This baked Hot Crab Artichoke Dip is made with artichoke hearts and Philadelphia cream cheese resulting in a chunky, creamy, cheesy, flavorful dip. You can use fresh jumbo lump crab meat or imitation crab. I also added a secret ingredient that pairs incredibly well with crab!
My secret ingredient in my hot crab artichoke dip is.....
HORSERADISH! Ahhh! I know...don't click that left arrow...I promise it's worth it.
Actually, my husband is NOT a fan of horseradish at ALL. But when he tasted this dip he said...and I quote, "This is good...real good...damn." Lol! So maybe he DOES like horseradish after all? BUT if you have never tried it, I highly suggest you do because crab and horseradish go together extremely well.
Crab dip is really my favorite appetizer to order at the local Joe's Crab Shack, Cheesecake Factory or ANY restaurant in the summer! It is HOT, bubbly and always hits the spot.
It is one of those crowd-pleasing dips that always has guests hunching over while asking, "what's IN this?!". You can tell them, or keep it your secret. That's up to you. 🙂
This version of crab dip is LIKE the classic spinach artichoke dip but it's BETTER!
I love that it's made without mayo, since I've never been a HUGE fan...plus, I don't think it's needed. Instead I use cream cheese and sour cream, a deliciously creamy combo that just works!
- Lump crab meat- You can use any crab meat you prefer or can afford. Obviously the more expensive, the better the dip. See my crab choices below!
- Cream cheese- Philadelphia Cream Cheese is my go to cream cheese. You can use low fat if you prefer but I always opt for full fat since it offers more flavor. This should not be substituted or omitted.
- Sour cream- This adds some tang and smooths out the dip so it's not too dense. Again, use low fat if you prefer.
- Marinated artichokes- You can find marinated artichokes in either two places in your food store. In a jar near the jarred peppers or near the antipasti or salad bar. More artichoke tips below.
- Horseradish- Ahh, my secret ingredient! Why? Because I don't like boring. Who does? You will be so surprised at how well it goes with the crab. Trust me. My husband hates horseradish but he loves this dip so don't knock it 'till ya try it!
- Dijon mustard- A must in crab dips. Again, I don't like mustard by itself but with the crab and cream cheese, it's awesome.
- Lemon juice- Adds a much needed brightness and pairs perfectly with seafood like crab.
- Worcestershire sauce- Worcester-WHAT? Luckily you don't need to know how to say it to be able to use it. It is another must ingredient that adds some umami. It is in MANY crab dips. If you don't have a bottle in your fridge, go grab one. A little goes a long way so it will last you months.
Making this crab dip is NOT hard! Just follow a few tips and it will come out perfect every time!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F or bake later before guests arrive or when arriving at your party. See tips below.
- Drain your artichokes and chop them up. This is crucial if using jarred or frozen artichokes.
- Add all ingredients EXCEPT for the crab in a large bowl or mixer and blend everything together. You do NOT want to break up your crab lumps because that is what we're paying for after all.
- Drain any excess liquid from your crab meat and add it to the bowl. Fold the crab in gently using a rubber spatula. Folding means exactly as it sounds. The point is to gently incorporate the crab.
- Spread your dip in an even layer on the bottom of a small casserole dish. (I used a 9" by 6" rectangular dish.) You can use a round one if you wish but not too big. You want your dip to be at least 1" deep. If using a larger or smaller dish, you will want to adjust your baking times.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until warmed through, golden brown on top and bubbly around the edges.
- Finish by turning your broiler on for 5 minutes or so. You want the top to get lightly browned. Garnish with scallions.
Tip* Using your broiler is a great way to brown the top of your crab dip without drying it out! Plus, it makes for a prettier presentation.
Choosing Which Crab Meat To Use
Visit your local fish monger or go to the seafood section of your grocery store. You will find either canned crab meat on the shelf. You can choose between:
- Jumbo lump- larger lumps and the most expensive.
- Lump- smaller lumps and the second best option.
- Backfin- this is a combination of jumbo lump crab and special grade meat, that is more loose and separated.
- Claw- Claw meat is like chicken's dark meat. It is more intense in flavor and would be great for this dip since the flavor would definitely come through.
- Blue crab- this is more mild and slightly sweet.
You can also take a peak at what's behind the glass. Sometimes they have fresh crab meat to offer as well. If you want, you can also use frozen crab meat if you can't find the others.
I would choose the freshest crab meat you can find. Jumbo lump crab meat is always the best and what most people appreciate when eating crab. If you cannot find jumbo lump or don't want to spend the money, your next best option is simply "lump" or "special grade" crab meat both of which would work great especially for this dip!
Note**Make sure you look for pasteurized crab meat. Crab that is "pasteurized" is put through a pasteurization process to kill any bacteria making it safe to eat straight out of the can or tin. If it is NOT pasteurized, you will need to cook it before adding it to your dip.
Can I Use Imitation Crab Meat?
If you REALLY want to save a buck, you can use imitation crab meat aka "krab" meat. It really tastes like crab but is a fraction of the price! Imitation crab is made using a type of white fish instead of crab. It is very tasty. I use it to make my Imitation Crab Salad and my Tempura Fried Crab Stick Bites.
No one needs to know it's not REAL crab meat do they? Nahh..
If you're curious, you can read here about the different types of crab meat and which is best for what.
Jarred, Fresh or Frozen Artichokes?
I am all about stress-free entertaining so why go through the trouble of preparing a whole raw artichoke when they have them already prepared for you? Work smarter not harder people. 🙂
Bonus if you can find the MARINATED artichokes! They are usually in the jarred food aisle near the jarred peppers OR in the salad/antipasti section of your grocer. Some are packaged whole and some cut into quarters. Either one works since you will be chopping your artichokes up into pieces anyway.
They really add another level of flavor to this crab dip and I highly recommend you try it out. If you love spinach artichoke dip, then you'll definitely love crab with artichokes!
You can change up this crab dip a bit by adding some other ingredients to swapping a few out. Most dips are very versatile and as long as you stick with the main ingredients, the cream cheese and sour cream, you can play around with other flavors, seasonings or condiments as you wish.
Here are some other add-ins or substitutes you might want to add to your dip:
- Peppers/jalapenos/pimentos- They will add a sweetness or spiciness to your dip.
- Onions/shallots- I recommend mincing your onion so people don't bite into large chunks of raw onion. Shallots are great since they're sweeter.
- Tomatoes- They should be dices small without the seeds or your dip will become watery.
- Garlic- Definitely a flavor booster!
- Chili/cayenne powder- If you like some heat!
- Old Bay seasoning- If you love a flavorful Maryland crab dip, Old Bay is your best friend. It SCREAMS summer and is the peanut butter to crab's jelly.
- Cheddar/fontina/mozzarella/Monetrey jack/Parmesan- cheese- Many crab dips have cheese so choose which you like best. Parmesan can easily be sprinkled on top as a flavor garnish.
- Corn- Corn will add a sweetness and crunch that I guarantee everyone will LOVE.
- Hot sauce/sriracha- Again, if you like some more heat.
- Spinach- Why not make a spinach, crab AND artichoke dip?!
You can dip almost anything into crab dip. A crowd favorite dipper is mini crostini. For a gluten free option, I would also offer guests veggies.
- Crostini- Many bakeries sell pre-bagged crostini or you can even find some in the cracker aisle. You can also make your own by slicing a skinny baguette and baking them in the oven until crispy.
- Pita triangles- Look in the bread aisle near the rolls for pita bread. Cut like a pizza into mini triangles and serve them serve soft or baked for a crispier bite.
- Naan bread- I am naan obsessed. I like to think of it as pita's softer, cuddlier, TASTIER cousin. Also near the rolls in most bakeries.
- Bread Cubes- If you cannot find crostini and want to serve with bread, slice a loaf of freshly baked bread into cubes or simply rip them into small bite-sized pieces. Rustic is in right?
- Tortilla chips- A favorite dipper however they do break much easier than crostini so keep this in mind. I recommend Tostitos scoops since they are perfectly shaped for scooping!
- Crackers- The most classic thing to serve with any crab dip and often my go-to. I prefer mine buttery and round. I recommend serving with a few different cracker options including GF.
- Bell pepper slices- I recommend slicing your bell peppers intro thin strips and using all four colors, green, red, yellow and orange for a beautiful presentation. Another idea is to look out for those mini bell peppers in the produce section. When sliced in half, they would make a great dipper!
- Carrots- Either slice a regular carrot into dipper sticks or serve with baby carrots.
- Celery- Slice celery into 3-4" sticks.
- Endive leaves- Endive leaves are great for dipping and offer a slightly bitter note. They are fancier than celery and will have people talking.
Make It In Advance!
I love dips because most of them can be made ahead of time. Since this is a hot crab dip, I suggest doing everything but baking it. Then chill in the fridge covered with plastic wrap or foil overnight if needed. Then, when you're ready to serve your crab artichoke dip HOT, throw it in the oven straight from your fridge. You can make this dip 2-3 days in advance and bake it off just in time for your party.
If you want to make this weeks in advance, you can of course freeze it. You have three options for freezing:
- Freeze in the casserole dish you want to bake it in. Just make sure the dish is freezer-proof. (Using those inexpensive aluminum baking dishes are awesome for make-ahead dips!)
- Freeze in a storage or Tupperware container and seal with a lid or plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Then defrost, transfer to casserole dish, flatten out and bake as stated in the instructions.
- Freeze in a plastic freezer bag. Once you scoop the dip in, press the crab dip down gently so it lays flat. Then remove all air from the bag. Freeze flat to make for easy storage. Then defrost, transfer to casserole dish, flatten out and bake as stated in the instructions.
*When freezing, make sure the crab dip is completely covered and minimal air is in contact with the dip. This will prevent freezer burn which can ruin your dip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ehhh, let's just say it's not low fat.
I have not yet tried it in a slow cooker but if you try it, please leave a comment below to share how it turned out! 🙂
Yes, that would be fine! Just make sure the size is close to 9" in diameter so it bakes in time.
Other party dips you might like:
Hot Crab Artichoke Dip (With Cream Cheese)
- 8 oz. lump pasteurized crab meat (See notes*)
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1¼ cup sour cream
- 8 oz. marinated artichokes, jarred (See notes*)
- 1½ tbsp horseradish
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp scallion, chopped (or chives)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Drain your artichokes well and chop them up. Not too small. Do not rinse.
- Add all ingredients EXCEPT for the crab in a large bowl or mixer and blend everything together.
- Drain your crab meat and add it to the bowl. Fold (mix gently) the crab using a rubber spatula being careful not to break up the crab.
- Spread your dip in an even layer on the bottom of a small casserole dish. (I used a 9" by 6" rectangular dish.) You can use a round one if you wish but not too big. You want your dip to be at least 1" deep. Sprinkle with paprika.
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until warmed through and bubbly around the edges. If the top is not golden brown, you can brown it a bit by turning your broiler on for 5 minutes or so.
- Garnish with chopped scallions or chives.