These delicious Asian appetizer rolls are incredibly similar at first glance: dough wrapped around a hearty filling and served with tasty, aromatic dipping sauces. Looking at them side by side, it’s easy to see there are some key differences between them.
In this article, we take a look at what goes into (and around) these flavorful finger foods and how they are prepared. We’ve also included recipe recommendations so you can roll some up at home!
What is an egg roll?
An egg roll is a pancake-style, cylindrical roll that consists of cooked cabbage and meat inside of a thick, crispy, and chewy wheat flour wrapper. These popular appetizers, typically deep-fried, are commonly served at Chinese-American restaurants alongside a variety of dipping sauces.
Origins of egg rolls
The exact origins of egg rolls are disputed, but it’s generally thought that they are a Chinese-American invention of early immigrants to the United States. They may have been based on spring rolls, which were (and still are) served in mainland China since ancient times, in one form or another.
What is typically in an egg roll?
So what exactly is in an egg roll? They are typically filled with cooked cabbage, pork, and other diced vegetable, such as carrots and bean sprouts. Some egg rolls also contain chicken or shrimp. The filling is flavored with ginger and garlic.
What is an egg roll wrapper made of?
Egg roll wrappers are made of wheat flour, water, salt, and sometimes an egg. Traditional egg roll dough recipes call for an egg, but modern recipes omit it. Purists say the egg is what gives egg rolls their characteristic crunchy-chewy texture, but others say that deep frying does the trick, egg or none.
How to make egg rolls
To make an egg roll, simply cook filling ingredients, roll them into a square of wrapper dough, and fry the roll until it’s golden brown and crispy.
What kind of sauce goes with egg rolls?
The most common sauces served with egg rolls in Chinese cuisine are sweet and sour sauce and duck sauce. But there are many sauces that go well with these delightful rolls such as hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, peanut sauce, fish sauce, and honey soy sauce. Try them with our Vegan Worcestershire Sauce!
Best egg roll recipe
Ready to rock and (egg) roll at home? Delish has got you covered with an authentic, homemade egg roll recipe that’s ready in just 25 minutes!
What is a spring roll?
Spring rolls are like a lighter cousin of the egg roll. Typically vegetarian, these cylindrical rolls have a paper-thin wrapper and fillings are usually minimal, consisting of spring vegetables. Like egg rolls, spring rolls are served with a variety of dipping sauces.
Origins of spring rolls
Spring rolls originated in mainland China, likely as pancakes wrapped around vegetables. The dish morphed over time and there are now many regional versions of the spring roll within many Asian cuisines.
The iconic appetizer is called a "spring roll" because they are typically served for Chinese New Year celebrations, or Spring Festival, which signal the coming of the spring season.
What is typically in a spring roll?
While they can contain meat, spring rolls typically feature minimal ingredients and thus are both thinner and lighter than egg rolls. Common filling ingredients for vegetarian spring rolls include carrots, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, bell pepper, cucumber, and cabbage. Savory spring rolls with meat typically include the addition of pork, chicken, and/or shrimp.
What is a spring roll wrapper made of?
There are two distinct types of spring rolls: crispy and fresh. Crispy spring rolls have paper-thin wraps made from wheat flour and water. These wrappers, which are typically fried (or sometimes baked), are very crisp and break easily at the touch.
Fresh spring rolls, also called summer rolls or Vietnamese spring rolls, are a popular variation in Vietnam and Thailand. Fresh spring rolls use rice paper wrappers made of rice flour and water. These rolls are served raw and chilled.
How to make crispy spring rolls
The steps for making a crispy spring roll are the same as for making egg rolls: Cook the filling ingredients, wrap them in the flour and water dough, and cook. Spring rolls are typically pan-fried but can also be deep-fried or baked.
What kind of sauce goes with spring rolls?
Chinese spring rolls are typically served with vinegar and a dipping sauce, such as plum sauce, chili garlic sauce, sweet chili sauce, and plain soy sauce.
Best spring roll recipes
We love this recipe for classic Cantonese fried spring rolls from The Woks of Life because not only is it mouthwateringly delicious, but the instructions (with photos) are very clear. To keep these vegetarian, simply omit the pork. For another tasty pork-and-veg spring roll, head over to New York Times Cooking.
Summary: What is the difference between spring roll and egg rolls?
- Appearance and texture: Egg rolls are larger and have a thick, bubbly, and hard-crispy shell, while spring rolls are lighter, thinner, and flakier.
- Wrappers: Both are made from flour and water, but egg roll dough can sometimes contain egg. Spring roll wraps are much thinner and break easily.
- Filling: Egg roll filling includes cooked cabbage and meat, like pork, chicken, and shrimp. Spring rolls have minimal veggie-based ingredients.
- Preparation: Egg rolls are always fried, while spring rolls can be fried, baked, or served fresh (with a rice flour wrapper).
Looking for another easy appetizer idea? These air fryer zucchini fritters are vegan-friendly, fiber-packed, and come together in just 20 minutes!
And if you’re enjoying these informative “vs” articles, be sure to check out some of our trending posts in this series:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: Are spring roll wrappers the same as eggroll wrappers?
A: It depends. Both wrappers are traditionally made with wheat flour and water. Eggroll wrappers sometimes include eggs. When cooked, egg roll wrappers are considerably thicker and crunchier than spring roll wraps, which are paper thin and flakey.
Q2: Do spring rolls taste like egg rolls?
A: While they can taste quite similar, this depends largely on the filling ingredients and sauces used. Spring rolls tend to have a lighter taste as they are thinner and don’t typically have meat in the filling.
Q3: Which is healthier spring roll or egg roll?
A: Spring rolls are lighter than egg rolls, typically have more vegetables, and have a lighter wrapper, making them the healthier option.
Q4: Do spring rolls have meat in them?
A: While they can have meat, traditional spring rolls are vegetarian and contain minimal, vegetable-based filling ingredients.