Emeril’s Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip

Creole Crab

Emeril’s Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip


Just in time for your New Year’s Eve soirée! This elegant, creamy hot crab dip from Emeril is just what you need to nibble with champagne.

Tom’s nephew brought this dip to Thanksgiving many, many years ago. It was so AMAZING, and I loved it so much, that he bought me Emeril’s Creole Christmas cookbook as a gift that same year (although the dip recipe is not in there, there are lots of yummy recipes and menu ideas).
It must have been 1997 as that was the year the cookbook came out. Emeril is practically unrecognizable!


For some reason, this recipe fell out of rotation (probably as it is hard to find crab at a reasonable price here in Southern California), until last year when my sister-in-law called to ask a question about the recipe.

Couple of suggestions. Even though it is expensive use the best quality crab available … lump or jumbo lump crab. There should be lump crab in the seafood section of your market. The crab sold in the tuna section of the market is usually of lower quality.

The other thing is the hot sauce. Emeril’s recipe doesn’t specify a particular hot sauce although I see that he uses tabasco chiles (30,000 to 50,000 SHU) or Serrano chiles (10,000 – 23,000 SHU) in his homemade hot sauce recipe… BAM!   We are partial to Lottie’s Traditional Barbados Yellow Hot Pepper Sauce(Scoville Heat Units (SHU): 10,000 to 50,000) and actually purchase it by the case. The recipe calls for grated pepper jack cheese which also comes in a variety of heat levels. We prefer the hot Cabot Habanero Cheese (when it’s in stock), but use the one you like.

You can make this ahead up to the point of adding the crab and bread mixture and then heat just before serving. For food safety be sure to not let sit out for more than two hours after serving (although it will most likely be all gone long before then).

You will need a robust dipper for this dip, something like a crunchy crostini or toast point or a good, sturdy tortilla chip. Something that won’t crumble when dipping up all that cheese and crab.

Now before you think this is going to be too hot, the briny sweetness of the crab and the creamy cream cheese neutralize the heat of the hot sauce and jalapeño. Hot, cheesy, just a hint of spice and fully loaded with crab deliciousness. Perfect for welcoming in the New Year.

Good bye and good riddance to 2020. Happy New Year from Travels With Mai Tai Tom!


1/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs (try the blue can, Progresso)
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
2 T. cilantro, chopped
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts

8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
12 oz. pepper jack cheese, grated
½ c. mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
2 t. red onion, chopped
1 medium jalapeño, stemmed and chopped (leave in the seeds for more heat)
1 ½ t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. hot sauce
½ t. kosher salt

1 pound crabmeat (lump or jumbo lump, cleaned of shells and cartilage)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, cilantro and green onions. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients except the crab. Gently fold in the crab. Transfer to a shallow 9×9 baking dish or skillet. Top the crabmeat mixture with the bread crumbs and bake uncovered until golden brown and bubbly, 25-30 minutes.

Serve with sturdy tortilla chips or crostini.

8 appetizer servings.

Recipe lightly adapted from his website

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