The Step You Can't Forget When Making Crab Rangoon At Home

If you've ever ordered Chinese takeout, you know what it's like to receive a large bag full of favorites like fried rice, pork lo mein, or, our favorite, Crab Rangoon.

These are the epitome of textural contrast, as each heavenly bite is crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Wonton wrappers are first filled with a mixture of cream cheese, crunchy scallions, and lots of crab meat before being folded into a star shape, per Serious Eats. The wontons are then fried in piping hot oil to a golden-brown color and are often quickly consumed with sweet and sour dipping sauce before any social media pictures can be taken (though we certainly understand such urgency).

While it's easy to order Crab Rangoon at a restaurant, it's even more fun to make these at home. But when doing so, just remember this important step to ensure the most flavorful crab-filled wontons.

It has to do with the cream cheese

Julie Tran Deily of The Little Kitchen whips up tons of colorful appetizers, entrées, and desserts, like pastel deviled eggs and a six-layer rainbow cake. But one of our favorite videos is this Crab Rangoon tutorial shared on Instagram, where Deily briefly shows viewers how to make these adorable, crunchy snacks.

Deily explains that the secret to the very best Crab Rangoon lies in room temperature cream cheese. Think about it for a moment. If cream cheese is cold and firm, it starts to clump and won't mix as well with other ingredients, via Food52. But if it's smooth and creamy like softened butter, then you'll get a more uniform filling of equal parts cream cheese, crab meat, and scallions.

Southern Living states that there are three ways you can soften cream cheese. If you're in a hurry, you can microwave the cream cheese in ten-second intervals, but be sure to unwrap it first and check the cream cheese after each interval. The warm water method is also a useful option, particularly for those that don't have a microwave — just put the cream cheese package as is in a ziplock bag and place the bag in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can cube the cream cheese and let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes.