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Surimi Salad

Surimi salad is a Japanese-inspired crab salad recipe made with imitation crab, fresh vegetables, and a zippy, creamy dressing. Say hello to the easiest work week lunch!

Overhead view of surimi salad on platter

Surimi is the Japanese term for the fish paste used to make imitation crab meat. It’s a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine and it’s the highlight of this surimi salad!

Surimi salad is usually made with shredded or cubed surimi, which is combined with a variety of fresh vegetables—in this case, cucumber, celery, red onion, and tomatoes. It’s dressed with a creamy, tangy dressing, typically with a mayonnaise base and an acid like rice vinegar to cut some of the richness and brighten things up.

For a protein-packed lunch option that’s a little out of the ordinary, surimi salad is hard to beat!

Overhead view of surimi salad in serving bowl

Why You’ll Love This Surimi Salad Recipe

  • A salad for seafood lovers. If you like seafood, you’ll love the flavors in this recipe. And since it’s made with imitation crab, it won’t break your grocery budget! (You'll also love this kani salad.)
  • Quick and easy to make. This salad comes together with just a few minutes of work—it’s mostly just a matter of prepping the veggies!
  • Contrasting tastes and textures. The combination of crunchy vegetables, creamy dressing, and tender imitation crab makes every bite of surimi salad delectable. You’re going to love it!
Overhead view of ingredients for surimi salad with labels

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.

  • Mayonnaise – For a lighter version, you can substitute plain Greek yogurt.
  • Lemon juice – Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Rice wine vinegar – This is also labeled as rice vinegar; don’t worry, it’s the same thing!
  • Fresh dill
  • Salt and ground black pepper 
  • Imitation crab
  • Roma tomato – I like to use a Roma tomato because it’s less juicy and has fewer seeds, so it won’t make your surimi salad soggy. 
  • Cucumber – An English cucumber is best, but a garden cucumber is fine too.
  • Celery 
  • Red onion – Mince this finely so it distributes evenly. 

What Is Imitation Crab?

Imitation crab is made from white fish like pollock that's been finely minced and formed into shapes resembling crab meat. It originated in Japan and it’s a more economical and convenient alternative to genuine crab, especially when you’re using it for something like this surimi salad.

How to Make Surimi Salad

  • Make the dressing. Whisk together the mayo, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, dill, salt, and pepper. 
  • Assemble the salad. Add the crab, tomato, cucumber, celery, and red onion to a large mixing bowl.
  • Put it all together. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to coat. Serve cold.

Tips for Success

  • Chill the ingredients. It’s best to serve surimi salad right away, and it’s also best to enjoy it cold. For this reason, I recommend making sure all of the major ingredients are fresh from the refrigerator before you assemble the salad.
  • Cut vegetables uniformly. By cutting your vegetables into uniform sizes, you ensure each bite is balanced in flavor and texture—and that it fits easily onto a fork. This also makes the salad more visually appealing!
  • Gently toss the salad. To keep the vegetables from going mushy, gently toss the salad with the dressing until just combined.
Surimi salad in serving bowl with fork


  • Add avocado. Some versions of surimi salad include avocado. If you're eating it right away, add diced avocado and toss gently with the dressing to coat it evenly.
  • Try other vegetables. Use carrots, jicama, or other veggies if you’d like to try something different.
  • Use Old Bay seasoning.  For a classic seafood flavor, add a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning to your salad.

Serving Suggestions

For a light, healthy lunch, serve surimi salad over a bed of mixed greens or alongside a cup of miso soup. It also makes a fantastic topping for crackers or sliced baguette, or you can tuck it into lettuce leaves for a lower carb option.

How to Store Leftovers

Place any leftover surimi salad in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Keep in mind that the vegetables will lose some of their crispness over time and release their liquid into the salad, watering down the dressing. This salad is really best fresh! 

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

No, due to the fresh vegetables and mayo in this recipe, I don’t recommend freezing surimi salad. 

Forkful of creamy surimi salad

More Seafood Recipes

Surimi Salad

Surimi salad is a Japanese-inspired seafood recipe, made with imitation crab, fresh vegetables, and a creamy dressing. An easy lunch idea!
author: Alyssa
yield: 4 servings
Forkful of creamy surimi salad
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ lemon juice of
  • ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound imitation crab shredded
  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • ½ cucumber halved and sliced very thin
  • 2 ribs celery very thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion minced


  • Whisk together the mayo, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, dill, salt, and pepper.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix together the crab, tomato, cucumber, celery, and red onion.
  • Add the dressing and toss to coat the salad.
  • Serve cold.


Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 1110mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.3mg
cuisine: Asian, Japanese
course: Lunch, Salad, Side Dish

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