Jumbo Lump Crab Au Gratin

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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.
4.83 from 29 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!




  • 5 stars
    I haven’t made this yet, but the recipe alone made me almost drool on my keyboard… it’s going to be tried SOON. Unfortunately, we don’t have any good seafood/fish stores near us, so it’ll probably have to be canned lump crab (oh, the horror!). What caught my eye about this recipe is the use of evaporated milk rather than a cream or half & half… I’ve started to do that with almost all recipes, for my husband’s health. Not what I really want to do, but I have to do – for me, bring on the full fat!

    • Hi Beth!! You can find good-quality canned lump crab meat, no problem!! Trust us…it will still be DELICIOUS! Let us know if you make it and what you and your hubby think! We hope you love it as much as we do!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Howdy. What do I do if I wanted to add in shrimp to the recipe? And I presume it would be just fine to bake these in say All Clad ramekins if I chose? I’m trying to imitate a main course I had when I treated my mother for Valentine’s Day dinner.

  • 5 stars
    In Kemah Texas, there was a restaurant called Clifton’s by the Sea. I was probably in my late teens, they severed crab Au Gratin. When I ate it the first time, I thought I died and went to heaven! Over the next few years, my Husband came with me there and eventually our children. A hurricane took it out along with my favorite dish I have ever ate. I am now in central Florida, much older and children are grown, but I missed this dish so much! I so appreciate being able to get a taste of Texas back, even if I had to use canned crab meat. My dinner was lovely and very close!

    • Hi Karla!! That’s the best thing we’ve heard in a while!! We are THRILLED you enjoyed the crab au gratin and we couldn’t be happier that it helped bring back the taste of Texas for you and your husband!!! Thank you so much for letting us know and for the GREAT reveiw! That truly means the world to us!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This recipe is incredible! My mom used to make Crab Au Gratin when I was little, it was her special occasions dish and I loved it. My mom passed away last year and this was my first holiday season without her. Your recipe is absolutely perfect, brought back so many happy memories. I will totally be making this again. Thank you much!

    • Hi Angela!! You have no idea how much our hearts are filled with joy in reading your note!! That’s the joy of preparing, sharing, and loving good food. Such precious memories. We are thrilled this recipe did that for you and THANK YOU so much for letting us know. It really touched our hearts. Please stay in touch! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    AH-Mazing. Posted a photo on Facebook. This will be my go-to every time I have special dinner parties or want to impress my husband’s relatives! 😀 I have screen-shot at least 50 of your other recipes, Kris, and I am officially excited about cooking again! Thank you for what you do – and Wesley’s awesome camera skills make everything look as mouth watering as it is in person! Just watched the video after we finished cooking and the “slower” shots of hot sauce made us laugh out loud… My hubby has no sense of urgency in the kitchen and every task leaves me unintentionally tapping my foot! Baffling as he grew up in Boston and I in CT. LOL Will follow with appreciation and look forward to new, exciting recipes! Thanks for making our evening with this gem! Best to you both!

    • Hi Jessica!! Wow!! You have no idea how happy this makes us to hear!! We are thrilled you are enjoying our recipes and Wesley is smiling from ear to ear that you love his photography!! Thank you so much for your wonderfully kind words and for the great review!! That means the world to us!! Stay in touch!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Hello Chef’s,

    I am originally from Maryland and now live in San Antonio, Texas. As you know, Maryland is known for their jumbo lump blue crabs. Can’t find it in Texas. Would it be OK to substitute the king crab for the blue crab? I have no other choice and would love to make your recipe. We love crab.
    Thanks, Barbara

  • Very nice recipe, only thing I did was used another half pound of crab, pulled traps so had plenty of fresh and doubled the smoked cheese. My 93 yr old mother loved it. Thank you.

  • 5 stars
    This is a delicious recipe. The flavors are so nice. I did add less onion and some red bell pepper as well as a little Old Bay. Probably did not change it much and it turned out so flavorful my husband loved it. Also I added xtra flour to thicken. Don’t do that as it made it too thick. But we still enjoyed it very much and I will make it again. Served it with a salad and crusty bread. Thanks for a very nice dinner.

    • Hi Sherrie! We are so so so happy you enjoyed the crab au gratin! Sounds like you slight modifications were just right. And thank you SO MUCH for letting us know and the great review! That means the world to us! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I have made Joy of Cooking crab gratin several times and while it’s good, it’s not something my family ever requests and I’ve always felt it was missing something. I picked up some fresh Gulf lump crab at the grocery store today and decided to google for another recipe to try with it. I came across this recipe, had all the ingredients except the Fontina and decided to try it. Wow!!! It is perfection. Total perfection. I used all Gruyere instead of half gruyere-half fontina but made it exactly as written other than that. The sauce does get too thick after whisking in the milk-egg mixture so I did have to thin it out with extra evaporated milk as suggested in the recipe. It smelled divine as it was cooking in the oven. My 5-year-old was literally jumping up and down excited to eat it because it smelled so good. He loved having his own little ramekin and I’ve honestly always loved entrees served that way too. Sooo flavorful and rich. Just fantastic! Never been to this site before. Will look through it now!!

    • Hi Emily! You have no idea how happy you just made us!! We are SO THRILLED you had major success with the crab au gratin! And your tweaks sound spot on! And that’s impressive that your 5-year-old loved it, too! Double win! And thanks so much for letting us know, that really does mean so much to us. Stay in touch, Emily!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

    • 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

  • 5 stars
    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

  • 5 stars
    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

  • 5 stars
    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

  • 1 star
    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

  • 5 stars
    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.

    • 5 stars
      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

  • 5 stars
    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!

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