Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe

Chinese Spring Roll Recipe with Chicken

How authentic Chinese Spring Rolls* should be: smooth, light, crisp-crackly skin and small enough to enjoy in 4 bites. The filling is also light, full of tender-crisp vegetables and you should be able to taste and distinguish every single ingredient in the filling.

Unfortunately, the only time you can find really awesome Chinese spring rolls are when you make them at home, Chinatown restaurants or at my Mom’s house :-)

*Spring Rolls or Egg Rolls? Well, either one is fine. Some people call these crispy fried rolls “Spring Rolls” and others, like my Mom, refer to them as “Egg Rolls.” I use both terms. There is no official English term. What are summer rolls? I refer to the uncooked Vietnamese rolls wrapped in rice paper as Summer Rolls, but Diane and Todd call these Spring Rolls! So confusing, right?  

I’ve seen too many Chinese-American takeout joints feature massive spring rolls the size of a soda can, a thick, chewy, bubbly textured skin and wet, soggy filling. That’s not good eats.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe

My Mom’s Chinese Spring/Egg rolls are absolutely on the list of top 5 favorite foods of all time. It’s not something I make often, the deep frying and the time it takes makes it an indulgence. But when I do make spring rolls, I try to make a TON of them because they freeze perfectly and go direct from freezer to fryer.

We’ve made many variations of egg/spring rolls, from pork, shrimp, crawfish, seafood, beef, vegetarian and even with tofu (yum!) I’m sharing my Chinese spring rolls with chicken recipe version with you, which is my boys’ filling of choice.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe

I’ve got lots of technique tips and step by step photos to help you master the very best spring roll that my Mom would be proud of!

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe

How to make Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken

The vegetables I’ve chosen to use for this Chinese Spring Roll with Chicken recipe are cabbage and carrots.

TIP: Do not use a box grater to grate the vegetables, grating releases too much liquid/water. Use either a food processor with thin slicing attachment, a mandoline like I’ve used here (I LOVE this one by Oxo for $15) or shred by knife.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Shred Cabbage

You can julienne cut carrots by hand or use mandoline like this to first get thin slices.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Julienne cut carrots

After slicing thin with a mandoline, use knife to thinly slice further into very thin matchsticks. Notice how many times I’ve purposely used the word, “thin.”

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Julienne cut carrots

Whisk together marinade ingredients for the ground chicken.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Whisk marinade ingredients

Mix with ground chicken.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Mix marinade with ground chicken

Saute the ground chicken with just a bit of oil. Then, remove chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Saute ground chicken

Next wipe the wok clean and stir fry the vegetables along with ginger, garlic and green onion.

TIP: Meat and vegetables are cooked separately. This ensures that the meat browns well – and prevents everything from being an overcooked, soggy clump. Meat will taste like meat, and the vegetables will have a crisp, clean flavor.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Stir fry veggies

Add the meat back into the wok.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Mix chicken with veggies

Add in oyster sauce.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Add oyster sauce to filling

Toss! Toss! Toss!

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Toss filling

Let cool on a baking sheet.

TIP: Let the filling cool. Hot filling = steam = makes wrapper wet = not good

TIP: Tilt the baking pan on one side. This lets any extra liquid/juice dribble down, away from the filling, Discard the liquid. Liquid = makes wrapper wet = not good. The drier the filling, the better. You can also blot the filling with a wad of paper towels to get rid of any excess oil.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Let the filling cool

Spring Roll Recipe WrappersHere’s my favorite brand of wrapper. It comes frozen, so you’ll have to defrost.

TIP: The best 2 ways to defrost spring roll wrappers: 1-overnight in the refrigerator 2-on the counter for 30 minutes. Once the wrapper are defrosted, open the package and immediately cover with a barely damp towel or paper towel to keep moist. The wrappers will dry out and crack quickly if left uncovered.

TIP: If the wrappers dry out and are stiff, you can put a few wrappers on a plate, cover with a damp towel and microwave on medium for 10 seconds. The wrappers will soften up.

TIP: Good spring roll wrappers are found in Asian markets. These are thin, fry up to a shatteringly thin crispy spring roll. Do not buy spring roll wrappers that you find in regular supermarkets near the produce section (usually refrigerated, next to the tofu). Those “pasta sheets” are way too thick and fry up to a chewy, thick, bubbly, hot mess.

TIP: Keep the spring roll (or egg roll) sheets under barely damp cloth or paper towel. They dry out very easily. If they dry out, they break apart.

See how thin this is? Almost paper thin.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Super thin wrappers

TIP: For the truly fanatical, there are 2 sides to the spring roll wrapper – but you have to look very very carefully. One side is smoother than the other. The smoother side should be outward facing. It’s really not absolutely necessary to even pay attention to this tip unless you a) want to have the very best looking spring roll and b) have good eyesight because the difference is really minor. The smoother side fries up just a tiny bit nicer looking. It’s purely aesthetics. Something my Mom taught me, so I’m teaching you.

Place wrapper like diamond, as shown, on a clean, dry surface. Place 1 tablespoon of filling near corner. No more than that!

TIP: Less filling, the better. Overstuffed spring rolls break apart in the oil. 1 tablespoon is all you need!

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Less filling, the better

Fold over the corner. Roll tight.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Roll wrapper tightly

Fold over left side.

TIP: Leave no space or air pockets. Air pockets = oil seepage = oily egg roll.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Fold wrapper tightly

Fold over the other side. No air pockets!

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Fold wrapper tightly

Here are examples of the WRONG WAY TO WRAP.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Wrong way of wrapping

WRONG: See the right side of the wrapper, how it’s skewing out? See next picture to see how it rolls.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Wrong popped out corner

WRONG: That right side that skewed out rolls up like this – giant air pocket will let oil seep in, filling fall out.

The right way: Imagine if you were Martha Stewart folding up her bedsheets. Or a clerk at the Gap folding t-shirts. Or the abs of male Olympic swimmer. Nice, tight and even.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Ready to seal

Paint a little cornstarch slurry along the edge – just as if you were lickin’ an envelope. But don’t lick it. Finger paint.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Cornstarch Seals It

Close it up. See how nice and neat the egg roll is wrapped? No holes, no air pockets. Very Martha Stewart.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Neat and tidy

Place them seam side down (helps secure the corner so that the corner doesn’t pop out)

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Place rolls seam side down

Keep them all covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. They dry out easily.

TIP: Single layer only. If you put them on top of each other (without layer of plastic wrap between them, they will stick together. You can put another layer of spring rolls on TOP of the plastic wrap (but don’t’ forget to cover them too).

TIP: If you want to freeze spring rolls – freeze them just like this. If you don’t have a freezer this big, then line up the spring rolls on a plate, with plastic wrap between each layer. Freeze. Once frozen, gather up all the spring rolls and put them in a freezer safe plastic bag. They have to freeze in a single layer, not touching. Otherwise, they’ll all stick together. Once they are frozen, you can store them however you want.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Can be frozen

When you’re ready to fry, heat up 1 1/2″ of cooking oil (canola, vegetable, rice bran, corn, peanut) to 350F.

TIP: For deep frying, the wider the pot, the more oil you’ll need. But too small of a pot, you’ll only be able to fry a couple of egg rolls at a time. Woks are perfect – the round shape, concave shape means less oil is needed to fill wok.

TIP: Ancient Chinese secret: Stick a wooden chopstick straight down in the oil just like this. If the oil bubbles around the wood, it’s hot enough. If no little bubbles around the chopstick = not hot enough. Mom taught me that. But make sure it’s wood or bamboo chopsticks – plastic ones melt. If you don’t have a wood chopstick, use end of a wooden spatula.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Heat 1 1/2 cup cooking oil

Carefully SLIDE the spring rolls in. Inspect each spring roll for corners that have popped open. Fix with more cornstarch slurry if needed.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Carefully slide rolls in wok

Fry a few at a time.

TIP: Wide deep woks or skillets are good. Because of the shape of the wok, you’ll end up using less oil. Buy a wok. (wink!)

TIP: Don’t over-crowd the sprng rolls in the pan. They won’t cook evenly.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Leave room in wok

Keep turning ‘em to brown evenly. Once they are golden brown, they are done.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Cook til Golden Brown

Place them on a rack to drain.

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe - Drain rolls on rack

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe

More Recipes to explore

Red Lantern Crisp Parcels (Cha Gio or Spring Rolls) (Steamy Kitchen)

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Orange-Almond Sauce (Steamy Kitchen)

My Mother’s Famous Chinese Egg Rolls (Steamy Kitchen)

Vegetable Spring Rolls (Egg Rolls) (Steamy Kitchen)

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Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe

Servings: Makes 50 egg rolls Prep Time: 1 hour Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine (or white wine)
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 stalk green onion, chopped
1/2 head of small cabbage (about 8 ounces), shredded
2 carrots, thin julienne cut
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
50 spring roll wrappers, defrosted
oil, for deep frying (about 1/2 liter to 1 liter)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, wine, pepper and cornstarch. Add in the chicken and mix well. Let marinate for 10 minutes (or up to overnight in the refrigerator).

2. Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in just 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil. Stir fry the ground chicken until browned. Remove browned ground chicken from wok to a bowl and set aside.

3. Wipe the wok clean and turn heat to medium. When just starting to get hot, swirl in the remaining cooking oil. Add in the green onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Take care not to burn these aromatics. Add in the carrots and cabbage. Stir well and turn the heat to medium-high. Stir fry the vegetables for 2 minutes, or until the carrots have softened. Add the cooked chicken back into the wok, stir well. Add in the oyster sauce and toss again. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet to let cool. Prop up the baking sheet on one end so that any liquid collects on the other side. When the mixture is cool, discard the liquid.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. This is your slurry. Open the egg roll wrapper package, cover with barely damp towel to prevent drying out.

5. Add 1 tablespoon of filling to egg roll (see photos for instructions) and roll up. Secure with cornstarch slurry. Keep rolled egg rolls covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

6. When ready to fry, heat 1 1/2" of oil in a wok or deep, heavy skillet to 350F (see tip in photos if you don't have thermometer). Carefully slide in the egg rolls, a few at a time, to the oil to fry. Turn the egg rolls occassionally to brown evenly and fry for about 3 minutes. Let cool on rack. Repeat with remaining.

 

Comments 167

  1. Kat

    Do you think this would work with wonton wrappers? I have extra ones that I bought from my local asian market. If so I see some mini spring rolls calling my name this weekend!

    1. SteamyKitchen

      Hi Kat- most wonton wrappers are too small and thick to make decent mini egg rolls (but you can certainly try!) You’re better off making the filling, then folding the wonton wrapper in a triangle and sealing it instead of trying to roll them up.

  2. Denise @ Creative Kitchen

    Oh wow….Jaden, these look AMAZING!! And I love your step by step photos. You make it look so easy. Now I have another thing to add to my kitchen list….a WOK!

    My sister in law makes spring rolls that everyone loves. I can’t wait to try your recipe. My hubby will LOVE these. :)

  3. Janice

    These look lovely – they’re officially on my to-do list :-) Thanks for yet another great recipe!

  4. JulieD

    I agree with Bev, the memories! We call the uncooked rice paper ones spring rolls too. :) Your spring rolls look amazing and I love that you made them with chicken!

  5. youngmi

    i’ve made these egg rolls several times now and i’m always sad when the last one is eaten. i really can’t get enough of these! the last time i whipped up a batch i added mifun noodles. love <3 thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Javelin Warrior

    I love dropping by to drool over your latest creations and today I’m featuring this post in Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and it’s always a pleasure following you…

  7. Pingback: Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken Recipe | Steamy Kitchen Recipes « SMOKLEY

  8. Kimberly

    Oh…these are exactly like the ones my mom made growing up. I can’t seem to find the time to make them…with 5 kids running around. Can’t you just come to my house and make some for me instead? ;-) Love your site and recipes Jaden!

  9. Elizabeth @Mango_Queen

    This is such a classic favorite. We love Chinese spring rolls so much that we take it for granted it’s always in our freezer. From now on, if friends ask me how to make it, I’ll just direct them to your site.You made it seem so easy and delish! Thanks for sharing, Jaden!

  10. Stephanie S

    I’ve asked this question so many times and I’ve received as many different explanations. One answer: egg rolls use an egg based wrapper, spring rolls use a rice based wrapper, and summer rolls or fresh rolls are the un-fried ones. Another answer: spring rolls are vegetarian and egg rolls have some meat in them. And yet another answer: spring rolls are Vietnamese and egg rolls are Chinese, but each culture has adapted their own versions. Who really knows, I just know they are all tasty. These look yummy! Thanks.

  11. Cindy

    This recipe looks like fun to try. Just one question, though. I am not very adept in the kitchen and I was wondering; after you freeze the spring rolls, do you need to thaw them before frying them? If you need to thaw them, what is the best way?

  12. Melissa

    I will admit, I am a sucker for sweet and sour sauce with my spring rolls (which btw…these look fantastic!!!) Do you have a sweet and sour sauce recipe you could share?

  13. Kendra

    Whoa! Those look fantastic. One commenter mentioned that these are very similar to lumpia and she is absolutely right. On a side note you have to be one of the best food photographers blogging.

  14. Jackie B

    Oh Spring Roll, you were my First Love
    Then I cheated on you and went over to Wontons
    It was Handsome and crunchy too
    I should have known it would never last
    Those fried chicken wings, they beckons…come come… cross the road!
    And that was the end of me ;)

  15. Melissa

    This recipe is perfect for an upcoming gathering. Thank you for sharing. Plus, I enjoy your writing style. Entertaining blog. :)

  16. MK

    A million thanks for this recipe. There are no Asian restaurants in my area that serve spring rolls, so I used to buy the frozen kind. I can’t find those anymore now. I’ve made homemade spring rolls before, but didn’t like how many it made at a time. I’ve often wondered about making a lot and freezing them so I can eat them whenever I want. This recipe is perfect. I can’t wait to make them. :)

  17. Gina

    This was the recipe I was looking for. My neighbor brought me a huge plate of them one day and they were so amazing I begged her to show me how to make them. But then we both moved before that happened, I was so bummed.

    I’m making these soon, my daughter has been asking for me to try these ever since we tasted them.

    Thanks!!
    -Gina-

  18. Ash

    Jaden,

    Thank you for such an informative post! Sadly, I just so happened to use the wrappers you suggest NOT to, and you were right – a bubbly gooey, oily mess :( My question now is what are those wrappers for, if not for frying spring rolls? Any tips for how to use up the rest of the package?

    Thank you!

  19. Justin

    Just made some spring rolls to your recipe…. PERFECT! I live in Asia so this must be some kind of fantastic compliment!

  20. Lily

    Thank you very much for this receipe with very detail instruction steps. I just make the spring roll today it so easy and bring it to my daughter nursery school. Those parents and kids are love it so much.
    Thank you, Jaden.

  21. Lina

    Just tried your recipe and I had to come back and thank you. It was my first time making spring rolls and they turned out perfect!

  22. Divya

    Hey Jaden,
    Its very informative and easy way for learners (who are heading baby steps in cooking)
    Could you help me with the procedure how to make Spring Roll Wrapper/sheet at home?
    I wish you would reply soon
    Regards,
    Divya

  23. priya

    Jaden this is sooo good
    and easy way of understanding could you help me with few soup recipes!!!

  24. tommy tom

    This was soooooo helpful! i’ve made crab wontons before, but i’m disappointed often. “Take your time” is the lesson i should have learned! Thank you! Great article, great photos, great tips!

  25. Peter Beilharz

    Thanks for your recipe! Thanks to you I made the best spring rolls I’ve ever eaten and I’ve had many in my day.

  26. Pingback: Unsprung: 4 Things to Wrap and Roll | The Design Tree by Greentea Design

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  28. Ken - Atlanta

    Made these for the first time yesterday. Sure glad you had photos of the wrong way to wrap since my first 3 or 4 were identical to the wrong way. Eventually got the hang of it. My whole family loved these spring rolls. I’m going to make these again for the Super Bowl this coming weekend.

    One question…. once I’ve frozen them (you know… for the big game)…. what is the procedure to cook them? Do I let them thaw out for some period of time or just pop them…. errr….. I mean, carefully SLIDE them into the heating oil?

  29. PRiNCESSgIgI

    I moved to zona & had one chinese restaurant that i loved, they closed in the summer so i decided i’ll be learning all of my favorite chinese reciped myself & execute them even better than the restaurants, well the spring roll IS a HTI! I just made some more today, however what i find myself doing is preparing the filling ahead of time & freezing it enough to make 6 to 7 @ a time then just poppin the mixture out of freezer & assembling the rolls, talk about YUMMY im a pro now & ive mastered house fried rice too, sooo im LOVIN fried rice & egg rolls dinners from time to time from my own kitchen YUMMY!

  30. Pingback: In which I decide not to become internet famous « The Open Source Vase

  31. Lili

    Oh I am so glad have found your blog! This spring roll looks so perfect and I can’t help but immediately tried it out. It’s so good that my husband can’t stop munch it, thank you for sharing!

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