Home World Cuisine Vegetable Egg Rolls (素春卷) – Omnivore’s Cookbook

Vegetable Egg Rolls (素春卷) – Omnivore’s Cookbook

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These vegetable egg rolls combine the pleasant crunch of the fried shell with the freshness of the garden. A savory, sweet, sour dipping sauce takes them up a notch and makes for an appetizer that’s just fun to eat, and perfect for hosting and other celebrations. {Vegetarian}

Chinese fried vegetable egg rolls close up

There’s something very satisfying about biting into a homemade egg roll, especially when it’s freshly fried and golden crispy. You can hear it, and you can feel it, as you bite into the egg roll. The shell of the egg roll shatters, and then you sink your teeth into the savory filling inside. It’s a small joy you can experience and easily share with your family, simply by making your egg rolls at home.

Not your ordinary takeout egg rolls

Egg rolls, as they are known in the US, are probably familiar to you if you’ve had American-Chinese takeout. My vegetable egg rolls have the same name and a few ingredients in common, but I promise – these are so much better. 

Also, my vegetable egg rolls use some more authentic ingredients than most takeout places. Wood ear mushrooms and mung bean vermicelli add some really fun textures to the filling. Though you may need to swing by your Asian market or shop online to find them.

For those outside the US who may be confused by the term “egg rolls”, I’m referring in this post to fried “chūn juǎn” (春卷), literally meaning “spring rolls” in Chinese. This dish is commonly referred to as spring rolls throughout the non-US English-speaking world, as well.

Zha Quan Juan (炸春卷)

Vegetable egg rolls for Chinese New Year

Egg rolls, given their association with springtime in China, are a perfect treat to serve for Chinese New Year. The holiday is a celebration of the coming spring and often called “Spring Festival”, (春节, chūn jié) in Chinese.

Egg rolls aren’t limited to being eaten at Chinese New Year, though they are extra popular then. And while they are most common in the South (Guangdong, Fujian) and East (Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang), I even love them as a northerner.

Vegetable spring roll ingredients

There are a handful of ingredients that may require a special trip or online order, but they’re essential to getting the authentic Chinese experience:

Egg roll wrappers 

The package may say “spring roll pastry” or “egg roll shell” or similar. It should be in the frozen section of your grocery store or Asian market. The wrappers might not contain egg and should be wheat flour based. The wrappers should be square-shaped. Do NOT use Vietnamese rice paper wrappers for this recipe.

Spring roll wrappers

Wood ear mushrooms

They typically come dried and need to be rehydrated, though you may be able to buy them fresh. They add a delightful firm crunch to the filling.

Mung bean vermicelli 

This will add texture and absorb lots of flavor, making the filling umami-rich. It may also be called “bean threads”. It should be very thin, not the wide type. This is different from rice vermicelli and sweet potato vermicelli, but you can also use them as a replacement.  

Vegetarian oyster sauce and Chinkiang vinegar 

These two ingredients go in the dipping sauce. The vegetarian oyster sauce gives a deep, mushroomy umami and the vinegar has a nice malty tartness.

Mise en place

When you’re ready to cook, you should have prepared:

  • Shredded cabbage, julienned carrot, sliced wood ear mushrooms, and chopped scallions, each in separate bowls
  • Cooked or rehydrated (as per package instructions) mung bean vermicelli, drained
  • Minced ginger and garlic
  • Salt, sugar, white pepper, and sesame oil, all measured out
  • Spring roll wrappers, thawed, with a couple of damp paper towels handy to cover the wrappers and finished rolls, to prevent drying out
  • A small bowl of water (not pictured) for sealing the rolls
Ingredients for making vegetable egg rolls
Chinese fried vegetable egg rolls with dipping sauce

How to make vegetable egg rolls

Prepare the filling

For this recipe, you’ll cook the filling before wrapping the rolls, so the frying process won’t need to cook all the veggies inside.

  1. Saute the green onion and ginger
  2. Cook the carrot and wood ear mushrooms
  3. Stir fry the cabbage and the seasonings
  4. Add the mung bean noodles to soak up the sauce
How to make vegetable egg rolls step-by-step

Wrap and cook the egg rolls

Wrapping egg rolls are easy:

  1. Add the filling onto the egg roll wrapper
  2. Roll up the wrapper from the bottom
  3. Fold both sides of like making an envelope
  4. Roll the wrapper upward 
  5. Seal the wrapper by dipping the edge with some water
  6. Fry the eggs rolls until golden brown
How to wrap vegetable egg rolls step-by-step

Tips for frying the eggs rolls

  1. Heat enough oil so that the rolls will float, in a deep, heavy skillet or pot. So the egg rolls will be cooked evenly.
  2. Aiming to keep it at 350°F or 170°C. If the temperature is too high, the wrapper will turn too dark. If the temperature is too low, the wrapper will soak up a lot of oil and taste greasy. 
  3. Once the oil is hot, you’ll want to fry the rolls in small batches, to prevent crowding and sticking, and sudden drop of oil temperature. 

How to store and reheat

These vegetable egg rolls store and reheat quite well, but I recommend frying them before storing them. You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, and a 350°F or 170°C oven should get them nice and crispy all over again. Just keep an eye out, so you don’t overbrown them while reheating.

Final Thoughts

Egg rolls, aka spring rolls, are one of my favorite Chinese appetizers, and they’re fun to make and eat. These vegetable egg rolls give you a satisfying and flavorful vegetarian option for them. If you’re looking for a party snack for Chinese New Year or some other festive occasion, give these a try!

Chinese fried vegetable egg rolls cut open

More Vegetarian Chinese New Year recipes

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These vegetable egg rolls combine the pleasant crunch of the fried shell with the freshness of the garden. A savory, sweet, sour dipping sauce takes them up a notch and makes for an appetizer that’s just fun to eat, and perfect for hosting and other celebrations. {Vegetarian}

Vegetable Egg Rolls (素春卷)

These vegetable egg rolls combine the pleasant crunch of the fried shell with the freshness of the garden. A savory, sweet, sour dipping sauce takes them up a notch and makes for an appetizer that’s just fun to eat, and perfect for hosting and other celebrations. {Vegetarian}

Author: Maggie Zhu

Course: Appetizer

Cuisine: Chinese

Keyword: chinese new year

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6 (make 18 rolls)


Egg rolls

  • 2 tablespoons dried wood ear mushrooms (*Footnote 1)
  • 1/2 bundle (1.8 oz / 50 g) mung bean vermicelli (*Footnote 2)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 4 cups cabbage , shredded
  • 1 cup carrot , shredded
  • 4 scallions , sliced
  • 1 thumb ginger , minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 pack spring roll wrappers , thawed if using frozen
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)


Prepare the filling

  • Add the wood ear mushrooms into a small bowl and add hot water to cover. Let rehydrate for 15 minutes or until fully softened. Drain and slice the mushrooms into thin pieces. It should be around 1/2 cup once sliced.

  • Cook or soak the vermicelli according to package directions. Once done, drain and cut into 1” (2.5 cm) pieces.

  • Add the peanut oil in a large frying pan and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add the ginger and scallion. Stir a few times to release fragrance.

  • Add the rehydrated wood ear mushrooms, cabbage and carrot. Cook and stir until it just starts to soften.

  • Sprinkle it with salt, sugar and white pepper. Mix well. Transfer everything to a big bowl.

  • Add the rehydrated vermicelli and the sesame oil. Mix well.

Assemble the egg rolls

  • Place the spring roll wrappers onto a cutting board. Cover with damp paper towels to prevent them from drying out. Place a small bowl of water nearby.

  • Work on the spring rolls one at a time: gently peel a spring roll wrapper from the stack and place it on the working surface, a pointed end facing you. Add 2 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of the wrapper. Fold the lower part of the wrapper upward to cover the filling. Tuck and roll the filling tightly upward until half way through. Fold the both sides in to secure the filling inside like an envelope. Keep rolling the filling tightly upward until it forms a roll. Rub some water onto the top point of the wrap. Gently fold and push to seal the roll. Place the roll onto a tray, seam side down. Continue working on the rest of the rolls in the same way.

  • When you finish assembling half of the rolls, cover them with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. Continue to work on the rest of the rolls.

Cook the egg rolls

  • Add enough oil into a deep pan for frying. Heat over medium high heat until the oil reaches 350°F (170°C). Place a cooling rack over a baking tray and set it near the stove.

  • Fry spring rolls in small batches without crowding the pan too much. Fry until the bottom side turns pale golden. Flip and continue to fry, until both sides are golden. Turn to medium heat if the rolls turn golden too fast. Transfer the rolls to the strainer to drain and render the extra oil. When the next batch of rolls is cooked, move the ones from the strainer to a plate. Continue cooking the rest of the rolls.

  • Serve hot as an appetizer with dipping sauce. If you prefer a spicier taste, you can also add your favorite hot sauce.


  1. Wood ear mushrooms add a nice texture to the dish. You can use 1 heaping cup of sliced white mushrooms to replace the wood ear mushrooms.
  2. Vermicelli noodles add texture to the egg rolls but you should not use too much. Once soaked, you can mix half of the vermicelli in and taste the filling to see if you like the texture. Maybe you don’t need to use the full amount.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 227kcal, Carbohydrates: 27.7g, Protein: 4.7g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 350mg, Potassium: 304mg, Fiber: 5.3g, Sugar: 4.5g, Calcium: 78mg, Iron: 4mg

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