Crab Rangoon are absolutely delightful, and thanks to our easy recipe, you can make them at home. They are crispy fried wontons filled with crab meat and cream cheese. I love how well the light and crunchy wonton shells compliment the creamy crab filling.
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How to Make Crab Rangoon at Home
You can typically find these crab and cream cheese fried wontons (Crab Rangoon, sometimes called crab puffs) on the menu in Chinese and American Chinese restaurants. I love the way the light and crunchy wonton shells compliment the creamy crab filling. I must confess that when I make these cream cheese wontons, it’s tough to stop at just one!
Here’s a brief overview of the ingredients you will need to make them–the detailed recipe is below:
Crab Meat: I love using fresh or pasteurized crab meat. We have used Dungeness crab in our photos and video, but Blue Crab would also be excellent in the recipe. Imitation crab works, too (surimi). However, it tastes milder and sweeter than real crab. (If you love crab, take a look at our easy crab dip, it’s so good!)
Cream Cheese: Cream cheese makes the Rangoon filling creamy and rich while helping to bind everything together. We call for less cream cheese than other recipes since too much can make these heavy.
Soy Sauce or Tamari: Our recipe keeps seasoning light since crab meat is naturally salty. A dash of soy sauce or tamari is perfect.
Wonton Wrappers: Thin, square-shaped wrappers found in most grocery stores or International markets are perfect for this recipe. They are typically made from flour, water, and salt. I find wonton wrappers in the refrigerated section near the produce, usually next to where tofu and egg roll wrappers are sold. Consider using leftover wonton wrappers to make these baked wonton cups.
Can I Make Crab Rangoon Without Crab Meat?
These cream cheese wontons can be made without crab. Feel free to get creative and experiment with different fillings o try substituting with the following:
- Cooked and finely chopped shrimp
- Veggies like mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, and water chestnuts
- Crumbled and seasoned tofu
- Imitation crab meat (surimi) — keep in mind imitation crab meat doesn’t taste like crab, and instead tastes more mild and sweet since it is actually made from fish.
Folding Wonton Wrappers for Crab Rangoon
There are a variety of shapes you can choose for these cream cheese-filled wontons. I stick with a simple envelope but feel free to experiment with different folding techniques. Whatever shape you choose, always ensure your wonton is firmly sealed. If it is not, you might find that the wonton opens in the oil, which causes some spluttering. (This almost always happens to me when I fry, so be prepared with a deeper pot so any spluttering stays away from you and open flames.)
- Place a wonton wrapper on a clean work surface.
- Spoon a small amount of the crab filling (about 1 teaspoon) onto the center of the wrapper. Be careful not to overfill the wonton, as this can cause the wonton to leak or open while frying.
- Dip your finger in water or a beaten egg and moisten the edges of the wrapper to help seal it. We prefer to use beaten egg to seal wontons.
- Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper over to meet the top corner, forming a triangle. Squeeze out any air, and press the edges together to seal.
- Dip your finger in water or a beaten egg again, and moisten one side of the triangle.
- Take the dry corner of the triangle and fold it towards the center. Then take the moistened corner and overlap the first corner, pressing to seal.
Watch us fold the wontons in our video (in the recipe below).
Crab Rangoon Frying Tips
If you don’t fry much at home, read through the following tips:
- When folding the wontons, press as much air out of the inside as you can and ensure you seal them so they do not open in the hot oil.
- Use a deep pot, but fill only by a couple of inches. Do not completely fill the pot with oil. Instead, leave plenty of room for the oil to splutter as the wontons fry.
- Fry in batches — they only take a minute or so to cook. Frying in batches prevents overcrowding of the pot.
- Occasionally, a wonton will split and cause the oil to splutter around it. If you’ve left enough room in your pot, this should not be a problem. If you are worried, place a splatter screen over the pot.
Can I Bake Crab Rangoon Instead of Frying Them?
Yes, but Crab Rangoon are far better when fried. That’s coming from someone who goes above and beyond to avoid frying at home. That said, for these crab and cream cheese wontons, I make an exception. They are SO much better when fried.
Baked Crab Rangoon aren’t as light or crispy. Instead, the edges get crisp and browned, while the areas touching the filling stay soft. Everything still tastes good, but the texture is off.
If you still want to experiment with baking these, you can — we recommend lightly brushing or spraying with cooking oil and baking in a 375° Fahrenheit (190°C) oven until crisp. Check them around five minutes, and continue to bake until crisp (probably 5 to 10 minutes more).
Can I Use My Air Fryer Instead of Frying Them?
We have also tried this Crab Rangoon recipe in an air fryer and found similar results to baking. The wontons get crisp around the edges, but where the filling touches the wonton, it doesn’t crisp as much.
If you experiment with your air fryer, we recommend starting at 375° Fahrenheit (190°C). Lightly brush or spray the wontons, place them into the basket, and air fry for 5 minutes. Check on them, then continue cooking until they are crisp, another 5 to 10 minutes more. It’s important to note that cooking times may vary depending on your air fryer’s specific model and size. So keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking.
Our Favorite Dipping Sauce for Crab Rangoon
Sweet and sour sauce is commonly served with Crab Rangoon. However, I find the store-bought sauce too sweet, so we make our own. It’s ridiculously easy to do. Heat Sambal Oelek chili sauce (I use Huy Fong brand with the green lid) with sugar and rice wine vinegar until the sugar dissolves. Then serve. It’s sweet, but not too much. It’s also got a bit more kick than the store-bought stuff. This dipping sauce would also be amazing with homemade chicken nuggets and this baked tofu.
Make Filling in Advance: Store the filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Freezing Before Cooking: Place filled and folded wontons in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until they are hard. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to three months. Fry from frozen, or you can bake them. Remove the frozen wontons from the freezer and line them up on a parchment-lined baking sheet to bake the frozen wontons. Brush or spray with oil, leave on the counter while the oven preheats for 15 minutes, and then bake until crisp and golden brown.
Freezing After They Are Cooked: Place cooked wontons in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until they are hard. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to three months. Reheat in a 300° Fahrenheit (150°C) oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes.
Keeping Warm After Frying: Place the cooked wontons on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet in a 200° Fahrenheit (90°C) oven until ready to serve (we only recommend doing this for 30 minutes to an hour).
We are so excited for you to try this recipe! Each time Adam and I tested it, the wontons disappeared quickly! It’s another recipe from Chef Richard Hattaway, and he nailed it. Try it soon. You are going to love it!
Easy Homemade Crab Rangoon
Crab Rangoon are absolutely delightful, and thanks to our easy recipe, you can make them at home. They are crispy fried wontons filled with crab meat and cream cheese. I love how well the light and crunchy wonton shells compliment the creamy crab filling. When frying, keep the following tips in mind: (1) When folding the wontons, press as much air out of the inside as you can and ensure you seal them so they do not open in the hot oil. (2) Use a deep saucepan, but fill only by a couple of inches. Do not completely fill the pot with oil. Instead, leave plenty of room for the oil to splutter as the wontons fry. (3) Fry in batches
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will NeedCrab Rangoon
8 ounces fresh or pasteurized crab meat, see tips below
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
1 small clove garlic, grated on a microplane or finely minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
26 wonton wrappers
Peanut oil or vegetable oil, for fryingSweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek chili paste (we use Huy Fong)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- Make Filling
1Place the crab meat into a colander and let drain for five minutes. Pick through the crab meat for any rogue shells.
2In a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese, green onion, bell pepper, garlic, and soy sauce. Fold in the crab meat. Make-ahead: Store filling in an air-tight container for up to three days.
- Fold Wontons
1Lay a few wontons out on a clean work surface. Keep the rest under a damp towel or plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
2Make an egg wash by whisking one egg with a tablespoon of water. You can substitute the egg wash for plain water, but we like how well egg wash seals the edges of the wonton.
3Place one teaspoon of the cream cheese filling in the middle of each wonton. Moisten the edges with the egg wash, then fold into a triangle, pushing as much air out of the middle as possible. Moisten one of the corners of the triangle, and then bring the two corners together, overlapping the moistened corner on top of the other corner and pressing to seal to make a little envelope. Watch us do this in our video.
4Transfer to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining wontons — this recipe typically makes two dozen.
- Cook Wontons
1Make the dipping sauce: Combine chili paste, sugar, and rice wine vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and set aside for serving. If needed, reheat the sauce after frying the wontons.
2Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 350°F (175°C) as registered on an instant-read thermometer. Carefully add 5 to 6 wontons to the oil. Cook, adjusting the heat to maintain temperature. Use a wire mesh spider to flip them in the oil.
3When the wontons look crisp and golden brown, carefully transfer them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining wontons. Serve with sweet and sour dipping sauce.
4To keep the wontons warm and crisp while you finish the remaining batches, place the fried wontons on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet in a 200° Fahrenheit (90°C) oven.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Crab meat substitute: You can use 8 ounces imitation crab meat (surimi), cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Baking and Air Fryer: For the best results, we recommend frying these cream cheese wontons, however, baking and air frying instructions are provided in the article.
- Oil: After frying the wontons, allow the oil to cool completely (this takes a while), and then save it for using another day. I use a fine mesh strainer to remove any bits left from frying the wontons and then place it back into the bottle.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. Nutrition is difficult with fried foods, because we have no way of determining how much oil is absorbed into the wontons. So we have provided nutrition for everything, but the oil. We realize this isn’t the most helpful, but without a laboratory, it is the best we can do.
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