Fried rice, sesame chicken, sushi rolls, egg rolls, spring rolls, lo mein, and more. These are all traditional items you might see in any Asian or American Asian-type restaurant or setting. If you’re a fan of this type of cuisine, then you’re quite familiar with the fact that every dish is unique in its own way.
You can find a variety of items whether you visit a buffet or whether you make these things from your own home. The best part is that everything can be made uniquely to your tastes as long as you stay within the category.
Do you prefer egg rolls or spring rolls for your appetizers? Wait, aren’t egg rolls and spring rolls the same thing?
What is the difference between egg rolls and spring rolls? Egg rolls are coated in an egg mixture and deep-fried. Spring rolls are wrapped in thin, translucent rice wrappers and are served fresh.
In this guide, we will talk about all the things you should know that set egg rolls and spring rolls apart. They have many similarities but you might be surprised at just how different they truly are when you break them down in detail.
Keep reading to learn everything you should know about the differences between the egg roll and spring roll and so much more.
Egg Rolls Vs Spring Rolls – What’s The Difference?
Both egg rolls and spring rolls are known for their place in the Asian and American Asian cuisine world. Egg rolls are typically served in American Chinese restaurants, while spring rolls are traditionally Vietnamese.
Both are crunchy rolls that have their own unique fillings and are delicious in their own ways.
Egg rolls and spring rolls typically have a standard set of rolled-up ingredients and there are lots of recipes out there. It’s also fun to experiment and create unique rolls that contain all the ingredients you think are tasty.
In other words, you can make these rolls to your own tastes and preference quite easily or you can make them with the traditional ingredients that they’re truly known for.
As we progress through this guide, we will discuss each of these items on an individual basis. We will point out all of the characteristics that make the item unique and different as we talk about them separately.
Once we’ve covered both items on an individual level, we will then provide an overview summary where we tie them back together and summarize similarities and differences as a reference point for your easy understanding.
Let’s get started!
What Are Egg Rolls?
Egg rolls are considered an American Chinese entrée. You will find them in a myriad of restaurants and you can make your own as well.
Egg rolls are made up of an assortment of ingredients that are chopped very finely.
The goal is to have all of the flavors somewhat blend together, so we don’t want large chunks of any single ingredient that will steal the stage.
The traditional egg roll fillings include pork sausage, cabbage, and other fillings. Carrot is one of the most common additional ingredients as well.
These ingredients are then rolled into a thick wrapper that is made with a flour shell. They are then deep-fried to perfection.
Egg rolls can be served warm or even chilled but should always be served cooked.
They are also a delightful finger food, making them great for large gatherings. You can also easily make a variety of egg roll options to please a crowd, such as making separate vegetarian egg rolls.
Unfortunately, you cannot make vegan egg rolls unless you have an egg substitute, since the wrapper is ultimately fried after being dipped in a beaten egg mixture. These are my favorite vegan egg substitutes for frying.
Egg rolls are easy to make in large batches and store away. You can freeze them and fry them when you’re ready to eat them or you can even freeze them already cooked and simply reheat them. There are so many options!
How Egg Rolls Are Made
We think it’s important to cover how egg rolls are made. This will be one of the best ways to truly understand the differences between egg rolls and spring rolls when it comes down to it.
Below, you will find a simple walkthrough of a traditional egg roll recipe.
For a traditional egg roll recipe, you will need:
- Vegetable oil
- Ground pork
- Minced garlic
- Chopped cabbage (or a coleslaw mix)
- Shredded carrots
- Sesame oil
- Beaten eggs
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Egg roll wrappers
Basic egg roll making instructions:
- Once you have your ingredients, you will just need to heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add your ground pork and season to taste. Cook the ground pork until it is browned appropriately.
- Stir in minced garlic and shredded vegetables or coleslaw mixture. Sauté until soft.
- Add soy sauce and sesame oil, then remove from heat.
- Spoon onto egg roll wrappers. Wrap and fold.
- Coat each wrapped roll in beaten egg mixture and deep fry.
Making egg rolls is pretty simple. The challenging part is getting the wrapping just right and deep-frying it.
Natasha’s Kitchen is one of my favorite YouTube channels. She has an amazing egg roll recipe. You can watch it below.
What Are Spring Rolls?
Spring rolls are Vietnamese rolls that typically aren’t cooked. Pre-cooked and chilled shrimp is a popular addition to the fresh vegetables, which adds a delicious umami flavor to the otherwise crunchy and watery vegetables.
In a typical spring roll, you’ll find bamboo shoots, red bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, carrots, shredded cabbage, and lettuce wrapped inside a rice paper wrapper.
In traditional Vietnamese spring rolls, you’ll also find rice vermicelli. These thin squiggly little noodles are easy to cook.
Check out my favorite rice vermicelli on Amazon.
How Spring Rolls Are Made
To give you a good point of reference, we are going to provide a simple walkthrough of an example of how spring rolls are made.
Here is what you will need for a traditional spring roll recipe:
- Shredded cabbage
- Lettuce (one leaf per roll is plenty)
- Bean sprouts or sliced bamboo shoots
- Shredded carrots
- Pre-cooked shrimp
- Rice wrappers
How to make spring rolls:
- First, you’ll want to chop up your vegetables. I recommend shredding the cabbage and thinly slicing the carrots and bamboo shoots.
- Once your veggies are chopped, prepare your rice wrappers. To do so, follow the instructions on the rice paper packaging. This normally involves soaking your rice wrappers in a bowl of water until pliable.
- Once your rice wrappers are ready, lay one out flat on a chopping board.
- Next, place your leaf of lettuce on the bottom half of the rice wrapper. The leaf lettuce serves as a better grip when it’s time to roll your wrapper.
- Layer your other veggies on top of the lettuce leaf.
- Place 3 or 4 shrimps on the top later of the rice paper.
- Now for the fancy part! Start wrapping your rice wrapper around your veggies. Once there is a layer of rice paper protecting your veggies, you can wrap the entire thing (including the shrimp). This protects any shrimp juices from leaking onto the vegetables, especially if you are pre-making the rolls to eat later.
My favorite spring roll recipe is from Natasha’s Kitchen. You can watch her tutorial on YouTube below.
The Best Sauces For Egg Rolls and Spring Rolls
Both egg rolls and spring rolls are well-suited for similar types of sauces. Sweet chili sauce is amazing on both, as well as spicy peanut sauce. In the end, it all comes down to your personal preference.
My favorite sauces to add to egg rolls and spring rolls:
- Sweet chili sauce
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Sweet and sour sauce
- Ginger sauce
- Hot sauce
- Spicy peanut sauce
- Spicy mango sauce
- Spicy mustard sauce
- Duck sauce
In my opinion, these are the absolute best sauces you could possibly pair with egg rolls and spring rolls. With that said, I’m always open to recommendations! Do you have a favorite sauce that could be added to this list?
To conclude this comparison article, I thought I’d include a comparison chart to summarize the basic differences between egg rolls and spring rolls. I hope this helps. Happy wrapping!
|Type of Roll||Egg Rolls||Spring Rolls|
|Cooking Method||Deep fried||Fresh|
|Ingredients||Contains pork sausage and vegetables||Contains raw vegetables and pre-cooked shrimp|
|Type of Wrapper||Flour wrappers||Rice paper wrappers|
Below are some frequently asked questions that I commonly receive about egg rolls and spring rolls.
What Are Wrapping Papers Made of?
If you purchase pre-made wrap papers, you can expect them to be made with rice flour and water mixture. Rice paper is the most common form. They can also be made with wheat flour and water for great results.
Are Egg Rolls Truly Chinese Food?
Egg rolls are a take on American Chinese cuisine. This means they are not really a traditional Chinese cuisine but rather an added cuisine menu item for American Chinese food. They are authentic but not truly Chinese authentic.