Takeout Makeover: Crab Rangoon

Are you ready to have your mind blown? I just developed a recipe for tasty crab rangoon that have ONLY 41 calories a piece! And then take 15 minutes, start to finish, to make. Hold onto your hats because there is a bit of a back-story…

I was in a bit of a blogging slump this weekend. I love blogging, it is something that has become an amazing outlet for me as well as a way to connect with lots of wonderful people. My day job is very serious and analytical, so I appreciate the opportunity to be creative with food, writing and photography. But, as any food blogger will tell you, sometimes all the shopping, cooking, styling, photo taking, cleaning up, writing, posting, and editing gets exhausting. So I was feeling a little down about it and, of course, Craig comes to the rescue. He started throwing out dozens of yummy recipe ideas and offering to help with the cooking and clean up. He is such a sweetheart. One of the things he begged me to make was crab rangoon.

Now. I don’t like crab rangoon. I’ve never understood the appeal of deep fried pockets of melted cream cheese. I will try one from time to time, but its not something I ever order or enjoy. Apparently, this puts me in the minority because most people think I’m absolutely insane. Our favorite new Thai place in Somerville, Sweet Ginger (see post about our visit there) makes curry crab rangoon, which is quite a nice twist. Everyone who tries them has raved (including the Boston Globe). So. Craig begs me to make curry crab rangoon and all of a sudden the wheels start turning in my head…..

I figured there has to be a better way to prepare these. So I thought about what I don’t like about the ones I’ve had. First, that they are deep fried, and second, that there is so little crab and too much cream cheese. With my new inspiration, I set out to makeover the traditional crab rangoon. Make them light and healthy while keeping the delicious flavors and texture associated with the unhealthy version.

I am so happy to say these were a smashing success! I LOVED them. I couldn’t stop gobbling them up. I made 24 and Craig and I demolished them in 5 minutes. Here’s the best part: my skinny recipe has only 41 calories per rangoon!!!!!! So you can enjoy this indulgence without racking up a ton of calories. These also can be made in only 15 minutes.I was going to make a dipping sauce for these, but turns out the flavors are so intense that you don’t need one at all. I decided to forgo the extra calories of a sauce and just enjoy the complex curry deliciousness.

Here’s the deal: I bought some really nice jumbo lump crab meat (frozen will do fine if you thaw it first) and mixed that with curry powder, ground ginger and cayenne. I added just enough cream cheese to make them melty and creamy, but not to overpower the delicious crab and spices. I then placed wonton wrappers in a mini muffin tin, filled them with the crab mixture, and folded the ends over. 10 minutes in the oven and you are ready to serve. I am just bummed I didn’t make these before the holidays – this would be a fabulous party food! Now I want to have a party just for an excuse to make them again…]

PLEASE NOTE: Curry is not for everyone. If you don’t enjoy curry and curry flavor, either do not make this recipe or simply omit or reduce the amount of spice you use. The mixture of curry, cayenne and ginger is quite potent!

NOTE: As many of my lovely readers have pointed out, imitation crab works in this recipe as well. Just make sure to buy the LUMP imitation crap, not the sticks and do a 1:1 substitution with the crab meat. I love hearing from all of you so keep the suggestions coming!

Nutrition Info: makes 24 rangoons
Per piece:
41 calories
1.1g fat
2.7g protein

Step by Step Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Spray mini muffin tin with olive oil spray

3. Push a wonton wrapper into each muffin tin

4. In a mixing bowl, combine crab, Worcestershire, curry, ginger and cayenne

5. Mix with a fork, breaking up large chunks of crab

6. Add cream cheese, mashing with a fork until fully incorporated

7. Using a teaspoon, spoon filling mixture into wontons

8. Fold ends of wonton wrapper over mixture, wet finger to seal

9. Bake for 10 minutes, until ends are slighly browned

10. Serve hot garnished with scallions

3.2 from 6 reviews
Takeout Makeover: Crab Rangoon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Thai
Serves: 8
  • 24 wonton wrappers (I used Nasoya brand)
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 8oz lump crab meat
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup reduced fat cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup scallions, washed and thinly sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Spray mini muffin tin with olive oil spray
  3. Push a wonton wrapper into each muffin tin
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine crab, Worcestershire, curry, ginger and cayenne
  5. Mix with a fork, breaking up large chunks of crab
  6. Add cream cheese, mashing with a fork until fully incorporated
  7. Using a teaspoon, spoon filling mixture into wontons
  8. Fold ends of wonton wrapper over mixture, wet finger to seal
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, until ends are slightly browned
  10. Serve hot garnished with scallions


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54 Responses to Takeout Makeover: Crab Rangoon

  1. Jenn Kendall February 14, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    these sound so delicious! definitely want to try these very soon!!

  2. Christine's Pantry February 14, 2012 at 4:08 am #

    Love this… thanks for sharing.

  3. Stephie February 14, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    I'm falling out of my chair. Awesome!

  4. Kim Bee February 14, 2012 at 4:38 am #

    These look amazing. I am not a seafood fan but these could change my mind.

  5. Catherine February 14, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Wow. Only 41 calories? Looks amazing!

    (Click here to enter my anthropologie kitchen tools giveaway.)

  6. Ann February 14, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    This is brilliant! Sadly, I'm allergic to crab…and I love the cream cheese ones. I wonder how this would be with chicken? I suspect I'd like these better than the originals! BRAVO! (and I'm glad you were inspired!)

  7. Baker Street February 14, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    Wow! These are amazing. I love crab. YUMMMM!

  8. Tes February 14, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    What a brilliant idea! I love crab and this can work very well in my household :)

  9. Lilla February 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    I want to try your delicious recipe soon!!

  10. Jane and Lorraine February 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    These look delicious!

  11. kitcheninspirations February 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    These look great Dara. I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of the deep fried appetizer and they all seem to be just that. The added calories takes the deliciousness away for me. Oven baking is a great alternative. To be even less caloric, have you considered using phyllo pastry instead? I am going to bookmark these and save for my next dinner party.

  12. ravienomnoms February 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Great idea!! Thank you so much for sharing

  13. Kristin @ thefreshfind February 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Wow these look great! I really want to try this for the next party. I like how they are baked and not fried, such a good idea!

  14. lacyd February 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    These look so good!! I love crab rangoon but they're always so greasy! Loving this lightened up version, great recipe!
    – Lacy @ NYCityEats.com

  15. Dee Hurter February 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    I love that you made these low calorie! I am totally saving this recipe for future use as I'm always looking for a good crab rangoon low calorie recipe. Thanks for sharing and Happy Valentines Day!

  16. healthyfoodietravels February 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Wow, those are amazing for that few calories! :) Looks elegant and delicious!

  17. PolaM February 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    How beautiful! I'm with you on the rangoon but I think I would love yours!!

  18. yummychunklet February 15, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    What a delicious makeover! Definitely want to try it.

  19. stalkingsarah March 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Cannot WAIT to make these!

  20. KC April 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Made these over the weekend…they were a smash. And soooo simple. Thanks!

    • Dara December 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

      Thanks KC! So happy you enjoyed.

  21. Misch August 20, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    Thank you for this recipe!! I used to love these at the local Chinese restaurant near where I grew up. Now living overseas I miss them but would never consider deep frying anything at home. Now I have a great new option for when I get homesick : )

  22. laura September 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Just made these. Not bad. Next time I am leaving out the ginger (way too much for my taste) and maybe skipping the curry too. But the wraps are awesome and easy to make! thanks for the idea!!

    • Robyn L July 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

      Agreed on the spices, curry totally took over for me. Fun to make, but I need to try again before I can deem my effort successful.

  23. Jessica October 4, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    So you used real crab right? Has anyone tried this using imitation crab? Sounds great btw!

    • Dara October 4, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

      I did use real crab. It’s readily available up here in New England. I don’t see any reason why imitation crab wouldn’t work just as nicely. If you do give it a try – let me know how it turns out and I can make a note in the recipe.

  24. Miranda November 8, 2012 at 3:39 am #

    Made these tonight. Very good and so satisfying to eat them guilt free! (I just had to stop myself at a few…rather than eating the entire batch!) I will probably tone down the curry just a touch next time…just as a personal preference. I’m also excited to play around with different flavors for these. They’ll be fun to make for parties as well. :)

    • Dara November 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed these Miranda! It’s really hard not to finish the whole batch.

  25. Jessica December 5, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    I was so excited about trying these. We followed the instructions completely. These are disgusting! We each took one nibble and threw the whole batch away!! If you like mild food, this recipe will be way too spicy for you. Just want to warn anyone so they don’t waste their money and ingredients making this.

    • Dara December 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      Jessica. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the recipe. Thanks for your feedback.

    • Becky Jay December 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

      I’m sorry, but I have to agree, we couldn’t eat them either. I would try again with little or no curry because that is all we tasted, we didnt even taste crab at all.

      • Robyn L July 21, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

        Sorry, I’m in the same boat… I wish I’d had more crab to bring that flavor out over the spices.

    • Emily July 30, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

      Sorry but I have to agree as well. Great concept but the curry was waaaaaay too overpowering. I’d try it again and nix the curry, but it wasn’t the taste I was looking for at all.

  26. Alicia December 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I LOVE these!!! I think I’ve made them at least 10x since I found your recipe. I also have made some with buffalo chicken filling and some with sausage and peppers. I like to make a batch Saturday afternoon, then when I put them in the oven after bar close I am a hero :)

    • Dara December 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      Hi Alicia! You just made my day. I am so thrilled you like the recipe. Adding buffalo chicken is an AMAZING idea. I think I might try that next.

      • Alicia December 15, 2012 at 4:00 am #

        I just made some tonight ’cause I couldn’t stop thinking about them haha! I mixed shredded chicken, buffalo sauce and crumbled blue cheese. Amazing.

  27. Bridget December 17, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    I made them with imitation crab simply because I live far from the coast and I’m a poor college student! They turned out amazing so I see no reason why imitation can’t be used! Just buy the “lump” version instead of the strips and it works out the same. They might taste a little better with real crab and if I make them at home with my mom I’ll try with real, but if your taste isn’t too refined the imitation still provides the flavor!
    Thanks for the recipe it is awesome!

    • Dara December 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      Hi Bridget! I am so happy to hear these came out well. Thanks for the tip. I will add it to the recipe.

  28. LAURIE January 16, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    I love your passion for food and the way you try things that are out of the ordinary. This has become one of my favorite places to look for recipes. You are a great cook.

    • Dara January 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Thanks so much Laurie! Your kind words are very much apprecaited. Thanks for stopping by my site.

  29. Audrey January 24, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    Do you think this would work subbing laughing cow or greek yogurt for the cream cheese?

    • Dara January 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Audrey thanks for commenting! I am not sure. I think of the two, laughing cow would be a better choice because it has more of the consistency of cream cheese. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

  30. Keely Wilson January 28, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    So easy! They were a little spicy for me but I just added a dollop of sour cream. I also did not have the ginger so that may have affected it. Thank you!

  31. Stephanie February 11, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    Disappointed. :( I’m a huge fan of crab rangoons but my family and I are staying away from fast food and making all our foods from scratch at home now. So when I seen this I was head over heels excited and put it in with our dinner plan tonight…..quinoa stir-fry. I’m sorry to say this but these were horrible. You can’t taste anything or smell anything but the over load of curry. The rangoons were soggy at the bottom as well. I think I will try this again but with several changes.

    • Lola April 28, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

      I made these tonight and they were soooo good I couldn’t stop eating them. Not sure what Stephanie did to make them so soggy because mine weren’t a bit soggy and held together very nicely. I will definitely be making them again and again!!! Great recipe

  32. Madeline February 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    just tried this recipe! it’s so great! thanks for sharing!

  33. jennifer February 23, 2013 at 12:57 am #

    I just made these. I’m not a big curry fan, so I only used 1 tsp of curry. These def. have a kick with the cayenne pepper. Very curry, very spicy. I probably won’t use curry powder next time, and opt for light soy sauce and maybe some garlic, def. just a sprinkle of cayenne if any. Thanks for sharing!

  34. Jenna March 5, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    These were really yummy!!! But OH EM GEE, these were like eating a laxative pill– I felt like I was going through a detox!!! I probably won’t be making these again, unless I’m really prepare to go through an actual detox.

  35. Sara May 19, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    I was wondering, could you make this without the cream cheese? I just really don’t like it.

    • Dara May 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

      Hi Sara, unfortunately I don’t think so. Cream cheese is an important component in crab rangoon. There is no way to get the same creamy texture.

  36. Lacey June 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    I LOVE crab rangoon and really want to try these!

    What are the carbohydrates and fiber per piece?? Just curious? The fat and protein are both listed.

    Thanks! :)


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