Hot Crab Dish


A close cousin of casseroles, hot dish is a staple on family dinner tables and potlucks across the Midwest United States. This version channels the flavor and fun of a crab boil, with Old Bay seasoning, dashes of Worcestershire and hot sauce, and a hint of lemon, adding layers of flavor to sweet fresh lump crabmeat. Frozen potato tots add crunch to this creamy casserole, making it a hearty and filling dinner.

Crab Hot Dish
Photo: Photo by Will Dickey / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
55 mins


  • 3 cups frozen potato tots (about 60 tots) (from 1 [28-ounce] pkg.)

  • 1.74 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, divided

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 medium (1 1/2 ounce each) shallots, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

  • 1 large (2 1/2 ounces) celery stalk, finely chopped (1/3 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) dry vermouth

  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) cream cheese, softened

  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh chives

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, drained and picked over


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange tots in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the Old Bay. Do not turn oven off.

  2. While tots bake, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium. Add shallots and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add vermouth; cook, stirring constantly, until mostly evaporated, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

  3. Stir together cream cheese, chives, mayonnaise, sour cream, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons Old Bay in a large bowl. Fold in crabmeat and shallot mixture. Spread mixture in a 1-quart gratin baking dish. Top evenly with tots. Bake at 425°F until crab mixture bubbles around the edges, about 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.

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