Seafood Party Dip is an easy and elegant vintage recipe that is always a hit at parties! Cream cheese, cocktail sauce and seafood are all you need for this classic three ingredient appetizer.
All the credit for this elegant three ingredient appetizer goes to my husband and sister-in-law’s mother, Rosemary. I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but have no doubt she was an amazing cook! I have heard stories of her delicious meals, and I credit my husband’s willingness to eat almost anything to his mother’s cooking and the way she introduced her kids to new foods. I try to learn from this when my son wants to eat tacos every night of the week (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).
As her handwritten recipe card above says, this seafood party dip is always a winner at parties! It’s not only easy to prepare, but also looks beautiful, tastes delicious, and feeds a lot of people. What more could you ask from an appetizer? I’m so thankful to have Rosemary’s recipe as inspiration, I hope I do it justice.
Now, don’t give me a hard time for showing more than three ingredients in the photos for this three ingredient appetizer. I’m giving you options people! This is a really flexible recipe, and you can use store bought ingredients, homemade ingredients, or a combination of the two.
You can see from Rosemary’s recipe above that she used freshly cooked crab or shrimp to make an extra delicious seafood dip. Obviously if you live somewhere near the ocean, you have access to awesome fresh seafood and can use that (I’m jealous!). I used frozen raw shrimp and I also found good, refrigerated crab meat at Trader Joe’s, this is exciting when you live in the desert! In a pinch, you can use the old school seafood option for this dip, which is canned baby shrimp. Make sure you rinse them well if you use this option.
I used my homemade cocktail sauce, which is so easy to make, but store bought is a great alternative too. For the seafood, I had some roasted shrimp and also had the crab meat, so I decided to use both. Yes, I am calling “seafood” one ingredient! You may argue that I used four ingredients for my three ingredient appetizer, but since I’m making the rules here, we’re going with seafood = one ingredient.
Preparing your seafood party dip is a snap. If you’re using roasted shrimp, chop them into smaller pieces that will be easy to scoop up with a cracker. Drain the crab meat, if using, and run your fingers through it to make sure there aren’t any stray shell pieces.
Now it’s time for the seafood party dip assembly. For the first layer, spread the softened cream cheese on to your serving platter. You want it to be a fairly thin layer, enough to taste and hold the other ingredients together without diluting the flavors of the cocktail sauce and seafood.
Next up is your cocktail sauce. Spread it over the cream cheese, leaving a border of cream cheese visible for presentation and so people know what they’re eating.
Finally, the good stuff – the seafood! Whichever kind you’ve decided to use, pile that on top of the cocktail sauce. I did use some chopped parsley to make the pictures look pretty, but it is a garnish and completely optional.
I used a cake stand for my serving platter because it raises the dip up off the table giving you room to arrange your crackers underneath.
Serve your amazing Seafood Party Dip with an assortment of sturdy crackers. I say “sturdy” crackers because this is a serious dip and you don’t want a delicate cracker crumbling apart and leaving your guests sad. You want them to dig in and get a giant bite of delicious dip! Which will, of course make them happy.
Try making this delicious dip for your next gathering!
Traditionally this dip is served with Wheat Thins. I also used a variety of rice crackers.
Seafood Party Dip is a beautiful addition to your holiday table too!
- 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ - 1 cup of cocktail sauce, depending on the size of your serving platter
- 3 cups of seafood of your choice, shrimp and/or crab are good choices
- Spread the cream cheese on to your serving platter, an ⅛ - ¼ inch thick. I used a round platter about 12 inches in diameter. If the cream cheese is really soft, you can put the platter in the fridge to firm up a bit before spreading the cocktail sauce on top. You want distinctive layers.
- Next spread the cocktail sauce over the cream cheese, enough so you can't see the white of the cream cheese underneath, but leave the outside edge of the cream cheese showing (to look pretty).
- Finally you'll pile on the seafood! I happened to have both shrimp and crab, so I piled the crab in the middle, then surrounded it with the shrimp.
- Serve with crackers - dig in!