This Kani Salad Recipe tastes just like the side dish you’d order at a Japanese Steakhouse. Thin crab strips with julienned vegetables, a spicy mayonnaise dressing served with crunchy panko breadcrumbs, the perfect combination of flavors.

Add Gyozas or our Potstickers to your dinner and you’ll feel like you’re at a restaurant.

Crab Cucumber Kani Salad Recipe in a bowl with a spoon topped with crumbs.

SPICY KANI SALAD RECIPE-

This Japanese Kani Salad made with thin strips of crab and cucumber and tossed in a spicy dressing is absolutely phenomenal. It’s hard to believe that the salad only requires 3 simple ingredients and a few more for the Kani salad dressing.

What is Kani Salad? Kani salad gets its name from the main ingredient in the salad which is imitation crab meat (also known as Surimi). Kani is widely used in Japanese sushi restaurants, especially those in America.

Spicy kani salad in a serving bowl topped with fresh greens.

INGREDIENTS-

Spicy Kani Salad ingredients are quite simple and may all be easily found at your local grocery store.

  • Crab Meat– Imitation crab sticks work great.
  • Cucumbers– Fresh cucumbers, a must.
  • Panko crumbs– Adds texture to the salad.
  • Dressing– We made our own dressing. 

Kani Salad Variation-

  • Mango– In many restaurants, mango slices are added to the salad for a slight sweetness. Perfect when fresh mangos are in season!
  • Carrot– You can add thinly julienned carrot to the salad as well. Just keep the cut similar to the remaining ingredients.
  • Tobiko– Feel free to add some tobiko to your salad, we normally don’t, but we see it’s quite popular!
All the ingredients needed for homemade Kani salad on a cutting board.

HOW TO MAKE KANI SALAD-

Though this salad is absolutely EASY to make, the prep time is slightly longer than normal salads because we want the crab and cucumbers really thin. Be patient, it will be worth it.

  1. Make spicy mayo– In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, pepper, sugar, Sriracha, and salt until creamy for the spicy mayo dressing.
  2. Cut cucumber– Julienne cucumbers thinly, in my opinion, the thinner you cut the cucumber, the better the salad.
  3. Cut crab- Pull apart the crab meat into thin strands, as thin as you can get them.
  4. Combine– In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers and crab. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Add in the panko crumbs, lightly toss again and serve. Optional, add sesame seeds when serving.

MAKE AHEAD

Kani Salad may easily be prepared one day in advance. Prepare the dressing and keep it in a container. Cut the cucumbers and pull apart the crab and keep covered. Before serving, mix the salad and top with crumbs.

Kani salad in a bowl topped with fresh chopped greens and bread crumbs.

Frequently Asked Questions-

How do I store leftover salad?

If there’s any leftover salad (probably won’t be), store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The salad will stay fresh for up to 2 days.

What kind of crab can I use?

We used imitation crab sticks but feel free to use real crab!

What kind of vinegar do I use?

We just used white vinegar, but you can easily use rice vinegar or even lemon juice as a substitute.

Do I eat the salad with soy sauce?

Nope, this is all this salad requires and tastes wonderful!

Do I have to peel the cucumber?

We don’t peel the cucumber as we like the extra texture the skin of the cucumber gives.

Kani salad in a bowl with a spoon topped with fresh greens.

I hope this Japanese crab salad becomes a new favorite and is enjoyed as a side salad for dinner or whenever you are enjoying sushi.

More Asian Recipes-

Oh, how we love Asian recipes, so so good! Here are some popular dishes that we often make in our home.

Spicy Kani Salad Recipe

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5 from 13 votes
This Spicy Kani Salad Recipe is the best copycat salad recipe that you get at a Japanese sushi restaurant. Crab strips with cucumbers in a homemade spicy mayo dressing.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

salad-

  • 8 oz imitation crab
  • 4 mini cucumbers
  • 3 Tbsp Panko bread crumbs

kani salad dressing-

Instructions

  • Julienne cucumbers and crab meat in thin strips (just pull apart the crab).
  • Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. Add about ¾ of the dressing to the salad. Mix. Add more dressing if needed. 
  • Top salad with crumbs and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 2gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 357mgPotassium: 422mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 215IUVitamin C: 10.5mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 1mg
(The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)