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Easy & Quick Hot Butter Crab Recipe

Our Hot Butter Crab recipe (aka Hot Buttered Crab) is going to give your taste buds a treat! Many people dip crab meat in drawn butter. This dish just eliminates the dipping!

Crab meat in hot butter sauce in red dish on wood board with crackers


Hot Buttered Crab Recipe

This recipe is simply tender pieces of backfin lump crab meat with melted butter, a splash of white wine, and seasonings. It’s one of the easiest things to make, but so delicious. You’ll be making it all the time!

Our favorite recipes to make with crab meat are Old Bay Crab Cakes, Maryland Crab Dip, and everything on this list of Easy Crab Meat Recipes. We made a few new crab recipes last week so more is coming soon!

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Why We Love This Recipe

  • Simple – With just four ingredients, this comes together in no time.
  • Perfect appetizer – Great for special occasion guests or just you and your family.
  • Classic – Found in an old cookbook from Maryland put out by the Junior League of Annapolis. I have several cookbooks from Maryland, two of which don’t have dates, but one has a price of $1.50 which tells us it’s OLD! Aren’t classic recipes the best?


Ingredients for hot butter crab.
  • Crabmeat – we used backfin lump crab meat from blue crabs. If you can’t get it at your local grocery store, check a local fish market.
  • Butter – we used salted.
  • Dry white wine – don’t substitute with a sweet wine.
  • Nutmeg – always make sure your spices are fresh.


  • Don’t substitute the butter. Please don’t try this with margarine. This is one of those times where only real butter will do!
  • Feel free to switch up the type of crab if you can’t find blue crab or if something else is fresher. Dungeness crab, King crab, or snow crab meat would all be good.
  • There is a plethora of seasonings you could use with this dish. Old Bay is the first one that comes to mind as it’s our go to for crabs. Seafood seasoning will work if you can’t find Old Bay. A pinch of red pepper flakes would also be good. Try fresh herbs like parsley or basil sprinkled on the finished dish.

How to Make Hot Buttered Crab

Melt butter in a large skillet over low heat.

Butter in skillet.

Add wine, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.

Butter and spices in skillet.

Stir just until well combined.

Add crab meat to the butter mixture and stir gently.

Butter, spices, and crab meat in skillet.

Be careful not to break up lumps of crab. Once the crab is hot, take it off the heat and place it in a serving dish.

Crab meat in hot butter sauce in red dish on wood board with crackers.

How to Serve

Serve right away as an appetizer with a toasted baguette or crackers. And be sure to dip! You just can’t let that melted butter go to waste!

For another scrumptious dip, gently mix in breadcrumbs with the butter and stick the dish under the broiler to create a delicious crispy topping.

Adding minced fresh garlic cloves will create a flavorful garlic butter sauce. This crab butter sauce would also be so good over pasta or rice with a squeeze of lemon juice.

For the ultimate decadent meal, scoop out the buttery crab meat and place it on top of a juicy steak.

Crab meat in hot butter sauce in red dish on wood board with crackers

Serve this alongside a couple of other appetizers like these air fryer onion petals or something from this list of my favorite cold appetizers for a party. Lots of choices there.

Storage Instructions

This is meant to be eaten right away, but it is good the next day, too. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the shelf life of crab meat?

Crab meat will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge or several months in the freezer. Remember if it has been previously frozen and thawed, you cannot freeze it again.

Is crab good for you?

Yes. Crab meat is a great source of protein and about 85 calories per serving and is low in fat.

Does crab meat need to be cooked?

When you buy crab meat in a can, it has already been cooked. Fresh crabs absolutely do need to be cooked and should never be eaten raw.

Hot Butter Crab Tips & Tricks

Remember to heat the butter over low heat. It’s easy to burn butter and it can become bitter quickly.

Carefully handle the crab meat so you don’t crush the lumps. Lump crab is the best crab meat you can buy, so treat it with care!

Don’t add too much to this dish as you don’t want to mask the distinct flavor of that luscious blue crab.

For best results, this dish should be served hot, but it can also be served at room temperature. It won’t be good cold as the butter will start to congeal.

More Delicious Recipes with Seafood

Hot Shrimp Dip

Cioppino with Clams & Mussels

Drunken Mussels

Crab meat in hot butter sauce.

Hot Butter Crab Recipe

This recipe from Maryland made with blue crab meat and butter is the best way to really taste the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 8 oz lump backfin crab meat picked for shells
  • ½ cup butter 1 stick, salted
  • ¾ tsp white wine dry
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper


  • Melt butter in a skillet over low heat.
  • Add wine, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and stir until well combined.
  • Add crab meat and stir gently. Be careful not to break up lumps of crab. Once crab is hot, take off heat and serve with toasted baguette or crackers.
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @kastilwell or tag #FFFP!

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