Chinese Spring Rolls: the traditional Chinese recipe for a tasty, vegetarian appetizer

Total time: 40 Min
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 10 people
By Cookist

Chinese spring rolls is a cylindrical-shaped vegetarian appetizer that is filled and deep-fried. It is a great classic of Cantonese cuisine and which is often proposed as dim sum by traditional restaurants. Serve spring rolls with a light, sweet sauce, and your guests will keep coming back for more.

Homemade spring rolls are crispy, golden brown on the outside and with a juicy filling on the inside. There's no set rule for the filling, you can choose whatever you like, from a vegetarian one to a meat one like ground pork. They have all the crunch, aren't greasy and don’t lack anything in flavor!

Although this sounds like a somewhat difficult recipe to make, it's actually very simple. The trickiest part might be folding the rolls, but be calm as it will seem like a joke in contrast to the wontons. In fact, the dough comes out very stretchy and easy to handle.

What is a Spring Roll?

Chinese spring rolls are a popular restaurant-style dim sum recipe belonging to the Cantonese culinary tradition. Enjoy these homemade spring rolls as an appetizer, when warm or at room temperature.

You can serve them with a mild, sweet sauce where you can dip your dim sum. Even a plum sauce, hot oil, a spicy or soy sauce go well with fried spring rolls.

Spring Roll vs Egg Roll

Spring rolls are very similar in appearance to egg rolls, but there are some key differences between the two recipes.

Spring rolls are wrapped in a thin flour or rice based wrapper, while egg rolls have a thicker and consequently crispier wrapper that has been dipped in egg. The super thin wrapper absorbs less oil than the ones you use to make traditional egg rolls, which means that they are healthier too.

Another difference lies in the preparation. Spring rolls can be either baked or fried, while egg rolls are served fried. The last different point is the filling. The one in spring rolls is usually made from fresh, raw shredded vegetables, while egg rolls tend to add meat such as ground pork or chicken.

What are Homemade Spring Rolls made of?

Homemade spring rolls are a tasty dim sum from traditional Chinese cuisine. The filling can be customized to suit your taste. You can fill the spring rolls with fresh raw vegetables or also add meat, such as pork or chicken.

How to make Chinese Spring Rolls

Making Chinese spring rolls is easier than you may think.

Chinese Spring Roll Preparation

Let's start by preparing the filling. Let the rice noodles soak until soft. Meanwhile sauté the onion, carrot and cabbage until wilted, then season with oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, chili and salt. Add cornstarch dissolved in water and vegetables. Combine everything, then add rice noodles once drained and cut.

How to fold a Spring Roll

Now it's time to wrap the spring rolls. Make sure you don't overfill them and wrap them tightly so the filling doesn't fall out. The first thing to do is to place the spring roll on a flat surface so that you see a kind of rhombus. Add a couple of spoonfuls of filling, being careful to put it in the bottom corner that faces you, leaving about 3-5 cm of space.
Then, start rolling it up by folding both sides until you get a sort of cigar, just like you would for a burrito. When you're almost done rolling it up, brush some cornstarch or egg wash on the top corner to make sure to seal the spring roll and prevent it from opening during cooking.

When rolling up the spring roll, make sure you remove the air as much as you can. If there is too much air in the spring roll, it might burst while frying, causing your filling to leak out.

Frying Spring Rolls

The last step involves cooking. Fry the spring rolls in batches in a pan with hot oil. Make sure the oil has reached a temperature of about 325°F, helping yourself with a food thermometer.

Fry the spring rolls for about 7-10 minutes or until golden brown, rolling them in the oil so they can cook evenly. Let them drain on a plate with paper towels to remove excess oil, then serve your spring rolls with a dipping sauce.

Can you make Spring Rolls ahead of time?

Yes! You can make your spring rolls in advance. All you need to do is assemble and then freeze them, once placed in an airtight bag. You don't even need to thaw them before cooking, just fry the still frozen spring rolls in hot oil.

What sauce goes with Chinese Spring Rolls?

You can serve spring rolls with a dipping sauce like a sweet and sour sauce for a truly special result. Shangai version recipe is usually served with vinegar, plum sauce or soy sauce.

Tips for making the Best Spring Rolls

In order to get spring rolls that aren't greasy, it's important that the filling isn't too wet, otherwise the wrapper may sag and oil will get in. Also, it's important to wait for the oil to get to the right temperature to help it cook evenly.

Slice the vegetables as thinly as possible. Because the spring roll wrappers are delicate, the vegetables shouldn’t be too chunky. They should also be cut in even sizes.

Make sure your filling is dry and cooled completely before filling your wrappers. If it’s too wet or warm, the wrapper with become too soggy.

When made with rice paper, you can make these spring rolls “fresh” (also known as summer rolls), so they don’t need to be fried. This makes them even healthier!

You can bake Chinese spring rolls at 400°F/200°C for about 25 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.

For non-vegetarian variations, you can add cooked shrimp, pork or chicken to the vegetable filling.

You can make spring rolls in the air fryer. Spray your air fryer basket with non-stick spray. Place the spring rolls in the basket and spray again with non-stick spray. Cook in your air fryer for 5 minutes, turn over, and cook another 5 minutes until golden brown.

How to store Homemade Spring Rolls

You can store spring rolls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days.

To reheat cooked spring rolls, place in an oven at 300°F/150°C and bake for about 5 – 10 minutes until warm and crispy.

Can you freeze Cantonese Spring Rolls?

You can freeze the raw spring rolls. Simply place them in a Ziploc bag (in a single layer), and place in the freezer. When you want to cook them, there is no need to thaw them, they can go straight to the frying oil.

Rice noodles
½ cup
spring roll wrappers
White onion
½ cup, sliced
½ cup, shredded
2 cups, shredded
as much as is needed
Soy sauce
1 tbsp
Oyster sauce
1 tbsp
½ tsp
1 tbsp, minced
chili flakes
½ tsp
1 tsp
1 tbsp
corn flour
2 tbsp
Warm water
3 tbsp
Vegetable oil for frying


Cover the rice noodles with cold water and set aside to soak. They should become soft and limp.

Sauté white onion for 2 minutes. Add carrot and cabbage, sauté for 5 minutes. Season with salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, garlic and chili. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water (stir to combine). Add to the vegetable filling.

Remove the rice noodles from water and place in a colander to allow excess water to drain off. Chop the noodles in small pieces.

Add the chopped noodles to the vegetable filling. Allow the filling to cool down.

Mix the corn flour and warm water.

Place spring roll wrapper in the form of a rhombus. Add 1 tbsp of the vegetable filling on the bottom.

Roll it up tightly.

Apply a thin coat of corn flour mixture to secure the edge.

Fry in hot oil for 7-10 minutes, working in batches.

Place spring rolls onto paper towels to soak excess oil and serve with chili sauce or your favorite one. Serve and enjoy!

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