Warm Crab Dip with Fresh Herbs

This creamy, crowd-pleasing recipe is one of the most delicious things you can do with fresh crab. A base of caramelized shallots, cream cheese, mustard, and chives is topped with a golden breadcrumb crust. Bake the dip in a gratin dish to serve family style with toasted baguette slices or pita wedges, or divide among ramekins for an elegant first course.

Warm Crab Dip with Fresh Herbs
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Kay Clarke
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
10 to 12


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2/3 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

  • Salt

  • 1 large shallot, minced

  • 1 tablespoon dry vermouth

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

  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 3 tablespoons minced chives

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon

  • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat, drained and picked over

  • Cayenne pepper

  • Pita chips or toasted baguette slices, for serving


  1. Preheat the broiler, with oven rack in middle of oven. In a small glass bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a microwave on high heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and cook until just beginning to brown, 4 minutes. Add the vermouth and cook until nearly evaporated, about 10 seconds. Quickly add cream cheese, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, mustard, chives and tarragon. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly, just until cream cheese mixture is melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add crab and cook, stirring gently, just until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

  2. Spread the crab dip in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the crumbs over the crab dip and broil until the dip is heated through and the topping is golden, 5 to 7 minutes; shift the baking dish for even browning. Serve warm with pita chips or toasted baguette slices.

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