Chinese spring rolls are crunchy little fried tubes of meat and shredded veggies and they’re seriously morish. This super simple recipe for a Chinese restaurant classic will make you a pro in no time.
- Rich in umami and totally morish.
- Crunchy on the outside with a tender filling.
- These are easy, like really easy.
- Customisable – see all my filling ideas below.
- They’re the perfect party appetizer or game day food.
These pork spring rolls are filled with pork mince cabbage, carrot, spring onion and sauces for flavour. Of course, you could make chicken spring rolls, prawn spring rolls or leave the meat out entirely and make vegetarian spring rolls. It really is so simple to customise them to the filling you like.
If you love this, you’ll also love my golden sesame prawn toast!
Table of contents
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Ingredients for spring rolls
The wonderful thing about spring rolls is there is no one set recipe. While there are ingredients that are often part of a good spring roll, it’s not really set in stone so you can have fun with it and create your own version. Mine has a great combo of texture and flavour from veggies and pork mince.
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Pork mince / ground pork: Pork mince is quite common in spring rolls but you can swap it for so many other meats.
- Vegetables: Cabbage, carrot and spring onions are my favourites here. Between them you have a great marriage of flavour and texture.
- Garlic: Garlic adds a great hit of flavour.
- The sauce: The sauce is made up of sesame oil, oyster sauce, sugar, white pepper and salt.
- Spring roll wrappers: I use the TYJ spring roll pastry that’s available in most supermarkets and if you can’t find it there, just head to your local Asian grocer.
Variations / substitution
- Protein: Chicken mince, turkey mince, shredded duck, prawns/shrimp, even pre-cooked chicken shredded up are all great meaty swaps. You can also leave the meat out and replace it with tofu, vermicelli rice noodles or more vegetables.
- Vegetables: Other veggies that are great in spring rolls are bean sprouts, capsicum (bell pepper) and mushrooms (especially shitake mushrooms). You can also use tinned bamboo shoots (drained and julienned).
How to make spring rolls (step-by-step)
Making spring rolls is far easier than it looks. Even the deep frying part seems far easier than deep frying other things.
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
Prep the filling ingredients
- Step 1: Start by chopping all your ingredients and having everything ready.
- Step 2: Heat some oil in a pan and add the pork, stir frying until browned (photo 1). Start adding in the vegetables, stir frying and adding more as you go (photo 2). Now add the sauce (photo 3) and mix it all up (photo 4).
- Step 3: Let it cool.
How to roll spring rolls
Wrapping the filling in spring roll wrappers is super simple.
- Lay out a spring roll wrapper in front of you with one corner pointed towards you.
- Put a heaped dessert spoon full of cooled filling just a couple of inches in from that corner (photo 5).
- Fold the corner over the filling then roll once (photo 6), keeping it quite tight but don’t roll it so tight that the wrapper splits.
- Fold in the sides, one over the other (photo 7) so that your spring roll is about 10cm/4in long.
- Now just roll it almost all the way up.
- Brush some water over the top point with your finger (photo 8) – this will act like glue.
- Now roll it all the way up keeping the seam side underneath so that it seals nicely.
Cooking the spring rolls
- Bring 2 inches of oil to a saucepan up to 180C/350F.
- Add 5-6 spring rolls carefully (photo 9) and let them fry, turning quite often, until golden and crisp (photo 10).
- Transfer the spring rolls to paper towel to drain.
Fried spring rolls stay piping hot for a long time, so you can comfortably let them sit while cooking the rest of the batch.
Spring roll dipping sauce
These Chinese spring rolls are perfect served as an appetiser just with a dipping sauce on the side. The one that regularly arrives with Chinese takeout is sweet and sour sauce – so yum – but sweet chilli sauce also works great. Both are great sweet and tangy sauces.
What is the difference between spring rolls and egg rolls?
Spring rolls are the classic Chinese appetizer – filled with vegetables and often meat and wrapped in a thin flour wrapper that gets super crispy when fried.
Egg rolls are an American invention as a variation to spring rolls. While there is actually no egg in the filling, often the wrappers have egg in them. They’re a thicker, more yellow wrapper that gets bubbly outside once fried and has a chewier texture than spring rolls.
Then there’s summer spring rolls or Vietnamese spring rolls that are not fried at all. They’re fresh, cold ingredients wrapped up in a translucent rice paper wrapper.
Spring rolls are filled with a combination of vegetables and often meat. Cabbage, carrot and bean sprouts feature often, as do pork or chicken. The filling though is easily customisable to your tastes.
Just about every Asian country has a version of spring rolls. The Thai have spring rolls (paw pia tod), Vietnamese have both the summer spring rolls and a fried version called cha gio; even the Japanese have a version, called Harumaki. All have their own classic, yet similar, filling inclusions and sauce flavours but are all that same fried tubular appetizer loaded with flavour.
This recipe is not vegan as it’s written but you can easily make it so. Leave out the meat and add 100g of soaked vermicelli noodles, then swap the oyster sauce for a vegan version. Also, wile most wrappers are vegan, being just flour and water, check the packaging first.
Yield and storage
Leftover spring rolls can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat them in the oven or air fryer until crispy and hot.
You can also freeze the spring rolls and bring them back up to heat in the oven when required.
Did you try this Chinese spring rolls recipe?
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Chinese Spring Rolls
- 250 g pork mince (ground pork) (8.8oz) (notes 2)
- 1 ½ cups julienned carrot (130g / 4.6oz)
- 3 spring onions (green onion/scallions), finely chopped (⅔ cup chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage (200g / 7oz)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 ½ tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 18 spring roll wrappers
- vegetable oil for deep frying
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Large saucepan & slotted spoon
- If the wrappers are frozen, you can thaw them at room temperature (keep them wrapped) for about an hour or in the fridge overnight.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of oil to a large skillet / frying pan over medium high heat.
- Add the pork and stir fry until brown all over.
- Add the carrot spring onions and garlic and cook stir frying for 2 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Finally, add the salt, sugar, pepper, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Cook, stirring to coat everything for another minute or so or until there is no liquid in the pan. If you see liquid (which may come from the cabbage), keep frying to evaporate it, until the pan looks mostly dry.
- Transfer the pork mixture to a clean dish and chill until completely cool.
- Separate one of the spring roll wrappers from the pile and place it in front of you with a corner pointing towards you. Place a damp paper towel or kitchen towel over the rest to keep them from trying out.
- Place a dessert spoon full of filling about 2 inches in from the corner closest to you. Fold the corner over the filling, then roll once away from you.
- Fold in the sides, then roll it almost all the way up. Dab water all over the top edges and corner, then roll straight over the top. I find water works fine to seal them, but if your seam isn’t sticking, mix a little flour or cornflour with the water to act like glue.
- Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large saucepan and sit a deep fry thermometer on the side. Heat over high heat to 180C/350F and try to keep it around this temperature the whole time you’re frying, adjusting the heat as necessary.
- Carefully place 5-6 spring rolls into the hot oil and fry for about 6 minutes, turning often so they brown evenly. They should be golden and crisp. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
- Transfer the cooked spring rolls to a plate with covered with paper towel. Let them sit and drain while you continue cooking the rest.
- Serve with sweet chili sauce or sweet and sour sauce.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use an Australian standard 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons). Check the volume of yours before measuring.
- Pork mince: 8oz/½lb will work fine if that’s easier. You can swap the pork mince for chicken mince, turkey mince, prawns/shrimp or even shredded cooked chicken.
- Nutritional values are calculated using an online calculator with each individual ingredient accounted for. I calculated the oil absorbed by measuring the quantity of oil before and after cooking. If your oil isn’t hot enough, they may absorb more.
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