Egg Roll vs. Spring Roll: What’s the Difference?

by Charlie
Difference Between Egg Roll and Spring Roll

Egg rolls and spring rolls are savory appetizers, side dishes, snacks, or a dim sum that are usually served warm, in steamed baskets or small plated servings. They are cylindrical in shape, with fillings encased in wrappers.

Their fillings are usually a mixture of meat and vegetables. But these also come in all-meat and all-vegetable varieties. For the meat, pork is the most popular choice. But some cooks also use beef, pork-beef mix, shrimp, and sausages. These are minced or finely chopped. For the vegetable, the popular choices are carrots, cabbage, bamboo shoots, capsicum, bean sprouts, scallions, and raisins.

Both egg rolls and spring rolls often get served with a dipping sauce. And the choices are varied, too. There’s duck sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire, peanut sauce, plum sauce, and sweet chili ketchup.

With all these similarities, it can be confusing to identify whether what you are enjoying is a plate of egg roll or spring roll. But there are clear differences between these two. What’s the difference? The main difference between an egg roll and a spring roll is the kind of wrapper used. An egg roll is wrapped in a thick, wheat flour wrapper which may or may not have egg as an ingredient. But a spring roll uses a thin, translucent flour or rice wrapper.

What are Other Differences Between an Egg Roll and a Spring Roll?

There are other differences between an egg roll and a spring roll. Firstly, they are different in size and appearance. Egg rolls are thicker than spring rolls because of the kind of wrapper used. Moreover, spring rolls are shorter in size compared to egg rolls. We should also mention that a lot of fried egg rolls have bubbly, crispy textures while fried spring roll wrappers are mostly smooth.

Secondly, they differ in preparation. Egg rolls are most commonly prepared deep fried. While spring rolls are also commonly cooked deep fried, they are often served fresh or uncooked, and sometimes steamed.But both egg rolls and spring rolls can be baked.

Thirdly, they differ in filling. There seems to be no fixed rule on what to use as filling for an egg roll and for a spring roll. But in the US, most egg roll fillings use a combination of meat and vegetables with cabbage as a main ingredient, while spring rolls are usually filled with vegetables.

In other countries, though, the fillings are purely preferential. You can even make egg rolls and spring rolls using the same fillings for both of them.

Fourthly, they differ in origins. Egg rolls are common menu items in American Chinese cuisine. Many believe that egg rolls are an American invention. Because the egg rolls we know and love eating today are much different from the traditional egg rolls found in earlier Chinese recipes. Those were more like omelet rolls or Gyen-Mari. The fillings were meat and vegetable, and they were wrapped in an egg omelet. They were fried and sliced to serve.

In times past, the Chinese were known to serve chūn juǎn, which means spring rolls in English. It used to be a seasonal dish in china, particularly served during Spring. Hence, the name Spring Rolls.

Lastly, egg rolls are always savory, but spring rolls are available in a sweet variety using sweet red bean as a filling.

Does an Egg Roll Taste Like a Spring Roll?

Yes, egg rolls and spring rolls can taste so much alike. Because even their wrappers are very similar in taste. So using an egg roll wrapper and a spring roll wrapper to encase exactly the same filling will likely result in exactly the same tasting egg roll and spring roll.

Can You Make Your Own Egg Rolls and Spring Rolls?

Yes, you can certainly make your own homemade egg rolls and spring rolls. Here is how you do it:

  1. Choose your wrapper. Are you in the mood for some long and thick egg rolls or short and thin spring rolls?
  2. Choose your meat filling. Season it with desired spices. Then pre-cook. Your meat filling should be at least 75% cooked.
  3. Choose your vegetable filling. Mince, finely chop, or grate your chosen vegetables. You may use a food chopper or processor if you have one. Lightly season it according to taste.
  4. Wrap, making sure that your filling is packed and tucked tightly inside the wrapper. You may wet the edges with little water or some egg white wash.
  5. Fry in medium high heat until light to golden brown. Make sure that the oil is well-heated and at the right temperature before you drop the pieces in. You want to quickly deep fry your egg rolls or spring rolls so they don’t absorb too much oil.
  6. Stand them up to drip on a rack or on paper towels.
  7. Serve them with or without a dipping sauce.

Alternatively, you may air fry them at around 392°F, depending on your air fryer’s performance. Turn the rolls over once they are light to golden brown. Then air fry for some more minutes until the other side of the egg rolls or spring rolls also turns light to golden brown.

You may also bake them in 392°F for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them over at the 10 or 15-minute mark. You might have to lightly brush the egg rolls or spring rolls with little oil before baking.

Did you know that you can freeze your prepared rolls to fry on another day? Keep them in an airtight bag and freeze. When you’re ready to cook, just take them out of the freezer and deep fry them straight away. There’s no need to thaw them.

Final Thoughts

  • Egg rolls are thicker and longer than spring rolls.
  • Egg rolls use thick wheat flour wrappers that may or may not have egg as an ingredient.
  • Spring rolls use thin flour or rice wrappers.
  • Egg rolls are mostly fried or baked, but spring rolls may be fried, baked, steamed, or served fresh.
  • Egg rolls always have a savory filling, but spring rolls may have a sweet filling.
  • Deep-fried egg rolls usually have a bubbly, crispy texture. But deep-fried spring rolls usually have a smooth texture.

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