The perfect Crab Rangoon is wrapped in a crunchy wonton shell, easy to eat, and filled with a creamy crab center. They’re delicious on their own and even better with a sweet chili sauce. You can prepare them in the oven or fry them on the stove. Either way, they’re the perfect appetizer!
While Asian recipes are very rarely improved in the American Melting Pot, there is one exception that almost everyone can agree on: the crab rangoon.
This popular crab puff has a crunchy bite and creamy center that floods your taste buds with fatty cream cheese and mouthwatering crab meat. I can’t remember a time when I’d have any leftover after serving them to friends and family.
There are two camps among crab rangoon fans: those who like sweet filling and those who don’t. I personally enjoy a slightly sweet filling and include powdered sugar in my crab puff recipe. However, if you do not, you can use a little less or just omit it entirely.
I have a few additional killer Asian seafood dishes that are worth a try. Shrimp shumai, a dim sum favorite and a delicately steamed alternative appetizer that isn’t quite so heavy, and sweet chili glazed salmon are two that I highly recommend.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Cream Cheese - Allow the block to come to room temperature before attempting to prepare the filling. It takes 30 minutes to an hour to completely soften.
- Crab Meat - The easiest method is to get frozen meat and let it thaw in the fridge, but any method or quantity of meat is fine. If using frozen, be sure to drain and pat dry.
- Powdered Sugar - Regular white sugar will be incredibly difficult to whisk into the filling, so I do not recommend using it as a substitute.
- Soy Sauce - A bit of savory soy sauce offsets the sweetness of the sugar. Dark soy sauce is stronger and sweeter, while light soy sauce is saltier. Choose the flavor you prefer or use a combination of the two.
- Wonton Wrappers - If you are unable to find wonton wrappers specifically, you can use gyoza (which would be thicker) or dumpling (which would be thinner) wrappers.
- Oil - The oil is simply used for frying, so any will do. Vegetable, canola, or peanut oil would be my first choices.
HOW TO FRY CRAB RANGOON
- Prepare the Oil. Heat your frying oil in a deep pan, adding enough to cover a rangoon. Bring temperature to 350°F.
- Make the Filling. While the oil heats, prepare the filling by whisking together the cream cheese, soy sauce, and sugar. Once smooth, gradually and gently fold the crab meat into the mixture.
- Fill the Wontons. Dip your fingers in water and gently wet the edges of the wonton wrappers. Place 3 teaspoons of filling in the center of each.
- Form the Rangoons. Take two opposite corners of one wonton wrapper and pinch together over the center of the filling. Repeat with the two remaining corners. Pinch where the corners meet to seal them together. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
- Fry. Fry each dumpling in the oil for 2-3 minutes each, working in batches without overfilling the pot. Transfer the cooked wontons to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain, then fry the rest of the wontons.
- Serve. Serve after cooling briefly, either as they are or with a sweet chili sauce.
HOW TO MAKE CRAB RANGOON IN THE OVEN
- Preheat & Prep. Preheat the oven to 425°F while filling and forming each wonton. Place the completed wontons on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Oil & Bake. Give the dumplings a very light coating of cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes or so until golden brown.
Does crab rangoon use real crab?
Ideally, yes. You can find crab meat either frozen or refrigerated, likely wherever you’ll find cuts of fish in the grocery store.
It is possible to make a crab puff recipe with imitation crab meat. It will not have the same, rich, briny flavor that you can only get from real crabs, but the result will be similar.
You can really use any seafood for your filling, if you want to try new flavors. Just make sure it is cooked first, as the wontons are not fried long enough to cook any protein in the center to a safe temperature.
What is the difference between a crab wonton and a crab rangoon?
The two terms are sometimes (mistakenly) used interchangeably.
Wontons are generally boiled while rangoons are fried. The former method is most popular in Chinese and Cantonese dishes, and the latter is most often seen in South East Asia.
Can you prep crab rangoon ahead of time and freeze?
Yes, this dumpling-like recipe is fairly easy to freeze and reheat.
The best point in the recipe to freeze is once the wontons are filled and sealed. Instead of dropping in the oil, drop in an airtight container to freeze for up to 6 months.
Another popular method for freezing is lining the rangoons on a baking sheet, freezing on the tray, and transferring to a freezer bag. This is what I do.
When you’d like to prepare a crab puff, let it thaw in the fridge before baking or frying.
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 8 oz crab meat thawed and drained
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 24 wonton wrappers
- oil for deep frying
- Line a baking sheet with paper towels, set aside.
- Heat enough oil in deep skillet or dutch oven to cover crab rangoon (about 1 ½ inches) to 350°F.
- In a bowl whisk the cream cheese, soy sauce and powdered sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the crab meat.
- Using your finger, wet the edges of each won ton wrapper with water. Add 3 teaspoons of filling, don't over fill. Lift 2 opposite corners of the won ton and pinch together over filling. Repeat with other two corners. Gently seal all edges together, squeezing air and pinching to form a packet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
- Carefully fry in 2-3 minute batches until golden brown. Drain on lined baking tray and repeat with remaining. Let cool slightly before serving with Sweet Chili Sauce.
- Heat oven to 425°F. After filling, place crab rangoon on parchment lined baking sheets.
- Spray crab rangoon with cooking spray and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.