These delicious baked Vegan Crab Rangoon are a healthy and easy twist on a traditional take out appetizer. You can fry them if you wish, but I provide a simple method for getting a nicely browned & crispy baked version.
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Hey Internet, I have developed a bit of a series on here, veganizing popular Chinese-takeout style dishes (at least ones that are popular in the United States).
Well now I’m delving into the appetizer territory: with vegan crab rangoon!
I’m a BIG fan of vegan cream cheese, so I LOVE crab rangoon. I live about an hour (because of traffic, not really distance) from a vegan restaurant that serves their take on crab rangoon. I recently had some when we went into the city to pick up takeout for our wedding anniversary and just about screamed when I tried their version.
So I knew I had to try making these. Of course, it’s me, so you know I baked them instead of fried them…
And they turned out amazing. I definitely screamed this time, lol.
They’re crispy on the outside with a creamy, crabby, delicious inside. Jokes about being in a crabby mood aside… or on the side? Sorry.
Yes, Baked Crab Rangoon are completely possible and completely delicious. I didn’t even miss the oil.
ANYWAY you might be wondering, how in the heck do you make vegan crab?
But this time I also used some hearts of palm because they have a great texture and flavor. However, if you’re not a hearts of palm fan, I’ll give you some helpful substitution info below.
Let’s dive into these delicious vegan crab rangoon…
But before we do, did I mention I’m including a bonus recipe of vegan duck sauce?? Check the sections below and the recipe card at the bottom of this page for a 2 minute simple vegan duck sauce.
What You’ll Need
Let’s start off with the vegan crab rangoon since they’re the star of the show!
To wrap them up, you’ll need wonton wrappers. I’ve seen vegan wonton wrappers at Walmart, Target, and my local regional grocery store, so I think you should be able to find them.
If not it’s always possible to make them, or just serve this as a vegan crab rangoon dip!
Next, for the vegan crab, I used a mixture of hearts of palm and chickpeas. The hearts of palm provides a nice supple texture and seafood-ish flavor, but you could use just chickpeas if you prefer.
To flavor the vegan crab, I used a few tricks. If you need to substitute any of these, check out the substitutions section below.
My vegan seafood tricks are dulse flakes (which are made from seaweed), ume plum vinegar (a salty and tangy vinegar made from umeboshi plums), lemon juice, and salt.
The other ingredients inside the mixture are green onions and vegan cream cheese. I used my own tofu cream cheese recipe, but you can use store-bought if you like (use about 1 cup).
If you can’t have soy, you can still use my tofu cream cheese recipe and substitute cashews.
Finally, baking can dry crab rangoon out because of the nature of the wonton wrappers. I brushed my uncooked but stuffed vegan crab rangoon with canned coconut milk. Oil or melted vegan butter would also work.
Vegan Duck Sauce
Oh yeah, the vegan duck sauce.
Well, duck sauce is often vegan, it doesn’t actually contain duck. But some places put honey or other things in it, so here’s a really simple and delicious version.
You’ll need sugar-free (or low sugar) apricot jam (other jam will work too, but this tastes more authentic), reduced sodium soy sauce (or No-Soy), rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar will also work), (optional) ground ginger, and--my favorite--just a bit of fresh orange or pineapple juice. That last part isn’t traditional but it does taste really good.
I will leave the exact amounts for this sauce on the recipe card below with the rest of the recipe.
But of course, you can use any dipping sauce you like. My vegan sweet and sour sauce that I used on these vegan meatballs would also be perfect here.
What Substitutions Can I Make?
You can’t really replace the wonton wrappers and cook these the same way, but you could just serve it as a dip.
Hearts of Palm
If you don’t like or can’t find hearts of palm (note, usually in the pickles or canned vegetables section of the grocery store), just use more of the chickpeas, it will still taste good. The hearts of palm just gives a more soft and crab-like texture (as well as a bit more seafood-flavor).
If you do not like seaweed I promise this recipe does not taste like seaweed, nor is there much of a texture of seaweed since the flakes are so small.
To replace them, you can use kelp seasoning, torn up nori sheets, capers (I'd mash them up), or yellow/white miso paste.
Ume Plum Vinegar
This magically delicious vinegar is made from Japanese umeboshi plums. It's so good but if you can't find it, you can add a little salt to white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
If you don't like seafood, omit these items and use any spices you like.
Vegan Cream Cheese
The creamy filling in crab rangoon is traditionally cream cheese. I used some of my own homemade tofu cream cheese. If you’re making that and you can’t have soy, sub soaked cashews or sunflower seeds for the tofu.
You can also use store-bought vegan cream cheese. If neither of those are options, you could use store-bought vegan mayo or sour cream but it will taste different.
Tips for Making Vegan Crab Rangoon
- Make the filling first. Either pulse the hearts of palm (give them a rough chop if yours are whole, some stores sell “whole” or “salad cut”) and chickpeas in a food processor or you can mash them by hand with a fork or potato masher. You don’t want it to be finely pureed, but it should come together as you mash or pulse.
- Add the mixture to a medium bowl if it’s not already, and add the lemon juice, vegan cream cheese, spices, vinegar, and dulse flakes. Mix it well, then gently stir through the chopped green onions.
- Now the filling part. It’s not hard, I promise, though it does go faster with another person.
- Note: This recipe makes 42-46 vegan crab rangoon. That’s a lot. If you don’t want to make that many you have a few options: freeze whatever part of the mixture you don’t use; use that mixture throughout the week on crackers, sandwiches, or as a dip; or halve the recipe. I didn’t want to give a recipe that left you with half a can of unused hearts of palm, so that’s why I wrote it this way. And because I’m a pig and wanted a lot of crab rangoon lol.
- On a large plate, lay out 3 of the wonton wrappers. Place around 1-2 teaspoons of filling in each one. After you fill a few, you’ll learn the perfect amount of filling for you and shouldn’t need to measure each time.
- Dip your fingers in a small bowl of water and wet each of the 4 corners on the first wonton wrapper. Now fold up opposite corners of the square and pinch them at the top. I like to pinch all the edges closed--this is not traditional, but I find they stay better that way in the oven and it doesn’t change the flavor. If you prefer to leave the edges open, just pinch it at the top and make sure it stays while you assemble the rest.
- Place each completed piece on a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 218 degrees Celsius.
- Using a pastry brush, a spoon, or your fingers, apply canned coconut milk, oil, or melted vegan butter to the outsides of each vegan crab rangoon. This helps the outside brown and stay moist and not dry out. It also gives everything a nice light crunch.
- Bake for 16-20 minutes, switching or rotating the trays part way through. We also tried airfrying these and had success--375 degrees F (or 191 degrees C) for about 5-7 minutes, but don’t crowd them in the air fryer basket.
- While they’re cooking, assemble the vegan duck sauce by adding everything to a small bowl or jar and stirring. That’s it!
- Serve with extra green onion and some sesame seeds. Enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I haven’t tried freezing these yet but I’d venture to guess you could wrap them in saran wrap and freezer paper and they could last in the freezer up to 3 months.
Other Chinese Takeout Inspired Recipes
I love vegan Chinese takeout inspired food. While this food is definitely not authentic Chinese food, more like American Chinese restaurant food, many people including myself grew up loving some of these dishes and I decided it was definitely worthwhile to veganize and share my favorites.
If you like these vegan crab rangoon, you’ll probably like my:
- Vegan Orange Chicken
- Vegan Beef and Broccoli
- Veggie Lo Mein (only takes 15 minutes!)
- Vegan Kung Pao Chicken
- Vegan Teriyaki Chicken with optional Brussels sprouts
- Teriyaki Cauliflower Wings (more like Chinese takeout and American fusion, oops)
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too. We ate all of these for dinner. Like… all of them.
These vegan crab rangoon are:
- Crunchy with a creamy center
- Sweet & tangy with the vegan duck sauce
- Surprisingly healthy
- Perfect for a party or movie night
- And oh so delicious!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!