If you don’t live in Baltimore, you may not be aware of one of the more recent food trends — crab cake egg rolls. In fact, it really isn’t new, but it is finally being recognized.
Any restaurant that has any stakes in crab cakes or crab dip now also has an investment in crab cake egg rolls. One of Baltimore’s best Instagramers posted a wildly popular image of crab cake egg rolls from a local restaurant, AJ’s on Hanover, and then the Baltimore Sun picked it up.
Papi’s Tacos in Fells Point started making them, and now the iconic Jimmy’s Seafood is too. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. If you don’t live here and are wondering what they are, this dish is basically a Maryland spin on a crab rangoon, packaged like an egg roll but with a lot more crab.
What are Crab Cake Egg Rolls?
Here I am, stuck in the burbs and wanting a gosh darn egg roll! So what do I do? I make my own!
Recipe testing anything with crab is certainly a perk of my job. And here is what I learned.
- Merely taking a cooked crab cake and stuffing it into an egg roll wrapper is a little dry. And since the crab meat is now being cooked three times (one to steam, another to make the crab cake, and a third to fry), it gets a little rubbery.
- You can also take an uncooked crab cake and stuff it in the wrapper. I know I am a total weirdo here, but this is also why I don’t care for crab cake sandwiches — there’s too much bread and meat, and it needs more creaminess.
- To get a totally decadent crab cake egg roll, you are better off using a blend of crab cake and crab dip.
- While I don’t generally use lump crab in my dip, I would suggest it for an egg roll. Or a special blend like backfin and lump.
- Freezing is essential. If you fry before freezing, you run a really high risk of losing precious cheese or crab. No one wants that.
- The dipping sauce is not necessary, but totally delicious and worth the few extra minutes it takes to whip it up.
Why You’ll Love Crab Cake Egg Rolls
If you like crab, you’re going to love these egg rolls.
- Delicious – This brings together all of the goodness of fresh crab with the decadence of creamy, spiced crab dip. Plus, the texture is perfect, with the crispiness of the outside and creaminess of the inside.
- Versatile – You can serve these as an appetizer at any party, from casual to upscale. Or they’re a perfect snack for movie night, and they’re easily paired with other dishes as a side.
- Customizable – Make these as spicy (or mild) as you like, serve with all sorts of dipping sauces, or add other spices.
These simple ingredients are all you need to make the most delicious crab cake egg rolls.
- Crab meat – See the section below for details about how to choose the best crab meat.
- Cream cheese – Make sure to soften the cream cheese to make it easier to mix.
- Mayonnaise – Choose your favorite brand or make your own homemade mayonnaise.
- Sour cream – Using full-fat sour cream will give you the creamy results you want in the filling.
- Worcestershire sauce – Often a component of crab cake recipes, Worcestershire imparts umami into the filling.
- Hot sauce – Use your favorite hot sauce and adjust to taste.
- Old Bay Seasoning – A seasoning blend like this one is a must. You can also use the Crab House Seasoning Blend from J.O. Spice.
- White pepper – White pepper adds a subtle floral note in addition to gentle heat.
- Shredded cheese – While you can use cheese that’s already shredded, shredding it yourself will yield the best results.
- Wonton wrappers – These are key for making these crab egg rolls. You can often find them in the produce section at the grocery store.
How to Make Crab Cake Egg Rolls
It really is simple to make this delicious fried appetizer.
- Make filling. Make the filling by creaming together cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream in a large bowl. Add Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, Old Bay, and white pepper. Then, fold in crab meat and cheese.
- Fill the egg rolls. Keep unused wrappers under a damp towel while you are working. Place the wrapper on a cutting board or other flat surface and fill with about 1/2 cup of filling.
- Fold. Fold up the edges of the egg roll wrappers like an envelope. Repeat until all of the filling has been used.
- Freeze. They don’t need to be 100% solid, but the filling needs to be near solid to make sure it doesn’t melt and leak while deep frying.
- Fry. Drop the egg rolls into a pan of hot oil and fry to a golden brown. They should have a crispy crust when they’re ready to be removed.
- Drain. Remove to a wire rack above a paper towel-lined plate or sheet pan. Keeping them suspended prevents the bottom from getting soggy.
- Make the dipping sauce. If the crab cake egg rolls weren’t totally delicious, I’d claim this was the star of the show. One of my testers even used this as their pizza dipping sauce. It is an Old Bay Chipotle Aioli, and it is fantastic.
Fresh Crab Meat
Don’t be tempted to make these egg rolls with imitation crab meat — it doesn’t taste the same. In case you aren’t familiar with buying blue crab meat, here is a quick tutorial on the names and what exactly they mean.
- Claw– This is dark meat that comes from the claw. It’s a little more stringy than other varieties.
- Special– This variety comes in smaller pieces. It is from small little crevices or the “special” sections of the crab and is good for flavoring and dips.
- Backfin– Some larger lumps coming from, you guessed it, the back of the shell. This is whiter meat, and its feathery texture works well in crab cakes.
- Jumbo lump– These are large lumps of meat. These are the large pieces used for crab meat cocktails, and they are delicious to just pop in your mouth plain — they are very tasty and moist.
What to Serve With Crab Cake Egg Rolls
Most varieties of aioli sauces pair well, too — try herb lemon, spicy sriracha, truffle, or a standard aioli taken to the next level with some generous dashes of Old Bay. They’re also great paired with a seafood and sausage soup or a seafood salad.
These crab cake egg rolls are perfect as-is, but you can make some modifications, too.
- Heat – For more spiciness, add crushed red pepper flakes or increase the other spicy ingredients.
- Spices – Add garlic powder, onion powder, or your favorite spices.
- Citrus – Add a little bit of lemon juice for a bit of bright flavor.
- Air fry – Instead of frying, use your air fryer to make the egg rolls.
- Peppers – Add finely diced bell peppers to the filling.
- Parsley – Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
- Soy sauce – Splash a little bit of soy sauce into the filling or serve it on the side as a dipping sauce.
- Onion – Fold in sliced green onions or diced yellow or white onions.
Storage and Freezing
I bet it’s unlikely that you’ll have leftover crab cake egg rolls, but if you do, you can easily store them.
Make-Ahead: You can make the filling ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before making the egg rolls. You can also assemble the egg rolls and leave them in the freezer until you’re ready to make them.
Refrigerator: Store leftover crab cake egg rolls in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Freezer: Freeze crab cake egg rolls for up to 3 months in a resealable freezer bag. Flash-freeze them on a baking sheet before placing them in the bag to minimize sticking together.
Common Questions About Crab Cake Egg Rolls
Filler in crab cakes is often made of eggs and some sort of starch like bread crumbs or crushed crackers.
Jumbo lump, or a blend of jumbo lump and backfin, is ideal to use for the very best crab cakes.
Maryland crab cakes have very little in them besides the crab and some seasonings. There is very little filler in a true Maryland crab cake, and there are no added vegetables.
More Crabby Recipes
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Crab Cake Egg Rolls
Make Crab Mixture
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and sour cream, blending well.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay and white pepper, blend again.
- Fold in the shredded cheese and crab meat by hand. Set aside.
- Set up a workstation with egg roll wrappers, keeping unused wrappers covered with a damp paper towel or tea towel. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water.
- Arrange the egg roll wrapper like a diamond. Baste the edges with egg wash. Place approximately 1/2 cup of the crab mixture in the center.
- Roll up the bottom, fold in sides, then continue to roll.
- Freeze the crab cake egg rolls for a minimum of 2 hours, but as long as 3 months. Seperate in freezer safe container using parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking.
Fry Egg Rolls
- Heat 3-4 inches of the vegetable oil to 300°F in a deep fryer or heavy bottom sauce pan. Add 2-3 eggs rolls at a time depending on the size of your pot.
- Fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
- Remove to a wire rack positioned over paper towels to drain.
Make Dipping Sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Sriracha, Old Bay Seasoning and coarse Kosher salt.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Garnish the egg rolls with sliced scallions and Sriracha aioli.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.