This Is the Critical Step You’re Probably Skipping When Making Crab Rangoon at Home

published Jun 9, 2022
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Cutting cream cheese on a cutting board.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

I’m a sucker for crab rangoon, but sometimes the drive home from my favorite Chinese takeout spot takes longer than expected — by the time I dig in, the crab rangoon isn’t as crunchy as it should be. It turns out that making crab rangoon at home is a fairly straightforward process, and you’ll get to enjoy the crunchy, creamy goodness at its peak.

In an Instagram Reel, recipe developer and food photographer Julie Tran Deily of The Little Kitchen demonstrates how she makes crab rangoon at home using a recipe she first shared on her blog in 2009. In the opening shot, Deily holds a plate of just-fried crab rangoon and takes a bite of one. The resulting crunching sound is enough to make me want to try this recipe, stat. 

The recipe has just seven ingredients: pre-made wonton wrappers, imitation crab, cream cheese, green onions, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil. While the recipe itself is easy to make, there’s one thing that Deily notes will make your filling come out perfectly: room-temperature cream cheese.

“The texture of the filling will be so creamy and so irresistible if you do that,” she says in the voiceover. It’ll also make it much easier to mix in the imitation crab, green onions, and seasoning, which she does with a rubber spatula.

When it’s time to assemble the crab rangoon, Deily places a moist paper towel over the pre-made wonton wrappers so that they don’t dry out. She takes a spoonful of filling and spreads it on the wonton, then folds it along the diagonal and crimps in the sides. “I always say they look like a little ghost when you’re done,” she says.

To cook the crab rangoon, Deily heats up some oil (like vegetable or grapeseed oil) in a nonstick skillet. She carefully drops the crab rangoon into the hot oil using her fingers, then uses chopsticks to flip them halfway through cooking. She fries the crab rangoon in batches, so as to not crowd the pan, and places the cooked ones on a plate lined with paper towels so that the excess oil drains away. And that’s it! Homemade crab rangoon, which you can enjoy hot and fresh off the frying pan.