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Cold Crab Dip

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This Cold Crab Dip comes together in just a few minutes, with a handful of ingredients. With a cream cheese base, cocktail sauce, and lots of crabmeat, this easy party dip makes a great appetizer for holidays, game days, and other occasions as well.

A cracker dipped into crab dip

Easy Crabmeat Appetizer

Like the vegetable dip I shared not too long ago, this Cold Crap Dip was a staple for holiday parties at my Grandmother’s house and subsequently at my mom’s parties as well.

It’s always a hit – both with the hostess (aka me) because it’s so quick and easy to prepare, and with the guests. The crab adds a fancy, elegant touch that makes it perfect for nicer gatherings as well as holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Eve but in reality, it comes together as quickly as any other dip. There’s nothing fancy about the prep!

Another reason to love this crabmeat appetizer? It’s the perfect make-ahead dish! You can make it up to 24 hours in advance and store it in the fridge, covered tightly. One less thing to worry about the day of the party!

A hand written recipe card in front of cold crab dip

Crab Dip Ingredients

Here are a few of the most important ingredients in this easy crab dip.

  • Crabmeat – Canned crabmeat works perfectly for this dip, no need to splurge on the expensive stuff.
  • Cream cheese – Room temperature for easier mixing.
  • Mayonnaise – Gives it a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Adds lots of flavor to the dip, giving it depth.
  • Cocktail sauce – Layered on top of the cream cheese mixture.
Ingredients for cold crab dip

Is Canned Crab Meat Real Crab?

Yes, canned lump crab meat is real crab meat. No mystery meat in this dip! Obviously, you’ll want to double-check the label but canned crab is almost pieces of jumbo lump crab broken into small pieces.

You can also use leftover fresh crab in this recipe if you have some.

Close-up angled view of cold crab dip

How to Make Crab Dip

Here’s how to make this easy crab meat appetizer

1. Prepare the crab. Strain the crab into a mesh strainer and rinse with cold water. Drain and flake with a fork.

2. Make the cream cheese mixture. Cream together the cream cheese, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Add the onion and spread on the bottom of the pie plate.

3. Layer the remaining ingredients. Spread the cocktail sauce over the cream cheese mixture then top with the crab meat and chopped parsley.

4. Chill. Refrigerate for 60 minutes. Serve with crackers for dipping.

Tips & Variations

Here are a few tips for the best crab dip, as well as a few ideas for switching it up.

  • Use softened cream cheese. Make sure the cream cheese is softened before beginning the recipe as it will make it so much easier to combine with the other ingredients.
  • Spice it up. While cocktail sauce usually has a kick to it, if you want to spice things up even more just add some diced jalapenos or a splash of Tabasco sauce to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Try it with sour cream. Sour cream can also be used in place of the mayonnaise for a slightly tangier flavor.
  • Mix the cream in with the cream cheese. While I prefer layered crab dip, you can also gently mix the lump crab meat into the cream cheese mixture.
A pie dish of cold crab dip with a few servings missing

What to Serve with It

My favorite way to serve cold crab dip is with buttery crackers, like Ritz. However, this would also be great paired with other dippers like:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Saltine crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Slices of Sourdough or Baguettes

Can I Make This In Advance?

You can absolutely make this a day in advance. I actually prefer to make this a day ahead, as I think it tastes even better after the flavors have had time to meld. If you plan to make it ahead, then I recommend adding the crab dip a couple of hours before serving.

How to Store

Cold crab dip can be stored in the fridge for 4 days or so, just keep it tightly wrapped with plastic wrap or in an airtight container.

Cold crab dip spread on a butter cracker

More Party Dip Recipes:

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Cold crab dip in a white pie pan

Cold Crab Dip

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Chill Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 15 servings

Description

This Cold Crab Dip comes together in just a few minutes, with a handful of ingredients. With a cream cheese base, cocktail sauce, and lots of crabmeat, this easy party dip makes a great appetizer for holidays, game days, and other occasions as well.

Ingredients

  • 8-ounce crabmeat, drained and flaked
  • 12 ounces full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • ½ bottle cocktail sauce
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
  • Crackers for serving

Instructions

  1. Strain the can of crabmeat into a fine mesh strainer, gently run cold water over it to rinse, and then drain and flake the crab meat with a fork.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice until smooth and well combined. Beat in the chopped onion and then spread in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Next, spread the cocktail sauce over top of the cream cheese mixture and top with the crab meat and chopped parsley.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 60 minutes. Serve chilled with crackers for dipping.

Notes

Make-ahead instructions: I actually prefer to make this a day ahead, as I think it tastes even better after the flavors have had time to meld. If you plan to make it ahead, then I recommend adding the crab dip a couple of hours before serving. 

Storage instructions: Cold crab dip can be stored in the fridge for 4 days or so, just keep it tightly wrapped with plastic wrap or in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving
118
2.2 g
269.1 mg
9.4 g
4.4 g
0.2 g
4.3 g
38.3 mg
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Refrigerator
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cold crab dip, crabmeat appetizer, party dip recipes

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