Food & Nutrition

Healthy Hot Crab Dip

This spicy creamy Hot Crab Dip is a fantastic healthier appetizer to share for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve or game day! It may be lighter than a traditional crab dip made with lots of mayo, but I assure you this one will blow the doors off any hot crab dip you’ve tried before! It is packed with sweet delicious crab, spicy Sriracha, lemon zest, scallions and spices. It’s even good served cold!

overhead view of the dip with a hand dipping a cracker into it

I originally shared this hot crab dip on January 19th, 2019. I have updated some of the content to share it with you again today.

Table of contents

Why You’ll Love This Hot Crab Dip Recipe

In my first cooking job as a prep cook, one of my tasks was to make sure the restaurant was well-stocked with crab dip. The version at the pub consisted of two giant bricks of softened cream cheese, a couple packages of mock crab, Parm, scallions, Old Bay and sour cream. It made an enormous amount but we sold boat loads of it because folks loved it!

I loved the creamy texture, the sweet crab and the Old Bay seasoning all mixed together, baked and then served with crackers. It was the perfect appetizer to share with friends. Don’t worry, today’s recipe is more appropriately portioned for making in a home kitchen, and it is much healthier than the one I just described!

Recipe Highlights

  • Today’s version of crab dip is loaded with fresh crab, seasoned with Old Bay, Sriracha and fresh lemon zest and juice.
  • I have lightened it up with lower-fat cream cheese and only a few tablespoons of Parmesan. But it is still supremely delicious.
  • I can attest it is even good cold!
  • It can also be made ahead so it is great for entertaining!

Serve it warm with crackers and get ready for the rave reviews to start pouring in. This hot crab dip is a real crowd-pleaser. Serve it for a Thanksgiving appetizer, Christmas, New Year’s or game day.

The yogurt made this crab dip so much lighter! Perfect for a Friday night in with the husband after a long work week. I will be making this recipe again.

~Diane

Ingredient Notes

the crab dip ingredients

Reduced Fat Cream Cheese

This recipe starts with reduced-fat cream cheese also called Neufchatel. (See packaging above.) It has 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese, but with all of the other ingredients, you don’t miss the extra fat.

Mayonnaise And Greek Yogurt

I only used 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (some recipes for crab dip call for a full cup!) Instead I added in 2/3 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt- which keeps the dip creamy but adds far fewer calories.

Seasonings

Here’s where we drive to flavor town with reckless abandon. Lemon zest, check! Old Bay, check! Parm, check! Sriracha, double check!

Fresh Crab

To all of the deliciousness, I just described you’ll be adding in a whole pound of crab meat. Suffice it to say- there is nothing “mock” about this Hot Crab Dip recipe. Find pasturized crab meat in the refrigerated section of the seafood department. Make sure to pick through to remove any pieces of shell or hard cartilage.

How To Make Hot Crab Dip

coating the baking dish with cooking spray and the cream cheese and seasoning mixture

Step 1: Preheat Oven and Prep Baking Dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 4 cup baking dish or skillet with cooking spray.

Step 2: Mix Cream Cheese With Seasonings

Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, about 15 to 30 seconds. Add Greek yogurt, a little at a time and mix until evenly incorporated. Add in mayonnaise, sriracha, old bay seasoning, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat to combine.

mix the crab in by hand and putting in the baking dish

Step 3: Stir Crab in By Hand

Stirring by hand, add in scallions, crab meat and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Step 4: Bake the Dip

Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake until hot, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions if using. Serve the dip with crackers.

the baked crab dip on a cutting board with crackers around it

FAQs and Expert Tips

What kind of crab should I use for dip?

Unless you buy live crabs, whether in the shell or picked, crab is cooked and ready to eat. Usually, pasteurized crab meat is sold in sealed cans or plastic jars. There are various types such as claw, fancy, lump or special. In the case of this recipe, since the crab is mixed together with the other ingredients, you do not need to spring for the fancy or lump type. I would choose the least expensive option.

Do I have to bake it?

No, because the crab is fully cooked and ready to eat you can eat this dip without baking it. In fact I like it just as much when it is served cold! It is great with celery sticks and veggies for a lighter option!

What is crab dip served with?

We always have it with crackers, but it is also great with crostini or raw vegetables.

Is crab dip low-carb?

Yes! Serve it with low-carb dippers such as cheese crisps and low carb veggies.

Can this be made ahead?

Prepare the dip and place it in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bake covered with foil for 15 minutes. Then uncover and continue baking until hot all the way through.

More Dips To Try

If you haven’t tried my Roasted Garlic Hummus recipe, that’s another one to try!

This Spinach Dip is naturally gluten-free and has only 7 ingredients in it! 

crab dip closeup with a cracker dipping in

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

Print

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Description

This spicy creamy Hot Crab Dip is a fantastic healthier appetizer to share for with friends and family! It is packed with sweet delicious crab, spicy Sriracha, lemon zest, scallions and spices. It’s even good served cold!


  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (neufcatel), softened
  • 2/3 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 16 ounces pasteurized crab meat, picked
  • 4 scallions, chopped plus more for garnish if desired
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 15 oz Crackers, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 4 cup baking dish or skillet with cooking spray.
  2. Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, about 15 to 30 seconds. Add Greek yogurt, a little at a time and mix until evenly incorporated. Add in mayonnaise, sriracha, old bay seasoning, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat to combine.
  3. Stirring by hand, add in scallions, crab meat and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake until hot, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions if using. Serve the dip with crackers.

Notes

To Make Ahead: prepare through step 3. Cover with foil and refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance. Bake covered, 15 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until hot all the way through.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: appetizer
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons dip and 5 crackers
  • Calories: 91
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g

Keywords: Crab Dip,Healthy Crab Dip

About the Author

Katie Webster

Katie Webster studied art and photography at Skidmore College and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. She has been a professional recipe developer since 2001 when she first started working in the test kitchen at EatingWell magazine. Her recipes have been featured in numerous magazines including Shape, Fitness, Parents and several Edible Communities publications among others. Her cookbook, Maple {Quirk Books} was published in 2015. She launched Healthy Seasonal Recipes in 2009. She lives in Vermont with her husband, two teenage daughters and two yellow labs. In her free time, you can find her at the gym, cooking, stacking firewood, making maple syrup, and tending to her overgrown perennial garden.

Source: healthyseasonalrecipes.com

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