Holiday Crab Puff Appetizers on English Muffins

When it comes to holiday recipes I definitely have my favorites! While many of them are my own creations I have some life long recipes my family has been making forever. And this crab puff appetizer is definitely one of them! My parents have been making these for decades and they never disappoint! This recipe uses simple ingredients and can be made in advance and frozen right up until cooking time! This old fashioned recipe is a great appetizer recipe for your next holiday party and they are the perfect size for handheld eating! I promise everyone will be asking you for the recipe and you will not have any left at the end of the night. Let me show you how to make this easy holiday crab puff appetizers on English muffins sure to become a new family favorite appetizer! Full recipe card below.

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What are Crab Puffs?

Crab Puffs are a cheesy and creamy crab mixture on top of an English muffin cut into quarters. A combination of crab meat, a stick of butter, mayo, garlic powder, and kraft old English cheese spread, come together to make the most delicious crabmeat bites! I personally remember my mom making these back in the 80s. While she can’t remember exactly where the recipe came from, it was likely featured in a Taste of Home or Family Circle Magazine. You know before the internet, haha!  Regardless, this recipe has been a long standing appetizer tradition in my family.

They are also sometimes referred to as crab melts, cheese melts, or old English crab-cheese meltaways. No matter what you call them, they are a simple appetizer to make, perfect for parties, game day, or even just a snack. If you are not seafood lovers, you will make an exception for these!

Why I love this recipe

Aside from being melt in your mouth delicious, this is a quick and easy recipe with only a few ingredients and can be made in advance and frozen until 15 minutes prior to serving. When you are ready to entertain, just fill up a baking dish or cookie sheet and toss them in the oven. Easy peasy!

Crab Puffs Ingredients

This easy hors d’oeuvre recipe uses only a few ingredients, most of which you probably stock in your kitchen.

Crab Meat – I always use canned crabmeat because it keeps longer in my pantry, but you can definitely use fresh crab meat or lump crab if you would like. I do not recommend a package of crab meat since they are usually imitation crab. You only need a small can so it’s not that expensive to buy the real thing. Just make sure you drain the crab before using it! If seafood is a hard pass in your family, you can substitute the crab with the same amount of canned chicken.

Old English Cheese Spread – In my opinion this is not substitutable. I have tried using cheese sauce, cream cheese and other cheese options and they just don’t turn out the same and are not as good. If you have never seen these little cheese jars at the grocery store, they are usually in the aisle with the Velveeta and you will use a full 5 oz jar.

Butter – I use softened unsalted butter in this recipe. To soften up your butter you can let it sit out at room temperature for a while before you begin cooking or you can soften it in the microwave. To soften in the microwave, cook in 10 second intervals until the butter starts to soften. DO NOT melt the butter. This is why I only do 10 seconds at a time.

English Muffins – It turns out this traditional breakfast item is the perfect foundation for an appetizer. Any brand is fine just make sure they are plain English muffins. All you need to do is slice them in half as you would if you were using them for toast. Then take each open faced half and cut it into quarters. The perfect size for finger food!

Mayonnaise – I personally like real mayo much better than the imposters, but you can use whatever version you prefer here. This just adds a little acidity to the mix since the crab and cheese are more fatty. You only need a tablespoon here.

Garlic Powder  I prefer to use garlic powder over garlic salt to keep the sodium content to a minimum and add more of the garlic flavor than saltiness. If you do not have garlic powder you can use garlic salt instead but you will want to avoid over salting later. You can also use fresh garlic if you want but honestly I think garlic powder works better here.

Sriracha – This ingredient is 100% optional. If you like a little spice in your life, add a little sriracha. This is my own personal addition because I like things a little spicy. But this ingredient is completely optional and you can definitely skip it if you are not into spicy food. A teaspoon adds just a little heat but you can add a tablespoon if you like more heat.

Cooking Options for Crab Puffs

I usually bake my crab puffs in the oven so I can cook a whole cookie sheet at a time. But you could also make them in the toaster oven if you prefer. But when I make these for parties I can’t seem to cook them fast enough 🙂 You can also broil them at the end for 2-3 minutes for crispier results but I find that too much of the topping starts to melt off.

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Holiday Crab Puff Appetizers on English Muffins

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  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 32 pieces 1x


A simple combination of crab meat, cheese, English muffins, and a little kick come together to make these the best party appetizer! Make these cheesy crab delights and freeze ahead of time. Just pop in the oven right before your guests arrive. No game day or party will ever be the same without them and everyone will want the recipe!


  • 1 pkg English Muffins (halved and quartered)
  • 6 oz Can of Crab Meat (drained)
  • 5 oz Jar of Old English Cheese Spread
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 1 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional for garnish)
  • Chives  (optional for garnish)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Cut English muffins in half and quarter each muffin half. Each muffin will yield 8 pieces. Set aside.
  3. Drain crab meat.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix crab meat, softened butter, Old English cheese spread, Mayo, garlic powder, and sriracha with an electric mixer until combined.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.
  6. Spoon crabmeat mixture onto the quartered English muffin pieces. For this I use a spoon at an angle and swipe the mixture off with the corner of the muffin.
  7. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Make Ahead Instructions

  1. Follow above steps 1-6.
  2. Place baking sheet in the freezer for 30-45 minutes or until crab puffs start to freeze.
  3. Transfer crab puffs to a large freezer bag or an airtight freezer container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. These can be baked frozen at 350. No need to thaw. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.


I have tried other versions of this recipe and an Old English jar of cheese works the best. If you choose to substitute ingredients, these will not taste the same. For best results, use the recommended ingredients.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: American

When to make crab puffs

I think the better question here is when not to make them? I almost always have a bag in my freezer just in case I get a craving or have unexpected guests. We even do appetizer night on Christmas eve and make a bunch of our favorite appetizers for dinner. These are always on the menu!

Here are a few other occasions to make crab puffs or crab melts appetizer. Holiday parties, family reunions, appetizer dinner night, game day, happy hour, potluck dinners, or just as an easy snack!

Looking for more appetizer recipes for your next big gathering or game day? Check out my other appetizer recipes.

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