Crab Rangoon Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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Crab rangoons or cream cheese wontons are a lot easier to make at home than you think. I’ve perfected this recipe to deliver the same addicting flavor using similar ingredients and techniques as your favorite American-Chinese takeout restaurants. The simplicity of the ingredients may even surprise you!

Crispy golden fried crab rangoons on a white plate served with sweet chili sauce.

Your basic takeout crab rangoon filling is made with cream cheese, imitation crab, green onion, salt, and sugar. It’s wrapped in a wonton wrapper and deep-fried in oil until golden and crispy.

While some recipes call for soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or even real crab meat, I’ve found these to taste much more like the real thing than anything else I’ve experimented with in the past.

Why This Recipe Works

The secret to delicious rangoons is the balance of salt and sugar. Imitation crab meat is often used by restaurants because it’s cheaper, lasts longer, and is milder in flavor. Imitation crab is also sweeter than real crab meat.

While the sugar will add very subtle sweetness, its purpose is to balance the ingredients, making them much more appealing and tasty.

Want to make this a complete meal? Pair this with my teriyaki beef skewers, Japanese-style fried rice, sweet and spicy chicken bowls, and beef and broccoli for a medley of delicious flavors! Also, try my buffalo chicken rangoons!

Ingredients

Raw, uncooked crab rangoon ingredients laid out on a wooden cutting board.
  • Cream cheese: classic Philadelphia cream cheese is my preferred brand. Be sure to let it warm on the counter so it’s easier to mix.
  • Imitation crab leg meat: Imitation crab is usually made with surimi (blend of white fish) and may or may not contain actual crab meat depending on the brand. Look for leg meat imitation crab, which is usually packaged in small tubular portions.
  • Sugar: sugar adds subtle sweetness but is intended to balance the salty flavors. This is often an overlooked ingredient in crab rangoons.
  • Salt: salt helps all of the flavors pop. A common substitute in restaurants would likely be MSG for its savory and umami qualities.
  • Green onion (whites only): I usually stop when the white portion of the onion is getting noticeably greener. You can of course include the green portion if you prefer.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

Substitutions and Variations

Other common ingredients found in rangoon filling include garlic powder, MSG, sesame oil, and white pepper. I encourage you to experiment and see what flavors you like best. I highly recommend starting simple and adding additional ingredients to taste.

While you can substitute imitation crab for fresh or canned crab meat, just note it’s stronger in flavor and may not taste like what you’re used to. You can alternatively leave the crab out altogether for equally delicious results.

Wonton Wrappers Versus Eggroll Wrappers

Wonton wraps are small square flat dough wraps made with egg, flour, and water. Eggroll wraps are essentially the same dough but cut larger for eggrolls. Nasoya is likely the most readily available brand in stores (they’re vegan), however Hong Hong and Dynasty wonton wraps are the best options.

How to Make Crab Rangoons

Step 1.

Preheat at least 2 inches of oil in a wok, dutch oven, or pot over medium-high heat (roughly 350°F). Fill a small prep bowl with room-temperature water.

Canola oil measuring 350 degrees Fahrenheit with a digital thermometer in a small saucepan.

Quick Tip

Rangoons must be fully submerged in oil for even cooking. If you don’t have enough oil, use a smaller pot so you have enough volume/depth.

Step 2.

Combine all filling ingredients in a small bowl (image 2a). Mix until smooth and creamy (image 2b). Chill covered in the fridge for 30-60 minutes or overnight before filling.

Cream cheese, diced imitation crab, and diced white onion in a small bowl.
Cream cheese, diced imitation crab, and diced white onion mixed in a small bowl  for rangoon filling.

Quick tip

Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes for rapid chilling. This ensures the cream cheese filling doesn’t melt when frying.

Step 3.

Place a wonton wrapper on a flat surface. Dab your finger in the water and wet all four edges of the wonton (image 3a). Spoon a scant tablespoon of cream cheese filling in the center (image 3b). It’s important not to overfill so the rangoon filling doesn’t burst out when frying/folding.

Two fingers wetting the edges of a wonton wrapper with water.
A dollop of cream cheese filling in the center of an unwrapped wonton wrapper.

Step 4.

Take two corners of the wonton and fold them in towards the center, pinching with your finger to connect (image 4a). Fold the other two corners up towards the center and pinch to crimp all four corners together (image 4b). Ensure all four sides are pinched together firmly so there are no gaps (image 4c).

Folding the dough of am uncooked crab rangoon starting with two corners.
Four corners of an uncooked crab rangoon folded and pinched in the center.
A finished, uncooked crab rangoon that's been folded into a sqaure.

Step 5.

Place 5-6 rangoons in the oil at a time, and fry until golden, about 20-30 seconds. Rangoons will cook fast so be sure to monitor. They will continue to brown even after removing from the oil.

Deep frying crab rangoons in sizzling hot oil.

Quick Tip

Prepare all of the rangoons at once before frying. Fry in batches of 5-6 at a time and transfer to a paper towel to drain and cool.

Step 6.

Remove from the oil with a spider strainer or metal slotted spoon. Place on a paper towel to drain and allow to cool slightly and serve with sweet chili sauce.

A spider strainer removing golden crab rangoons from hot oil after frying.

Expert Tips

Deep Frying Rangoons

  • The optimal frying time for rangoons is about 30 seconds in 350°F oil. Once the oil gets up to temp, reduce the heat so the oil doesn’t get too hot. 
  • Test one rangoon first and keep a close eye on how quickly it cooks.
  • Triangular-shaped rangoons can be cooked in less oil if needed because they can be flipped halfway through to fry each side.
A hand holding a cooked crab rangoon, exposing the cream cheese filling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best sauce for crab rangoons?

Look for a sweet chili sauce. This is my favorite. You could even use some hot pepper jelly in a pinch.

Can I Freeze Crab Rangoons?

Yes! Fully prep and freeze unfried rangoons for best results. Take them out of the freezer and let them acclimate on the counter for 5 minutes before frying. They should cook at the same rate as freshly made rangoons.

Can rangoons be made ahead of time?

I prefer to make the filling ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. This allows the flavors to marinate. You can also assemble rangoons and keep them chilled (covered in plastic wrap) until ready to fry. Do not prepare more than 3-4 hours in advance or they can get soggy.

Can I make rangoons in an air fryer?

Yes, just note the texture will be different. Air fry at 370 for about 10 minutes or until crispy.

More Takeout-Inspired Recipes

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5 from 1 vote

Crab Rangoon Recipe

Servings: 20 rangoons
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
A simple classic crab rangoon made with canned crab meat and cream cheese. Folded and deep-fried for a crispy and delicious appetizer.

Ingredients 

  • 12 ounce package wonton wraps, Nasoya, Hong Kong, Dynasty
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 ounces imitation crab, leg style finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1-2 green onions, whites only, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, optional
  • Vegetable/canola oil for frying, 2 48 ounce containers depending on volume and pot size
  • Sweet chili sauce, for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat 2 inches of oil in a wok, dutch oven, or pot over medium-high heat (roughly 350°F). Fill a small prep bowl with room temp water.
  • Combine all filling ingredients in a small bowl. Mix until smooth and creamy. Chill covered in the fridge for 30-60 minutes or overnight before filling.
  • Place a wonton wrapper on a flat surface. Dab your finger in the water and wet all four edges of the wonton. Spoon a scant tablespoon of cream cheese filling in the center. It’s important not to overfill so the rangoon filling doesn’t burst out when frying/folding.
  • Take two corners of the wonton and fold them in towards the center, pinching with your finger to connect. Fold the other two corners up towards the center and pinch to crimp all four corners together. Ensure all four sides are pinched together firmly so there are no gaps.
  • Place 5-6 rangoons in the oil at a time, and fry until golden, about 20-30 seconds. Rangoons will cook fast so be sure to monitor. They will continue to brown even after removing from the oil.
  • Remove from the oil with a spider strainer or metal slotted spoon. Place on a paper towel to drain and allow to cool slightly and serve with sweet chili sauce.

Notes

The optimal frying time for rangoons is about 30 seconds in 350°F oil. Once the oil gets up to temp, reduce the heat so the oil doesn’t get too hot.
Test one rangoon first and keep a close eye on how quickly it cooks.
Triangular-shaped rangoons can be cooked in less oil if needed because they can be flipped halfway through to fry each side.
Rangoons must be fully submerged in oil for even cooking. If you don’t have enough oil, use a smaller pot so you have enough volume/depth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1rangoonCalories: 95kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 186mgPotassium: 31mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 161IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese-American
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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