How to Make Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls – Photo Tutorial & Recipes
Since writing my first How to make Fresh Spring Rolls recipe (Summer Rolls) tutorial back in 2008, I’ve received many more questions about how to roll and store fresh rice paper rolls or fresh spring rolls successfully. So here’s an extensive tutorial and guide for making Summer Rolls or Spring rolls.
How to Make Spring Rolls
Eating fresh Vietnamese spring rolls (summer rolls recipe) is a favorite dish that I grew up with and one dish that I absolutely love sharing with my friends. Todd and I have frequent spring roll parties where we grill fresh meats and vegetables, roll spring rolls and stuff ourselves for hours. Once everyone understands how to use rice paper and roll correctly, it’s an easy skill that everyone takes back home to their kitchen to share with their family and friends. All our popular spring roll recipes can be found here.
Video: Watch How To Make Fresh Spring Rolls:
Tutorial: How to make fresh spring rolls or summer rolls.
Everyone has a different method, I understand this, so always be open to learning different ways to roll spring rolls. This is just how Todd and I have taught our Spring Roll cooking classes over the last four years with successful results from our students.
- Gather your ingredients: (you can use many ingredients, this is just a basic example of rolling a vegetarian spring roll)
- Mis-en-place is very important for spring rolling success. Have all your fresh spring rolls ingredients, washed and prepped before rolling.
- Left photo below: An important element of a great fresh spring rolls is having a “crunch” or firm structure in the center. Some ingredients that give great “crunch” and firm structure are : carrots, celery, jicama, cucumbers, bean sprouts.
- Right photo below: Fresh lettuce and herbs provide the fresh bite. In my humble opinion, fresh herbs are mandatory for fresh Vietnamese spring rolls: any type of mint, basil, cilantro or your favorite selection of Vietnamese Herbs.
Noodles: Some rice paper spring rolls will have rice noodles or cellophane glass noodles. Traditional Vietnamese shrimp and pork spring rolls that you will find at Vietnamese restaurants will have noodles. Cook noodles to package instructionsThe noodles are nice fillers and add body to the spring rolls. Normally I don’t add noodles to my daily spring rolls because it makes the spring rolls more filling and I enjoy eating my spring rolls filled with extra vegetables.
Best Rice Paper for Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls)
Working with Rice Paper Wrappers for Fresh Spring Rolls- Spring roll rice paper wrappers are available in various sizes and thickness. Sizes range tremendously, so spring rolls can be small bite sized rolls to larger, longer rolls. Select the size that works best for you. Though rice paper thickness will vary as well, the difference isn’t very significant. You just have to dip the rice paper in the water long enough to slightly soften it.
What’s our favorite brand? Many! One is Three Ladies brand because it’s strong, yet pliable & has a tender, soft bite.
How to Prepare Rice Paper for Vietnamese Spring Rolls
- Dip the Rice Paper in warm water. Rice paper is delicate and only needs a quick dip in warm water to soften. Do not “soak” the rice paper for too long because it will break down too quickly, making the rolling more difficult to roll.
- Start with a large bowl of warm water, about bath water temperature. Rotate the rice paper in the bowl of water or quickly immerse it in the bowl for about 3 seconds.
The rice paper should come out of the water still slightly firm and not fully folding on itself. Don’t worry if the rice paper might feel a little firm because once the rice paper lays on the rolling surface, it will continue to absorb the water on its surface and will become soft and GELATINOUS. Lay wet rice paper on rolling surface. Just a note: some wood surfaces are very porous and will cause the rice paper to stick terribly. If this is the case with your wood board, try using a plastic cutting board or large ceramic plate.
Awesome dipping vessels: We love using these water dipping vessels for the rice paper because they take up much less room on the table, especially when you have lots of rollers and need multiple water dipping vessels. Note: We buy the 11″ size dippers because it’s big enough to fit various sizes of spring roll wrappers. Make sure the dipper fits the size of your rice paper.
Tips for Rolling the Summer Rolls
Again, mise-en-place organization for fresh spring rolls is very important. Lay down slightly firm rice paper on your rolling board and start assembling ingredients. During the time that you’ve assembled ingredients, the rice paper will become soft and gelatinous.
Starting at top 1/3 of rice paper closest to you, lay lettuce first. I suggest this because this will avoid any sharp fillings to tear the soft rice paper. Make sure to lay the rice paper at the top 1/3 so that you have plenty of surface area left to roll. The more rotations of rice paper you have, the stronger the rice paper will be and less likely to puncture. Do not over-stuff your fresh spring roll, start small then continue to add more fillings that works with your size rice paper.
“Tuck and Roll”– This is a term we teach in our spring rolls classes. You want to have a firm roll. This technique will work for any fresh summer rolls recipe too.
Gently pull away the edge of wrapper from work surface and roll over the filling. At the same time, use your forefingers to gather and “tuck” fillings together under the wrapper. “Tucking” allows you to keep all filings together and tight, so that the roll remains firm and straight. Slowly start to roll away from you and “tuck” in your filling toward you to keep the roll tight. ** Notice my fingers and how I use them to keep the fillings together and tight.
Roll about one rotation, then fold in the sides for “closed end” spring rolls. Continue to roll until rice paper ends, but remember to “tucking” ingredients together with your fingers. ** I will have a tutorial for rolling “open end” spring rolls later.
How to Store Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls for Meal Prep
- Serving and storing spring rolls or summer rolls – Eating these fresh as you roll them is best. The rice paper is soft and pliable and the spring roll is plump.
- To store them, you can wrap them in plastic cling wrap for about 1-2 hours in a cool area before serving. But if you have perishable proteins like seafood and other meats, then you must store them in the fridge. The rice paper will get hard and possibly crack if you store the in the fridge for more than about 5 hours.
- Storing the spring rolls stacked or side-by-side may cause spring rolls to stick and tear when separated. What I will do is to layer each row of spring rolls with plastic cling wrap so that the spring rolls are not touching.
- For a few spring rolls for lunch, I will wrap each spring roll individually so that they remain fresh and won’t stick.
How to keep rice paper spring rolls from sticking and tearing:
Storing the fresh spring rolls stacked or side-by-side may cause spring rolls to stick and tear when separated. What I will do is to layer each row of spring rolls with plastic cling wrap so that the spring rolls are not touching.
Questions?: If you have any further questions about these fresh summer rolls recipe, just ask below! But please read my tutorial first to make sure I haven’t answered it yet.
Have fun spring rolling!
-diane and todd
Favorite Spring Roll Ingredients and Tools:
It can sometimes be hard to find good spring roll ingredients and tools. Here’s some of the favorites:
Three Ladies Rice Paper Wrappers – Love these wrappers. Easy to work with. Consistently one of the best wrappers we’ve found.
Rice Paper Water Bowl – The perfect bowl for dipping the rice paper at the table. These have been life changers when it comes to our spring roll parties. Easy for everyone to dip and takes up so much less table space.
OXO Julienne Tool – This little tool makes julienning the carrots and other ingredients a breeze.
Red Boat Fish Sauce – 100% all natural first press extra virgin Vietnamese fish sauce. A solid craft fish sauce producer.
Koon Chun Hoisin Sauce – Our house favorite hoisin sauce. Great flavor. We use it to make a dipping sauce for spring rolls.
Now you’re an expert! Time to make our popular–> Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Dip Recipe
More Easy Fresh Spring Rolls Recipes:
If you have any further questions, just ask below! But please read my tutorial first to make sure I haven’t answered it yet.
Have fun spring rolling!
This write up was originally published in 2008 and re-published in 2019 with updated tutorial.
How to Make fresh Spring Rolls
for the spring rolls:
- 12 8-inch (12 8-inch) rice paper wrappers or rice paper spring roll wrappers
- 1 small (1 small) head of lettuce
- 1/2 lb. (227 g) cooked meat or shrimp , sliced thin
- 8 oz. (227 g) package dried rice vermicelli noodles or “rice sticks”, cooked to package instructions
- 1 medium (1 medium) cucumber , cut into thin strips
- fresh herbs: mint, asian basil, Vietnamese coriander, Vietnamese perilla or cilantro
for hoisin peanut dip (one of several dip options):
Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip
- see recipe here Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dip
For the hoisin peanut dip:
- In a bowl, combine all dip ingredients together (hoisin, peanut butter, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and optional chili garlic sauce and optional water, if needed). Use a fork to help blend well.
For the rolls:
- Cook the dried rice vermicelli noodles to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Gather all your filling ingredients on plates: meat or shrimp, noodles, lettuce, cucumber, herbs and rice paper wrappers.
- Please read our write up above to see photo tutorial on how to roll the spring rolls. Add warm water to a large bowl. Quickly dip each rice paper wrapper in warm water for a few seconds and lay on rolling surface such as a cutting board or plate (they will still be slightly stiff).
- On the 1/3 section of the rice paper wrapper closest to you, start layering your fillings. Lay your lettuce first on the softened spring roll wrapper, then the veggies & herbs, meat, and the noodles.
- Start rolling the wrapper over the fillings away from you, tucking and rolling the wrapper with your fingers, making sure all the fillings remain tight and round within the rice paper wrapper.
- Optional if rolling shrimp spring rolls: Roll spring roll until you have about 1/3 of rice paper left, then lay about 2-3 pieces of shrimp, cut side up in a row and finish rolling. The shrimp will lay on the outside of the spring roll when you are finished rolling.Serve with the hoisin peanut dip or Vietnamese fish sauce dip.