Air Fryer Imitation Crab: Tasty, Crunchy, and Easy to Prepare 


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Whether you’re watching a movie or just looking for a quick snack in the middle of the day, potato chips often come to mind first. However, if you’re looking for something different, why not try an air fryer imitation crab? That’s what I’ll be teaching you in this recipe. 

Before grabbing a bag of chips, stop and consider making one yourself. The good thing is that it does not have to be an excruciating and time-consuming task. Plus, you’ll need only basic ingredients, and you have a crispy treat within a few minutes! 

Air Fryer Imitation Crab

What is Imitation Crab? 

The name itself should already give you an idea. If it isn’t obvious yet, they aren’t real crabs. Fret not; they still taste almost the same. Of course, nothing beats the flavor of real crab meat. However, they’re not always accessible. Not to mention, they can also be expensive. Thankfully, imitation crabs can also be flavorful. 

Imitation crab had its roots in surimi, which has been around for hundreds of years. It’s a paste with minced and washed white fish. The most common choice is pollock. It has additives, which are added to extend the shelf life.

You might not have realized it, but you have already eaten imitation crab. It’s a common ingredient in Japanese food, especially sushi. You can also find it in crab salad, crab cakes, and other dishes that use crab, such as pasta. 

Different brands may use different ingredients. In most cases, however, imitation crab has starch, egg whites, sweeteners, salt, sugar, and other natural or artificial sweeteners. Its main ingredient is surimi, which makes up 30 to 50% of the product’s weight. The ingredients are mixed, molded, and cut to form crab sticks. 

If there’s one reason why people prefer imitation crab, it would be its price. You can have something flavorful that tastes like crab meat at a fraction of the cost. 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Air Fryer Imitation Crab 

Enough with the information about imitation crabs. It’s time to make good use of it by cooking it in an air fryer. 

What You Need 

  • Imitation crab 
  • Olive oil 
  • Garlic powder 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 


  1. To start, preheat the air fryer to 320 degrees Fahrenheit for at least five minutes. If you’ve read the other recipes on my blog, you’ll see that this is one thing you often must do. It gets the interior hot to speed up cooking time. 
  2. As the air fryer preheats, prepare the imitation crab. Most will come in the form of a stick, so you’ll need to break them up. Don’t make them too thick or too thin. Tear them into the length and thickness that you desire. 
  3. Place the imitation crab in a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss and cover the crab sticks generously. Oil is a crucial ingredient as it will help the imitation crab become crispy and add a golden-brown color. 
  4. Arrange them in an air fryer. Do not overcrowd. Adding too much in an air fryer basket or rack can affect the crispness of the imitation crab. If you’re cooking a lot, it’s best to air fry in batches. 
  5. Cook for 15 minutes. Check the color. Once crispy, take the imitation crab out of the air fryer. They’re hot, so make sure to use tongs. 

Reheating Air Fryer Imitation Crab 

It isn’t necessary to reheat imitation crab in an air fryer or in any other method. They’re crispy and delicious, even when they’re not hot. After all, you don’t reheat a bag of potato chips, right? 

However, if you insist on reheating, you can air fry them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four minutes. 

Storing Crispy Imitation Crab 

Like your regular potato chips, air-fried imitation crab will lose its crispness with air exposure. You might be able to devour the entire batch within minutes! But in case you’ve got leftovers, proper storage is crucial. 

The best way to store them is in an airtight jar or plastic. Keep them in a cool and dry place. You can also put them in the fridge for a few days up to a week. A quick reheating at the air fryer can save them if they become chewy. 

How to Eat Air-Fried Imitation Crab 

These chips are good on their own, but you can enjoy them with your preferred sauce or dip if you want more flavor. I love it with sweet chili sauce, which gives the chips a balance of flavors with a slight kick. Softened cream cheese is also great. Meanwhile, you can enjoy your chips in a dip made of mixed mayo and sriracha. 


Air fryer imitation crab is a great snack! It’s quick to prepare using only basic ingredients. Forget the usual bag of potato chips and go for something different this time. 

Now that you know how to make air-fried crab sticks, why not try kale chips in an air fryer? It’s the perfect snack if you’re health-conscious! 

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Thomas S.

Hey there! I've been cooking for myself and loved ones since the age of 18. In our busy world I've always looked for ways to be more time efficient when it comes to preparing food but also creating tasty and healthy dishes. That's when I came accross air fryers a few years ago and eversince I am trying to spread the word of the benefits of these wonderful machines.