Is it even possible to order Chinese takeout and not get a batch of cream cheese wontons? My wife and I get an order (or two!) every time. That's probably because making crab rangoon (wontons made with cream cheese and crab) at home is usually a bit of a chore. The shaping, the frying—it just doesn't make a lot of sense to heat up a huge vat of oil for a few wontons!
I think you know where I'm going here...air fryer to the rescue!
What Is a Wonton?
Wontons are a type of Chinese dumpling made with a thin wonton wrapper and a filling. The wrappers come in two main shapes: circles or squares.
These days most grocery stores carry at least one brand of wonton wrapper, although you might have to ask around to find them. Since wonton wrappers have to be refrigerated, check the deli section or the prepared veggie area first.
I prefer the square wonton wrappers for this recipe, since they're bigger and easier to crimp closed.
Ingredients for These Wontons
I like a mix of cream cheese, crab, scallion, and a dash of soy sauce for my Crab Rangoon. Classic Crab Rangoon also adds a dash of Worcestershire sauce, but I prefer them without. If you love Worcestershire, add a few dashes to taste before assembling the wontons.
You can also make these without the crab for plain ol' cream cheese wontons (equally delicious). You’ll just get fewer wontons out of the recipe because of the decreased volume of filling. (Also, here's a vegetable and cream cheese version that would be easily adaptable to the air fryer!)
Tips for Making Wontons
Wontons are sturdier than you think, and working with them is fairly straightforward once you get the hang of it. Here are my basic rules for working with wontons:
- Don't overfill them: At an absolute max do one tablespoon of filling per wonton. I tend to do a scant tablespoon which is probably closer to two teaspoons. If you overfill them, the wontons will explode while frying.
- Use water to seal: You can also use egg wash, but water works just as well. Paint the edges of the wonton with water, and then crimp the corners up to the center.
- Press out the air: When sealing the wonton, try to press out as much air as possible. If you have too much air in the filling, it will balloon up while frying and cause the wonton to burst open.
Why the Air Fryer Is Awesome for Wontons
I love the air fryer for this recipe. The wontons get very crispy on top and even a bit crispy on the bottom. The air fryer makes cleanup super easy, too. Shape the wontons, fry them, eat them, done! Just remember to spray the air fryer basket with nonstick spray to avoid any sticking issues.
- New to the air fryer? Check out our First Timer's Guide to Using an Air Fryer.
Don't have an air fryer? You can still make these wontons! Just use a deep fryer or a sturdy deep pot. Heat your oil to 350°F, and then fry them for three to four minutes, or until the wontons are golden brown.
A Great Wonton Sauce
My preferred dipping sauce for these wontons is a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. It's as easy as a dipping sauce gets but has serious flavor!
You can shape and fill the wontons in advance and store them in the fridge on a baking sheet, up to a day, until you're ready to put them in the air fryer. Don't let the wontons touch each other on the baking sheet, though—if they do, they might stick together and rip when you pull them apart.
How to Freeze Wontons
If you find yourself with an abundance of wontons, you can freeze them before you fry them. Freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and once they are frozen solid, store them in a freezer-safe bag.
To cook them, you can go straight from the freezer to the air fryer, but add two to three minutes on to the cooking time to account for the frozen filling.
More Terrific Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer Crab Rangoon
- 30 square wonton wrappers
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 ounces lump crab meat or imitation crab
- 2 tablespoons minced scallions
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Nonstick spray for air fryer
- For the dipping sauce:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
- Red pepper flakes, for garnish
Make the filling:
In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese, crab, scallion, and soy sauce. Mix well so the filling is a single consistency, and the crab is evenly distributed.
Make the wontons:
Working with one square wrapper at a time, add a 1/2 tablespoon of filling to the direct center of the wonton. Use your finger to paint the edges of the wonton with warm water, and then crimp the corners up to meet in the center, forming a dumpling. Use your fingers to press out as much air as you can along the edges as you seal the dumpling.
I typically make 6-7 dumplings at a time, and then make the rest while those are frying. You can also make them all in advance and keep them in the fridge for up to a day.
Fry the wontons:
Spray the air fryer basket with nonstick spray. Place as many wontons as possible, without touching, into the air fryer basket. You should be able to fit 7-8 wontons. Air fry the wontons at 350°F for 6 minutes until they are crispy and golden brown.
Serve the wontons:
Let the wontons cool briefly, then serve with the dipping sauce. Cooked wontons don’t keep very well (they get soggy), so cook only as many as you intend to eat right away!