Crab Rangoon Recipe

Crab rangoon reportedly takes its name from the city of Yangon, capital of Myanmar, though the best evidence indicates that it was probably invented by restaurateur Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic's restaurant in San Francisco (via Atlas Obscura). Yes, that all gets a bit confusing, but what won't confuse you is the delightfully simple recipe that leads to delicious crab rangoon won tons. "The recipe is super easy," says chef and food writer Erin Johnson of Probably in the Kitchen. "If you can chop and stir, you can make these."

And considering the recipe calls for imitation crab meat, it's quite affordable as well. "You can use real crab meat if you have it on hand, but I prefer the takeout classic that uses imitation crab meat," says Johnson. "It's budget-friendly, and I'd rather save the pricier crabmeat for something more crab forward."

While easy, the recipe does call for a lot of frying with hot oil, so take care here. "The only part to be careful on is making sure the oil isn't too hot," says Johnson. "Don't walk away while frying. Won ton wrappers fry super quickly and go from perfect to burnt in seconds. I always test an empty won ton wrapper to make sure that the oil is the right temperature before I use the filled ones." If you have one, it's easiest to use an oil thermometer and take out the guesswork.

What is imitation crab meat, anyway?

Imitation crab meat is fish, simply put. According to Healthline, it is processed white fish, quite often pollock that's popular for this use because it has a mild flavor that stands in decently enough for the real deal. The fish is deboned, washed, and then transformed into a paste that's heated and pressed into its final shape. You may see it labeled as "imitation crab", "crab-flavored seafood", or "surimi".

Imitation crab meat is lower than actual crab meat when it comes to nutrients like protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but it does have the flavor and feel of crab. As noted, it's also much more affordable than genuine crab meat and is readily available in most stores selling seafood. And let's be honest, we're not making crab rangoon for the vitamins anyway. Rather, we're making what Johnson calls a "takeout guilty pleasure" because it's simply delicious.

Gather your ingredients for crab rangoon

You don't need many ingredients to make a batch of crab rangoon. The recipe calls for 4 ounces of cream cheese, softened, 1 clove of garlic, minced, 1 green onion, finely chopped, and 2 to 4 ounces of imitation crab meat, also finely chopped "If you want a 'crabbier' rangoon, add up to 4 ounces of the imitation crab meat," says Johnson. "I prefer to use about 2 ounces in mine, but it's personal preference." You will also need 12 to 14 wonton wrappers and 2 cups of oil for frying.

Of course, ideally, you'll have some great sauces on hand to amp up the flavor. "I love these with duck sauce or a sweet chili dipping sauce," says Johnson. "Other popular options are sweet and sour or a soy ginger dipping sauce."

Prepare the crab rangoon filling

First off, get the cream cheese out of the fridge at least a half-hour before you start prepping the wontons to let it soften. Then mince the garlic and chop the green onions. Now mix together all the filling ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir until everything is well combined. If you want, you can reserve a few green onions to scatter over the finished food for a pop of color.

Now set out a small bowl of water that you will use to moisten your fingers while making the wontons. You can also wet them from the tap as needed, though a bowl will likely make assembly more convenient as you get into the groove of things.

Assemble the crab rangoon wontons

Spread out the wonton wrappers, then get to work filling them one at a time. To do that, first place a small spoonful of the filling in the middle of a wonton paper. Next, dip your finger in water and lightly wet the edge of the wonton wrapper along two sides. Then fold it in half diagonally over the filling and press to seal the wrapper into a triangular shape. Repeat the same process until you have used all the filling, which should yield about a dozen filled wontons.

Now heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in a deep pan or Dutch oven until the oil is about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This is where an oil thermometer or infrared thermometer will help the most, but you can also test-fry an unfilled wrapper as Johnson recommends to check that it's ready to properly cook and brown your filled wontons.

Fry the crab rangoon

Once the oil is ready, fry the wontons in batches small enough that they don't touch one another while cooking. Fry each batch for about 2 minutes per side, flipping once. Remove wontons when they turn golden brown. And remember Johnson's cautionary words about how they can overcook and burn in a matter of seconds, so keep a close watch!

As you remove completed batches, drain them on paper towels. Promptly serve the completed crab rangoon with your favorite dipping sauce.

"You can refrigerate and reheat any leftovers in the oven or air fryer," says Johnson, "but they do lose much of their crispness. Fresh is the best when it comes to most fried foods, and this is no exception."

Crab Rangoon Recipe
4.9 from 42 ratings
Crab rangoon is a takeout classic, but did you know that you can make this delicious Chinese-American dish tonight in the comfort of your own home kitchen?
Prep Time
Cook Time
crab rangoon
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 - 4 ounces imitation crab meat, finely chopped
  • 12 - 14 wonton wrappers
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  1. Mix together all the filling ingredients until well combined.
  2. Place a small spoonful of the filling onto the wonton.
  3. Dip your finger in water and lightly wet the edge of the wonton wrapper along two sides. Fold in half diagonally and press to seal into triangles.
  4. Repeat until you have used all the filling.
  5. Heat 2 cups vegetable oil in a deep pan or Dutch oven until the oil is about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Fry the wontons in batches for about 2 minutes per side, flipping once. Remove when golden brown.
  7. Drain on paper towels, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Calories per Serving 471
Total Fat 41.1 g
Saturated Fat 4.4 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 14.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Total Sugars 0.8 g
Sodium 270.5 mg
Protein 4.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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