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.
57 Comments on “Mary’s Very Authentic Egg Rolls”
Unfortunately, I really did not enjoy these. I followed the recipe exactly and the mixture was just way too salty. I kept adding more cabbage to soak up the salt but it didn’t make enough of a difference. I enjoy salty spring rolls from regular takeout places but this was way more salty. If I were to make these again I would not use any of the extra salt and taste the mixture frequently before adding the eggs.
These are SO good! Thank you for sharing such a delicious recipes. They taste just like our favorite take out spot.
Just making sure…. Is it really two TABLESPOONS of salt??? Two teaspoons sounds more appropriate but wanted check.
Yes, I use two tablespoons for a full batch but they do have a salty punch so if you want to cut back, you can.
Can these be made in an air fryer?
I haven’t tried but it’s worth a try!
I recently had an allergic reaction to oyster sauce – do you have a substitute?
What about hoisin sauce?
What stores have you found the egg roll wrappers? I checked smith’s (Kroger), Walmart, and a local store, and haven’t found them anywhere. I live in northern Utah! Thanks so much. LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog.
Hi Megan, the last few years I’ve only been able to find the wrappers at Asian grocery stores.
So this says 50-100 spring roll wraps. I am going to make about 1200 egg rolls for a fundraiser and would love to know if the recipe is more for 50 or 100? Thanks.
It really depends on the size of the wrapper and how much filling you add – but I’d say I usually get closer to 65 or so.
So excited to see a version of egg rolls like my own!!! My friend from Vietnam showed me how way back in Middle School. They were exactly like this except with ground beef! Amazing! Haven’t tried any other recipe because none have ever come close in taste to hers. Thank you!
This is my base recipe for awesome egg rolls. Thank you….today was my eighth batch maybe! I’m getting better!
Way to go! So happy you like this recipe!
I love this filling, but has anyone had problems with them splitting open when you fry them. My mixture seemed overly wet. I am having to double wrap my first batch. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
If you’re not going to eat them right away, I suggest letting them drain in a colander for like 30 mins to an 1 hour in the fridge. I usually don’t make mine right away so I let them drain overnight and pour the liquidity goodness at the bottom of the bowl over them a couple of times then in the morning they’re ready for wrapping and frying. It really enhances the flavor of the filling and it’s not that wet when wrapping so I can wrap them tighter without them breaking on me.
Thanks for the insight and advice!
Looks way yummy!!! I’ll have to try the sauce next time I make some. I was surprised to see that the TYJ spring roll wrappers were egg free haha. They are the only wrappers my mother and I use when we make egg rolls.
Here are a couple of things I discovered while making my own:
– Since we have an egg allergy in the family, you can actually seal the wrappers with using just water.
– I bake my egg rolls. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet with oil, put egg rolls on and lightly grease the tops of egg rolls. Bake for 13-15 minutes then broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the tops. They get crispy this way without using a bunch of oil.
I LOVE egg rolls. I had to stop because of gestational diabetes but now I can make them again! Too bad I can’t make them weekly anymore. They take me forever to make and I don’t have that kind of time for a while with a newborn. Thanks for the recipe!!
I forgot to add that I cook the meat mixture first before wrapping then bake the egg rolls in an oven at around 380ish for 13-15 minutes.
Great! I have a stash in the freezer since the recipe makes so many, but I will definitely be making it again. The sweet chili sauce is especially yummy with them.
I made these today after discovering them on your site. They are delicious! I do have a question about them, though. Are they supposed to be mostly meat filled or more like a traditional egg roll with mostly vegetable and bits of meat? I’m wondering if maybe I didn’t add enough cabbage. just want to make sure if I did them correctly before I make them again.
Yes, these are definitely on the “meaty” side of egg rolls.
Oh my these look delicious!
I was wondering… is there any way these can be made by using only an oven? Would you have any advice as to how you might do that? I hate battling with oil on a stove top!
Katie – I’ve never tried baking these because I hate to admit it, but they are so delicious fried. However, if you want to try it, maybe 400 degrees for 15-30 minutes? You really want to make sure that filling gets cooked through. Good luck!
I’ve tried this 2x so far, with hamburger & with pork. Pork turns out MUCH tastier! I am rather the opposite of your husband, this has too many noodles & not enough cabbage for me! 🙂 I think next time I make these I’m going to omit the noodles altogether & double the amount of cabbage. My hubby & I make these on nights we have off together, I’m on filling/rolling duty & he fries them up. We halve the recipe & get 38 egg rolls, plenty to freeze for us to reheat at our ease.
Hi everyone! I come from a Vietnamese family and I am the first generation living in the U.S. My mother and I used to make these all the time growing up, especially when parties came around. One piece of advice I would give to all the viewers is when you wrap the eggrolls, make sure you wrap it tightly. I noticed in the pictures that the end pieces of the wrapper started to come loose while they were frying, thus making it puff a little. To avoid this, after you fold over the bottom corner over the meat, press down very firmly where the two side corners and the meat meet and fold them over tightly, it should look like an envelope that starts going narrow at the top. Continue to roll up and do not be afraid to use a lot of the egg to seal it tight!
I really love the sound of this, will have to give it a try, I am thinking Chicken mince and beef? We’re a no pork house, these would be great for a party, easy dinner for the kids etc especially if you have a stash in the freezer.
Thanks so much for going the hard yards and getting the recipe, I know I struggle with the measurements too – everything savoury is usually just a bit of this and a bit of that 😀
Fabulous! Thank you! My husband (who is Chinese) has been after to me to make my own egg rolls. I can’t wait to surprise him at dinner with these.
Maggie – I’ve tried it both ways but prefer to fill the egg rolls with the raw meat mixture. The texture, to me, is a bit better than browning the meat before filling the wrappers.
Do you brown the meat before mixing it?
I live about 20 miles away from a Woodmans–great, I’m on it! Thanks….
Fran – hmmm, I don’t have access to those markets! I find the Asian ingredients at Woodmans around here and sometimes Festival Foods.
Mel, down here in the Chicago area, the local supermarkets are Jewel, Dominick’s Meijer’s, Butera, and Fresh Market. We also have Costco. Per chance, are any of these the same stores you found them up by you? Happy 2012!
Hi Mel! Why I didn’t just come here first when searching for a recipe I’ll never know – you always come through for me. I’ll be making these this weekend. I don’t think I’ve ever had an egg roll with vermicelli in it. Can’t wait.
Mmmm…we lived near a Hmong community in my hometown, and the egg rolls were to die for. This brings back memories, I can’t wait to try it out.
BTW just wanted to point out that the Hmong people are remarkably sensitive about how their culture name is spelled/pronounced. It’s spelled Hmong, not Muong, and the “h” is silent. I’ve seen them drop contact with people for spelling it wrong, so I thought I’d let you know.
Is the meat suppose to be cooked or uncooked? I just made these with uncooked meat, but I’m not sure that was right.
Hi Lisa – I’ve made this recipe both ways but I far prefer making them with the meat mixture uncooked. The texture is a lot more cohesive than if you cook the meat before mixing all the ingredients together.
I had the same question when reading the recipe – whether or not to use the meat cooked or not. Maybe you could tweak the recipe to read using/mixing raw meat. Thanks!
I just happened upon this recipe and had to look. My sister is married to a man from Laos and her in laws taught her how to make THE BEST EGG ROLLS. I wanted to compare and this is exactly how she makes them (or close they never measured either). My sister and I will make up like 100-150 of these at a time. Then freeze them and microwave in a hurry or for just as good as fresh pop them in the oven! They are so delicious. The dipping sauce is the same too and so good. (Have you ever used it as salad dressing-Mmmm) My problem is finding the wrappers. My sister gets them at an Asian store back home. Has anyone had any luck at regular grocery stores. Melanie is definitely right about egg roll wraps not being the same.
Hi Crystal – I have found the spring roll wrappers at two of the grocery stores in my area. One of them has them in the cooler at the end of the Asian foods aisle and the other has them in the frozen foods section next to the frozen pie crusts and such.
I’ve made these a few times and flash froze them, then put each in a snack bag and then put all in a freezer bag. My son loved them when he was in high school and would take 3 or 4 a day and microwave them (out of the snack bag, wrapped in paper towel) for his lunch 🙂 I work with quite a few Hmong (how they spell it LOL) ladies and they taught me to stand them up in a dutch oven lined with paper towels to drain. Works great!!
Elizabeth – you are full of great tips! Thanks!
Mel, When you say two packages vermicelli what sized packages do you use. The ones I found in the grocery store were about 3 times the size of the packages I found at the local Asian market.
Hi. I have phyllo dough in my freezer and am looking for something to make with it. Can I use that for this recipe? I’m not sure what the difference is between phyllo dough and spring roll wrappers. Thanks!
Stacy – unfortunately, I don’t think phyllo dough will substitute well for the spring roll wrappers. It’s a bit too fragile. Spring roll wrappers are more like a very thinly rolled sheet of pasta.
Hi Mel! Have you made these egg rolls all the way and then froze them? Can I fry them and then freeze them for fast lunches? Should I just roll them and then freeze them? Thanks!
Hillary – I’ve never frozen these egg rolls prior to frying them. I’d probably opt to fry them, let them cool and then freeze them so they could be reheated in the oven/micro for a fast lunch.
I have a very similar story, i lived in Minnesota and I had a neighbor that was from Laos. She always cooked for me and had the best egg rolls, similar to the ones you make. I moved away but we use to make them together, we would make about 100 at a time. In answering the question, you can definitely freeze them. I recently went back to visit and my dear friend made 60 of them to take back on the plane.
If you’re going to freeze them before frying, just make sure you cook your meat before you put it into your mixture. I have frozen them before frying and they come out just fine
Oh my gosh, these are the best! My husband has fond memories of Vietnamese egg rolls made by a member of his church for a church festival. He had talked about these great egg rolls for years. When I came across your recipe, I had to give it a try. I followed the recipe exactly. It was like going back in time for him. The whole family devoured these. We even froze some of the mixture to fry at a later time. That worked great! We will definitely make these again and again. I want to have company over just so I have an excuse to make them soon. These are better than restaurant quality. Many, many thanks!!
Anonymous – I just made these this week, too! They are hands down my favorite egg roll recipe – in fact, I don’t even try other recipes because I like this one so much. I’m so glad that this was a hit with you and your family! I was thrilled to read your comment, thanks!
Oh, you have read my mind!! I was just craving egg rolls today! These sound wonderful!
Melanie – In response to your question about the butternut squash bread – it’s not sweet. I actually ate quite a few sandwiches with it, and loved it!
I’m your newest blog stalker. I really love your recipes. Not crazy stuff, but things that sound good, look good, and aren’t so froofy. >>I made these last night for us and a friend’s family. We both really enjoyed them. Although next time, I will probably play with the recipe a little to fit our tastes (my husband wants more cabbage and I’ll use less oyster sauce or salt next time–something was a little too salty for me). But I enjoyed the muong bean threads and the spring roll wrappers. Next time I’ll have to get the sweet chili sauce. Do you know if it’s hot?
Hi Jenn – I love that you have been trying recipes and commenting back. It means a lot so thank you. I’m glad you liked these, although, I agree that the recipe can be tweaked to your tasting and it sounds like you’ll be able to revamp it to suit your family’s tastes more.>>As for the sweet chili sauce – the kind I buy isn’t spicy at all. It is perfectly balanced with sweet and heat. I wish I had some in the cupboard and I could tell you the exact brand but I can’t remember what it is called. I found it at a local Asian market but I’ve also seen a similar style of sauce in the Asian section of my average grocery store. I would highly recommend it with these egg rolls!
Wow these look great! Freshly made egg rolls are the best!