Baked Curried Crab Dip

It’s dungeness crab season in Northern California. Out of all of the options, this is one of my favorite ways to prepare crab; it’s an adaptation of a recipe that my parents got from one of their friends, who probably got it from a cookbook somewhere down the line, but I don’t even have my parents version written down anywhere.

(Even though I kind of wanted to call my folks and get the real recipe that I remembered, I was baking apple pie at the same time I was getting the crab dip ready.  I was way too covered in flour and crab juice to want to touch my phone.  Sometimes you get sucked into The Projects so far that texting someone for help is just hopeless, you know? Deep in the flour jungle, there’s no cell reception, you gotta just use your wits and fend for yourself.  No turning back.)Is it weird to work on these two projects at the same time? Yes.  Is apple pie delicious with no cinnamon, extra nutmeg, less sugar, and 1/2 c. of maple syrup? Also yes.  Anyway, the lack of recipe didn’t matter at all: the dip was delicious.  It being the holidays and all, if you were wanting to make some kind of festive party appetizer, this would be a strong candidate. Crab seems really high end, expensive ingredient, but it’s only $4.99/lb. for a whole steamed crab at the grocery store right now, so it’s really completely reasonable.

A note on breaking down whole crabs:

You don’t need a fancy seafood cracker.  I used a rolling pin.  Start with the claws and just give them a good smack and they’ll crack really easily. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can also use the non-sharp side of a big chef knife or cleaver, though this is slightly less effective.  You could also use a rock or something.  No need for special tools.  If you’ve never done this before,  I found this post here with good instructions for cleaning and cooking crab. 

So, you may notice that there’s no picture of the finished dip.

We ate it, really really fast.  Out of the oven and poof it was gone before I could think about my camera.  Don’t let the lack of an image fool you, though, you should still make this.

Baked Curried Crab Dip

Serves: about 6 people as an appetizer

Cook Time: 35 minutes


  • 1/2 c. cooked lump crabmeat*
  • 1 block of softened low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs. low-fat sour cream
  • 1 tbs. whole grain mustard
  • 1/8 c. minced onion
  • 1 tbs. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric**
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. grated fresh horseradish (or you can use prepared in a jar, if you don’t have access to fresh)
  • 2 tbs. fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c. shaved parmesan cheese plus another 1/4 c. to put on top of the dip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, gently fold together all of the ingredients (except 1/4 c. of the shaved parmesan cheese).  Lightly grease a small baking dish.  Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish and top with 1/4 c. shaved parmesan.  Bake for 15 min., or until the cheese on top has melted and the dip looks very lightly browned around the edges.   Serve hot, with crackers or baguette.  You can also make this dip a day ahead, store it in the fridge covered with saran, and pop it in the oven right before you want to serve it.

Oh, I’m 99% sure that my oven isn’t cooking at accurate temperatures right now, so I have to give a disclaimer and say that the times may be off.  Use yer eyeballs, you’ll know when it’s done.


*This was about half of the meat from a whole dungeness crab for me.  I’m saving the shells and the other half of the meat to make crab bisque.

**Curry powder works fine, though I don’t usually keep it in my spice cabinet.  Even garam masala would work if you don’t have turmeric. The point it for it to taste vaguely curried, not for you to go spend money.