Spring Rolls are a super light, crispy and tender vegetarian appetizer cousin of traditional egg rolls. Make ahead and freeze before frying!
Spring Rolls are so much more than just vegetarian egg rolls. They have a super thin, crispy wrapper that basically shatters when you bite into it. Inside are tender, seasoned cooked vegetables seasoned with soy sauce, mirin, and sesame oil. They are perfect for dipping into sweet chili sauce.
You can fill the spring roll wrappers with anything you’d like. This recipe uses a traditional vegetarian filling but chicken, pork or even a shrimp filling would be amazing! Especially shrimp, because the light tender seafood goes great with the other flavors and textures in Spring Rolls.
Serve these as an appetizer with Sweet and Sour Sauce and Chinese Hot Mustard for dipping. A wonderful recipe to serve this alongside is actually General Tso’s Chicken because the sauce from the recipe is the PERFECT dipping sauce!
What is the difference between Spring Roll and Egg Rolls?
The main difference between spring rolls and egg rolls are the wrappers. Egg rolls have a chewy, thicker wrapper made from flour and egg that is almost similar to a pasta dough. When fried, they have bubbly, crunchy exterior that tends to be more oily and rich. Spring rolls use thin flour or rice wrappers that are smooth and crispier than egg rolls. Traditionally, egg rolls contain a mixture of cooked vegetables and pork, and are larger and heartier, while spring rolls contain only vegetables and are smaller and lighter.
What is Mirin?
Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine that is often used in cooking Asian cuisine. It is similar to sake, but has more sugar and less alcohol. It is perfect for adding an acidic balance to Asian foods because it is slightly sweet, but also tangy. When combined with the soy sauce and sesame oil in this homemade spring roll recipe, it helps to give the vegetable filling a delicious umami flavor.
How to Make Homemade Spring Rolls
- Cook Filling: Add 2 tablespoons canola oil to a large heavy skillet on medium heat, and add in thinly sliced nappa cabbage, cooking 8-10 minutes while stirring until almost all the liquid has cooked off. Add in minced garlic cloves, thinly sliced carrots and bamboo shoots. Cook for 1 minute then stir in the mirin, soy sauce, and sesame oil and let filling cool completely.
- Wrap: Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and set aside. Lay out spring roll wrappers one at a time, keeping the rest covered. Brush cornstarch slurry around the edges to moisten, and add about 2 tablespoons of filling in a long rectangle shape, folding in from the sides and rolling the wrappers closed tightly.
- Fry: Heat 3 inches of oil in a dutch oven to 325 degrees and fry the spring rolls until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
More Asian Appetizers
Frequently Asked Questions
For the best authentic Spring Rolls, cut the vegetables thinly, the more tender the vegetables are the more crisp and light the spring rolls are. Cook the filling until it is as dry as you can make it. A wet filling will make for a soggy spring roll.
Spring Rolls are easy to make since your filling is already fully cooked, so you only have to fry them long enough to cook the spring roll wrappers to a perfect golden brown. Do not overfill the rolls. Use just about two tablespoons of filling, and this keeps them thin enough to fry well even from frozen.
Keep the spring roll wrappers covered before using. If they dry out they will become brittle and break. When rolling, eliminate as much air as you can, or it will burst during frying and make a mess. Do not add hot filling to the spring roll wrapper. The wrapper is so thin it will become soggy quickly. Wrap the spring rolls tightly and add a bit of water to the edges to seal them after wrapping.
Absolutely! Prepare the spring rolls according to the recipe instructions until the step before frying. Freeze the filled rolls in a single layer until frozen so they don’t stick together. This will prevent the seal from breaking when you try to fry them individually. When you are ready to fry them, simply heat your oil and you can fry them straight from the freezer. Just be careful to use long tongs, as any frozen crystals on them may cause the oil to splatter.
Create a free account to Save Recipes
Key Ingredients in Spring Rolls
- Spring Roll Wrappers: These are thinner than traditional egg roll wrappers so please don’t substitute anything else for them. If you can’t find them at your local grocer try an ethnic grocery store instead. Do not buy rice paper. If you were to Google them you’ll see some of the images include a translucent white wrapping. These are for fresh spring rolls with fresh vegetable filling. Do not buy and fry these. Those are soaked in water before wrapping and are never fried.
- Vegetable Filling: A mixture of cabbage, carrots, and bamboo shoots gives your filling a flavorful variety of color and crunch. When preparing your vegetables for cooking, slice them into thin matchstick sizes. This will help them cook quickly and make for a uniform filling that fits well inside the wrappers. Make sure to cook the filling until all the moisture from the vegetables has been cooked off and the pan is dry before adding the mirin, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
- Dipping Sauce: Be sure to serve your spring rolls with a delicious sauce for dipping. Traditional options include duck sauce, which is a condiment served at American Chinese restaurants similar to a sweet and sour sauce. You can also serve them with chili garlic sauce, sweet chili sauce, peanut sauce, hoisin sauce or just plain soy sauce.
Air Fryer Spring Rolls
If you want to avoid extra oil and make non-fried spring rolls, the air fryer is your best bet! Prepare the as usual, and spray or brush them on both sides with a light amount of oil. Preheat your air fryer to 390, then add spring rolls to the basket in a single layer. Cook for about 8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and crispy.
Baked Spring Rolls
Another way to avoid deep frying your homemade spring rolls is to bake them. Just like with the air fryer, prepare your rolls and spray or brush them lightly with oil. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway throuhg.
Variations on Homemade Spring Rolls
- Meat: Add cooked ground pork, chicken, or beef to the filling. Season the meat with the same combination of mirin, soy sauce, and sesame oil when cooking. Cooked chopped shrimp also makes a wonderful addition to spring roll filling.
- Vegetables: Use a combination of your favorite veggies like bean sprouts, mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, bok choy, or broccoli. Just make sure they are all sliced thinly in a similar shape.
- Glass noodles: Add another layer of texture inside the spring roll by including cooked glass noodles, broken into 2-3 inch pieces, to the rest of the vegetables in the filling.
- Dessert Spring Rolls: Make Sweet Spring Rolls with your favorite fruit fillings, or even fruit mixed with cream cheese. Use butter to sauté bananas with cinnamon and sugar inside and top with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or whipped cream.
Chinese Food Recipes
How to Store Spring Rolls
- Serve: Spring Rolls are best enjoyed hot and fresh. Do not leave Spring Rolls at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
- Store: Keep cooked Spring Rolls in and airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
- Freeze: It is best to freeze Spring Rolls before frying, and you can fry them fresh from frozen to enjoy any time. You can also freeze cooked Spring Rolls and reheat in a 375 degree oven for 10-14 minutes. Freeze in a single layer then transfer to an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- 1/4 cup canola oil , divided
- 8 cups napa cabbage , sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 carrots , sliced thinly
- 8 ounces bamboo shoots , sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 24 8 inch square spring roll wrappers
- canola oil , for frying
- Add half the canola oil to a large heavy skillet on medium high heat and add in the napa cabbage cooking 8-10 minutes while stirring until almost all the liquid it releases has cooked off.
- Add in the garlic, carrots and bamboo shoots and cook for 1 minute while stirring before adding in the mirin, soy sauce and sesame oil and stirring again then let filling cool completely.
- Mix cornstarch with two tablespoons of water.
- Lay out the spring roll wrapper, brush cornstarch slurry around the edges to moisten and add about 2 tablespoons of filling in a long rectangle shape, folding in from the sides and rolling the wrappers closed tightly.
- Heat 3 inches of oil in a dutch oven to 325 degrees and fry the spring rolls until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes).
Photos used in a previous version of this post.