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Baked crab dip is a classic 1970s-inspired appetizer. (Photo credit: Dane Tashima)

Although blue claw crabs are famous in the Chesapeake Bay region they’re also plentiful across Long Island waters. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Memorial Day gatherings may have gone with the traffic, but summer entertaining for special occasions is right around the corner, and you’ll need to offer an appetizer before the main dish. “Oldie but goodie” recipes that have stood the test of time are welcome additions to a home cook’s arsenal, and who doesn’t love a cheesy crab dip?

“I always am torn between making three times the recipe because people eat it and devour it so quickly,” says Lidey Heuck, author of Cooking in Real Life: Delicious & Doable Recipes for Every Day, of her recipe for baked crab dip with sweet corn and Old Bay. Versions of this creamy, classic 1970s casserole-dish-served appetizer have been around for a while, most likely served alongside Ritz crackers — and for a delicious reason, albeit a bit era-bound. “I like to take something that we think of as a little bit retro and make it feel new again,” says Heuck. “Adding corn, jalapeno, and scallions to the crab dip makes it a little fresher.”

Lidey Hueck’s Cooking in Real Life is available at BookHampton. (Photo courtesy of Simon Element)

As the former assistant to Ina Garten, Heuck’s recipes “subscribe to the same theory of home cooking that I do,” says Garten in the forward of Heuck’s cookbook. “We all want recipes that have ingredients you can buy in almost any grocery store and that are easy enough to make without breaking a sweat that will be delicious and satisfying.”

Originally from Pittsburgh, Heuck landed her dream job with Garten in 2013 — just days after graduating college — moving to East Hampton to manage the Barefoot Contessa’s social media and quickly moving into recipe testing.

“Much of what I learned while with Ina contributed to wanting to make recipes and write a cookbook.” Now living in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Heuck fondly remembers her time out east, frequenting Amber Waves and Balsam Farms in Amagansett for ingredients.

“Where I live now and in most of the country, farmer’s markets set up Saturday or Sundays,” recounts Heuck, “having that accessibility in the Hamptons to fresh, seasonal produce every single day is exceptional; something I didn’t appreciate at the time.”

In addition to being a cook and writer, Lidey Heuck is a regular contributor to New York Times Cooking. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Adding corn kernels cut off the cob brings a locally sourced spin to the dish and “livens up what can be a sort of creamy, heavy dip and gives it a little something different too,” says Heuck. Adding local blue claw crabmeat might be a stretch but she encourages home cooks to make the recipe crab-forward. “Besides the farm stands, I miss the access to fresh seafood in the Hamptons,” says Heuck of the bounty of our local waterways. “It’s just unparalleled.”

A seafood staple, Old Bay is the classic condiment for the baked crab dip. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

One key ingredient in Heuck’s recipe anyone can find anywhere is Old Bay seasoning, the distinctive yellow-can blend of spices created in Baltimore, Maryland.

To Hueck, a classic, fun recipe needed to use a classic and timeless seasoning. “It’s just totally ubiquitous in a great way.”

Serving the crab dip with a good cracker certainly works, but why not continue with Heuck’s ‘something different’ approach? “I think contrast is essential with any food, especially with appetizers,” she explains. “Having something rich with something fresh and crunchy, or something hot with something cold, that’s what makes appetizers so good. I prefer this hot crab dip on a nice slice of cool, lightly salted cucumber.”

If that doesn’t sound refreshing enough, pair it with some cold Whalers Pilsner from Sag Harbor’s Kidd Squid at your upcoming, guaranteed-crowd-pleasing gathering.

“Creamy baked dips are always a hit,” assures Heuck, “and with fresh crab and corn kernels off the cob, this one feels especially luxurious… and practical.”

Signed copies of Cooking In Real Life: Delicious & Doable Recipes for Every Day are available at BookHampton in East Hampton. Heuck will also sign copies of her book at East Hampton Library’s Authors Night on August 10.

Baked crab dip with sweet corn and Old Bay

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Serves 6


  • 1 large scallion (or 2 small ones), trimmed
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 ear)
  • 2 tbsp minced jalapeño (about half a medium jalapeño)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan, plus 2 tbsp, divided
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 oz fresh lump crabmeat
  • sliced cucumbers, crackers or pita, for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 375℉.
  • Thinly slice the scallion, keeping the dark green parts separate from the light green and white parts. In an 8-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the corn, white and light green parts of the scallion, and jalapeño and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about three to five minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of parmesan, mayonnaise, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of Old Bay and salt. Mix until smooth.
  • Stir in the cooked corn/jalapeño mixture, then gently fold in the crabmeat.
  • Scrape the mixture into a shallow 1-quart baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp of parmesan on top and sprinkle with more Old Bay.
  • Bake uncovered until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. Garnish with the dark green parts of the scallion and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
  • Serve hot with sliced cucumbers and crackers or pita. Enjoy!

This recipe is a great one to double when you’re having a larger gathering. You can bake it in a 2-quart baking dish, or two 1-quart baking dishes.

Excerpted from Cooking In Real Life: Delicious & Doable Recipes for Every Day. Copyright @ 2024 by Lidey Heuck. Photography copyright © 2024 by Dane Tashima. Reproduced by permission of Simon Element, and imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.