Crab Artichoke Dip

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Hot, bubbling crab dip with tender artichoke hearts and melted fontina cheese is the seriously addictive appetizer you need for your next party. Decadent lump crab meat is combined with a few simple ingredients and baked until golden perfection. Serve this hot crab artichoke dip to your guests and get the party started!

Shopping for Crab

It can be easy to get overwhelmed while shopping for crab. There’s fresh, frozen, and canned. There’s blue, snow, stone, king, and Dungeness crab– the list goes on. Which type of crab you will have available at your local grocery store often depends on where you live. Maryland blue crab is likely available if you live on the East Coast or in the Mid West. Dungeness crab is native to the West Coast and is often available only locally and seasonally. For this recipe, shop for either freshly picked Maryland blue crab or Dungeness crab. Always look for fresh-picked crab rather than canned or frozen if it’s available to you. In addition to the crab species, crab also is broken down into categories based on the kind, quality, and size of meat.

  • Jumbo lump crab meat consists of whole lumps of white meat from the body of the crab with no cartilage or shell. This is the most expensive and quality kind of crab meat.
  • Lump crab meat is the same type of meat as jumbo lump- all white meat from the body of the crab and nothing from the legs, claws, or fins. The pieces of meat will be slightly smaller than the jumbo lump due to the meat being broken up during the picking process. Lump crab meat is still great quality, and will be slightly less expensive than jumbo lump.
  • Backfin crab meat consists of smaller broken pieces of body meat. It has the appearance of a fine shred rather than distinct lumps of meat. Backfin meat tends to be watery and can sometimes have a strong fishy taste. Backfin meat can keep the cost down for this recipe, but since the crab should be the absolute star of the show, we suggest sticking to lump or jumbo lump meat.
  • Krab meat is imitation crab meat and should be avoided at all costs. Low-quality imitation crab is most often seen in sushi restaurants (shoutout to the California roll), but for this crab artichoke dip, stick to the good stuff.

Whether you go with Maryland blue or Dungeness crab, look for jumbo lump or lump crab meat when shopping for this recipe. This meat will be in larger pieces and yield the best flavor. And since crab is the featured flavor in this recipe, get the best quality meat you have available to you.

Can you make Crab Artichoke Dip ahead?

Crab artichoke dip can easily be made in advance by following a few easy steps. If you wish to make the dish the day before serving, mix together all the dip ingredients and transfer into the oven safe dish you plan to bake it in. Top with shredded cheese and cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate until ready to bake the next day. When you are ready, bake uncovered and serve piping hot.

If you want to get ahead with assembly more than one day before service, mix together all of the dip ingredients minus the crab. The crab should be bought fresh no more than one day prior to consumption. You can mix all of the dip ingredients without the crab meat and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. When you are ready to bake, Let the dip mixture come fully up to room temperature and then fold in the fresh crab. Transfer to an oven-safe dish, top with the remaining shredded cheese, and bake until bubbling hot.

More Great Appetizers

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Crab Artichoke Dip

Hot, bubbling crab dip with tender artichoke hearts and melted fontina cheese is the seriously addictive appetizer you need for your next party.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword crab artichoke dip
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Equipment

  • 8" oven safe dish

Ingredients

Crab and Artichoke Dip

  • 1 cup sliced leeks** about 1 large leek
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic minced or grated
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 lemon zest & juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped plus extra if desired for garnish
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fontina cheese grated
  • 10 ounces fresh jumbo lump or lump crab meat* picked over for shells

Baguette Crostini

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 clove garlic grated

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°. Cut the root end and the dark green tops off of the leek. Slice in half length-wise and then into thin, half-moon slices. Rinse the sliced leek thoroughly in a colander and pat dry.**
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the cleaned and sliced leeks in the butter with kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Once softened, add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl combine the softened cream cheese with the mayo, lemon zest & juice and tarragon. Fold in the cooked leeks and 1 cup of the shredded fontina cheese, reserving the remaining 1/2 cup for topping. Pat the coarsely chopped artichokes dry and fold into the cream cheese mixture.
  • Pick through the crab meat for shells and gently pat dry to remove any excess wetness. To the cream cheese mixture, add kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste and fold in the crab. Take care to not to break up the lumps of crab when folding, as the mixture will be thick at this stage.
  • Transfer the dip mixture into an 8" oven safe vessel and top with the remaining fontina cheese. Place the oven safe dish onto a baking sheet incase of spill over during baking. Bake uncovered in a 350° preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the dip is bubbling and the cheese is fully melted.
  • To add some additional brownness and toasty flavor, pop under the broiler on the top shelf of your oven for an additional minute or two, keeping a close eye. Once slightly golden, remove from the oven and top with extra chopped tarragon if desired for garnish. Enjoy piping hot with baguette crostini.

Baguette Crostini

  • Slice a French baguette diagonally into 1/2" slices and arrange on a sheet pan. In a small bowl, grate the garlic into the melted butter, and brush the tops of the baguette slices with the melted butter.
  • Bake in a 350° preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until firm and slightly toasty. These can go in the oven when the crab dip is about halfway through its bake time. Once firm and nicely toasted, remove the crostini from the oven. Serve while the crab and artichoke dip is piping hot.

Notes

*Jumbo lump crab meat consists of whole lumps of white meat from the body of the crab. Lump crab meat is the same type of meat as jumbo lump, but the pieces of meat will just be slightly smaller due to the meat being broken up during the picking process. Backfin crab meat consists of smaller broken pieces of body meat and is not ideal for this recipe as is it tends to be watery and can sometimes have a strong fishy taste. 
**Do not skip thoroughly rinsing your leeks. Leeks grow in a sandy environment, and a little bit of sand will surely ruin this delicious dip! Leeks are easiest to clean after they are sliced, as the sand can get inside the layers of the stalk.

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