Restaurant quality Vietnamese Spring Rolls easily made at home! Fresh vegetables, herbs, and plump shrimp are combined for a flavor-packed roll with bright, refreshing flavors. These are so delicious, healthy, and pretty! Follow our photo and video step by step instruction on how to properly build and roll them – it’s easier than you might think.
Serve these little gems as a light lunch or dinner, or impressive appetizer with our homemade sweet chili sauce or peanut sauce.
These fresh Vietnamese spring rolls (not to be confused with deep fried Chinese spring rolls) are a feast for the eyes and taste buds, and something I crave all spring and summer long when I want food that is fresh, crisp, and light.
Fresh Spring Rolls or Summer Rolls?
According to my dear Vietnamese friend, Lin, fresh spring rolls, summer rolls, salad rolls, and Vietnamese spring rolls are all the same thing. They’re of Vietnamese-origin and usually consist of fresh vegetables, herbs, rice noodles, and shrimp, wrapped in translucent rice paper and served cold with a dipping sauce. Not to be confused with Chinese spring rolls or egg rolls, which use a different type of wrapper and deep fried. (All summer rolls can be categorized as spring rolls, but not all spring rolls can be summer rolls.)
Vietnamese Spring Rolls – Why We Love Them
Summer rolls have so much going for them! They are:
- Refreshing and light: No oil involved here and served cold with the freshest ingredients, they are perfect on hot days.
- Colorful and pretty: All the different contrasting colors really make them pop – so pretty set out for brunches and luncheons.
- Very healthy: Low fat, low calorie, low-carb, and gluten free. Omit the shrimp and they’re even vegan.
- So versatile: We’re sharing our favorite fillings, but these rolls are easily adaptable to your own tastes and what you have on hand.
- Incredibly delicious: Light flavor accented by herbs, with a satisfying crunch from raw vegetables. Paired perfectly with a dipping sauce like sweet chili, peanut, or hoisin.
- Fun to make! Like stuffing and rolling a burrito. Who doesn’t enjoy doing that??
Spring Roll Ingredients
Vietnamese Spring Rolls are usually filled with fresh vegetables, herbs, shrimp, and rice vermicelli. In this spring roll recipe, we ditched the noodles, but you can certainly add them back in, along with adjusting the other ingredients to your taste. These rolls are incredibly versatile.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Rice Paper Wrappers: You’ll need round rice paper wrappers (about 8 1/2 inches in diameter.) Have extra on hand in case they tear. (More information about these wrappers below.)
- Shrimp: Medium-sized shrimp (21 to 25 count) are best for these spring rolls. They should be thawed, if bought frozen. You can also buy them pre-cooked, but we prefer to purchase ones still in the shell and boil for a few minutes for a brighter color, then remove the shells once cooled.
- Lettuce: This is the base of the filling and provides a “holder” for the vegetables, herbs, and noodles (if using), and also ensures the filling won’t fall out as you roll up the wrapper. We use green leaf lettuce leaves, but butter lettuce is also a great option. Make sure to snap off the thick ends or they could poke through the rice paper.
- Vegetables: Carrots, purple cabbage, red bell pepper, cucumber, and avocado are our favorite combination for taste and contrasting colors. We cut them all into even sized matchsticks so they run the length of the roll and you get a taste of everything in each bite.
- Herbs: Fresh basil, mint, and cilantro provide fresh, savory flavors. Use more or less, or simply omit depending on taste.
- Spring roll dipping sauce: These pair perfectly with our sweet chili sauce, peanut sauce (recipe below), or hoisin sauce.
Spring Rolls Wrappers
Since these are a key ingredient in summer rolls and can seem intimidating to work with, they deserve a little more attention here.
Summer rolls are wrapped in rice paper sheets, which are made from rice flour (sometimes tapioca flour), water, and salt. They are sold in dry sheets, but become practically translucent, pliable, and slightly chewy when submerged in water. Purchase wrappers that are made with rice flour or a combination of rice and tapioca flour, but not 100% tapioca – those are finicky and harder to work with. 8 1/2 inch wrappers is the size you want for this recipe we’re sharing today and we’re partial to the Three Ladies brand, which is high quality.
The wrappers are sold at any Asian market, of course, but most common grocery stores have them, too. Look in the International aisle with all the other Asian foods. You can always find them online, as well.
How to Make Spring Rolls
Making these is sort of like an assembly line and once you get all your parts in place, it’s really easy, I promise. Here’s a brief summary:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements. Don’t miss the step by step photos and video for more help.)
- Set up a clean work station: Brush some water over a cutting board or lay a clean damp (lint-free) towel down on the work surface.
- Clean, cut, and prep all the ingredients: Slice cooked and cold shrimp in half, horizontally (knife parallel to the board) and chop all of your vegetables into long, thin matchstick slices.
- Dip the rice paper in water: Fill a pie plate or large shallow bowl with cool water. Working one at a time, immerse rice paper in the water for 10-15 seconds, gently shake off any excess liquid. (The rice paper may still seem stiff, however, it will become pliable as you build each roll. Don’t soak too long or it will be harder to work with and can tear.)
- Add the filling: Lay one piece of lettuce over the bottom third of the rice paper. On top of the lettuce, place basil, mint, and cilantro. Top with carrots, cabbage, bell pepper, cucumber, and avocado; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add shrimp and roll up: Tightly roll up the paper halfway into a cylinder over the filling. Lay 3 shrimp halves, cut side up, along the crease. Fold the sides like an envelope/burrito and keep rolling the paper into a tight cylinder to seal. (Be careful not to tear the rice paper.) The rice paper will be sticky, sealing everything together.
Spring Roll Dipping Sauce
Vietnamese Spring Rolls are typically served with a dipping sauce. I always serve these with my favorite homemade sweet chili sauce. Hoisin sauce is another delicious option, while most people seem to prefer a peanut sauce. Here’s a great peanut sauce recipe to serve with the spring rolls:
Peanut Sauce for Spring Rolls
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, or more, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
To make the peanut sauce, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl, then whisk in 2-3 tablespoons water until desired consistency is reached.
How to Store Summer Rolls
For optimal texture and appearance, fresh summer rolls are best eaten right after preparing them. If not serving for a couple hours, place them on plates (not paper plates), then cover with plastic wrap or a lightly damp towel and leave it out at room temperature – they should stay soft. (Refrigeration tends to harden the rice paper, making them prone to tearing and difficult to chew.)
If you absolutely can’t serve them the same day, they should be wrapped individually in plastic wrap, which does help keep them from drying out and sticking to one another, so don’t skip it. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight.
Video: How to Roll Spring Rolls
Other Asian Inspired Recipes
Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
- 15 medium shrimp (21-25 count), in shell, thawed if frozen
- 10 (8 1/2-inch) round rice paper wrappers (have extra in case they tear)
- 5 green leaf lettuce leaves , thick stem ends removed, torn in half
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 20 fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 1 small red bell pepper seeds and ribs removed, cut into long matchsticks
- 1/2 English cucumber , seeded and cut into long matchsticks
- 1 medium avocado , peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- Sweet chili sauce , for dipping
- Peanut Sauce , for dipping
Peanut Sauce (optional)
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce , or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2-3 tablespoons water (whisked in to desired consistency)
- Prepare the Shrimp: Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan or small pot. Add shrimp and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until they are pink and opaque. Drain and cool in the refrigerator. Once cool, peel off the shells. Lay shrimp flat on a cutting board; gently press down with one hand and use the other hand to slice the shrimp in half, horizontally (knife parallel to the board.) Repeat with remaining shrimp. Set aside. (You can buy pre-cooked shrimp and thaw to save a step, but they won't be as fresh or be as vibrant in color.)
- Fill a pie plate or large shallow bowl with cool water. Working one at a time, immerse rice paper in the water for 10-15 seconds, gently shake off any excess liquid and transfer to a damp dish towel or damp cutting board. (The rice paper may still seem stiff, however, it will become pliable as you build each roll. Don’t soak longer than 15 seconds because it will be harder to work with.)
- Lay one piece of lettuce over the bottom third of the rice paper. On top of the lettuce, place basil, mint, and cilantro. Top with carrots, cabbage, bell pepper, cucumber, and avocado; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Tightly roll up the paper halfway into a cylinder over the filling.
- Lay 3 shrimp halves, cut side up, along the crease.
- Fold in the sides like an envelope/burrito and keep rolling the paper into a tight cylinder to seal. (Be careful not to tear the rice paper.)
- Transfer to a plate, seam side down, cover with damp paper towels. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
- Serve immediately with sweet chili sauce and peanut sauce for dipping, if desired.
- FOR VISUAL HELP: Refer to the step by step photo and video in the article.
- Note: Nutritional calculation does not include the dipping sauce.