Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with sweet Thai chili sauce are the perfect appetizer with fresh crunchy vegetables, tasty vermicelli noodles, and cooked shrimp. These homemade spring rolls are healthy, light, refreshing, and satisfying. A perfect starter to serve all year round!
These delicious fresh spring rolls can be eaten as an appetizer or a full meal. There are many options for dipping sauces, but for my recipe, I have a quick version of a sweet chili dipping sauce that I often use, especially if I’m crunched for time.
Summer doesn’t seem complete if these shrimp spring rolls aren’t made to enjoy with your friends and family. So start rounding up all your favorite vegetables, and let’s make some delicious rolls before the summer is over. Enjoy your delicious Shrimp Summer Rolls.
Why this recipe works
- It’s a healthy option you can easily make at home using all your favorite ingredients.
- It's a popular appetizer that makes the crowd goes wild. You will always impress your guests when they see a beautiful large plate of fresh spring rolls at your party.
- You can customize your Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with all your favorite filling ingredients that suit your dietary need. It's easily adaptable to be a vegan or vegetarian dish.
- You can make the fresh rolls ahead of time! Up to 12 hours before serving. Use a thick layer of damp paper towel to cover the finished rolls. Dampen the towels again 30 minutes before serving to freshen up the spring rolls.
- Host a spring roll party! They are the perfect recipe for friends, family, and kids! They are fun to make, especially if you love Vietnamese food like me!
Spring Rolls Ingredients
The beauty of this Vietnamese Spring Roll (gỏi cuốn) recipe is the versatility of it using a few ingredients you can find mostly at a regular grocery store. With Spring Rolls, you can easily adapt the ingredients for your vegetarian friends. You can easily make vegetable spring rolls! For my recipe, though, I use shrimp with fresh vegetables and lightly seasoned vermicelli noodles to complete my perfect summer rolls.
- Rice paper wrappers. There are various sizes and shapes of rice wrappers, but I prefer the circular three-ladies brand for making the best Vietnamese spring rolls.
- Rice noodles. Cooked rice vermicelli noodles are typically the noodles used in these summer rolls. They are the same noodles used in spring rolls you see in most Vietnamese restaurants.
- Shrimp. Steam, boil, or blanch the shrimp, like a cocktail shrimp, for use in summer rolls.
- Fresh herbs. Mint leaves, cilantro, basil, Vietnamese coriander, and green onions are great herbs for spring rolls.
- Fresh vegetables. Use any leafy lettuce like romaine or butter, sliced cucumbers, carrot sticks, or bean sprouts, or choose any of your favorite fresh veggies like bell peppers, avocado, or lettuce.
- Fish sauce. I use fish sauce to season the noodles for extra flavors! It's my kitchen secret for extra tasty spring rolls! Salt or soy sauce will work fine too.
- Lime juice. Lemon juice, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar will work fine as a substitute.
Pictured below are the wrappers I used for this recipe. There are many out there, and the options are endless. Find the ones that you love, and you'll be all set!
My go-to ingredients for my Vietnamese Spring rolls are in the picture above. Those are thin rice vermicelli noodles, cucumber, carrots, bean sprouts, romaine or butter lettuce, Thai basil, mint, cilantro, and cooked shrimp. These items can be easily substituted or omitted if you do not like them. So play around with what tastes good to you!
My favorite brands of vermicelli noodles are pictured below. I buy them from my local Asian market. Pick the thinnest noodles if possible, as they taste less chewy when used in Spring rolls.
Options for Spring Roll Fillings
- Protein. These are all great options for summer roll fillings. Grilled pork, roasted pork belly, beef, chicken, shrimp, roasted chicken, turkey, duck or ham, cooked tofu, tempeh, sashimi like salmon, tuna, or albacore tuna.
- Avocado for added creaminess and texture. Perfect for a vegan or vegetarian option!
- Vegetables. Use sliced carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, and Jalapeños peppers for added heat.
- Fruits. These are great for fillings, apples, kiwis, pears, peaches, or any fruit you can slice thin and long.
- Edible flowers. These add elegance to your fresh rolls! Especially when you have a special occasion and want to serve pretty spring rolls.
A spring roll table set up
These are the things I like to have ready on my counter or table before rolling spring rolls. Get these items ready, and you are ready to roll! If you have helpers, set up 2 stations for your work surface, and you can share the water bowls and platters.
- Your platter of fresh vegetables, noodles, and shrimp. Place them all on one large plate if possible. It's easier to have everything in one place. Easier clean up too.
- 2 large flat serving platters are large enough to hold a sheet of your wrappers—one for rolling and one for placing the finished roll in.
- A large serving bowl or platter can hold at least 1 inch of water to dip the wrappers in to soften the dry sheets.
- A small bowl for dipping your fingers at the end of the wrapper.
- Have plenty of paper towels nearby to wipe your fingers and hands and clean up spilled water droplets.
Vietnamese spring roll sauces
Fresh Vietnamese spring rolls are typically served with a Vietnamese spring roll sauce on the side. These sauces can be the Nuoc Cham, a Vietnamese fish sauce, a spicy peanut sauce, hoisin sauce, sriracha, or some with a sweet, spicy sauce made with chili sauce and sesame oil.
My quick go-to sauce is the Sweet dipping sauce pre-made in a glass bottle, but I jazz it up with my twist. I add chopped cilantro, carrots, rice wine vinegar or lime juice, and some water, and I’m set. Here is my favorite brand of sweet chili sauce for my Vietnamese Spring Rolls. Make your Thai sweet chili dipping sauce with this easy recipe!
Helpful tips before rolling your spring rolls
- Vietnamese Spring Rolls take a little time to gather ingredients, prep, and assemble, but once all those steps are done, you can usually assemble a few pieces quickly.
- You need a flat surface to place all the ingredients nearby to help make the rolls quicker. I usually have two large dinner plates next to each other for my spring rolls. I use one plate to wrap the rolls and one to place the finished rolls on.
- Have a roll of paper towels handy- Have a damp towel ready to cover just enough to cover the finished pieces so they don’t dry out too quickly while rolling the rest. You’ll also need a large bowl of warm water, not hot, to dip the spring roll wrappers in to soften the texture for rolling.
- Have your ingredients on one large platter nearby for quick reach, and you’ll be ready to start!
How to Make Spring Rolls from Scratch
Step 1. Cook the noodles according to the package instruction. Rinse the noodle with cold water, place in a bowl, and season with fish sauce, lime juice, or any flavor of your liking. Set aside the other ingredients for rolling. These vermicelli rice noodles can be found in Asian markets.
Step 2. Dip the rice wrapper in warm water in a large bowl for a few seconds until softened. Don't let it get too soft or difficult to handle. Cold water will take longer than warm water.
Step 3. Grab a small handful of noodles, and spread them into a short strip the length of your pointy finger.
Step 4. Add the sliced cucumbers on either side of the noodle to form a rectangular shape. I use this trick to help keep the noodles and ingredients in one place for easy folding.
Step 5. Add a tiny amount of each herb and vegetable to the noodles.
Step 6. Roll the top of the softened noodles over the top of the ingredients.
Step 7. Fold each side of the wrapper over the ingredients to wrap around the ingredients.
Step 8. Add the shrimp on top, then roll until the end of the rice paper. That's it! You have yourself a delicious fresh spring roll! Roll the other wrappers or as many as you'd like for your servings.
Keep any leftover rice paper wrappers in an air-tight container for the next time to keep them from getting stale.
Enjoy! The only problem with these delicious Vietnamese rolls is that they are so good that your guests may not have room for the main course. (;
- Do not use hot water to soak your wrappers. The thin rice paper sheets will get cooked quickly, causing the sheets to rib or damage easily in boiling water.
- Cut your finished spring rolls in half using a kitchen scissor. This technique is helpful when you are short on time and want the appetizer to last for all the guests to sample a small piece.
- Cutting your spring rolls also allows the guests to scoop the sauce into the middle part of the roll, making them tasty to the last bite.
- Slice your shrimp in half for an easier roll. They also go a long way if sliced in halves.
- Season your noodles before use. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, or rice vinegar to season the otherwise bland noodles! This is my secret tip to make my summer rolls extra flavorful and addictive.
- For leftover ingredients, turn them into a healthy and tasty salad bowl!
- Don’t be discouraged if the first few wrappers look immature-ish. It takes practice; after a few rolls, you should feel comfortable wrapping them. You may rip some wrappers, and that’s ok. Just get a new one and start fresh. There are usually 25 wrappers in one packet. You will get a hold of the wrapping in no time at all.
- Spring rolls are best eaten fresh. You can refrigerate them and eat them for the next meal, but I don’t recommend eating them as leftovers the next day at all. So roll your wrappers accordingly.
- If using pre-cooked frozen shrimp, steam it for a few minutes until soft. Then let cool and slice the shrimp in half lengthwise.
- If using raw shrimp, boil a pot of water with 1 tablespoon of salt, with enough water to cover the shrimp. Devein the shrimp, add the raw shrimp, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat, drain the water in a colander, let it cool, and slice the shrimp in half lengthwise.
Yes, Spring Rolls are healthy! It's full of fresh ingredients like fresh vegetables, herbs, and low-fat protein if using shrimp or tofu. The Vietnamese rice paper rolls and cooked vermicelli noodles are made from rice flour, making it low in carbs, but it has a small amount that keeps you satisfied but is not overly full like a heavy rice dish.
You can always omit the noodles and fill up your rolls with all vegetables and shrimp if desired! However, be mindful of the delicious dipping sauce, which can pack hidden calories.
Egg rolls and Spring rolls use very similar ingredients, and it’s easy to confuse them if you are unfamiliar. The difference between egg rolls and spring rolls is that egg rolls use cooked ingredients like ground meat, vegetables, and glass noodles or bean thread noodles. The Eggrolls are then deep-fried and served with a sweet peanut dipping sauce on the side.
Spring Rolls, on the only hand, use fresh raw ingredients with cooked shrimp or protein, and they can be eaten raw without frying or cooking. Think of it this way, “Spring” Rolls equals fresh and light, while “Egg” Rolls need to be cooked before eating. (:
Fresh spring rolls are best eaten "fresh" in one setting. If there are leftovers, use a damp paper towel to wrap around the rolls, then use plastic wrap to cover the spring rolls. Keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for only one meal.
More Delicious Recipes You'll Love
- Thai Glass Noodle Salad with shrimp
- Thai Shrimp Cakes
- Nam Tok Beef Waterfall Salad