Fried, crabmeat-filled dumplings known as Crab Rangoon are easy to make at home once you learn a few tricks. Plus they’re so much better than takeout cream cheese wontons. These crisp little beauties will become a family favorite in no time at all.
For a party, be sure to have some homemade Knorr Spinach Dip waiting in the wings, and maybe some 2-Ingredient Barbecue Little Smokies. For some other guest-tested fantabulous party snacks, have a peek at some appetizer recipes and get your planning underway.
Who doesn’t love a deep fried crab puff, or in certain circles, a cream cheese wonton? No matter the name, they're completely addictive. This mandatory American Chinese restaurant appetizer is popular for a reason, but sometimes what you get is a little heavy on the cream cheese, and a little light on the crab.
If making Crab Rangoon at home seems too challenging, don't be discouraged by this recipe. It's an appetizer that is absolutely easy to make, even for a beginner. And it uses only a few ingredients, which are all easy to find.
Dip these beautiful party appetizers in pepper jelly, sweet and sour sauce, or spicy mustard—or set out little dishes of each and let everybody pick their favorite. It's a winner.
Making Crab Rangoon for a happy hour, or just a dinner for two? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
What you need to make Crab Rangoon:
- Wonton wrappers. Look for square wonton wrappers made with wheat (not rice) that measure about 3 1/2” square. Each package will probably have a LOT of wrappers, so you can wrap up what you don’t need and freeze them for another Crab Rangoon evening. (And there will be.)
- Cream cheese.
- Lump white crabmeat. Canned is fine! Drain it before you begin. If you don’t want to use crab, you certainly don’t have to. Go without or use imitation crabmeat, instead.
- Crab Rangoon dipping sauce. Some really good options down below!
- Egg. An egg wash helps seal the wonton wrappers together.
Where are Chinese Wonton Wrappers located at the store?
Because they're so small, wonton wrappers can be a little tricky to find at the grocery. Chinese wonton wrappers can sometimes be found in the refrigerated produce section, sold in little square packages. Sometimes they’re in the freezer. Some stores have just one variety, while Asian markets may have dozens to choose from.
Whatever brand you find, make sure it’s made with wheat flour, rather than rice flour, and avoid egg roll wrappers, which are much larger that what you need for crab dumplings.
How to make Crab Rangoon at home:
These photos take you through the steps of how to make Crab Rangoon without giving exact amounts. After all, you may be making a thousand crab puffs! Follow along but refer to the recipe below for exact amounts.
- It all starts with a delicious filling made of cream cheese, mayonnaise, lump crab, and scallions. Mix the filling ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Then beat the egg and the tablespoon of water together to make a simple egg wash for sealing the wonton wrapper seams together.
- Keep these two bowls waiting close by while you set up the crab rangoon factory; aka a clean and spacious work surface.
Tips for making homemade Crab Rangoon:
- Seal, seal, seal. Above all, the most important part of making crab rangoon is sealing the wontons properly. When you fry the Crab Rangoon, if the edges aren't sealed, you run the risk of losing your hard work in the cooking oil. Pre-made wrappers tend to be drier and firmer than those you make from scratch, so closing can be a little more difficult. Press the seams together very well so the filling stays inside the dumpling as they fry. Use more egg wash as glue if you need to.
- Start small. Make only a couple dumplings at a time, until you get the hang of it, so the wrappers don't dry out too much as you go. Once you've got the technique down, you can throw down more wonton wrappers and make larger batches.
- Portion control. Consider using a small cookie scoop to portion out the delicious cream cheese filling, or a teaspoon dipped in cold water in between scoops--that keeps the filling from sticking to the metal.
- Make ahead. The Crab Rangoon Wontons can be made a few hours in advance, then fried up when it's time to eat. Space out the crab-filled wontons on a sheet tray, then cover with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap to keep them moist.
- Keep the oil hot (but not too hot.) Deep fried Crab Rangoon get greasy if fried in oil that's too cool. Make sure the oil is 375 degrees before lowering the dumplings in to cook.
How to fold Crab Rangoon:
Assembling the Crab Rangoon is easier than you might think. As you work, place finished crab dumplings on a baking sheet or large tray. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap, so they stay moist while you work.
1. First, working in batches, arrange 5 – 10 wonton wrappers on a clean, dry surface.
2. Then brush all 4 edges of each wrapper with the egg wash using a pastry brush or your finger. Place 1 rounded teaspoon of cream cheese filling in the center of each wonton wrapper.
3. Next, to wrap, first lift and press the seams of 2 opposing corners together over the filling.
4. Then, lift the remaining 2 opposing corners and bring them also to the middle to form a small parcel. Most importantly, really press all seams together and fold over the top where all the corners meet. If the wrapper does not seem to stick, apply additional egg wash.
5. There you have it! Bust out your deep fryer and you'll be devouring a pile of crab rangoon in no time at all.
How to fry Crab Rangoon:
If you don't own a deep fryer, you can fry wontons on the stove.
- First, heat a couple inches of vegetable oil in a pot. Start with a smaller amount of vegetable oil, in a small pot, to save on oil--but feel free to size up if you're making a large amount. You can cook the dumplings in batches.
- First, heat the vegetable oil in a sturdy pan until 375 degrees. Use a thermometer to get an accurate temp--any hotter and you run the risk of fire; cooler, and your wontons will soak up too much oil.
- Carefully lower the wontons into the hot oil and cook each batch for about 2 minutes, until golden brown.
- Use a slotted soon to remove the wontons as they're finished, and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate.
How to bake Crab Rangoon:
While this dish is usually deep fried, there's no harm in baking Crab Rangoon, especially if you don't want to mess with a deep fryer. This is also a good technique for making large batches of crabmeat wontons.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the rangoon in a muffin tin a sheet tray in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
Crab Rangoon Dipping Sauce
- Pepper jelly. Believe it or not, the Midwestern appetizer staple makes a delicious dipping sauce for Crab Rangoon. Try this one from Stonewall Kitchen, which has just enough sweet and spice.
- Sriracha. Yes, plain old American Sriracha pepper sauce is perfectly wonderful as a sauce. You can jazz it up with a little soy, honey, and a dash of sesame oil if you want to get really fancy.
- Duck or plum sauce. Bottled Chinese plum sauce, traditionally served with duck, is really great on Crab Rangoon.
- Chinese hot mustard. Caution: this stuff is strong! Mix together 1/4 cup dry mustard with 3 tablespoons cold water, until it resembles a droppable consistency.
Crab Rangoon Recipe
- 8 ounces whipped cream cheese
- 6 ounces white crab meat drained and flaked (omit for vegetarian)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 scallions sliced
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Wonton wrappers
- Pepper jelly for serving, optional
- In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, crab meat, mayonnaise, and green onions. To make egg wash, in a small bowl whisk together egg and water.
- Working in batches, arrange 5 – 10 wonton wrappers on a clean, dry surface. Brush all 4 edges of each wrapper with the egg wash using a pastry brush or your finger.
- Place 1 rounded teaspoon of cream cheese filling in the center of each wonton wrapper. To wrap, first lift and press the seams of 2 opposing corners together over the filling. Then, lift the remaining 2 opposing corners and bring them also to the middle to form a small parcel. Press all seams together and fold over the top where all 4 corners meet. If the wrapper does not seem to stick, apply additional egg wash. Repeat with all remaining wonton wrappers and filling.
To fry crab rangoon:
- In a deep fryer or deep pot, heat oil to 375 degrees (do not let the temperature greatly exceed 375 degrees or the oil may smoke and burst into flame). Fry wontons in small batches until golden brown, about 15 to 20 seconds. Drain on paper towels. Serve with pepper jelly if desired.
To bake crab rangoon:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 regular-sized muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange 1 filled wonton in each cup. Bake until edges are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving and serve with pepper jelly if desired.