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Fresh Spring Rolls

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 50 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Calories: 537
homemade fresh spring rolls on a plate with bowls of peanut sauce and sweet chili sauce for dipping Photography by Gayle McLeod

Bursting with veggies, these colorful fresh spring rolls are much easier to make at home than you might think! Just don’t forget the peanut sauce!

Just In Time for Summer: A (Relatively) Easy Spring Roll Recipe

Not to be confused with an egg roll (which are deep-fried) fresh spring rolls are so, well, fresh! You’ll need to boil some water, but beyond that there’s really no cooking involved in making them. Lovers of Southeast Asian food that we are—and particularly Thai and Vietnamese cuisines—it was only a matter of time before we tried to make our own, homemade take on this classic Thai and Vietnamese restaurant dish. Crunchy and vegetable-packed, and always—always!—served with a peanut sauce and a sweet chili sauce for dipping, we kind of can’t get enough fresh rolls. If you’re in the same boat, you’ll be thrilled to know that it’s not actually all that hard to make them at home! You’ll need to track down a few ingredients that might be new to you, like spring roll wrappers and vermicelli rice noodles, but they’re easily track-downable! Usually, you can find them in the “Asian foods” aisle of any major grocery store—where you might go to look for sriracha and chili-garlic sauce. The rest is easy and—dare we say—fun!

bowls of lettuce, vermicelli noodles, herbs, chopped veggies, shrimp and other ingredients to make fresh spring rolls

What is Usually in a Spring Roll?

Fresh spring rolls are made of rice noodles, lots of fresh, crunchy veggies and (often) shrimp or tofu. We’ve opted to use shrimp because it’s what we usually order and because it’s so colorful and beautiful. You can use tofu if you’d like—baked and seasoned tofu would be nice—or you can double down on the veggies! However, even if you leave the shrimp out, don’t serve these to vegetarian friends without a caveat, because there is some fish sauce in the dipping sauces! So, here’s what you’ll need to make our spring rolls:

bowls homemade peanut sauce and sweet chili sauce on the counter to use as dipping sauces for fresh spring rolls
cooked shrimp being sliced crosswise  with a knife on a cutting board

Tips for Rolling Spring Rolls

If you haven’t worked with spring roll wrappers before, you might be a little nervous about it, but it’s pretty easy! And remember, it’s just food! You’ll still be able to eat it, even if your first attempt at rolling a fresh roll isn’t quite restaurant-level pretty. And you’ll get better and better at it as you go along. Here are a few tips to set you up for spring roll success:

  • Use warm water to soften the wrappers, but not boiling hot! It doesn’t take much to soften them and get them ready to use.

  • Ten seconds in that warm water is plenty—don’t over-soak them! It may sound strange, but they actually tend to break if they get too soft.

  • Prep all of your fillings before you begin to think about wrapping and rolling the spring rolls.

  • Make one fresh roll at a time, and work on a damp surface. At the edge closest to you, layer on a bit of lettuce, noodles, carrot, cucumber, some herbs and a few pieces of shrimp. Roll about half way, and then fold up the shorter sides like you would to make a burrito.

  • Keep the surface you are working slightly damp so that the rice papers don’t stick. You may need to keep rewetting the surface between spring rolls.

rice paper with a piece of lettuce on top on a wooden cutting board with a
rice paper topped with lettuce and vermicelli rice noodles on a wooden cutting board
rice paper topped with lettuce, vermicelli rice noodles and julienned vegetables on a wooden cutting board
rice paper topped with lettuce, vermicelli rice noodles, julienned vegetables and fresh herbs on a wooden cutting board

Don’t Forget the Dipping Sauces!

Peanut sauce is a must, and (we think) that sweet chili sauce is a must, too. They only take a few minutes to whisk together and they’re SO very worth it. Spring rolls aren’t bland exactly—with shrimp and herbs and sweet lettuce, they’re really not!—but the seasoning comes, mostly, from dipping them into some kind of sauce or sauces. So yeah, make the sauces! All you’ll do for each sauce is basically combine the ingredients with a fork or whisk until you’ve got something resembling a uniform sauce, so they really are simple. Here’s what you’ll need to make a sweet chili sauce & a homemade peanut sauce for dipping:

  • Brown sugar

  • Peanut butter.

  • Rice vinegar

  • Low-sodium soy sauce

  • Toasted sesame oil

  • Chili garlic sauce

  • Ground ginger

  • Granulated sugar

  • Fish sauce

  • Lime juice

rice paper topped with lettuce, vermicelli rice noodles, julienned vegetables and shrimp on a cutting board
rice paper topped with lettuce, vermicelli rice noodles, julienned vegetables and shrimp being rolled on a cutting board
a fresh spring roll on a cutting board filled with lettuce, vermicelli rice noodles, julienned vegetables and shrimp
a fresh spring roll on a cutting board filled with lettuce, vermicelli rice noodles, julienned vegetables and shrimp

Tools You’ll Need

More Delicious Thai Recipes to Try

a plate of fresh spring rolls with bowls of peanut sauce and sweet chili sauce for dipping
a plate of fresh spring rolls with bowls of peanut sauce and sweet chili sauce for dipping

Cancel Your Take Out & Roll Up Your Sleeves (and Spring Rolls)

We actually think that this recipe is a lot of fun to make with your family! You can get the kids involved in the rolling and they get to do fun things like smear water around on the countertops. When else are you actually trying to keep the countertops wet?! Anyway, we hope you have a grand old time making these, and when you make ‘em, we want to hear all about it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Fresh Spring Rolls

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 50 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Calories: 537

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons brown sugar (see note 1)
  • ¼ cup hot water, plus more as needed
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • sea salt, to taste (note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts, for serving (optional)

Sweet Chili Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated (optional)

Spring Rolls

  • 6 ounces vermicelli rice noodles, broken in half (see note 3)
  • 1 pound large, raw tail-on, deveined shrimp (see note 4)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks, or 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 16 (22 cm) spring roll wrappers
  • 10 butter lettuce or romaine, leaves separated, halved
  • 2 English or Persian cucumbers, cut into matchsticks (see note 5)
  • 3 cups fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, basil, or green onions, chopped

Method

1. Make the peanut sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar and hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, and ground ginger. Whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together, about 1 minute. Add more hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Taste and add salt as needed. Sprinkle the crushed peanuts on top of the sauce, if desired.

2. Make the sweet chili sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, if desired, along with the fish sauce, lime juice, chili garlic sauce, and sesame oil. Stir to combine.

3. Make the spring rolls: Bring 2 large pots of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice. To one pot, add the noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water.

4. Meanwhile, to the other pot of boiling water, add the shrimp. Cook until just pink, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to the ice bath and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Discard the shells and tails, then slice each shrimp crosswise, as if you were butterflying them.

5. Fill a shallow bowl or pie dish with warm water. Working with one spring roll wrapper at a time, dip the wrapper into the water and let soften, 8 to 10 seconds (see note 6 for more details). Lay the softened wrapper on top of a damp surface, like a cutting board. Place half a piece of lettuce at the edge of the wrapper closest to your body. Layer on a small handful of noodles, carrot, and cucumber. Place some herbs on the wrapper slightly above that pile, and then 3 or 4 shrimp halves slightly above the herbs.

6. Beginning from the edge closest to you, roll the wrapper away from your body. Once you reach the shrimp, fold in the sides, then keep rolling. Repeat with the remaining rice wrappers and filling, rewetting your work surface as needed.

7. Halve the spring rolls diagonally and arrange on a platter. Serve with dipping sauces alongside.

**These rolls are best when eaten the day you make them, but they will store in the fridge for 1-2 days. We recommend wrapping each spring roll individually in plastic wrap before placing them in the fridge to keep them as fresh as possible.

Note 1: The amount of brown sugar you choose to use will depend on how much sugar is in the peanut butter that you're using If you are using a sugar-free peanut butter, you will want to use the full 2 teaspoons, but if you're using a brand that has added sugar, you should start out with less or no sugar and add it just to taste (you may not even want to add any at all).

Note 2: Likewise, the amount of salt you use in the peanut sauce will depend on how salty your peanut butter and soy sauce are. If you are using a salt-free peanut butter, or low sodium soy sauce, you may want to add a little salt to your peanut sauce. Taste it as you make it, and add salt if needed.

Note 3: Rice noodles vary in size. Make sure you get the vermicelli (thin clear, or similar) ones. You may want to break or cut them in half or thirds before cooking to make them easier to handle once they are cooked.

Note 4: Purchase large shrimp, not any labeled jumbo or colossal. You will be making 16 rolls and will need between 1 1/2 to 2 shrimp per roll depending on size. You can also purchase the shrimp precooked and skip this whole step.

Note 5: You can use any cucumber that you want, but if you don't use an English or Persian cucumber, you'll likely want to remove any large seeds.

Note 6: Do not soak the spring roll wrappers for too long—10 seconds really is the max—because the rice wrappers tend to break when they get too soft. Make sure that the surface you are working on is slightly damp so that the rice papers don’t stick, and rewet the surface as you go.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 537
  • Protein 24 g
  • Carbohydrates 68 g
  • Total Fat 21 g
  • Dietary Fiber 6 g
  • Cholesterol 57 mg
  • sodium 557 mg
  • Total Sugars 4 g

Fresh Spring Rolls

Questions & Reviews

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  • Susan

    Do you think, if made in the morning, that these could be taken to a wine tasting party in the late afternoon? I would think they would be best in a bowl which rests in ice. Just curious.

    Definitely! Sounds like a fun time, Susan!

  • Jenn

    Um yesssss please! These were so fun to make and the homemade sauces MAKE IT! I've never found a good store bought peanut sauce and was so happy this recipe!

    We agree that homemade peanut sauce is the best! Glad you enjoyed these!