Spring Roll vs Egg Roll

Spring rolls and egg rolls are both quintessential items in Chinese cuisine, and they have become beloved staples at many Asian-inspired eateries across the globe.

While they may share some superficial similarities, these two dishes are distinct in their ingredients, preparation, and culinary origins.

As you explore the world of Asian appetizers, understanding the differences between spring rolls and egg rolls will enhance your appreciation for these delectable treats.

A spring roll and an egg roll are placed side by side on a wooden serving platter, surrounded by a colorful array of fresh vegetables and a small dish of dipping sauce

Spring rolls, often served fresh or lightly fried, typically consist of a thin, translucent rice paper wrapper encasing a medley of fresh vegetables, sometimes with added meat or shrimp.

The term “spring roll” can vary by region, but they are commonly associated with a lighter fare and are found in various forms across Southeast Asia.

Egg rolls, on the other hand, feature a thicker, doughier wrapper that becomes notably crisp when deep-fried.

They are generously filled with a savory mixture including cabbage, pork, and other ingredients and have a more pronounced crunch and hearty texture.

You’ll notice that spring rolls and egg rolls carry their respective aesthetic and textural qualities which translate into their unique flavors.

Whether you’re indulging in the fresh, delicate flavors of a spring roll or savoring the bold, crunchy profile of an egg roll, each offers a different aspect of the rich tapestry of Asian cuisine.

Historical Origins and Cultural Significance

In exploring the rich tapestry of Asian cuisine, you’ll discover the deep historical roots and cultural value attached to popular dishes like spring rolls and egg rolls.

History of Spring Rolls

Spring rolls originated in China and are closely linked to the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival.

Traditionally, they symbolize wealth due to their gold bar shape, with the hope of bringing prosperity in the coming year. The roll’s ingredients and preparation vary by region, reflecting the diverse regional cuisines within China.

History of Egg Rolls

The egg roll, on the other hand, is considered a creation from the Chinese-American diaspora.

While its exact origin is unclear, it’s believed that Chinese immigrants introduced the concept in the early 20th century, adapting traditional spring rolls to suit Western tastes.

This adaptation typically includes a wheat flour wrapper with egg, leading to the name “egg roll.”

Cultural Significance in China

In China, spring rolls are more than just a food item; they play a significant role in festivals and family gatherings, symbolizing spring and renewal.

During the Spring Festival, it is customary for families to prepare and enjoy spring rolls together, marking the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

Influence of Vietnam and Other Asian Cuisines

While China is the birthplace of spring rolls, their influence has spread across Southeast Asia.

Vietnam, in particular, has developed its own version, often served fresh and known as “Goi Cuon.”

Each country in the region adds local flavors and ingredients, leading to a delightful variety of regional variations that highlight the interconnectedness of Southeast Asian gastronomy.

Differences in Ingredients and Preparation

When you explore spring rolls and egg rolls, you’ll notice significant differences in their ingredients and preparation, especially in their wrappers, common fillings, and cooking techniques.

Wrapper Differences

Spring rolls typically use rice flour or rice paper wrappers, which can be thinner and lighter, allowing them to be eaten fresh or fried.

Egg rolls, on the other hand, have wrappers made of wheat flour, which includes egg in the dough, giving them a thicker, heartier texture.

Common Fillings

  • Spring roll fillings: Often consist of a combination of raw or cooked vegetables like carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms, and can include glass noodles, meat, or seafood.
  • Egg roll fillings: Commonly incorporate cooked fillings such as shredded cabbage, pork or shrimp, seasoned with a variety of flavorings for a richer taste.

Preparation Techniques

Before wrapping, spring roll ingredients are typically prepared lighter and may be used raw or lightly cooked.

In contrast, egg roll fillings are usually fully cooked, especially ingredients like pork and shrimp, to ensure a uniform texture and flavor throughout.

Cooking Methods Compared

Spring rolls can be served raw, particularly when using rice paper, or fried to a light, crispy texture.

Egg rolls are almost always deep-fried, resulting in a crisp outer shell and a hot, substantial filling.

Egg Rolls Vs Spring Rolls: Texture and Flavor

Discover the distinctive textural contrasts and flavorful components that set egg rolls and spring rolls apart in your culinary explorations. https://www.youtube.com/embed/sC-Z_qa97Bk

Experiencing the Texture

When you bite into an egg roll, your teeth meet a crispy and robust shell, typically the result of deep-frying.

The dough for egg rolls is thicker and enriched with egg, which contributes to their characteristic heft and satisfying crunch.

On the other hand, spring rolls offer a diverse textural experience. Fried spring rolls share a thin, crisp exterior, but if they’re fresh, expect a soft and delicate wrap that complements the tender filling inside.

Flavor Profiles

Egg rolls, a staple in Chinese-American cuisine, possess a savory flavor that’s often accompanied by a meat such as pork or shrimp and seasoned vegetables.

They’re traditionally enjoyed with a dipping sauce to enhance the experience.

Spring rolls, especially when fresh, lean towards a lighter flavor profile, frequently vegetarian, and are commonly paired with a peanut sauce or a fish sauce that introduces a sweet, tangy or umami element to the rolls.

Nutritional Information and Dietary Considerations

A table with a plate of spring rolls and egg rolls, alongside a nutrition label and dietary information chart

When selecting between a spring roll and an egg roll, you should be aware that there’s a significant difference in their nutritional profiles, which can affect your diet. The key factors here include the caloric content and potential allergens.

Caloric Comparison

  • Spring Rolls: Typically contain 90-120 calories for a vegetable variant, and 150-200 calories if they include pork or shrimp.
  • Egg Rolls: A vegetable egg roll usually has about 150-200 calories, whereas one with pork or shrimp ranges from 200-250 calories.

The ingredients and cooking methods contribute to these differences, with fried items generally having more calories than fresh or non-fried counterparts.

Allergens and Dietary Restrictions


  • Egg Roll Wrappers: Usually made of wheat, which contains gluten, and sometimes eggs.
  • Spring Roll Wrappers: Can be made from rice paper, which is gluten-free, but this varies by recipe.

Vegetarian Considerations:

  • Spring Rolls: Often have vegetarian options, especially when served fresh.
  • Egg Rolls: Typically feature meat ingredients but may offer vegetarian versions; always check the filling ingredients to ensure they meet your dietary restrictions.

Variations and Regional Twists

A table spread with an array of spring rolls and egg rolls, each filled with unique ingredients reflecting different regional flavors and culinary techniques

Exploring the world of spring rolls and egg rolls, you’ll encounter a tapestry of flavors and techniques that reflect various cultural influences and culinary innovations.

Notable Regional Varieties

  • Chinese Spring Rolls: Known for their thin, crisp pastry skin, these rolls are commonly filled with a mixture of vegetables and sometimes meat. In different regions of China, the fillings and sizes may vary, with some versions containing mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts.
  • Vietnamese Spring Rolls: Often referred to as Gỏi cuốn, these are typically served fresh, not fried, with a combination of herbs, pork, shrimp, and rice vermicelli, all wrapped in rice paper.
  • Philippines’ Lumpia: Variants here can be fresh, like the Vietnamese rolls, or fried, akin to Chinese spring rolls. Lumpia often features a filling of ground meat and vegetables, tightly wrapped and deep-fried to a golden crisp.
  • Popiah in Singapore and Malaysia: A fresh variant similar to lumpia, with jicama, bean sprouts, lettuce, and Chinese sausage among potential fillings.
Country/RegionRoll TypeCharacteristics
ChinaSpring RollThin, crisp skin with vegetable/meat filling; regional varieties
VietnamVietnamese RollFresh, rice paper wrapping with herbs, pork, shrimp, and vermicelli
PhilippinesLumpiaGround meat and veg filling; can be fresh or fried
Singapore/MalaysiaPopiahFresh, with fillings like jicama, bean sprouts, and Chinese sausage

Contemporary and Fusion Varieties

  • New York City’s Egg Roll: A heartier, denser egg roll that has become a staple in Chinese-American cuisine, often with a more heavily seasoned and bulkier filling.
  • Southwestern Egg Roll: A fusion dish incorporating Southwestern American flavors such as black beans, corn, and jalapeños, often served with a dipping sauce like guacamole or a ranch dressing.
  • Breakfast Egg Roll: A modern twist featuring breakfast staples like scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese rolled up and fried for a convenient morning treat.

Presentation and Serving Suggestions

When serving spring rolls or egg rolls, the presentation and the choice of accompaniments can significantly enhance your dining experience.

Your choice of fresh vegetables, herbs, and dipping sauces not only complements the taste but also adds to the visual appeal.

Traditional Accompaniments

  • Dipping Sauces:
    • Spring rolls are often served with a light dipping sauce like nuoc cham or a hoisin-peanut sauce.
    • Egg rolls typically pair well with a thicker, sweet and sour sauce or a soy-sauce-based dip.
  • Herbs and Vegetables:
    • For fresh spring rolls, include herbs like cilantro or mint inside the roll, alongside julienned carrots and cucumber.
    • With fried egg rolls, serve a side of pickled vegetables to balance the richness.

Modern Plating and Pairings

  • Appetizers:
    • Present spring rolls cut in half to expose the colorful filling, placed over a bed of delicate noodles or fresh greens.
    • Egg rolls can be sliced diagonally and arranged on a modern plate with a complementary sauce drizzled artistically.
  • Noodles & Fresh Vegetables:
    • Create a salad by combining vermicelli noodles and fresh vegetables with quartered spring rolls.
    • For a creative twist, include a small bowl of pho or ramen as a side to dip your egg roll, blending textures and flavors.

Cooking Tips and Tricks

When making spring rolls or egg rolls, your technique can greatly affect the taste and texture. These tips will help you refine the process, ensuring a delicious outcome.

Homemade Rolling Techniques

To achieve a well-rolled spring roll or egg roll, start with a clean, dry surface.

Place your wrapper diagonally and add a spoonful of filling in the lower center. Fold in the sides before starting to roll from the bottom to keep the filling secured.

Ensure the wrapper is rolled tightly to avoid gaps that can cause the roll to absorb excess oil.

Achieving the Perfect Fry

Frying in a wok can give your rolls a crisp exterior and a soft interior.

Heat the oil to about 350°F (175°C) before adding your rolls.

Don’t overcrowd the wok; this lowers the oil’s temperature and results in soggy rolls.

Fry each side until golden brown, usually around 1-2 minutes, then place on a wire rack or paper towels to remove excess oil.

Baking Alternatives

If you prefer a healthier option, baking your spring rolls or egg rolls can yield a crispy result without the added oil from frying.

Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).

Arrange your rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly brush them with oil.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden and crisp, turning halfway through the cooking time.

Recipes and Cooking Inspiration

Exploring the realms of Chinese cuisine through spring rolls and egg rolls offers an array of recipes ranging from traditional favorites to more avant-garde variations. Here, discover how to incorporate ingredients like chicken, shrimp, and pork into these appetizers, each bringing its own unique flavor and texture to the fore.

Classic Spring Roll Recipes

Shrimp Spring Rolls: For a light yet satisfying bite, try a classic shrimp spring roll. You’ll need:

  • Rice paper wrappers
  • Cooked shrimp (sliced in half lengthwise)
  • Fresh vegetables such as lettuce, carrots, and cucumber
  • Vermicelli noodles
  • Fresh herbs like mint or cilantro
  1. Hydrate your rice wrappers by dipping them in warm water until pliable.
  2. Place a small amount of each filling onto the wrapper, roll tightly, and serve with a tangy dipping sauce.

Pork and Vegetable Spring Rolls: Savor the traditional flavors with this authentic recipe:


  • Thin spring roll wrappers
  • Ground pork
  • Julienne carrots and cabbage
  • Glass noodles, soaked and drained
  • Seasonings: soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger

Cooking Steps:

  1. Cook ground pork with seasonings, then allow to cool.
  2. Combine pork with vegetables and noodles.
  3. Wrap in spring roll wrappers and cook according to your preference—fried for crispiness or steamed for a softer outer layer.

Innovative Egg Roll Ideas

Savory Chicken Egg Rolls: Venture beyond the classic with a chicken twist featuring boldly flavored fillings:

  • Egg roll wrappers
  • Cooked chicken, shredded
  • Cabbage, carrots and green onions, finely chopped
  • Seasonings: soy sauce, garlic powder, and black pepper

To prepare:

  1. Mix the chicken, vegetables, and seasonings.
  2. Place the mixture onto the center of each wrapper, fold edges inward, and roll.
  3. Fry the egg rolls until they are golden and crispy.

Seafood Egg Rolls: Indulge in a seafood-packed treat bound to surprise your palate:

  • Egg roll wrappers
  • A combination of seafood such as diced shrimp and crab meat
  • Shredded cabbage and carrots
  • A hint of oyster sauce for umami depth


  1. Toss your seafood with the vegetables and oyster sauce.
  2. Encase in egg roll wrappers, then deep-fry until they’re perfectly golden.

In-Depth Comparison

When you’re distinguishing between spring rolls and egg rolls, it’s important to consider their wrappers, fillings, and cooking methods.

AspectSpring RollsEgg Rolls
WrapperThin, often rice-based, delicateThicker, typically includes egg, crunchier
FillingLighter, possibly meatless, fresh veggiesDenser, commonly contains meat and cabbage
CookingFried, steamed, or bakedAlmost always fried
TextureCrispy or soft (if fresh and not fried)Crunchy and bubbly exterior
TasteLighter, fresher flavorRicher and robust flavor

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, you’ll find concise answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the distinctions between spring rolls and egg rolls, their nutritional content, and the nuances of their preparation.

What are the primary differences in fillings between spring rolls and egg rolls?

Spring rolls typically contain vegetables and sometimes meat or shrimp, enveloped in a light, thin flour or rice wrapper.

Egg rolls, on the other hand, have a heartier filling with cooked cabbage, meat such as pork or chicken, and are encased in a thicker, doughier wrapper that includes egg.

How do the calories in spring rolls compare to those in egg rolls?

Due to the lighter ingredients and often non-fried preparation of spring rolls, they usually contain fewer calories than egg rolls.

Egg rolls are typically fried and have a higher calorie content owing to their thicker dough and denser fillings.

Can you explain the difference between spring rolls, egg rolls, and summer rolls?

Spring rolls are a broad category that can include both fresh, non-fried varieties and fried versions with a thin wrapper.

Egg rolls are specifically fried, with a crispy wrapper that often bubbles during cooking.

Summer rolls, also known as fresh spring rolls, are similar to fresh spring rolls, wrapped in tender rice paper and not cooked, generally filled with raw vegetables, herbs, and sometimes shrimp or pork.

What are the typical ingredients used in a spring roll?

A typical spring roll will include a combination of fresh vegetables such as lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers, protein options like shrimp or tofu, and vermicelli noodles, all wrapped in a thin rice flour wrapper.

Is there a health advantage to choosing spring rolls over egg rolls?

Spring rolls can offer a health advantage due to their fresh ingredients and the fact that they are often not fried.

Egg rolls are usually higher in fat and calories since they are fried and made with dough that contains egg.

Where can one purchase wrappers suitable for making egg rolls?

You can find egg roll wrappers at your local grocery store, typically in the refrigerated section near the produce, or at Asian supermarkets.

They are often labeled as “egg roll skins” and are thicker than the wrappers used for spring rolls.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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