Crab Fondue

My friend and neighbor Molly passed along her mother’s recipe for crab fondue the other day. It’s a tradition in her family to prepare this hot crab dip while everyone is gathered for the holidays. Garrett and I whipped up a batch recently, adding wine, onion greens, and more spice to the original recipe. As Molly says, it’s “totally addictive”. Good for gatherings on cold winter days.

Crab Fondue Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8.

We also peeled and chopped up bosc pears to use for dipping in this recipe. If you are avoiding wine, just use water to get to desired consistency.

Ingredients

  • 18 ounces (3 6-oz packages) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (yellow or Dijon)
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar (or 1 Tbsp corn starch if you want to skip the sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning (or paprika with a little ground ginger and cayenne)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup dry white wine or dry sherry (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 lb to 1 lb of lump crab meat, fresh or canned
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion greens, chives, or parsley
  • Day old French or Italian loaf bread (best not fresh or will fall apart when dipped), cubed into 1-inch cubes

Method

1 Slowly heat the cream cheese, mayo, powdered sugar, garlic powder, Old Bay, lemon zest, and mustard in a double boiler until the cheese is completely melted. (If you don't have a double boiler, fill a saucepan a third of the way with water and bring to a boil, place a metal bowl over the saucepan. This will work as a double boiler.)

2 Slowly stir in the wine and lemon juice (adjust quantities to taste and desired consistency). Slowly stir in the crab meat and onion greens.

To serve, transfer to a heated chafing dish or fondue pot to keep warm. Present with bread cubes and forks for dipping.

crab-fondue-3.jpg

37 Comments

  1. jonathan

    If Molly says it’s totally addictive, then that’s all I need.

    I looked at the right side of this page for the ivillage feed, hoping to find something as exciting as the Bacon Rice Krispie Treats that I found the other day.

    Today, it’s…”Would you eat squirrel?”

    The short answer is, “I might, if there were wine and bacon involved.”

    Make that a lot of wine and bacon.

  2. Kelly

    Looks great! Think I’ll save this recipe for Valentines Day. Thanks for all the great recipes, you should do a cookbook!!

  3. Tabitha (From Single to Married)

    This looks amazing!! I wonder if it’s noticeable if you don’t use the wine or sherry?

    If you don’t use the wine or sherry, I would substitute water just to get a more creamy consistency, otherwise the dish will be more like a thick dip and less like a fondue. I also would make sure I had lemon juice, because the dish does need an acid to balance it. ~Elise

  4. Lindsey

    This looks AWESOME!! I can’t wait to try it! I think I’ll opt for the white wine instead of the sherry. I think wine would have a more subtle flavor in it than the sherry.

  5. Lisa

    My sister in law gave us a fondue pot for Christmas and this looks like the perfect christening for it! Thanks for this yummy idea!! :)

  6. Natasha

    I make a dip similar to this, but I use cream of mushroom soup instead of cream cheese and tuna fish instead of crab.
    I’m going to try this one. It looks delicious! Thank you!

  7. Annie

    Omigosh, crab fondue and PEAR? I never would have put those two together but my mental taste buds are watering. (Does that even make sense?)

  8. Allison

    This looks great and I have a fondue pot ready to be broken in, but… wondering if you could swap light cream cheese/mayo to cut down on the calories and fat?

  9. Theresa in Bexhill

    Made this today and it was fabulous! I used a third of cream cheese, brie and a creamy Lancashire. Very tasty.

  10. caroline

    I love crab and just got a mini crockpot for Christmas, which should be perfect for this. However, I’m a bit disturbed by the 3 packages of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of mayo– that’s a LOT of fat! Any suggestions on how to lighten this?

  11. Jeanne

    Oh. My. Word. Crab fondue – a culinray delight that I’d never even imagined! A whole new world has opened up before me :) I am *so* making this next time we have a small gathering of friends!

  12. Kelli Lynn

    Wow. This recipe is fantastic – thank you, Molly & Garrett so much. I made a variation of it yesterday for an inaugural dinner party – lightened it up a smidge using 16 oz of low-fat (neufatel) cream cheese and 1/2 a cup low-fat buttermilk instead of the mayo. We also used 1 lb of roasted flaked tillapia instead of crab (because one of the guests was allergic to shellfish) and sweet onion and fresh thyme instead of green onion and fresh garlic instead of powder (because it was what was on hand, blah, blah, blah…). Even with these changes it was gorgeous. So thank you for the last minute addition to our party!

  13. amanda

    I love that there is an option to skip the sugar, after you have already added three packages of cream cheese and mayo. That’s the kind of recipe I like!

  14. Marianne

    My husband made this for dinner the other night with a salad. It was very good; however, being originally from Baltimore, we used a lot more Old Bay seasoning. Why the sugar? Next time we will omit the sugar (added inappropriate sweetness and detracted from the crabmeat), and make it thinner. It’s more like a dip because of the thickness. Very good though, just omit the sugar.

  15. Deborah Dowd

    I love fondue,and we live in crab country, so this has got to be a winner!!I don’t know why I never put these two together!! I think I am making this for Super Sunday!

  16. Bill B

    Made this for the main course tonight. Served it with a simple dinner salad and homemade ranch dressing. The crab fondue was really pretty good, but it’s a bit much… We did follow the recipe (observing that the powdered sugar was interesting – not sure I’d do that again – it added a sweetness which made me think of a dip more than dinner). The cream cheese was simply a little overwhelming as a dinner course. We did end up needing more wine to thin it out after a while. That said, the flavor was top-notch! I could easily see putting this out as an appetizer or as a hot dip at a party.

    Yes, I think of this much more as a dip/appetizer than a traditional fondue which one would serve as a main course. ~Elise

  17. robin

    I made this with fat free cream cheese instead of regular and olive oil based mayo to lighten it up. Still tasted DELICIOUS and the other flavors come through great- went on the heavier side with the sherry and old bay, similar to flavors in she-crab soup. Hubby loved it.wouldn’t have known the difference.

  18. Linda In Washington State

    I love crab. My husband catches Dungness crab when it is crabbing season. Not the crab pot way but when he scuba dives. 1st time he crabbed, he came home with just one crab but was worth the price of the crabbing license.
    I have a question about your fondue. Did you make the mayo or did you use the bottled mayo? Not a mayo snob here I use both lol. I bet roasted garlic would be good too instead of the garlic powder.

    Hi Linda, I just used the jarred mayo for this. Roasted garlic would be a great addition. Your husband dives for crabs? Awesome! My brother has a friend who is a crab fisherman; he’s promising to show up soon with a bunch of live ones. There is nothing better than fresh crab. ~Elise

  19. Heather

    While I use your recipes all the time, I haven’t posted before.

    I made this last night. Like another poster, I am used to crab dishes having more of a kick so I will notch up the old bay next time.

    I used regular dry white wine (what I was drinking at the time) and I wished I would have used sherry.

  20. Jill

    Thank you for sharing you friend’s recipe here. I made it for the Super Bowl and it was fantastic! I confess I doubled the amount of crab required.. I also used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese to appease my lactose-alergic brother, and no one could tell! The warming pot got too much for it, and it did separate by halftime, so be careful to maintain a steady temp (may have been the “fake” cream cheese).

  21. Kristi

    My in-laws are coming over for dinner this weekend, and I’m planning to make this – yum! I know this is ridiculous given the small amount called for in the recipe, but I have a total aversion to mayo, so the idea of including it is giving me a slight case of the heebies (though I’m sure I’d scarf down the fondue if I didn’t know mayo was an ingredient). Can you think of a reasonable substitute that I could try? I’m having trouble coming up with something, as I’m not quite sure what function the mayo serves. Would goat cheese work? Or should I just suck it up and include the mayo? Thanks as always for the great recipes and tips!

  22. Pam

    Does anyone remember the crab fondue that was served at the now defunct Rugby’s Restaurant chain? They served it with french bread and apple slices. I have searched the internet in vain unable to even find anything to do with Rugby’s. It’s like they never existed. I don’t know if they were a national chain or just here in Ohio. I’ve dreamt of enjoying their version for many years, so I’m hoping to find the recipe. Any help would be appreciated.

  23. Katie

    I just made this…OH MY!
    I keep telling myself “Katie..there are 3 packages of cream cheese, AND mayo in this..step away.” Of course it doesn’t work. AMAZING! I would make this again in a heart beat!

  24. justme

    Yum! I added some leftover mascarpone to the cream cheese to make 18 ounces. I left the sugar/ cornstarch out. I used sherry and a bit more Old Bay. I also added some white pepper. Served with steamed asparagus and toasted ciabatta cubes. My husband is in heaven ;) Perfect night in! Thank you for another great recipe!

  25. Christina Bell

    I made the fondue for my husband and two guests. Unfortunetly, no one liked it, including me and we all love crab. thank for the idea though :)

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