Jumbo Lump Crab Au Gratin

This Jumbo Lump Crab Au Gratin recipe is incredible.   Rich and a bit decadent…and all about the crab.

Pick yourself up some good quality lump crab meat (Gulf crab is amazing and so are Maryland blue crabs) at your local fish market and get ready to impress.

this is a baked jumbo crab au gratin in mini cast iron skillets


Making this dish is easy and fun! Watch us show you how to make one of the fanciest (but easiest) appetizers of all time!

We love Jumbo Lump Crab Au Gratin!


The ingredients in this amazing au gratin really help to elevate the star of the dish, which of course is the crab.

Every time we serve this dish to guests, it gets nothing but rave reviews. It’s really, really good.

Lump Crab Au Gratin recipe


EXPERT TIP: Lump crab meat is a bit pricey, so I usually go with a mix of lump crab and regular crab meat.

But, always go with quality.

Be sure to pick the crab over to remove any excess cartilage. I usually do this twice, just to make sure.

Lump Crab au gratin recipe

This sauce is rich and creamy, and the perfect compliment to the fresh crab.

Just place the crab in the bottom of the pan, and then pour that amazing sauce right on top.

Oh, yes…here we go.

Lump Crab au gratin recipe

Top it off with a combination of your favorite types of creamy, melting cheese.


Our favorite is a blend of Gruyere and Fontina. But, Monterey Jack, or Emmentaler, or even mozzarella will work. To learn all about the amazing History of Cheese, read this awesome article from the National Historic Cheesemaking Center.

And we love to serve these in individual cast iron skillets. But you can also use 1 large skillet when serving a group. It’s is beautiful in presentation, too!

Lump Crab au gratin recipe

Make this dish and be prepared for lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahh’s’.  It’s not for the faint of heart, and one serving is a wonderful appetizer, probably for 2 – 4 people.

But, boy oh boy, is it good.. Crab lovers rejoice!

Lump Crab au gratin recipe

What’s not to love with jumbo lump crab meat, Gruyere cheese and a little Cayenne for good measure?  

Sinfully good!

Another one of our most favorite crab dishes is our incredible Southern Crab Cakes. It’s one of our most popular dishes on the site!

Now, it’s time to make this amazing Jumbo Lump Crab Au Gratin recipe!  And don’t forget to take a picture, post it to Instagram and tag @howtofeedaloon and #howtofeedaloon

this is a baked jumbo crab au gratin in mini cast iron skillets

Jumbo Lump Crab Au Gratin

This jumbo lump crab au gratin is decadent and incredibly delicious. Serve as a wonderful first coarse. The crab, of course, is the star here, but complimented beautifully with the Gruyere and seasonings.
4.69 from 16 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Seafood
Keyword: Crab, Gruyere, Hot dip
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 243kcal


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp green onions sliced, save some for garnish
  • 1 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 large egg yolks slightly beaten
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup Fontina cheese grated
  • 1 lb lump crab meat picked over for shells and cartilage


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, celery, green onions (white parts), and garlic, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • While the vegetables cook, vigorously whisk the egg yolks and evaporated milk together in a small bowl until well blended; set aside.
  • Add the flour to the skillet, and blend well into the vegetables to create a white roux; be sure to not let the flour brown. About 2 minutes.
  • Using a whisk, add the milk mixture, stirring constantly to blend into the roux mixture.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, cayenne, and black pepper, and continue to stir for another 4 - 5 minutes. (if sauce seems too thick, add a little water or milk to thin...should be the consistency of thick creamed soup).
  • Remove from the heat, and fold in half the cheese; blend until it is totally melted and fully incorporated.
  • Gently divide the crab meat among four mini oven-proof casseroles, or iron serving dishes; trying not to break up the crab lumps. Or, pour into 1 large cast iron skillet, or 8"x8" baking dish.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the crab, and then sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese on top.
  • Bake until bubbly, about 15 minutes, then reset the oven for broil, and broil until the cheese begins to brown, about 5 minutes (keep an eye on this...don't let it burn!!).
  • Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the green onions (green parts), and serve at once!


Jumbo lump crab meat can be pricey.  For a more economical version, but still very delicious, we do a combination of jumbo lump and regular crab meat.
Be sure to use a good melting cheese such as fontina, gruyere, Monterrey jack, or even mozzarella. 
This au gratin is quite rich.  We serve it as an appetizer with lots of toasted baguette slices. 


Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 879mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 645IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!




    • Hi there, our suggestion would be to make the sauce up to where you add the cheese. If this timing would work, the following day, before serving, re-heat the sauce, then add the cheese, then add to the dish(es) with the crab and then bake. You absolutely could assemble the dishes completely and then bake the following day before serving, and really be okay. But if you have the time, we think you get slightly better results if you stir in the cheese as close to serving as possible. Does this help? Let us know if you have any other questions, and if you make this dish, let us know how it turned out! It’s definitely one of our most popular recipes on the blog! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Great recipe! Will be making this quite often! Since I’m a Marylander and we all know Maryland is for CRABS I would have to disagree in the beginning when you wrote that gulf crabs are the best – Maryland Blue Crabs are the best to use

    • Hi Liz! We love Maryland Blue Crabs! We are immediately updating the post to say how much we LOVE both gulf crabs AND Maryland blue crabs. You are correct, it doesn’t get much better than Maryland crabs! Thanks for the heads up and thanks so much for the great reveiw! That makes us so happy to hear that you loved the recipe! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • This was the best Crab Au Gratin I have ever made! I used a smokey Gruyere and X sharp white cheddar. (The store was out of Fontina.) We ate it as a main dish with rice aside and salad. Yummy!

    • Hi Barbara!! So sorry for the delayed response, but you have no idea how happy it is for us to read your comment. Smokey Gruyere and Extra Sharp White Cheddar sounds wonderful!!! So so very thrilled you enjoyed the recipe and had big success. And thank you so much for letting us know…please stay in touch!!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Outstanding! My husband loves my crab cakes, but now wants this all the time either stuffed in portobello mushrooms or over noodles! A favorite now!!!

    • Hi Karen!! Wow!! That sounds amazing…stuffed in portobello and over noodles would be awesome! I bet you crab cakes are to die for!! So glad you and your hubby like the crab au gratin…and thank you for letting us know! We truly appreciate that!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • The absolute worst crab dish I have eaten. Its not all about the crab like it claims. It’s all about onion. I even put in half the amount of onion it called for cause it seemed like too much…. still the only flavor that comes through. Don’t waste your money making this.

    • Hi Kathy, thanks so much for your comment. So, you’re saying you used half of a finely chopped medium yellow onion (which equals approx 1/4 cup)? This, matched to 1 lb of lump crab meat and 1 to 2 cups of cheese plus cream and other ingredients? That is astonishing that the only ingredient you could taste was onion. We are sorry you did not have success with the dish. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

  • Made this exactly as written in a single 8 x 6 dish. It was fantastic. Next time I’ll tweak with a few pimientos, a little Old Bay and some sharp cheddar on top for bit more bite. Served it over homemade toasted pita triangles dusted with paprika, Old Bay and kosher salt. Yum!

    • Hi Jimmo!! That is so awesome to hear!! And your tweaks sound fantastic! Can never go wrong with a little Old Bay and the addition of pimientos sounds heavenly! Thanks again for letting us know, that really means so much to us. Please stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Dear gents,
    Tonight a half recipe will be served as entrees for 2 at Camp Jeff and Owen. The mini casseroles are already filled, and I am committed to seeing this through….but here is where I have already made a mistake. I saw a very similar recipe from another site called louisianakitchenandculture.com, and they called for ONE HALF cup of flour for the full recipe, so I used 1/4 cup for our halved rendition. Oh lordy, but this became a very thick mixture, and I’m a little nervous. That will teach me to scan between 2 recipes. I sure wish I’d done your flour measurement of 2 Tb., which would actually have been 1 tb. for half of the recipe. So this means I used 4 times your amount. On a happier note, you’ve added lemon juice which I think is brilliant….for half of this recipe I did end up using 4 oz. weight for the cheese, and I went all Gruyere. Next time I will do it your way…half gruyere, and half of another melty cheese. Sorry for the long windedness. I may have screwed up tonights dinner, but I already know it will be done totally your way, next time. Cheers and thanks.

    • This is a first for me. And not sure that it will work. I am sending a reply to my first reply 🙂 Last night I was tempted to not see my recipe through, after my flour mishap. But I have to tell you something. Yes, the sauce was crazy thick. It was a “paste” actually. But when all baked together, somehow the texture of the dish became like eating a very moist crab cake. It was utterly fabulous! I’ll probably end up making this in 2 different styles. Your way, for sure, so the mixture has a wonderful cloaking sauce from using less flour. But I will also use the larger amount of flour from time to time. I also want to experiment subbing the Gruyere and lemon juice, with cheddar and sherry! Thank you so much for sharing what will definitely become an heirloom recipe for us.

      • Hi Jeff!

        Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with both of the recipes! Sounds like you handled them perfectly, and everything sounds so delicious. We’re glad the 1st recipe that you were worried would not come out well, turned out to delicious after all!! Don’t you love it when that happens!! And we couldn’t be happier that you like our version as well. And your idea of subbing cheddar and sherry sounds good! Please keep up posted on any and all updates! We love hearing so much the types of things you’ve shared. It’s really awesome! All the best, Kris & Wesley

    • First time posting a comment!
      I catered a yearly party called “ wine and Jazz” last night for 250+ guests. We always have a cream cheese based crab dip on this party… not my fav. The cream cheese overwhelms the crab! I found your recipe and thought it would work. I gave it to my chef. He was not excited about it… but made it begrudgingly. We tweaked it slightly adding Worcester Sauce and dry mustard and it was a Huge Hit with the guests!!!
      Long story short… I’m using this recipe next week for a very small formal dinner we host monthly as part of a surf and turf with a New York Strip with Crispy Onions. I will be baking it off in ramekins to complete the duo.
      Thank you so much!!! I’m very excited to incorporate this into our menu selections!!!

      • LISA!! I don’t think we’ve ever read a comment that made us so giddy with excitement! That is AWESOME!! The Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard sounds GREAT!! So so so happy this was a big success with the party…and we LOVE anything that’s titled: “Wine and Jazz!” Please stay in touch!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • This was phenomenonal! The only thing I did differently was to use half and half instead of evaporated milk. It’s just a preference for me, not a fan of the canned milk. Thank you so much for sharing, we really enjoyed this. And it works well if you are doing Keto

  • I have not made this recipe yet but, it is on my list of must do’s. Just wanted to say, I love you guys. Please move to my neighborhood, you would be and adorable addition to our already fun group. I could just watch you for the sake of watching you but your recipes are so yummy too. Keep doin’ what you do, you are both so cute!

  • Hi guys,
    I made liked you recipe a lot, but tweeked it a little bit. I had just one crab, not enough for the gratin. What I did was ad the souce with crab meat to some pre-cooked tagliatelle and shrimp and put it in the oven for 15 minutes and the broil for another 5 minutes. I served with some salad and it became an entree.
    Just delicious!

    • HI Tatjana!! Sounds like you tweaked perfectly!! We love that you added it to pasta and shrimp. Sounds heavenly!! And thank you SO MUCH for letting us know. We truly appreciate that! Please stay in touch!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

    • I love serving mine with some nice roasted asparagus and if you put some of the crab meat on top of your asparagus it’s really pretty and delicious . Also, sauteed brussel sprouts go really well with it! I steam mine for a couple of minutes,it makes the insides tender, I slice them in half lengthwise and saute’ in some Olive oil and fresh cracked pepper and minced garlic! Yum

  • I made this last night and it was phenomenal. I made the recipe exactly as it was. It was by far the best recipe for crab gratin I have ever made. It was perfectly balanced. It was not really heavy like I have found some recipes for this to be. Just the right amount of cheese!. Absolutely delicious.


  • You guys are killing me! (Not to mention my diet.) We’re heading to the gulf in August. I’m going to bring this recipe and pick up some crab at Joe Patti’s in Pensacola. It will be perfect for a night of entertaining our local friends.

  • Definatelly a comfort food. I love this on melba toast, and also excellent on thinly-sliced french bread (toasted). You gotta have fresh lump crab meat for this one. Don’t forget the Old Bay!

  • Two questions regarding this recipe…I am reading the recipe as 1/4 cup each of the two cheeses, however, in the remarks you say 8 oz. or 1 cup. Plus, are you serving it in the picture on melba toasts? (It looks so tasty!). Third question – says flour is TBL cupThank you, lidnab

    • Hi Linda! We’ve played around with this recipe, and we think 1 cup may be a little overwhelming. So, we cut the 2 cheese totals to 1/4 cup each. Which is what you’ll see in the updated recipe. If you prefer it extra cheesy, then you can go up to 1/2 cup each, and it will still be good…just super cheesy! But, hey! What’s wrong with that. That’s interesting about the flour quantity…it should definitely be 2 tablespoons. There had been an unfortunate type that showed ‘cup’…but that was fixed. Where are you seeing that? And we served them with baguette slices that we simply buttered and toasted. So good! Let us know if you have any other questions, or if you decide to make it and how it turns out!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

      • It is on my weekend make this list! (May not be THIS weekend, or may be make this weekend and see if I share this, list. but thanks for the baguette.)

  • Two questions regarding this recipe…I am reading the recipe as 1/4 cup each of the two cheeses, however, in the remarks you say 8 oz. or 1 cup. Plus, are you serving it in the picture on melba toasts? (It looks so tasty!). Thank you, lidnab

      • I knew better…I make gumbo all the time and know the ratios. I’m making tomorrow for family who (for some incredibly insane reason) love imitation crab!!?? Ugh!! What that anyway??? I’m using some lightly smoked Gouda that I smoked this afternoon. I haven’t decided on the second cheese yet.

  • Me again! I’m reading through the comments…. what are the correct measurements for the cheeses? The recipe reads: 1/4 cup each of Gruyere and Fontina. But then you said it should be 1 cup, 8 ounces of the cheese? Help!
    Basking Ridge, NJ

    • Hey!! We recently updated this recipe (we’re constantly re-visiting ole recipes, and often tweak from their original recipe). It really depends on how cheesy you like the dish. I would say anywhere from 1/4 cup to a 1/2 cup each of the Gruyere and Fontina. A total of a cup in the entire dish I think is the right amount, but you could pull back (which is what the recipe had shown). I’ve updated the recipe to be 1/2 cup of Gruyere and Fontina. Sorry for all the confusion in this one!! But, it’s really, really good!! Thanks for the heads up, too!! xo

  • RE: Jumbo Lump Crab Au Gratin – what size mini cast iron skillets do you use? I only seem to be finding 3 1/2 ” mini cast iron skillets, that’s too small, right?

    Thanks for your help!

    Ally-O 🙂

    • Hi Ally-O!! We have numerous single-serve cast iron skillets that we love to use. We used our circular 5 1/2′-inch skillets for this particular recipe/photo shoot. The great thing about this recipe, though, is that you can really use any size. You can find larger (but still mini) on Amazon by click here: But, if you go with the smaller, which actually be would better for individual servings, you’ll still bake at the same time and temp, just keep an eye on them so they don’t get too brown on top.

      Really hope this helps, and let us know if you have any other questions or observations!!

      Kris & Wesley

  • Divine and easy and you are right it’s all about the quality,thank you for ushering this recipe.
    Have to keep an eye on your site for more goodies

    • Oh my gosh, Linda! Thank you so much! We have since hired a recipe proofer to check all recipes, and somehow this slipped through. It should be 1 cup (8 oz.). Thank you again and I hope this didn’t mess things up for you! Let us know how it turns out if you make it. It is really delicious! Rich, but so good. 🙂

      • I plan on making this for dinner tonight, so I’m so glad you responded so quickly. I probably would have used the 2 cups, one in the mixture and one on top!! Nothing like a little crabmeat with your cheese!!! LOL

      • I know!! I so completely agree! If you love cheese, like we do, then I’d keep some extra on hand to sprinkle extra on top. I’d go with a cup in the mixture, and then sprinkle (probably another 1/4 cup, to 1/2 cup), over the tops. Sorry for the confusion!! But if you like crab and cheese, you’re going to love this!! Let us know how it turns out and have a wonderful evening!!

  • I wanted to make something special for our anniversary but we din’t have Gruyere or condensed milk so I was going to sear some scallops but Regina thought this sounded good (she loves crab) so she basically put it together and it did not disappoint! A mixture of cheddar and Monterrey jack and some half & half and we were there! Very tasty with a couple extra trays for tomorrow! Might be extra tasty with a splash of sherry but versatile no doubt! Thanks for sharing!

    • That sounds wonderful, John! And Happy Anniversary! Kuddos to Regina for making those awesome tweaks! Best to you both, and thanks so much for letting us know. Please stay in touch! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • I stubbled upon your website when I googled “crab meat au gratin”. I made this tonight and it was yummy. I live out in the country so gruyere was no available. I substituted and Italian blend and Havarti. I love gruyere but I think the subtle flavors of the cheese worked well. I also substituted no salt Tony Chachere’s for the cayenne pepper. Everyone in Louisiana is addicted to Tonys.

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