Best Kani Salad Recipe – The Big Man’s World ®

This kani salad The recipe is creamy, slightly spicy, and comes together in less than five minutes! Also known as crab stick salad, it’s super easy to make and tastes like something you’d find at a Japanese restaurant.

kani salad

Looking for a light and refreshing dish that is bursting with flavor? You can’t go wrong with a classic kani salad recipe! Made with fresh crabmeat, crunchy vegetables, and a creamy dressing, this Japanese-inspired salad is perfect for a quick lunch, a side dish for dinner, or as a fun appetizer to share with friends.

What is kani salad?

Kani salad is a Japanese crab salad that is a staple at any Japanese steakhouse or sushi restaurant. It consists of crab meat and julienned vegetables bathed in a sweet, spicy and creamy dressing.

Why you will love this recipe

With its vibrant colors and delicious flavor, this salad is a crowd pleaser, easy to prepare, and sure to impress.

  • Is so easy! This quick recipe requires no complicated techniques or ingredients, making it perfect for busy weeknights or last-minute gatherings. Pair it with some chicken or pork katsu for a balanced meal.
  • healthy food option. Kani salads are packed with nutritious ingredients like fresh crabmeat, greens, and a light dressing, making for a healthy and satisfying meal or snack.
  • Versatile. This salad can be customized with your preferred vegetables or dressings to suit your taste preferences or dietary needs. You can also top it with some tofu or dip it in some eel sauce for variety.
  • delighted the public. This salad is a popular dish enjoyed by many, making it a great choice for potlucks, picnics, or other gatherings where you need to feed a crowd.

Do you love vibrant salads? Try our Green Goddess Salad or our Wedge Salad too!

How to make kani salad

To make this kani salad recipe, you only need five main ingredients. They can be easily found at major grocery stores in the Asian section or in Japanese grocery stores.

the ingredients


  • Surimi (Imitation crab meat). Imitation crab meat is actually a mixture of white fish (typically haddock) and flour to create a delicious crab texture and flavor.
  • Seaweed noodles OR rice noodles– Gives volume to the salad and combines well with crab meat.
  • cucumber and carrot- Essential vegetables in any good spicy kani salad. These should be julienned and/or cut into very thin strips.


  • Mayonnaise– For a more authentic taste, you can use Japanese mayonnaise (kewpie mayonnaise) which is a bit sweeter than traditional mayonnaise.
  • sriracha– Adds a spicy kick without being overpowering. If you really can’t stand the heat, you can use sweet chili sauce.
  • Sugar – To balance the spice and flavor. White sugar, brown sugar, or sugar-free alternatives (such as keto powdered sugar) can be used.
  • Rice vinegar– Optional, but a touch of this gives it that authentic flavor.
  • Lemon juice– Just a touch to balance the creamy, rich ingredients.

The instructions

  1. make the salad. In a bowl, mix the crab meat, noodles, and vegetables. Next, mix the dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  2. add the dressing. Add the dressing to the salad, followed by half the green onion and sesame seeds.
  3. decorate and serve. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with more green onions, sesame seeds, and panko breadcrumbs.
how to make a kani salad

Tips to make the best recipe.

  • Use king crab meat: Use real crab meat instead of imitation crab meat. It will make a significant difference in the taste of the salad.
  • Cut the vegetables into thin strips: Cut vegetables such as cucumber and carrot into thin strips so that they mix well with the crab meat.
  • Add sesame seeds and fish roe.: Toasted sesame seeds add a nutty flavor, and fish roe (tobiko) give it that satisfying richness.
  • change the dressing: Mix up a tablespoon or two of some fun Asian sauces, like katsu or tempura sauce.
  • Add a sweet element: Sliced ​​mango, grated apple or raisins, it all works.
  • cool the salad: Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. This will help the flavors blend.
  • add spice: For a spicy kani salad, add some wasabi or swap the mayonnaise for spicy mayonnaise for a bit of yuck.

storage instructions

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Try to keep the dressing separate from the salad, so it stays crisp and fresh.

Freeze: As this dish is mainly based on salads, we do not recommend freezing it.

Recommended tools to make this recipe.

To install spicy kani salad.

More Japanese Appetizers to Try

Frequent questions

Can kani salad be made ahead of time?

Yes, the kani salad can be made ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve. However, vegetables can wilt a bit if left too long.

Can kani salad be made without crab meat?

You can make a vegetarian version of the kani salad by omitting the crab meat and adding more vegetables or tofu.

Is kani salad gluten free?

Kani salad can be gluten free if the dressing is made with gluten free ingredients. However, some imitation crab meat may contain wheat starch, so it’s important to check the label if you have a gluten allergy or intolerance.

Can kani salad be made with spicy mayonnaise?

You can swap out the mayonnaise for hot mayonnaise and reduce the hot sauce.

What is the best way to mix the salad ingredients?

Use a large bowl and mix the ingredients gently until evenly covered with the dressing.

How many calories are in kani salad?

The number of calories in the kani salad depends on the ingredients used and the amount of dressing added. On average, a serving of kani salad contains around 200 to 300 calories.

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • In a bowl, add the crab meat, kelp noodles, julienned cucumber, and carrot.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sriracha, and sweetener.

  • Combine dressing over salad and mix until well combined. Add the green onion and sesame seeds.

  • Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with more sesame seeds and panko breadcrumbs.

* You can also use rice noodles.
STORE: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Try to keep the dressing separate from the salad, so it stays crisp and fresh.

Service: 1serviceCalories: 215kcalCarbohydrates: 8gramProtein: 18gramFat: 5gramSodium: 379milligramsPotassium: 193milligramsFiber: 3gramVitamin A: 1604UIVitamin C: 5milligramsCalcium: 132milligramsIron: 1milligramsNET CARBS: 5gram

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