english muffins

Crabbies are a tasty creation which, throughout my childhood, my family always served on special occasions or holidays, particularly during the winter months. They are sort of like a deconstructed crab dip, spread on a tangy english muffin and toasted to perfection. Crabbies are classic, cozy, and old-fashioned.

As a child, I remember visiting a B&B in Spring Lake, NJ, sitting down with the proprietors in front of a crackling fire, and being served crabbies. They also served classic popcorn tins which are, in my opinion, one of the most festive winter delights.

My aunt traditionally made crabbies using a soft cheese spread, but my recipe uses cream cheese infused with crushed red pepper to add creaminess and spice.

Serve these delights for a romantic date or as a delectable party snack. I promise, crabbies will never disappoint!


  • 8 ounces / 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 10 english muffins, split with a fork
  • ½ pound lump crab meat


Using a food processor or electric mixer, blend the cream cheese and 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Add crushed red pepper. Pulse until the mixture becomes a spreadable paste, much like typical cream cheese but now infused with cheddar. Set aside.

Toast english muffin halves in batches of 2-4 depending on the side of your toaster (if you do not have a toaster, toast them on the rack in the oven at 350°F) and spread with cheese mixture. Top with crab meat and shredded cheddar cheese.

Place all 20 prepared crabbies on a sheet pan and put in freezer. Freeze for at least 1 hour. These will last in the freezer for up to two weeks, so feel free to do this ahead of time.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300°F. bake for 20 minutes. Turn on oven broiler and broil for 6 minutes, rotating the pan 180° every 2 minutes so ensure each crabbie is evenly browned. Serve whole or cut in quarters.

English muffins are an any-time-of-the-day kind of food. You can eat them first-thing in the morning, slathered with fresh butter or in the afternoon with smashed avocado. Use them to mop up runny eggs or top them with chicken, vegetables, and cheese for an open-faced sandwich. English muffins, especially sourdough english muffins, also make a great base for party snacks!

I grew up on Thomas’ English Muffins – regular, whole wheat, honey wheat, etc., and I still have a soft spot for their “nooks and crannies”. I remember my dad carefully instructing my sister and me to use a fork – never a knife – to split the muffins in two, giving us maximal jagged surface area for spreading whipped butter and cherry preserves.

These sourdough english muffins are easy + inexpensive to make and are thoroughly layered with flavor and texture. I opt to toast before eating, but they are just as delicious warm from the pan.


  • ½ cup (100 grams)  sourdough starter
  • 1 tablespoon (20 grams) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (20 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup (240 grams) milk
  • 3 cups (380 grams) all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (40 grams) cornmeal for dipping and coating dough


12-14 hours before baking (the night before)

Add the sourdough starter, honey, sugar, milk, flour, and salt to a bowl and mix evenly. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Knead for 5 minutes. I like to use a stand mixer, but you can knead by hand if you prefer. The dough will be sticky.

Let the dough sit at room temperature for 12-14 hour overnight.

morning of baking

Divide the dough evenly into 10 pieces. Shape each piece into a round by repeatedly turning it under itself and pinching it together on the bottom.

Place cornmeal in a shallow bowl and roll the top of each muffin in the cornmeal, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for an hour.

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Place muffins into the skillet, 3-4 at a time. Cook for 5 minutes with the cornmeal side down, flip, and then cook for another 5 minutes.