Both egg rolls and spring rolls are delicious Asian appetizers (dim sum) or side dishes. If you have ever wondered what exactly the difference between egg rolls and spring rolls is, you are in the right place! This post about egg rolls vs spring rolls will cover all of the details.
This post will cover topics from the difference in their wrappers to their origins, and everything in between. But first, let’s start with a basic description of each:
- Egg Rolls: A thicker wheat wrapper filled with cooked vegetables, like cabbage and carrots, and ground pork. Egg rolls are always fried or baked.
- Spring Rolls: A thin wheat or rice wrapper filled with cooked or raw vegetables, like beans sprouts and mushrooms, and ground pork. Spring rolls can be served fresh or fried.
What is the difference between egg rolls and spring rolls?
Egg rolls originated in the United States. They are made of thick flour based wrappers that are filled with pork and cabbage. While, spring rolls originated in China and vary significantly by region. They are made of a thin wheat or rice wrap that is filled with pork and cooked vegetables.
Wrapper for Egg rolls vs Spring Rolls
Egg roll wrappers are thicker and the primary ingredients in them are flour and egg (more like pasta). Spring roll wrappers are thinner and made of rice.
Egg rolls wrappers will get small air bubbles in them after frying, while spring roll wrappers whether fried or fresh are smooth.
Egg roll wrappers give them a crispy yet chewy bite. Fried spring roll wrappers are very crispy and almost brittle. Fresh spring roll wrappers have a noodle-like texture.
What is in an egg roll?
Egg rolls are typically filled with ground or chopped pork, cabbage, and carrots. Aromatics used in egg rolls include ginger, garlic, and green onions. Vegetable egg rolls substitute the pork for other vegetables like bean sprouts, noodles, or mushrooms.
What is in a spring roll?
Fried spring rolls have a similar filling to egg rolls. They are typically filled with pork and vegetables.
Fresh spring rolls or summer rolls are typically filled with raw vegetables, rice noodles, and pork or shrimp. The fresh vegetables used typically include lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.
Shape and Assembly
Both egg rolls and spring rolls are both cylinder shaped. They are assembled by placing the filling in the center of the wrapper and rolling.
Origin & History
Egg rolls actually originated here in the United States, more specifically in New York City. They were likely invented sometime in the early to mid 1900s. It is unknown why they were named egg rolls because the wrapper does not always contain egg and the filling usually does not have egg in it.
Spring rolls originated in mainland China. They are called spring rolls because they were typically eaten in Spring during the Spring Festival.
Chinese inspired egg rolls do not vary much from region to region in the United States.
However, egg rolls have been fused with other cuisines to create dishes like the Southwest egg roll filled with beans and corn. Egg rolls can also be filled with buffalo chicken and cheese. There are even sweet variations of egg rolls filled with fruit pie filling. The filling options are endless.
Spring rolls vary from region to region, but still have many similarities, like the meat and veggie filling. In the Philippines and Indonesia, they are called lumpia, which have a crepe-like wrapper. Lumpia is served fried and unfried.
In Taiwan, spring rolls are called popiah. They sometimes contain peanut powder and sugar in the filling.
In Vietnam, fried spring rolls are called ram. Ram is always filled with shrimp and green onions. Summer rolls are very popular in Vietnam and Vietnamese restaurants in the United States. These are typically filled with raw veggies, rice noodles, and meat.
Egg rolls are often served with hoisin and soy based sauce, sweet and sour, or sweet chili sauce.
Spring rolls are typically served with hoisin or peanut sauce. They can also be served with a Vietnamese fish sauce that has lime juice, sugar, and chilis.
A fresh Vietnamese spring roll is the healthiest option. These are loaded with raw vegetables and sometimes meat. The wrapper is made out of rice making it gluten free. Fresh spring rolls are also not fried so they have less calories compared to deep fried spring rolls or egg rolls.
Both egg rolls and spring rolls can have meat, like ground pork inside but can also be made vegetarian.
Spring rolls are made of thin rice paper wrappers that are filled with vegetables and pork or shrimp.
Spring rolls are not always vegetarian, but they can be.
Egg roll wrappers used to have eggs in the wrapper dough, but often do not anymore. So you really do not need any eggs to make an egg roll.
No. Egg rolls originated in the United States.
This is completely a personal preference. I prefer fresh spring rolls or summer rolls.