This easy cold crab dip with cream cheese is always a hit! Made with fresh or canned crab and flavoured with horseradish, lemon, and crisp veggies, this is a light crab meat dip to serve with low-carb crackers or veggie sticks.
Q: When you're the lucky recipient of a fresh crab, straight from the ocean, what do you do with it?
A: Make an easy cold crab dip to share!
And that's exactly what I did. After removing the meat from the shell, I chopped up a few fresh veggies, adding some seasonings to a base of softened cream cheese and our dip was ready to devour in less than 10 minutes!
While hot crab dip loaded with cheese is always tasty, I wanted to make a lighter crab meat dip, so I opted for this low-carb version instead, which also happens to be keto-friendly.
Crab has a delicate flavour. This recipe allows it to shine through.
The combination of lemon and horseradish gives this cold crab dip just enough flavour without overpowering the crab meat.
Ready to make the best cold crab dip?
- cream cheese: full fat or light
- mayonnaise: low fat or Vegenaise, or substitute sour cream
- crab meat: fresh or canned. One fresh crab yields about 9 ounces of crab meat. If using canned crab meat, use 12 ounces, (2 cans) as the cans contain water as well. Drain it well.
- red bell pepper
- green onions
- radishes (optional, but they add colour and crunch)
- lemon zest
- lemon juice
- garlic: powdered works well in this recipe
- prepared horseradish
- black pepper
- sea salt
- parsley for garnish
- Make sure your cream cheese is softened and at room temperature, otherwise the dip will be lumpy.
- Begin by combining cream cheese, mayonnaise, horseradish, garlic and finely chopped bell peppers, celery and optional radishes. Stir until well combined.
- Add lemon zest and juice, remembering to zest the lemon before you cut or squeeze it. Zest only the thin outer part of the lemon peel, as the white portion is often bitter. Stir.
- Now all you have to do is gently stir in the fresh or canned crab meat being careful not to break it up too much. Lumps of crab meat are a good thing that people will seek out! Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.
- Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with freshly chopped parsley and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
🔁 Possible Variations
If you love horseradish, add another teaspoon. I kept it at 2 teaspoons, as I wanted the delicate flavour of crab to shine.
You can substitute sour cream for the mayonnaise if you'd prefer. However, the flavour will be a little different.
Radishes are optional, but I like the extra crunch and the colour they add to this cold crab dip with horseradish.
If you're short of crab, make this a cold crab and shrimp dip instead! Substitute cooked baby shrimp for some of the crab. It's delicious!
Use this recipe as a crab spread instead of a dip. Spread the cold dip on toasted crostini for fun finger food.
👍🏼 Helpful Tips
If you are new to removing crab meat from its shell, this video from Becky Selengut, author of Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast will be very helpful. Check it out! (affiliate link)
🥶 Can you freeze crab dip with cream cheese?
This seafood dip should be stored covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. This dip does not freeze well. Dips that contain cream cheese tend to lose their creamy texture when frozen. It's best eaten within two to three days, so you can easily make it the day before you plan to serve it.
🍽 What to serve with fresh crab dip
Serve this crab dip with low-carb tortilla chips, gluten-free crackers or toasted gluten-free flatbread. It's also delicious with Super Seedy Snack Crackers.
Keep it keto by offering fresh veggies like celery sticks, kohlrabi sticks, mini bell peppers, broccoli florets, or strips of red pepper for low-carb dipping choices.
If you make this crab dip, let me know! Leave a comment below. I love hearing when you've made one of my recipes.
Easy Cold Crab Dip
- 8 oz cream cheese, regular or low-fat, softened
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise, or sour cream
- 9 oz fresh crab meat, or 12 oz canned crab meat, well drained
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- ½ medium red bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 medium green onions, finely sliced
- 2 medium radishes, finely sliced (optional)
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 tsp prepared horseradish
- ¼ tsp black pepper, finely ground
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
- Make sure your cream cheese is softened, otherwise the dip will be lumpy.
- In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, prepared horseradish, lemon zest, garlic and veggies, stirring until well combined.
- Add lemon juice and zest and stir.
- Gently fold in crab. Garnish with chopped parsley or green onions.
- Refrigerate until serving time.