I have tons of recipe ideas banging around my head at all times. I have an entire Jira board filled with them (tech folks: IYKYK.) But I’m not always the best at seeing my ideas through to the end. This crab Rangoon dip is one such case–I’ve wanted to make a great crab Rangoon dip for a year now. I even tested it once last year, didn’t love the results, and never came back to it.
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I finally decided it was time to come back to my idea and fix what didn’t work last year. My main issues with my original recipe were with the consistency and overall flavor. My first attempt was way too runny and soft. And the canned crab I used was on the fishy side even though I bought a can from the cold section in the seafood department.
Crab Rangoon Dip Testing
To solve for the runniness, I added some Monterrey Jack cheese figuring this would add some structure to the dip. This worked! The addition of the Jack cheese made for some great cheese pull moments in the final dip.
I decided to test a few variants as well. First, I pitted canned crab against imitation crab (aka, crab-with-a-k or krab.) I suspected that most crab Rangoon that you get from Americanized Chinese restaurants actually utilize krab (which isn’t crab at all, but I think is very tasty), so maybe that’s why my first, fancified version didn’t work so well.
I also made sure to drain the canned crab very well to help with the soupiness issue. Though, the crab I bought this time was less wet and generally tasted fresher.
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The end result was that both version turned out pretty delicious and not runny or fishy at all. The key with canned crab is to make sure you have high quality stuff. But that can get expensive, which is why I think I’ll be using imitation crab meat in my crab Rangoon dip moving forward. It’s both inexpensive and tasty.
How to Serve Crab Rangoon Dip
I topped my dip with a faux duck sauce that I made with apricot preserves and sambal which was super tasty and really added to the full crab Rangoon experience. And I think the dip is best served with crispy fried wonton chips. These are a snap to make (don’t get too nervous about frying these!) But, if you would rather, the dip is great on crackers, chips, or crostini, too.
Watch Me Make This Recipe
Crab Rangoon Dip
- 4 oz Philadelphia cream cheese softened
- 2 oz Monterrey Jack cheese grated
- 1 large scallion quartered and minced
- ¼ tsp fish sauce
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 4 oz imitation crab meat or high quality canned crab meat
- 3 oz apricot preserves ~1/3 cup
- ½ tbsp Sambal chili paste
- neutral oil for frying
- 1 package refrigerated wonton skins
- kosher salt for seasoning the wontons
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, Jack cheese, scallion, fish sauce, and white pepper. If the cream cheese is too firm to easily mix, pop it into the microwave for 15-seconds to help soften.Mix until well combined. Shred the crab meat into a variety of smaller and larger pieces and add to the cream cheese mixture until well distributed.Spoon into a 3-4 cup oven safe casserole dish leaving a half inch of space at the top for the duck sauce topping.
- In a small bowl, mix together the apricot preserves and the sambal chili paste until well combined. Spoon evenly over the top of the cream cheese mixture.
- Place the dip on a baking sheet and place into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the dip is hot and bubbling. Serve with fried wonton chips.
- While the dip is baking, fry the wontons. In a wok or heavy skillet, add 2-4 inches of oil to the pan. Heat the oil to 350-375F. Fry the wontons 3-4 at a time and flip them often with tongs until they are a pale golden color. These will darken a shade or two after taking them out of the oil, so remove them from the oil when they are slightly lighter than you'd want. Remove fried wontons to a paper towel to drain excess oil and sprinkle with kosher salt to season them.
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