Mary’s Very Authentic Egg Rolls
This is literally the best egg roll recipe on the planet. The light and crispy spring roll wrappers make all the difference!
I’m a sucker for recipes that have existed for generations without any changes because they are that good. You just know you are going to get a winner with a recipe like that.
This recipe for egg rolls fits the bill in a most deliciously authentic way.
While living in Wisconsin (over 10 years ago!), I met a Hmong woman named, Mary. We instantly connected and became really good friends.
My last wish before moving was for Mary to teach me how to make her (actually they should probably officially be called Mary’s husband’s great-great grandmother’s famous egg rolls). It is actually a recipe passed to her from her mother-in-law who lives with her and who came to the United States from Vietnam and still speaks very limited English.
This egg roll recipe is a staple in their family – they make it at least four or five times a week and the cutest thing you’ll ever see is Mary’s four-year old son, Kinkai, pound down four of these piping hot egg rolls like it is no one’s business.
Here are the secrets to these egg rolls that will make them better than any egg roll you have ever tasted (honestly, I wasn’t a fan of egg rolls until these babies came into my life):
1) Do NOT use traditional egg roll wrappers (large wonton wrappers)! The reason these egg rolls are so good is they are wrapped in spring roll pastry. This makes the egg roll light and crispy instead of heavy and greasy.
I have only ever found the TYJ (SpringHome) brand. They are square, about 6 inches, and are usually sold frozen. Just leave them out for an hour to defrost before wrapping the egg rolls.
2) These egg rolls are light on cabbage and heavy on vermicelli (or mung bean noodles) and that is just the way my anti-cabbage husband likes them.
The filling is pretty basic: ground turkey, cabbage, carrots, noodles, eggs (of course), and a few saucy ingredients. Soy sauce and oyster sauce.
I’m still not the greatest at rolling up each egg roll perfectly, but once they’re fried to crispy golden perfection, you can’t tell if they are a bit wonky.
The key for me is to do one roll before folding in the sides and rolling up the rest of the way. I use the leftover egg yolks (from the egg whites used in the recipe) to seal the egg rolls.
I roll all of the egg rolls before frying. Parchment lined baking sheets make a great resting place for the rolls before they go into the hot oil (if I have more than one layer, I separate with another sheet of parchment).
Using a deep fryer or oil heated in a pot on the stove, the egg rolls will cook for a quick 4-5 minutes. This is enough time to cook the meat and soften the veggies and noodles…while crisping up the wrapper.
We dip these amazing egg rolls in sweet Thai chili sauce. They are our New Year’s Eve tradition; my kids would eat them every day if I was a better mom. 🙂
If you’ve ever wanted to make egg rolls at home, I can pretty much guarantee this is the only recipe you need!
Mary’s Very Authentic Egg Rolls
- 2 packages vermicelli, or Muong Bean Thread noodles noodles (6 to 9 ounces total)
- 3 pounds ground pork or ground turkey, or a combination
- 1 head finely shredded cabbage, or a 10-ounce package of shredded cabbage
- 4 large eggs
- 3 egg whites, save the egg yolks for sealing the egg rolls
- ½ pound finely shredded carrots, or a 10-ounce bag of shredded matchstick carrots
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons salt, I use coarse, kosher salt
- 8-10 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 4-5 tablespoons black soy sauce or regular soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 50 spring roll pastry wrappers, not traditional egg roll/wonton wrappers
- Put the vermicelli noodles in a large bowl and pour hot water over noodles and let soak for 15-20 minutes (if using boiling water, soak for 10 minutes). Once soaked, drain very well and chop noodles up a bit into 2-3 inch pieces (not too short).
- Mix all the filling ingredients (noodles, meat, cabbage, whole eggs, egg whites, carrots and onions) in a large bowl. Hand mixing works best. Then add the sauce ingredients.
- Mix together.
- Pull apart spring roll pastry wraps. Leave main stack of wraps covered with a damp towel while rolling egg rolls. Lay the wrap so it is a diagonal in front of you. Put a large spoonful of filling about an inch above the bottom diagonal. Fold up the bottom triangle and tuck under the filling then proceed to roll up the egg roll, folding in the sides and tucking them in. Moisten the top triangle with the remaining egg yolks and roll/press to seal.
- Heat vegetable oil to 365-375 degrees. Fry egg rolls until golden brown and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Turn the egg rolls so they don’t overcook on one side. Drain on crumpled paper towels and serve with sweet chili sauce.
Recipe originally published Feb 2008; updated Jan 2020 with new recipe photos, notes, etc.