Crispy Baked Spring Rolls have flaky, crunchy shells and are filled with savory pork, cabbage, and noodles. Baking these in the oven is not only healthier but makes it easier to bake a large batch all at once.
Many years ago I made oven-baked vegetarian spring rolls and pretty much swore off ever frying spring rolls again. I’ll eat the fried ones if someone else makes them, but I’ll pass on the mess in my own kitchen. Except for baking instead of frying, this recipe stays pretty true to the spring rolls with pork that are known as paw pia tod in Thailand and are similar to lumpia in the Philippines and chia gio in Vietnam. They are great served on their own or with your favorite dipping sauce.
They can be made ahead, are freezer-friendly, and are great for serving to a crowd (perhaps for a certain big game coming up this weekend). Or as is the case with most things in early 2021…for sharing with anyone who lives in your house.
- Spring Roll Wrappers – Make sure to get the spring roll wrappers that are made with flour, not rice paper wrappers which are for fresh (not baked) spring / summer rolls. I like the larger square size TYJ Spring Roll Pastry which are often sold frozen in packs of 25. Defrost completely before using.
- Thin Rice Noodles – Be sure that you grab the very thin noodles made of rice, often called rice vermicelli or rice sticks (see photo below). Pad Thai noodles are too thick for spring rolls.
- Ground Pork – Pre-cooked ground pork gives these substance and flavor. They would also be great with other ground meat like turkey or ground chicken or with a vegetarian meat-substitute.
- Coleslaw Mix – This is the vegetable element in the filling and is cooked until it is soft and slightly silky. Look for a mix that includes both cabbage and carrots for the most color and flavor in the filling.
- Oyster Sauce – This rich sauce has a consistency and color similar to molasses and is the “secret” flavor in many great Asian vegetable stir-fry dishes. It is widely available in the international aisle of most grocery stores. It is made with oysters, so if you need an alternative, look for vegetarian “oyster” sauce that is made with mushrooms and still has a rich, savory flavor.
- Garlic, Ground Coriander – These add extra flavor to the filling.
- Egg – Whisked egg acts as the “glue” to hold the wrappers together.
- Oil – You’ll need a high heat-approved cooking oil that is brushed over the spring rolls to help them crisp up as they bake. Vegetable, grapeseed, or avocado oil work well here.
How to Make Spring Rolls Ahead
Spring rolls can be made ahead and reheated whenever you’re ready to serve them. For best results, bake them according to recipe instructions up to a day ahead. You don’t want the wrappers to dry out (this can lead to the spring rolls cracking or bursting when baked), so it’s best to go ahead and bake them in advance. Allow them to cool completely and then refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, just reheat in a 400°F / 204°C oven until warmed through, 5 to 10 minutes.
How to Freeze Spring Rolls
Spring Rolls freeze very well, so make a big batch and then bake them straight from the freezer to the oven.
To freeze: Make the spring rolls according to recipe instructions and then bake for half the listed time (so bake for 12 minutes instead of 25). Remove from oven and cool completely. Freeze flat on a sheet pan until solid, 3 to 4 hours, and then transfer to a freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 6 months.
To reheat: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place frozen spring rolls on a sheet pan that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until spring rolls are heated through and very crisp, 12 to 20 minutes.
- Make it Vegetarian – Swap in more vegetables (sliced mushrooms work great) or vegetarian soy crumbles for the pork to make this a vegetarian spring roll. Look for vegetarian “oyster” sauce made with mushrooms so that you still get all the rich umami flavor.
- Try Different Dipping Sauces – Use any of your favorite dipping sauces for these spring rolls. Sweet Thai Chili Sauce is classic, but I love them with Peanut Sauce, and even with non-Thai sauces like Avocado Crema!
More Thai Snacks and Appetizers
- Thai Chicken Satay
- Thai-Style Grilled Chicken (Gai Yang)
- Thai-Style Meatballs with Pork and Rice
- Thai Shrimp Bites with Peanut-Lime Dipping Sauce
- A Variation on Thai Golden Bags (Thung Tong)
- Lemongrass Basil Snack Mix
- Half Sheet Pans
- All Clad Saucepan
- Cutting Board
- 6-inch Global Knife
- Wok or Skillet
- Silicone Basting Brush
Crispy Baked Spring Rolls
- Cutting Board
- Half Sheet Pans
- Wok or skillet
- 3 oz Thin Rice Noodles (look for rice vermicelli or rice sticks; do not use Pad Thai-style noodles)
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil, plus more for brushing on top
- 1 lb Ground Pork
- 2 Tbsp Oyster Sauce (can substitute soy sauce, but oyster sauce will give you the most flavor)
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Ground Coriander
- 4 cups Coleslaw Mix (4 cups = 10 oz coleslaw mix; look for a mix that includes both cabbage and carrots if available)
- 20 Spring Roll Wrappers, large square size (see note)
- 1 Egg, beaten
- Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°F / 204°C. Spray a large rimmed sheet pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Prepare noodles according to package directions, being careful not to overcook. Drain and then spread out on a cutting board and chop into 3 inch sections (or use kitchen shears to chop).
- Line a sheet pan (separate from the one you prepared for baking) or large platter with paper towels (this is where you'll transfer the filling to cool and drain).
- In a wok or skillet over medium heat, heat vegetable oil until shimmering. Add pork and sauté, breaking it apart, until nearly cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Add oyster sauce, garlic, ground coriander, and coleslaw mix. Cook everything together until cabbage is very tender, 6 to 8 minutes more. (If the pan looks dry at any point, add a splash of water and continue cooking.)
- Add noodles to pork / cabbage mixture and continue cooking everything together until the pan is mostly dry and everything is evenly combined, ~2 minutes more.
- While the filling cools, peel the wrappers apart and line them up so they are slightly overlapping. (They can be slightly sticky, so it's easiest to do this with clean hands before filling.) Cover with a slightly damp paper towel to prevent drying out.
- Working with one spring roll wrapper at a time, place it on a flat surface with one corner facing you. Use a brush or your index finger to dab beaten egg around the edges. Fill the bottom half of the wrapper about 3 Tbsp of filling (do not overfill or they will split when baking). Fold the bottom part of the wrapper over the filling. Fold the left and right corners over the filling. Roll the spring roll securely up from the bottom to the top, making sure the filling is completely enclosed.
- Place spring rolls on prepared pan, leaving some space between them.
- When all of the spring rolls are on the pan, brush the tops and sides with oil.
- Bake spring rolls until golden brown and crisp, ~25 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through cooking.
- Serve immediately with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce.
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