5 Ingredients or Fewer

Fried Crab Stick Crackers

December  9, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten., food styling by Anna Billingskog, prop styling by Amanda Widis
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Lay down your Lay’s, and put down your Pringles, because deep-fried crab stick crackers are the newest and bestest snack in town. —Jun

Test Kitchen Notes

These four-ingredient snacks will become your new favorite go-to whenever a snack craving strikes; there's no need to run to the store to buy chips anymore. You'll love how quick and easy these are to prepare, and how delicious the end result is. Jun, who developed this amazing recipe, goes into detail even more about why you should make these immediately: "In the great span of my snack-filled life, there’s no other junk food that I’ve indulged in more than crab stick crackers. Yes, crab sticks. You know, those finger-sized logs of crab meat with an artificially colored coat of lipstick-red on top, and a glistening underbelly of white.

"Despite their name, there’s no real crab in crab sticks; they’re made from surimi—a fish paste pounded out of white fish, bycatch, and other forms of sea life.

"Usually, I avoid these overly processed crab sticks at all cost. They add little in flavor and in texture.

"All my prejudice goes out the window, however, when you unroll them, pull their layers apart, dust them in a bit of cornstarch, and deep-fry them. The little threads crisp up like fritters and like that, the imitation meat transforms into another thing entirely. In this form, the limp, watery pieces of faux crabmeat turn into one of the crispiest, most addictive snacks out there. They become slivers of crunchy, umami-rich goodness, wicking the moisture out of your mouth and causing you to salivate so much that the only cure is to eat more." —The Editors

What You'll Need
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Fried Crab Stick Crackers
  • 1 pound crab sticks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 stalks curry leaves or basil leaves
  1. Heat the oven to 130°F. Unroll the crab sticks and pull them apart into ½-inch-wide slivers. (Make sure the crab sticks are completely defrosted before doing this.)
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread the crab sticks in a thin layer. Dry for 20 minutes in the oven. This is just to reduce the water content slightly, so they don’t sputter as much when fried. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator for this, or even place the pan outdoors under the hot sun.
  3. Dust the cornstarch over the crab sticks. Gently toss until well coated.
  4. In a large pot, heat the oil until an instant-read thermometer registers 350°F. Gently place a handful of the crab sticks into the oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. (Depending on the size of your pot, 2 to 3 dozen strips each round should do.) Fry the crab sticks for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t touch or agitate the crab sticks for the first minute of frying, as they’ll stick to your spatula. But once they get going, gently move them around and ease them apart.
  5. Transfer the crab sticks to paper towels to wick off the excess oil. Repeat until all the crab sticks have been fried.
  6. Fry the curry leaves in the oil for 30 to 40 seconds, until darkened and crispy. (Careful, they can really crackle and pop!) Toss with the fried crab sticks.
  7. Let cool completely before serving. To store, keep in an airtight container—that is, if you can stop yourself from snacking on them all!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

2 Reviews

Stephmo February 3, 2024
These were fantastic! I cut each stick into 4 pieces, and they were so easy to do - and super addictive.
Cary November 1, 2019
Dying to try these! Hard to understand how to separate them: about how many pieces do you get out of one stick? They look about 1/4" thick once cooked, is that about right?