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5 from 25 votes

Kani Salad (Japanese Crab Salad)

A quick and easy 10 minute Japanese kani salad recipe made with shredded crab sticks, cucumbers, and a creamy sesame mayonnaise dressing.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 3
Calories: 273kcal
Author: Joyce Lee


  • 14 oz imitation crab sticks (approx. 2 cups or 12 sticks. shredded into thin strips)
  • ½ cucumber (approx 1 cup.)
  • 1 stalk green onion
  • 3 tablespoons Japanese fish roe/eggs (Optional)

Kani Salad Dressing


  • If your crab sticks are frozen, defrost them in the fridge for a few hours until they are pliable before using them.
  • Toast the sesame seeds it in a dry pan for 1-2 minutes. Make sure you watch it carefully and keep moving the sesame seeds so it doesn't burn. Set it aside and let it cool
  • If your crab sticks come individually wrapped, remove the plastic wrap and hand shred the crab into thin slices. If you are using imitation crab chunks, use a knife and roughly chop them into big chunks. Place it into a large mixing bowl.
  • Finely slice the green onions and place them into the bowl with the crab.
  • (Optional) If you are using Japanese fish roe/eggs, add them into the bowl with the crab meat.
  • Finely slice the cucumber into matchsticks. If you are mixing it with the crab salad, put it in the bowl with the crab. If you are placing the crab salad on top of the cucumber, set aside the cucumber.
  • In a small bowl, mix all the kani salad dressing ingredients together (including the toasted sesame seeds) and pour it into the bowl with the crab meat.
  • Mix everything together and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions
  • Serve it on top of the cucumber slices and enjoy!


  • This is a very versatile kani salad recipe. Add thin slices of mango or red peppers for a bit of sweetness and more layers of flavors.
  • Can I use real crab meat? You most definitely can! I find Alaskan king crab works best if you are using real crab meat.
  • I don't have Kewpie mayo, can I use regular mayo? Yes, you definitely can substitute regular mayonnaise. Japanese mayonnaise has a slightly more eggy and umami flavor but the difference is small enough that using a direct substitution of regular mayonnaise won't hurt the taste. Make sure you are using mayonnaise and not Miracle Whip.
  • Do I need to cook kani? Kanikama (imitation crab meat) is already cooked and can be used as-is. If it is frozen, defrost it in the fridge a few hours ahead until it is soft and pliable.
  • Storage : Store this crab salad in the fridge for no more than 1-2 days if the cucumber is mixed in. Once the cucumber is mixed in, it will become a little waterlogged and you won't get that same creamy consistency.
  • How to Make Ahead of Time : You can prepare everything ahead of time and mix it together except the cucumber (or any vegetables) and the sauce, this will prevent the kani salad from being waterlogged. You can pre-mix the sauce in a separate bowl ahead of time but mix it in last minute before serving.


Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 569mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg