Cold Crab Dip Recipe

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This cold crab dip is the perfect appetizer for your next potluck or party. Tangy, cold, and excellent on a cracker.

cold crab dip

Cold Crab Dip Recipe

I love dips. It’s hard for me to pass up a dip like a Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip, Chili Cheese Dip, or Homemade Veggie Dip. This cold crab dip is no exception.

It would be perfect for a summer cookout, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve. Cocktail sauce is mixed in the dip and layered on top, giving it the perfect zesty flavor to any scoop of this delicious cold crab dip.

What You’ll Love about this Crab Dip Recipe

Old-Fashioned Flavor – With a creamy and tangy flavor that reminds me of holiday parties of my childhood

Easy-to-Make – Whip this together in a matter of minutes and serve

Make Ahead – This dip can be made ahead of time, which frees up time on your event day

It’s Perfect – It’s a great dip for any summer potluck, baby shower, or holiday celebration

This dip looks great – Impress your guests with this good-looking dip

Ingredients and Notes

crab dip ingredients

Crab Meat – I used lump crab meat right out of the can. I love the flavor of real crab meat, but I’ve also used imitation crab meat for this recipe, and it is also delicious. You’ll want to get flake-style imitation crab to easily cut it up for the dip.

Cream Cheese – Contributes the creaminess to this dip. You’ll want to use softened cream cheese so you can easily whip it with the other ingredients.

Lemon Juice – Adding another layer of tanginess to this cold dip

Cocktail Sauce – Perhaps my favorite ingredient with this dip. There are so many beautiful flavors in cocktail sauce, like horseradish and a ketchup base.

Onion Powder – Adding another deep layer of savory flavor to this tangy crab dip

How to Make Cold Crab Dip

Drain and squeeze the water out of the crab meat

Place the cream cheese, lemon juice, cocktail sauce, and onion powder in a medium bowl.

making crab dip

Mix until well combined, and there are no lumps in the cream cheese.

mixing crab dip

Fold in the crab meat.

making cold crab dip

Scoop the dip out onto a serving platter

Pour a layer of cocktail sauce over the crab dip. You can spread it over the entire dip or make a wide line of cocktail sauce down the middle.

dipping cracker in crab dip

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve

Serving Suggestion

Sprinkle parsley onto the crab on top of the crab dip

Expert Tips

Blend Well: Whip the cream cheese with the other ingredients before adding the crab meat.

Don’t Over Mix: You don’t want to over-mix the crab meat and release crab juice into your dip.

Chill: This crab dip can be served immediately, but it is better if cold. If you have time, refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

Make it Your Own: Add your favorite flavor to this dip. Add black pepper for a bit of heat. Garlic would be delicious.

What to Serve with this Cold Crab Dip

  • Crackers – We love butter crackers with this dip.
  • Veggies – Sliced carrots, celery, and cauliflower are all great vegetable dippers for this recipe.


Can this dip be left at room temperature?

Yes. This dip can be left out for a couple of hours. Lemon juice helps to preserve crab meat.

To keep this dip cold and safe, place your platter in a bowl of ice

Make Ahead and Storage

This dip can be made ahead of time. Make this dip up to a few days in advance.

Storing: Store covered tightly with clear wrap and refrigerate

More Appetizers You’ll Love

Serving Size

This dip will serve ten people

Double or triple this recipe to serve more people

cold crab dip with cocktail sauce

Cold Crab Dip Recipe

Cold and flavorful crab dip appetizer
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Preperation 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 112 kcal


  • 6 oz. lump crab meat
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 6 oz. cocktail sauce divided
  • 1 tsp. onion powder


  • Drain and squeeze juice out of the crab meat
  • Mix the cream cheese, lemon juice, 3 oz. of the cocktail sauce, and onion powder
  • Place dip into a serving platter
  • Pour the rest of the cocktail sauce over the dip and spread
  • Optional: sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over dip


Nutrition facts are only an estimate. 
Double or triple to serve more 


Calories: 112kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 5gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 442mgPotassium: 135mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 425IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword holidays, make ahead
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