Spicy Crab Kani Salad

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Spicy Crab Salad is a favorite of sushi lovers and those who frequent Japanese steakhouses. This simple Kani salad recipe is loaded with crab meat, mango, and veggies.  Perfect for serving as a side dish or a light meal. 

Suitable for low carb diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

close up of a kani salad in a bowl

I love ordering Sushi take-out, and while I have a list of my favorites, I like to take the opportunity to try new things from the menu.

When I first tried Kani salad, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was soooooo tasty, and I knew I wanted to recreate this recipe at home. And I did, just like with this really delicious Asian Cucumber Salad, the creamy dreamy Yum Yum Sauce delicious Hibachi Chicken and quick Hibachi Style Ginger Sauce.

What Is Kani Salad?

‘Kani’ is Japanese for ‘crab.’ Kani Salad is a spicy salad made with imitation crab meat, carrots, cucumber, mango and crunchy breadcrumbs and topped with a spicy mayonnaise dressing. It’s a favorite dish at sushi restaurants and Japanese steakhouses. 

This spicy Kani salad recipe is so good, and because it’s made fresh, it tastes even better than the salad at my local restaurant. What’s more, it’s so easy to make so you can enjoy it any time you like.

close up of japanese crab salad in a bowl on a table

Why Make This Recipe

  • Simple – If you can slice and peel fruits and veggies and whisk ingredients, you can make this Kani salad recipe; no cooking required.  
  • Refreshing – This salad is light and refreshing and loaded with fruits and vegetables in addition to the crab meat. 
  • Money-Saving – Save money by skipping take-out and making this Spicy Kani Salad at home. 

Ingredient Notes

  • Mayonnaise – Use real mayonnaise or substitute a low-fat mayo for a lighter version of this recipe. 
  • Sriracha – Sriracha adds spice to this salad. You can omit it or reduce the amount if you prefer less spice. 
  • Rice Wine Vinegar – This mild and slightly sweet vinegar can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. 
  • Sugar – Balances the heat of the sriracha. 
  • Salt – Salt helps to bring out all of the flavors in this Kani salad recipe. 
  • Imitation Crab –  You can find this with the fresh seafood. Substitute real crab meat if you prefer. 
  • Carrots – Peel and julienne fresh carrots or purchase matchstick carrots. 
  • Cucumber – Be sure to peel and deseed before slicing into sticks. 
  • Mango – Look for the ripest mango you can find. 
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – These traditional Japanese-style breadcrumbs are thicker and crunchier than traditional breadcrumbs. 
the ingredients needed for making kani salad

Ready to make this Japanese Crab Salad? Gather your ingredients and I will show you…

How To Make Spicy Kani Salad

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. Combine mayonnaise, sriracha, vinegar, sugar, and salt to make the dressing and set it aside. 
  2. Prepare the crab, mango, carrots and cucumber and add them to a large bowl. 
  3. Pour the dressing into the salad bowl, and toss to combine.
  4. Garnish with panko, sesame seeds, and green onions. 
image collage showing the steps for making spicy kani salad recipe

Expert Tips

  • Try to cut all of your vegetables and fruit into similar-sized sticks.
  • If making ahead, don’t add the panko in advance. Wait until just before serving. 
  • Persian or Lebanese cucumbers will be less watery. 
  • You may find it easier to pull the crab into strips (like you would with string cheese) rather than cutting it into strips. 
a bowl of japanese kani salad (crab salad) on a table with green onion and sesame garnish

Delicious Variations

  • Add Avocado – Sliced avocado adds a creamy texture and nice flavor. 
  • Add Fish Roe – Tobiko adds a nice crunch and flavor. 
  • Make A Lettuce Wrap – Scoop the salad into lettuce leaves and serve as a lettuce wrap. 
  • Chop The Ingredients -– Usually, the ingredients in this salad are julienned. Chop the ingredients instead and serve with corn chips for a unique seafood dip. 
  • Top With Sesame Seeds – Toasted sesame seeds or black sesame seeds make a nice topping. 

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – You can make this salad in advance and store it in the fridge until you are ready to serve. 
  • Store – This salad should be covered tightly and may be refrigerated for up to 3 days.  
  • Freeze – Freezing is not recommended as the vegetables will become mushy. 
Kani Salad being scooped into a bowl


What Is Imitation Crab Meat?

Imitation Crab Meat is made from mild white fish, usually, pollock, which is processed into a paste and then formed into crab sticks. It flakes much like real crab meat.

Can I Use Real Crab In Kani Salad?

Yes. You can substitute real crab meat, but it will increase the overall cost of this salad.

Is Spicy Kani Salad Healthy?

This salad is perfect for those following a low carb diet, but the mayonnaise adds fat and calories. Use a low-fat mayo for a healthier version of this salad recipe.

a heaped bowl of kani salad - japanese crab salad on a table with some garnish of green onions and sesame seeds

Serving Suggestions and More Recipes You May Like

Weight Watchers Points

There are 6 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Thank you for reading my Spicy Kani Salad recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog. 

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close up of a kani salad in a bowl
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Spicy Kani Salad

A low carb salad made with crab, carrots, cucumber, mango and panko.
Prep Time20 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, asian
Servings: 4
Calories: 377kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy


  • ½ cup (115g) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha optional
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces (453g) leg style imitation crab sliced very thinly lengthwise
  • 2 large carrots peeled and julienned
  • 1 cucumber peeled, cut into thirds, deseeded, then julienned
  • 1 mango peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs


  • Mix the mayonnaise, sriracha, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl, then set it aside.
  • Prepare the crab, carrots, cucumber and mango, then add to a large bowl, tossing to combine.
  • Pour dressing into salad bowl and mix to combine.
  • Top with panko breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, and green onions. Serve and enjoy!
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  • Try to cut all of your vegetables and fruit into similar-sized sticks.
  • If making ahead, don’t top with the panko until just before serving. 
  • Persian or Lebanese cucumbers will be less watery. 
  • You may find it easier to pull the crab into strips (like you would with string cheese) rather than cutting it into strips.
  • This salad should be covered tightly and may be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • There are 6 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.


Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 1106mg | Potassium: 307mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 5733IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

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