New England-Style Crab Dip with Brown-Butter Crumbs


Boston chef Matt Jennings tops this simple, crab-packed dip with supercrispy brown-butter breadcrumbs. Slideshow:  More Holiday Hor d'Oeuvres Recipes 

New England–Style Crab Dip with Brown-Butter Crumbs
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins


  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup minced celery

  • 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper

  • 2 tablespoons finely grated sweet onion

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Tabasco

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 4 ounces day-old rustic white bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Crostini, chips or radicchio leaves, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, blend the mayonnaise with the celery, green pepper, onion, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, hot sauce and cayenne. Fold in the crab and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the bread until fine crumbs form. Spread the breadcrumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until crisp.

  3. In a large skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until the milk solids turn dark golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the toasted breadcrumbs and season with salt.

  4. Scrape the crab mixture into a 10-inch round baking dish or skillet. Sprinkle the brown-butter crumbs evenly on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden on top and bubbling at the edge. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving with crostini, chips or radicchio leaves.

Make Ahead

The crab dip can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight.

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