Crabsticks are a type of surimi (ground meat) – a processed paste of lean fish mixed with additives like starch and flavor enhancers like MSG. They come pre-cooked and edible straight out of the bag after defrosting. Despite what their name suggests, they have no crabmeat at all. Instead, the surimi goes through curing, coloring, and molding to resemble crab leg meat.
But no one can deny how versatile these fish sticks are! You can maximize them in countless ways for everyday recipes. Of course, there’s kani maki and sushi bake, but there are other tasty treats to make. Next time you have a packet of this multipurpose ingredient in your freezer, look to these crabstick recipes for inspiration.
5 Exciting Recipes to Make the Most of Crabsticks
No need to worry about optimal temperatures or cook times! These are good to go once defrosted. But who wants to eat plain fish sticks? Level them up with these recipes.
1. Japanese-style kani salad
Kani is the Japanese word for crab. On restaurant menus, the term can refer to fresh crustaceans or commercial crabmeat. A classic, Japanese-style crabstick salad typically uses the latter. The salad is a refreshing, sweet-savory mixture of seafood, cucumber, and mango lightly tossed in a creamy, mayo-based dressing. Spice it up with sriracha or add nuttiness with sesame oil.
Some kani salad recipes suggest adding corn for extra sweetness, avocado for fat, and tobiko (flying fish roe) for a fun, popping texture. But even if you stick with the basics, you’re sure to come out with a great-tasting mix. If you're eager to elevate your bowl, just top it with panko breadcrumbs – that’s what the restos do!
2. Crabstick roll
Fresh lobster meat is notoriously expensive, and anything that features it, like a New England-style lobster roll, demands a high price. Thankfully, imitation crab is an affordable alternative with a similar taste and texture. If you’re craving a lobster roll but not ready to cough up hundreds of pesos, make one with these instead.
Keep the filling simple by dressing your crab with a vibrant mixture of Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add finely diced celery or scallions for a pop of green and freshness. Next, pile the filling into a hot dog bun sliced down the center. Serve with an extra squeeze of lemon and a side of potato chips.
3. Korean gimbap
Instead of going the predictable California maki route for your crabstick sushi, make Korean-style gimbap. You can fill these seaweed-wrapped rice rolls with anything you like. Classic versions usually consist of colorful veggies sliced into matchsticks, fish cakes, rolled eggs, ham, and crab. Others feature bulgogi meat or Korean tuna mayo.
Make sure to add danmuji (yellow pickled radish), an essential ingredient that brings crunch, acidity, and a little sweetness. After rolling your gimbap, brush it with sesame oil and slice it into bite-sized discs. Serve it with a sweet, tangy soy-vinegar dipping sauce or a spicy kimchi mayo and banchan (side dishes) for a well-rounded meal.
4. Crabsticks and chips
Do you want something crunchy, indulgent, and perfect for summer? You have to try fried crabsticks with a side of fries. It’s a riff on Britain’s unofficial national dish – fish and chips. To achieve a light, crispy exterior on your crab, roll each stick in a chilled batter of flour, egg whites, and soda water. Toss a batch into bubbling hot oil and fry until golden.
Once cooked, lay the sticks on a paper towel-lined tray to drain any excess oil. For the chips, try the double-fry method for a whole new world of crunch. Your first fry should cook the potatoes through, while your second crisps them up and turns them golden brown. Enjoy with your condiments of choice, like ketchup, mayo, and hot sauce.
5. Thai-style crab omelet
TikTok is abuzz with Jay Fai content. A quick search on the platform pulls up dozens of videos with a collective view count of at least 17M. So, what is Jay Fai, and what’s all the hype about? Jay Fai is a Michelin-starred Thai restaurant known for its fresh crab omelet. Many diners covet the dish that they willingly queue for five hours to get their fill.
If you’ve spotted this omelet on your “For You” page, you might be craving it, too. The good news: you can make a budget version with crabsticks! It’ll have that same juicy sweetness for a fraction of the price. It’s far from authentic, but it makes for a satisfying breakfast all the same. Have it with Thai-style sweet chili sauce to complete the experience.
Now you know what to do with crabsticks! These freezer staples are more versatile than most people think. You can use them in salads, sandwiches, sushi rolls, and more. There’s a recipe to try for every meal, so keep some on hand and ready to fulfill any craving.