Spicy Kani Salad Recipe: A sushi shop favorite you can make at home! Kani Salad tastes just like the popular dish you order at your neighborhood Japanese restaurant.

Homeade Japanese Kani


Let’s talk about this Kani Salad, but first balance…

Japanese food is an enigma. A delicate balance between the overcooked and the uncooked, between the overly seasoned and the unseasoned… A balance of extremes. Japanese cuisine reflects its culture. A graceful symmetry between the old and the new. A level scale holding on to the past and pressing into the future.

A close friend of mine lived in Japan for the last couple of years and talks about these extremes. She tells of their home high in the mountains, bitter cold in winter due to no insulation. Yet they had fiber optic internet, go figure. In Japan, balance doesn’t mean duplication; it means hot and cold dancing together in perfect rhythm.

I like balance. A lot. I would say it is one of my utmost goals in life. To give myself completely to the purposes and people I hold dear, yet not choose one over the other. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in one pursuit, one relationship, or one mindset, and allow others to suffer.

I want my life to be bold, yet reserved. Graceful, yet edgy. Wise, yet adventurous. Complex, yet simple. Ah balance, sometimes you are nowhere in sight!

Thankfully every morning is a fresh chance to step out on that tightrope again.

Crab Meat and Mango Salad

Kani Salad Recipe

I appreciate Japanese cuisine because I feel it encapsulates this concept. Extreme textures and flavors come together in harmony.

Spicy Kani Salad is a tribute to balance: cool and spicy, silky and crisp, sweet and tart, light, and filling.

The spicy dressing caresses the smooth cooling ribbons of cucumber, crab meat, and mango, sprinkled with crunchy panko. A symphony of contradiction in every bite.

Our Spicy Kani Salad Recipe with mango is a nod to a sushi bar fav favorite. Now you can make it at home!

What is Kani?

Kani is the Japanese word for crab. However, when used it is usually referring to imitation crab meat.

For this Kani salad recipe, you can use either real crab or imitation crab. Although the imitation is more true to the recipe and has a distinctly different flavor than the real kind.

All the ingredients needed

How to Make Kani Salad


For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (chile sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Pinch salt

For the Salad:

  • 4 Kani sticks (1/2 pound imitation crab)
  • 1 mango peeled and shredded
  • 1 large cucumber (or three baby cucumbers) peeled and shredded
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs


  1. Whisk mayonnaise, rice vinegar, sugar, sriracha, paprika ginger, and salt together for the dressing. Taste for seasoning and set aside.
  2. To make the Kani Salad shred the crab sticks by hand and place them in a large bowl. Shred the cucumber and mango in a food processor (or julienne by hand) and place in the bowl.
  3. Toss with the dressing and top with panko immediately before serving.
  4. Voila!

See The Recipe Card Below For How To Make Spicy Kani Salad. Enjoy!

Shredded/Julienne styled ingredients

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Real Crab Meat Instead?

Imitation crab is traditional for this kanikama salad, but you could definitely substitute REAL crab. It doesn’t shred as well, but you can’t beat the flavor. Although I will say, imitation crab has come a long way. It’s much more flavorful (and sustainable) than it used to be.

How Long Does This Japanese Crab Salad Last in the Fridge?

To store this main dish/side dish recipe, transfer it into an airtight container and it can keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Can I Buy This Kani Salad Dressing In The Store?

You might have the Japanese mayonnaise sauce, Kewpie, available in stores near you, but it is not always accessible where I live. However, you can find it online!

What Other Additions Can I Make?

Some people like to add some julienne-style vegetables with a crunch, like carrots or Persian cucumbers along with the creamy spicy mayonnaise dressing and shredded thin strips of imitation crab sticks. Other recipes call for corn kernels and soy sauce.

You could also turn this into a lettuce wrap or top this dish off with some sesame seeds and tobiko fish roe.

Special Sushi restaurant favorite

Looking for Even More Salads? Try These!

Check out the printable recipe card below for the nutrition information including calories, carbohydrates, protein, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, fiber, vitamin c, and calcium percentages.

Spicy Kani Salad Recipe
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Spicy Kani Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Spicy Kani Salad: A sushi shop favorite you can make at home! Kani Salad tastes just like the dish you order at your neighborhood Japanese restaurant.
Servings: 4


For the Dressing:

For the Salad:

  • 4 kani sticks (1/2 pound imitation crab)
  • 1 mango peeled and shredded
  • 1 large cucumber (or three baby cucumbers) peeled and shredded
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs


  • For the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the dresing ingredients together until smooth. Taste for seasoning and salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
  • For the Salad: Shred the crab sticks by hand and place in a large bowl. Shred the cucumber and mango in a food processor (or julienne by hand) and place in the bowl.
  • Toss with the dressing and top with panko immediately before serving.



Cover and chill for up to 3 days.


Serving: 0.75cup, Calories: 178kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 208mg, Potassium: 193mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 625IU, Vitamin C: 18.2mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 0.8mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Japanese
Author: Sommer Collier
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