Crab Rangoon

4.82 from 16 votes
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This homemade crab rangoon recipe has crispy cream cheese wontons filled with crab meat. It’s a popular appetizer at most Chinese restaurants. Serve with a sweet and sour sauce, and you’ve got a crowd-pleasing starter!

Person using chopsticks to dip crab rangoon in sweet and sour sauce.

Whenever our family goes out to our favorite local Chinese restaurant, crab rangoon is a very tempting option when scanning the starters. There’s something delightful about the contrast of rich, creamy seafood filling embedded in a crunchy deep-fried shell crust that makes for a fun and fancy culinary experience. Thankfully, making these appetizers at home is relatively easy!

The filling is a simple blend of chopped crab, cream cheese, chives, salt, and pepper. The folding technique is critical to keep the tasty filling locked into each wonton. But don’t worry, I’ll show you my step-by-step method. Frying the wontons briefly until golden brown ensures the most crackling exterior. Serve these edible bundles with sweet and sour sauce, and watch them disappear!

Ingredients for crab rangoon filling placed in a bowl.

What ingredients are used in crab rangoon filling?

I use canned crab meat that is refrigerated at most grocery stores and specialty Asian markets. Imitation crab meat can also be substituted, a cured surimi or cooked seafood paste that is more affordable than real crab meat and is often used in California rolls. Just make sure to chop it into smaller pieces if using the imitation.

Cream cheese is added as a rich dairy base for the filling, along with chopped chives (or green onions), salt, and pepper for seasoning. Mix the filling ingredients by hand until thoroughly mixed, or toss everything into a stand mixer for a faster blending option.

Person brushing water over the edges of a wonton wrapper with crab rangoon filling in the center.

How do you make crab rangoon?

  • Mix ingredients for crab and cheese filling.
  • Add filling to the center of each wonton.
  • Brush the edges of the wonton with water for stickiness.
  • Fold and press wonton together to create a purse shape.
  • Deep-fry crab rangoons until golden brown in color and crispy.

Crab rangoon is not a traditional Chinese recipe, as dairy products are seldom used, but it has gained popularity in American Chinese restaurants. I serve them with my homemade sweet and sour sauce, a must-have condiment. The tangy sauce brings out the flavor of the crab filling. These crab and cream cheese-filled wontons can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen for a quick appetizer.

Person folding wonton wrapper into a purse shape.

How do you shape crab rangoon?

The recipe uses square wonton wrappers, 3 ½ x 3 ½-inch in size, which fits 1 tablespoon of filling. If you find it challenging to fold or want less, 2 teaspoons also work well. The wrappers have a light dusting of cornstarch on the outside, which helps to seal the edges when brushed with water.

Bring all four corners to the center for a purse shape, then press the adjacent edges together to seal. Remove any excess air from the inside, so the shape and filling stay intact during the frying process. Other folds, like a simple triangle or tortellini-style, as I use for my wonton soup, also look nice.

Steel spider strainer lowering four crab rangoons into a stockpot of hot oil.

How do you fry the filled wontons?

Deep frying is the best way to cook crab rangoons. Cooking in a generous amount of oil allows the wontons to submerge and cook evenly and thoroughly. This can be done in a large pot or wok. A high smoke point oil like canola or vegetable should be maintained between 350 to 375ºF (177 to 191ºC). It only takes a minute or so for the wontons to become super crisp and golden brown.

I work in small batches of about 4 at a time, so it’s easy to monitor the cooking process. I like to use a metal spyder to push the wontons down into the oil to submerge them completely. Since the filling is not raw, the color change of the wontons is the primary concern and best indicator of when they’re ready to be removed from the oil. Keep a close eye on the pot. They cook fast!

Several crab rangoon cooling on a wire rack after deep frying.

More Chinese recipes

Why the oil temperature matters

It’s essential to keep the deep-frying oil temperature below its smoke point. Any higher oil can break down and release a chemical called acrolein that gives a burnt taste to food. Also, the oil breaks down faster at this point, so pick a high smoke point oil like peanut, canola, or vegetable for prolonged frying.

Crab Rangoon

Crab rangoon recipe for crispy deep-fried wontons stuffed with a seafood and cream cheese filling.
4.82 from 16 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 24 pieces
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients 
 

  • 8 ounces lump crab meat, chopped
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 24 wonton wrappers, square
  • water, for sealing
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions 

  • Make the Filling – In a medium bowl, mix crab meat, cream cheese, chives, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the Filling – Add 1 tablespoon (15g) of crab filling into the center of the wonton wrapper. Lightly brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water. Bring two opposite points together and press corners together.
  • Seal the Wonton – Bring the other opposite edges together to create a purse shape. Seal the long side edges together removing as much air as possible. Repeat with remaining wonton wrappers.
  • Deep Fry the Wontons – Heat vegetable oil in a large pot, dutch oven, or wok until it reaches 350ºF (177ºC), do not exceed 375ºF (191ºC). Deep fry crab rangoon wontons, 4 at a time, until golden brown and crispy, about 1 to 1 ½ minutes.
    Use a metal spider strainer or a large spoon to submerge the wontons for even cooking. Check the color change visually for the best indication of when the wontons are done.
  • Cool After Frying – Transfer fried wontons to a sheet pan topped with a cooling rack or lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil. Repeat frying with the remaining wontons.
  • To Serve – Pair with the desired dipping sauce like sweet and sour sauce.

Notes

  • Filling Size: Use 2 to 3 teaspoons of crab filling for each wonton.
  • Crab Meat: Imitation crab may also be used.
  • Wonton Wrapper: Use square wontons, 3 ½ by 3 ½ inches in size. 
  • Watch the Oil Temperature: If it goes above 375ºF (191ºC), the wontons will fry quickly, within 30 seconds. 
  • Alternative Folding Techniques: You can also create a triangle-shaped fold or a tortellini shape with the filled wonton wrapper.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 24 pieces
Calories 70kcal (4%)Carbohydrates 5g (2%)Protein 3g (6%)Fat 4g (6%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Cholesterol 17mg (6%)Sodium 157mg (7%)Potassium 35mg (1%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 168IU (3%)Vitamin C 1mg (1%)Calcium 19mg (2%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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9 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Sarah Nixon says

    HiJessica….here I go again….I really struggle with deep fry recipes and asked you about baking egg rolls (followed you advice and turned out wonderful) and I have also oven baked potstickers in a similar manner to your bacon wrapped shrimp (HUGE hit at my place). Now, I love crab ragoons so I plan on doing the same again….will I be okay???? Massive Chinese New Year party coming to my place on Feb.8th …Massive….in Fernie BC!!!!,,,,so I want my appetizers out of the oven while my guests enjoy your Wonton Soup recipe ( it is a request/demand again this year) while I whip up your Pad Thai recipe and veggie stir fry (love the sauce). Will also be adding slow cooker ginger beef and slow cooker sweet and sour chicken. Would love your thoughts and recipes and any advice is appreciated. I was a high school principal in China for 9 years…..and I come back to Canada and make food I never made there…………What is that???? Thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Sarah- Wow, sounds like you have a big feast ahead! Are you planning on baking or frying the rangoons? You can definitely shape them ahead of time and refrigerate, then fry them right before serving.

  2. Nancy says

    HI Jessica,

    Loved these rangoons but I had trouble with them bursting, not the seams but at the belly? Do you know what I did wrong? I made sure all air was out of them.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Nancy- Perhaps you can add less filling if it’s bursting in the center. How was the frying temperature? Sometimes if it’s too hot it could cause it to open.

  3. Carolyn Irvine says

    I have been making Crab Rangoons for 50 years. I use 1 lb crab to 1 lb cream cheese with a dash of Worcestershire plus minced onion and celery. I liked your addition of chives. I did’t have much luck with your purses. They look so cute but mine didn’t so I need to. revert to my totaling or do lots more practice. Do you have a recipe for the slow cooked ginger beef ? I’m doing a Chinese party the end of January and that sounds wonderful.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m sure that your Rangoons look amazing! On my website browser, search “grandmas ginger beef stew”. This is a recipe I adapted from what my grandma used to make us for supper.