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!
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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.
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- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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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