Kani Salad is a common side dish that you can find at Japanese restaurants that can be easily made at home. It's loaded with thin strips of crab, julienned vegetables, and a creamy mayo dressing (which can be made spicy for a Spicy Kani Salad variation).
Made with a simple combination of ingredients, this Japanese crab salad is nonetheless packed with so much flavor and is cheap to make (compared to real crab). Serve it on sushi night or alongside your favorite Asian Takeout dishes.
Why You'll Love Kani Salad
- Flavorful crab salad. Kani in Japanese means crab, and in kani salad, you can expect to find imitation crab meat. Imitation crab meat is typically made from white fish and processed in a way to look like crab meat and taste like it too. Plus, you can serve this mild or add extra flavor such as hot sauce to turn it into a spicy kani salad.
- Loaded with fresh vegetables. Fresh cucumbers and carrots bring a healthy crunch and vibrant color to this seafood salad. Plus the lemon juice in the dressing helps to soften the veggies just enough to create the perfect texture. It’s so good.
- Quick and easy to make. Need to throw something together fast? This kani salad recipe has your back. It’s ready in just 10 minutes, or less if you are really quick at chopping up ingredients. Once you have prepped all the ingredients, you simply throw them together, toss with the salad dressing, and serve!
To make this Asian Kani Salad, you will need the following ingredients (full measurements in recipe card below):
- imitation crab - although it’s not real crab meat, imitation crab meat is delicious and it’s affordable.
- Persian cucumbers - also known as mini cucumbers.
- corn - I used corn that was thawed from frozen. You can thaw frozen corn quickly by letting it sit in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes before draining. You can also substitute with canned corn but drain and rinse the corn first.
- dressing - the creamy dressing is made with mayonnaise, lemon juice, sesame oil, black sesame seeds, salt, and pepper.
- sriracha or hot sauce - you can make a spicy kani salad by adding in some hot sauce to the dressing.
Kani salad is customizable with your favorite fruits or vegetables including avocados, lettuce, or mangos. You could also add in fish roe.
How to Make the Best Kani Salad
- Prepare vegetables. Prepare the salad ingredients by shredding the crab sticks using a box grater. Use a knife to julienne the cucumbers and carrots into thin strips, use the grater to shred them. Transfer to a serving bowl and add the corn.
- Make dressing. In a medium mixing bowl, make the dressing by stirring together mayonnaise, lemon juice, sesame oil, hot sauce, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper until smooth.
- Toss to combine. Add the dressing to the salad and toss well to coat evenly. Serve immediately.
How to Serve
I like serving spicy kani salad alongside:
To make your presentation truly memorable, consider serving your kani salad over a whole iceberg lettuce leaf.
Keep leftover kani salad in the fridge inside an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can enjoy your kani salad as soon as you make it or store it until you’re ready to eat.
More Salad Recipes
- 40 Best Salad Recipes
- Asian Chopped Salad
- Cold Noodles with Peanut Butter Sauce
- Grilled Shrimp Salad
- Classic Coleslaw
- Gomae Spinach Salad
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Kani Salad is loaded with thin strips of crab, julienned vegetables, and a creamy mayo dressing (which can be made spicy for a Spicy Kani Salad).
- 10 imitation crab sticks (about 8 ounces), shredded into thin strips
- 3 small Persian cucumbers, shredded or julienned
- 1 medium carrot, julienned
- ½ cup sweet corn, thawed from frozen
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sriracha or hot sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Prepare the salad ingredients by shredding the crab sticks using a box grater. Use a knife to julienne the cucumbers and carrots into thin strips, or use a grater to shred then. Transfer to a serving bowl and add the corn.
- In a medium mixing bowl, make the dressing by stirring together mayonnaise, lemon juice, sesame oil, hot sauce, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper until smooth.
- Add the dressing to the salad and toss well to coat evenly. Serve immediately.
- How to store: Keep leftover kani salad in the fridge inside an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can enjoy your kani salad as soon as you make it or store it until you’re ready to eat.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: Japanese
Keywords: kani salad, spicy kani salad, japanese kani salad, japanese salad, imitation crab salad,