Crab Rangoon Pretzel Buns

Crab Rangoon Pretzel Buns are a crowd-pleasing addition to any snack time, game day, or movie night.

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A platter of pleated crab rangoon pretzel buns on layered tropical placemats with a blue napkin.
Close-up image of a crab rangoon pretzel bun.

Crab Rangoon Pretzel Buns

Traditional soft pretzel meets creamy crab goodness in this amazing appetizer mash-up! Crab Rangoon Pretzel Buns are a crowd-pleasing savory snack perfect for any movie or game night. They can even be made ahead and frozen for when you need them. Serve a platter of delicious Crab Rangoon Pretzel Buns at your next party and wow your guests with something special.

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Close-up image of a platter of crab rangoon pretzel buns on a wooden plate with a blue napkin.
A platter of pleated crab rangoon pretzel buns on layered tropical placemats.

A Mysterious Origin

The origins of Crab Rangoon are unclear. Fried wontons filled with a crab-cream cheese mixture, the popular appetizer appears on American Chinese menus throughout the nation. The first appearance of this popular dish was, believe it or not, on a “Polynesian” or Tiki-style menu in a Trader Vic’s restaurant in San Francisco as early as 1956.  Despite the name, the presence of cream cheese makes it unlikely that Crab Rangoon originated in China or Southeast Asia, and it is likely an American culinary invention.

Whatever it’s origin, Crab Rangoon is here to stay. Coupled with soft pretzel, this appetizer is sure to be a crowd-pleasing hit.

Uncooked pretzel buns prepared for the waterbath.
A close-up of a single torn open cran rangoon pretzel bun, showing the creamy crab filling.

Crab Rangoon Pretzel Buns

Make Crab Rangoon Pretzel Buns for a delicious & crowd-pleasing addition to any snack time, game day, or movie night menu.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Dough Rising Time 1 hour
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Chinese
Servings 6 people


Pretzel Dough

  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • ¾ cup baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for egg wash)
  • Coarse pretzel salt

Crab Rangoon Filling

  • 8 ounces crab claw meat
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)


Make the pretzel dough:

  • Combine the warm water, yeast, and honey in the bowl of a standing mixer. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
  • Once the mixture is bubbling, stir in the flour, salt, and melted butter. Mix on low with the dough hook attachment until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Use the vegetable oil to grease a large bowl. Place the ball of dough inside, cover with a dishtowel, and allow the dough to rise for one hour until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the filling:

  • Near the end of the hour rising time, mix all of the crab Rangoon filling ingredients together until well combined. Keep cool until the dough is ready.

Form and bake the pretzels:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Fill a deep pot with water, bring to a gentle simmer, and then carefully add the baking soda. Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface, and start break it down into golf ball-sized pieces. Using a small rolling pin (like one used for dumplings), roll the balls of dough out into flat circles around three inches in diameter.
  • Drop a teaspoon of crab Rangoon filling into the center of each circle of dough. Pleat the edges in a circle, closing up the pretzel dough into a little pouch or purse. Make sure the pleats are pressed together firmly.
  • Working with two or three at a time, drop the filled pretzels into the prepared water bath and let them simmer for 30-45 seconds each. Transfer the pretzels to a plate to drain, and then arrange on the baking sheets.
  • Brush the tops of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the filling is cooked through. Serve warm.
Keyword crab, cream cheese, dumpling, pretzel
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