Skip to Content

Phyllo Cup Recipe – Appetizers with Crab Meat – Crab Phyllo Cups

Looking for easy appetizer ideas that will be a great start to a cocktail party, or a fancy dinner for special friends?  This phyllo cup recipe with crab and cream cheese will delight the most discerning of guests.

These little bites of goodness are super easy to make since they use frozen miniature tart shells. All you need to do is prepare the deliciously creamy crab filling and heat them before your party starts. They are also great as a make ahead cold easy appetizer recipe.

If you are like many of us, this month is a round of one gathering after another. This means a lot of cooking to come up with tasty ideas to feed to your guests.

Getting together with friends is one of the joys of the holidays.  There seems to be so many get togethers to cram into one month, so easy finger food recipes are a must. Having a simple appetizer on hand for those last minute gatherings is a cinch with this recipe.

Share these phyllo cup appetizers on Twitter:

Are you having a holiday party soon? This easy crab recipe cream cheese recipe uses mini phyllo cups to save on time.  They are like mini crab rangoon phyllo cups. Head to The Gardening Cook for the recipe. #partytime… Share on X

Making this phyllo cup recipe

Don’t start your next party with guests crowding over the dip and chip bowl. Instead serve these easy phyllo crab cups. They make the perfect bite-sized appetizer. These cups are so easy to make, and so delicious.

Fresh crab can be pricey, but many stores also sell canned chunk crab meat at a fairly reasonable price and this will work, too (and will be less work taking the crab out of the shells!)

Crab meat in a glass bowl with phyllo cup and lemon.

Ingredients for these crab appetizers in phyllo cups

Cream cheese, lemon, red pepper, paprika, horseradish sauce, phyllo cups, dill, onion and crab meat on a counter.

The recipe calls for these ingredients

  • reduced fat cream cheese
  • horseradish sauce
  • lemon juice
  • chunk crab meat
  • green spring onion
  • red pepper
  • mini prebaked phyllo cups
  • paprika and dill to garnish

Horseradish, spring onions, and paprika to add a nice little bite to the appetizer without making it spicy, and fresh dill makes an easy and delicate looking garnish.

Directions for the phyllo appetizers

These phyllo appetizers are super easy to do which is a boon for this busy time of the year. The filling takes about 20 minutes to prepare and the crab appetizers bake in about 18 minutes.

Start by mixing the cream cheese. lemon juice and horseradish in a small bowl until smooth. Be sure to use room temperature cream cheese for ease of mixing.

Red mixer with cream cheese in an orange bowl.

Stir in the crabmeat, diced red peppers and spring onions. The filling will be thick and creamy with chunks of these ingredients throughout.

I used a silicone spatula to mix the ingredients so as not to make them too fine.

Orange bowl with cream cheese, red peppers, onions and crabmeat and tea towel with words Hello fall.

Spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture into each shell and sprinkle the filling with paprika.

Phyllo cup crab appetizers garnished with paprika.

The crab and cream cheese mixture has color through it from the red peppers and green onions so it doesn’t need much more to garnish it. A tiny sprig of dill or a sliver of lemon peel dresses them up nicely.

For a hot appetizer – bake in a 350° F oven for 6-8 minutes or until the crab filling is hot. Watch carefully, so they don’t get too browned, since the phyllo cups are prebaked. Remove and garnish with fresh dill. They are also nice cold.

Crab appetizers in phyllo cups.

Easy, peasy and so tasty!

I slimmed them down slightly by using reduced fat cream cheese instead of normal cream cheese, but either works fine.

You will have tasty phyllo shell appetizers in less than 30 minute ready to serve when friends arrive.

How do these crab appetizers taste?

These lovely phyllo cup appetizers look and taste delicious all dressed up in their Phyllo tart shells. 

They are kind of  like a hot crab Rangoon dip in perfect bite-sized portions. But instead of fighting the other guests for the dip bowl, you can just pile a few of these phyllo cup appetizers on your plate and have them all to yourself.

Hand holding a Phyllo cup appetizer.

The taste of the crab appetizers is rich and creamy with just a bit of a kick from the horseradish and paprika.  Your party guests will love them!

This recipe is very versatile. Serve these crab hors d’oeuvres with drinks at your next cocktail party, or as a small plate course at your next dinner party. They are the perfect option for a Yankee Swap night or a Christmas Eve trimming party.

Tips for a make ahead cold crab appetizer

Phyllo prebaked cups have a light brown color on the edges already. This makes them perfect for a cold crab appetizer that you can make ahead of time, to save work on the party day.

Phyllo cup recipe with crab and a tea towel that says Hello Fall.

Make the filling the day before and keep it in the fridge, covered. The next day, add it to the cups no longer than 2 hours before serving. They are as delicious as a cold appetizer as a warm one. The choice is yours!

More party appetizers

Looking for more party appetizers? Try one of these easy recipes:

Pin this phyllo cup recipe

Would you like a reminder of this recipe for my easy crab appetizer? Just pin this image to one of your cooking boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.Crab appetizers on a plate with words Phyllo cup recipe.

Admin note: this post for phyllo cups with crab first appeared on the blog in June of 2013. I have updated the post to add new photos, a recipe card with nutritional information, and a video for you to enjoy.

Yield: 30 appetizers

Phyllo Cup Recipe with Crab and Cream Cheese

Crab appetizers in phyllo cups.

These delicious crab cups are flavored with cream cheese and dill and served in small Phyllo shells for easy serving and eating. Try one of these tasty phyllo appetizers at your next party.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 package (8 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons horseradish sauce
  • 3/4 cup chopped chunk crab meat
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 2 small sweet red peppers diced finely
  • 2 packages (1.9 ounces each) frozen miniature phyllo tart shells - prebaked
  • to garnish: Paprika
  • to garnish: Dill weed


  1. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, lemon juice, and horseradish until smooth.
  2. Stir in the crabmeat, diced peppers and onion.
  3. Spoon 2-3 teaspoonfuls into each tart shell;
  4. Sprinkle with paprika.
  5. Place the shells on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for about 6-8 minutes or until the tops begin to brown.
  6. Garnish with fresh dill and serve hot.


Prebaked phyllo cups are slightly browned already. For a hot appetizer, watch carefully when baking so as not to make them get too brown.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50

Share on Social Media


Thursday 21st of December 2023

Hi, this sounds great. where can I find the reviews

Carol Speake

Sunday 24th of December 2023

The reviews only show a star rating, not actual reviews. Sometimes people comment on a recipe in the comment section.


Friday 13th of October 2023

Can I fill scoops instead of making phyloo cups

Carol Speake

Tuesday 17th of October 2023

I've never tried it that way. The cups hold the mixture in one piece when cooked. I don't know how they would work without the bottom layer.

Pam Capani

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

What kind of red pepper?

Carol Speake

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

I used the baby sweet red peppers. If you like it spicy, you can use chili peppers.


Tuesday 24th of December 2019

Hi, can real crab meat be used? Or does it have to be the imitation kind? Thanks

Carol Speake

Monday 30th of December 2019

Yes real crab will work just fine.


Sunday 3rd of February 2019

I made these for new years- had them on counter for a couple hours & then they were gone so they had cooled down but wow they were still amazing


Sunday 3rd of February 2019

Glad you enjoyed them!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Skip to Recipe