Creamy, cheesy, and loaded with a full pound of lump crab meat, this ultra-rich Crab and Artichoke Dip is a perfect appetizer for game day parties and year-round entertaining!
Visiting from Pinterest? I originally published this post in 2016 and updated it with new photos and video in 2019.
Crab and Artichoke Dip is one of my favorite restaurant appetizers. I especially like making it at home where I’m able to control the quality of ingredients and quantity of crab (no “fillers” here!).
When I was developing this recipe, I turned to inspiration from two of my favorite dip recipes: Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Hot Crab Salsa Dip. I used the base from my spinach dip, adding sour cream for extra creaminess. Like some of my favorite restaurant dips, I also swapped out the Italian 4-cheese shred for a blend of Cheddar and Monterey Jack, and paired the delicate crab with classic seasonings.
The first time I served this dip (a pre-blizzard batch during a football game), my friends were pretty much silent when they dug in. I’ve come to realize that this either means they’re indifferent about the recipe and it’s time to head back to the drawing board, or they’re totally and happily engrossed.
Just when I was starting to worry about the fate of my Crab and Artichoke Dip, one of them said, “The first bite was great, but the second, third, and fourth are addictive!”
Tips for Making the Best Crab Artichoke Dip
For the most delectable results with this recipe, a few tips are key:
- Ingredient Quality: In any recipe, but especially in a dip like this, the quality of each component will determine the quality of the final product. Use the best ingredients you can, from the crab (more on choosing a grade, below) to the cheeses and the artichoke hearts.
- Shred your own cheese: Pre-shredded cheeses are tossed with starches to prevent clumping in the bag. This can cause a gritty texture in a creamy dip like this. Buy blocks of cheese and grate them yourself, either using a box grater, or with the shredding disk on your food processor.
- Drain any wet ingredients well. Whether you’re using canned or frozen artichoke hearts, it’s best to place them in a strainer and press out any excess liquid. You’ll be surprised by how much they release. It’s better to have that liquid go in the sink than watering down the dip! You’ll also want to make sure your crab is well-drained, especially if using pasteurized.
- Season to taste and customize.Since the salt content in cheeses can vary by brand, I’ve left the salt quantities open-ended. Remember that crab itself is a delicate flavor. While you don’t want to overpower it, you’ll need to give it some seasoning to balance the dip’s rich components.
This kind of dip is very adaptable to your personal preferences, and I’ve added customization notes in the recipe card. Like it spicy? Add more hot sauce or substitute pepper jack cheese. Love Old Bay seasoning with crab? It’s great in this dip, too! Take the base recipe and tweak it to the flavors you and your guests like best.
What Grade of Crab Should I Buy?
I like to use lump crabmeat in this recipe, which is a combination of broken pieces of the “jumbo lump” and “special” grades. Since you’re stirring the crab into the dip and breaking it up, it isn’t necessary to splurge on jumbo lump.
You can substitute the special grade of crabmeat in this recipe if you’re unable to source lump. Claw grade is also readily available, but it’s a darker meat with a more prominent “crabby” flavor. It isn’t my favorite for this recipe.
Want to read more about crabmeat grades? Check out Understanding Crab Meat from Philips Foods.
Can I Use Canned Crabmeat?
I like to use fresh crabmeat whenever I can, but pasteurized also works well here. I prefer the refrigerated containers to shelf-stable canned crabmeat, which can vary in texture and flavor. You’ll find pasteurized crabmeat in the refrigerated section of the seafood department at your grocery store, and often, displayed on ice.
Don’t Forget to Remove the Cartilage!
Part of the reason I prefer grades of crabmeat with larger pieces, like lump, is that it’s much easier to remove the cartilage. A mouthful of cartilage in a creamy dip like this can really ruin the experience.
With any crabmeat you use, pick through it thoroughly to remove any stray cartilage before folding it into your dip. Your guests will thank you!
Serving Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip
It’s important to let this dip rest a few minutes before serving. When it first comes out of the oven, the dip is very creamy. Letting it sit for about 5 minutes for the texture and flavors to settle is essential. The dip will thicken as it starts to cool. Personally, I like it best when it’s warm but not piping hot.
I most often serve this dip with crostini or slices of French bread. It’s also great with crackers, lightly-salted tortilla chips, crudities (or just a spoon…but I swear, I would know nothing about that!).
This Crab and Artichoke Dip has become a staple on my Game Day menu and for casual entertaining. The recipe does make a large batch for a crowd, but you can easily halve it for a smaller group.
Leftovers? I’ve only had them twice when there was so much other food that it was impossible to finish the dip. Leftover dip keeps well refrigerated, in an airtight container, for about 3 days.
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Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip
- 16 ounces block-style cream cheese , softened
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ – ½ cup sour cream *
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2-3 cloves garlic , minced (depending on how garlicky you like your dip)
- hot sauce , to taste
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- ¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese , divided
- ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese , divided
- ½ cup thinly-sliced scallions , plus additional for garnish
- 2 cups coarsely chopped artichoke hearts (two 14-ounce cans, rinsed and drained well, or about a 12-ounce bag of frozen, defrosted and excess water pressed out)
- 1 pound lump crabmeat , picked over for cartilage
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper , to taste
- chopped flat-leaf parsley , for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2 to 3-quart baking dish (such as a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet) with cooking spray.*
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, a few dashes of hot sauce (if using), and Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Using a spoon or spatula, ½ cup Monterey Jack, ½ cup cheddar, and scallions, until combined. Fold in artichoke hearts and crabmeat. (Crab will break up as it’s folded; I like to try to leave a few larger chunks in the dip, where possible.) Season with salt, pepper, and extra hot sauce (if using), to taste.
- Transfer dip to prepared pan. Toss together remaining ¼ cup Monterey Jack and ¼ cup cheddar (or more if you like a cheesier top) and sprinkle over the dip. Place on a baking sheet and bake until dip is hot and bubbly, 25-30 minutes. If desired, you can place the dip under the broiler for a minute or two to brown the cheese, watching it closely so it doesn’t burn.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley and scallions to garnish, if desired. Let the dip stand 5-10 minutes before serving it warm with sliced baguette, crackers, crostini, tortilla chips, or crudités. The dip will thicken as it cools.
- For a spicy twist, substitute pepper jack cheese for the Monterey jack and omit the hot sauce or adjust it to taste.
- For a more strongly-flavored dip, add Old Bay Seasoning, to taste.