This creamy mac and cheese is inspired by the Chinese food appetizer crab rangoons. It is a super indulgent and rich dish that is almost a cross between the famous rangoons and a southern hot crab dip. I added some pickled jalapenos and pepper flakes, not traditional rangoon ingredients, just to add a little tang and heat to cut the richness of the dish. Topping the pasta with some fried wontons really drove home the rangoon flavor! This version of mac and cheese is a must try for rangoon lovers!
Crab rangoons are easily my favorite takeout order. It’s almost dangerous how much I love them and how many I can eat! I was eating them one day and realized that they would be tasty with some sort of pasta. I had a handful of ideas, but in the end I went with this mac and cheese.
The best cheeses for Crab Rangoon Mac and Cheese
Any time you want to make a mac and cheese that uses a soft cheese like cream cheese, it’s basically a built in shortcut. The soft cheese creates a natural binder for the sauce! You don’t need to do a roux or a cornstarch slurry or any of those somewhat annoying culinary tricks for thickening sauces. In this case, cream cheese makes sense as an ingredient because it is the main flavor of crab rangoons. The other cheese is jack!
Making the sauce for the crab rangoon mac and cheese
Mix the cheese, cream cheese, crab, scallions, and jalapeno. Also a few pepper flakes and soy sauce.
When the pasta is just about done cooking, add a little pasta water to the cheese mixture and stir it well. The sauce will form before your eyes! Then just mix the pasta in and you are ready for the oven.
Frying the wontons
While the dish bakes, make your wonton crisps. Just fry the wonton wrappers in a little oil until crispy. I love doing this in a shallow layer of oil. It means you don’t need to deep fry anything and the wontons come out flat.
Transfer to a rack with some tongs, then lightly salt them and let them dry.
Serving the crab rangoon mac and cheese
You can bake this in a big baking dish, or individual ones like I used. When it is time to eat, serve it with some fresh scallions on top and crispy wontons on the side. So good!
I like to use the wontons to eat the mac and cheese so it’s like a crab rangoon in every bite. This mac and cheese tastes amazing. Like a super rich crab cake or a creamy crab dip. But with pasta!
If you are looking for a traditional crab rangoon recipe, I like this one.
Twists on this recipe
I used lump crab for this, but if you wanted to make it cheaper, and more like most takeout rangoons, you could use imitation crab stick. You could also tone down the heat level if you have a lower tolerance by omitting some of the pickled jalapenos or pepper flakes.
Crab Rangoon Mac and Cheese
- 1/2 pound elbow pasta
- 1/2 pound lump crab
- 8 ounces jack cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1/2 cup pickled jalapenos optional
- 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 12 wonton wrappers
- Bring water to a boil for the pasta. Grate the cheeses, chop the scallions and jalapenos. Preheat the oven to 350.
- Drop the pasta into the water. In a bowl, mix the everything except the pasta and the wonton wrappers. Stir well. Just before the pasta is ready, add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the cheese mixture and stir well. Strain the pasta and add it to the cheese mixture. Stir. Place in a baking dish or individual ramikins. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and creamy.
- While the pasta is baking, cut the wontons into triangles and fry in a little oil in batches until crispy. Drain and salt.
- Serve the pasta with the crispy wonton wrappers.