab gently for any shell pieces. Remove and discard them. Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Combine the ingredients for the dip gently in a large bowl until evenly combined, being careful to not break up any of the large pieces of crab if possible.
- Transfer the dip into a medium baking dish (about 8 inches diameter).
- Bake the crab dip for 20-30 minutes until browned on top and bubbly throughout. Rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve with your favorite dippers. Garnish with extra scallions if you'd like. YUM.