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Sweet & Spicy Crab and Red Pepper Dip

A perfect gluten-free party dish!

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

I made this again for a friend’s 25th Anniversary open house last week with more of my gluten-free dishes. Everything was eaten and only people that don’t know my cooking were surprised food was gluten-free. Plus my dishes were eaten before the wheat pizza, brownies, or cupcakes.

Sweet & Spicy Crab and Red Pepper Dip


  • 1 x 8 oz (250 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 x 6 oz (180g) can of decent crab meat, drained leaves only 4 oz (125g). It’s even better with
  • 8 oz drained crab.  I normally buy the 1 lb solid pack crab, and freeze it in 4 oz portions.  It tastes so much better than small cans, but is far more expensive per pound. A girlfriend told me that rinsing the cheaper crab makes a difference to taste.
  • 2 large freshly roasted red peppers, skinned and deseeded.  I don’t know what this would taste like with jarred peppers.  Freshly roasted red peppers are addictive and freeze well.  In my store, a bag of red peppers is far cheaper than buying just one.
  • 6 peppadew peppers – tiny red peppers from South Africa, in a sweet spicy marinade, labeled gluten free.  Heat factor varies so you can always add more peppers. About $4 for 12 oz jar in my regular grocery store and keeps in fridge.
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) hot pepper jelly.  I use Trappist brand , about $3 for 12 oz jar.  Hot pepper jelly has a sweetness, jalapeňoes are mellowed by cooking and you don’t get a chunk of raw pepper in your tooth.
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley
  • Green of about 4 thin green onions (spring onions), thinly scissored.  Thick stemmed green onions have a much stronger raw onion flavor that overpowers.
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh basil or cilantro
  • some garlic powder or smashed roasted garlic.  Raw garlic is too overpowering.
  • salt and pepper to taste.


1. In 4 cup (1 ltr) microwave safe, melt pepper jelly and stir in cream cheese until mixed.

2. Add peppadew peppers and roasted red pepper and roughly chop with immersion blender.

3. Add herbs and roughly chop with immersion blender.

4. Stir in crab, salt and pepper, mix well and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

You could also chop pepper, herbs etc. by hand for a chunkier blend or pulse in food processor.

You can serve this in a bowl with a spoon for serving onto chips. Make extra and serve hot over pasta or rice.  Even mix with cold pasta for pasta salad.

I used a one tablespoon (15 ml) scoop to fill Tostitos scoops (labeled gluten free) and sprinkled with chopped chives.  In pre gfd days I used Athena mini filo cups. This quantity filled about 30 scoops. Don’t fill more than one hour in advance as scoop softens.  They still taste good, but the crunch contrast disappears. I put flexible cold packs in outer chafing dish then put scoops in inner chafing dish to keep food cold. Humid day, contrast of air temperature and cold stainless steel did produce some moisture in chafing dish.


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