Golden, crispy perfection on the outside gives way to a burst of vibrant, rice noodles and tender fresh vegetables inside. Nope, this isn't a dream – it’s your favorite part of Thai takeout! The best part is that this Thai spring roll recipe is naturally vegan, and takes less than 30 mins to whip up!
It took quite some hours in the kitchen for me to get these turning out this perfectly, but here is what I was looking for in the perfect Thai spring roll recipe: It has to be easy, lightning fast, and of course, undeniably delicious.
The end result of a heck of a lot of testing is a recipe that is straightforward, foolproof, with easily customizable spice levels. Totally different from the soft rice paper Vietnamese spring rolls (gỏi cuốn), these crispy lil’ babies make an unbeatable side for soups like Tom Kha, and noodle dishes like pad kee mao, and pad woon sen!
Feel the excitement yet? Once you make these and fall in love forever with them, don’t keep this delicious secret to yourself – share the joy with friends and family. Let the bomb spring roll party begin!
🥰Why will love this recipe
✊ Vegan AF: Like all of my vegan Thai recipes, this crispy-as-heck Thai spring roll recipe is proudly made without any animal-based ingredients. No fish paste, shrimp, chicken stock, or other dead animals can be found here!
🥕 Fresh and Crunchy Goodness: The secret to the unrivaled crunch in these spring rolls? It's all in the veggies! The combination of finely shredded napa cabbage, bean sprouts, and grated carrot adds vibrant colors and guarantees that every bite is a crispy, fresh delight. Never mess with a soggy spring roll ever again!
Unlike summer rolls, they don't require any fresh herbs, which means you can easily make the recipe year 'round, even without access to Thai basil.
🔥 Foolproof Frying Technique: Achieving that golden, crispy exterior might sound like a culinary challenge, but fear not! The foolproof pan frying technique in this recipe, and options for using an air-fryer ensure that your spring rolls turn out perfectly every time without making a nasty mess, or using wayyyyy too much oil.
✅ Tested and Approved Worldwide: Like all of my vegan recipes, these traditional Thai spring rolls aren't just a product of my kitchen fantasies – they have also been tested and approved by a giant global squad of dedicated recipe testers. This great recipe works super-reliably, and people love it so darned much.
🥬Notable ingredients and substitutions
These thin rice noodles, bring a delightful chewy texture to the spring roll filling. These are the same noodles you would stir fry in making bihun goreng, or use in Ketoprak salad. If you can't find rice vermicelli, feel free to substitute with glass noodles instead.
Adding a crisp and refreshing element to the filling, bean sprouts (known as Giá in Thai) contribute a satisfying and clean crunch that nicely contrasts with the cooked exterior of the rolls. If you have some left over, they are great to use in bami goreng, banh trang tron (Vietnamese rice paper salad), and vegan kimchi fried rice.
Napa cabbage provides a mild, sweet flavor and a tender yet crisp texture it's the best cabbage to use to make vegan kimchi with too). If you have to substitute with another cabbage, savoy is the best option. Otherwise, if you need to use regular ol’ green cabbage, just make sure to shred it as thin as you can so that is becomes tender when cooked.
Grated carrot adds a burst of color and natural sweetness to the filling. Didja just buy a massive bag, and you only need like one carrot for this particular recipe? Use up a bunch by making this killer roasted carrot lentil soup and Indian carrot pickle, ya big goof!
Bird’s Eye Chilies
Totally optional in this recipe, these tiny powerhouses deliver intense heat to dishes like Indonesian sambal goreng kentang, urap sayur salad, and Filipino tofu sisig. Sliced thinly, they add the perfect flavorful kick to the spring roll filling. Handle with care! Of course, you can leave ‘em out completely if you aren’t into spicy stuff.
Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
This plant-based substitute for traditional oyster sauce contributes a deep, savory flavor to the filling. It's a versatile umami booster made from mushrooms and soy that makes simple recipes like this one, or Filipino Sitaw an effortless hit. If vegetarian oyster sauce is not available, hoisin sauce or a vegan fish sauce can be excellent alternatives.
Frozen Spring Roll Wrappers
Convenient and readily available at Asian grocery stores, these frozen pastry sheets are the vessel for the delicious filling. Don’t use egg roll wrappers (which, I know this is gonna be a shocker, but as the name egg rolls suggests, they contain eggs!).
When thawed, they become pliable and easy to work with. If unavailable, rice paper wrappers can be used as a gluten-free alternative (they have to be soaked in warm water briefly to become pliable), providing a slightly different texture when fried. Wonton wrappers are theoretically a good substitute, but they will make the tiniest rolls on this side of Chiang Mai.
*See the recipe card at the bottom of the page for exact quantities, nutritional info, and detailed cooking directions.
Tom Yum Tofu Spring Rolls:
Fry or roast thin strips of tofu and shiitake mushrooms and smother them in tom yum paste. Once cool, mince that good stuff up and add it to the filling along with fresh cilantro leaves, and aromatic Thai basil.
Red Curry Seitan Spring Rolls:
That’s right mommy! This vegan fried spring roll business is not a game. Pan fry some minced bits of my vegan chicken with white pepper in sesame oil and homemade red curry paste. Once lightly golden, add that to the filling along with some very thinly sliced makrut lime leaves. This is some seriously legendary stuff.
📖 How to nail this Thai spring roll recipe
Make these better than any restaurant your first time by following these step-by-step instructions with helpful tips. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
Vermicelli Bath Time
Soak rice vermicelli in warm water for 10 minutes until soft.
Chop Softened Noodles:
After softening, dump the noodles in a colander or wire mesh strainer and cut the drained noodles into 2 cm sections.
Combine vermicelli, bean sprouts, napa cabbage, carrot, green onion, garlic, and optional chilies in a bowl. Add vegetarian oyster sauce, sweetener, and tamari. Mix well.
✅You can give the filling a light squeeze as you mix it by hand to help the flavors penetrate and tenderize the cabbage and bean sprouts.
Roll ‘Em Up:
Lay one wrapper out on a dry flat surface at a time, keeping the rest covered in a damp cloth so they don't dry out. Place 2 tablespoons of filling on each spring roll sheet in the center near one edge of the pastry. Fold the sides in over the filling and roll it up tightly. Just before sealing the end around the roll, brush it lightly with water to help it stay secure while frying.
Fry Spring Rolls:
Heat oil over medium-high heat. After 2 minutes, pan fry until golden in the hot oil, turning carefully as needed to get all sides golden.
✅Air Fry Option: Follow appliance instructions, use cooking spray, and make sure to leave a little room between each spring roll while air frying. In most air fryers, this should take about 8 minutes.
Drain Excess Oil:
Place spring rolls on a wire rack suspended over a baking pan to drip dry and cool slightly. This way, having air all around the spring rolls as they dry, they will be crispier when served.
I mean, think about it, if you just place them on a kitchen towel to wipe off extra grease, heat and moisture accumulate under the rolls, and the bottom side can end up soggy and greasy.
Serve Hot with Dipping Sauce:
Enjoy fresh Thai Spring Rolls with your favorite dipping sauce. Some great side sauce options are vegan nuoc cham, nam prik pao, and nam jim jaew. You will love my Vietnamese peanut sauce recipe that just requires peanut butter and a few easy-to-find ingredients.
This vegan spring roll recipe is the life of the Thai, Vietnamese, or Indonesian party.
Let the crispy rolls balance the umami richness of Vietnamese stir-fried soy sauce noodles, and the aromatic notes and fluffy texture of bánh bao chay, vegetable steamed buns. They are also fantastic alongside a steaming hot bowl of mee rebus, a vegan Malaysian noodle dish with sweet potato curry.
Because they are crispy, they make a great accompaniment to soups, so you can dip ‘em in! The most popular soups on my blog you can check out to serve these with are my vegan chicken noodle soup, Korean tofu soup, and sayur lodeh, a coconut vegetable curry stew from Indonesia.
- Noodle Nirvana: Don’t be a fool and boil the noods! Ensure your rice vermicelli reaches its full potential by not over-soaking. Aim for a slightly firmer texture after the initial soak, as the noodles will continue to soften during the assembly and cooking process. This ensures a perfect balance – not too mushy in the rolls, but still pliable for easy wrapping.
- Don’t let the pastry dry out: Like working with phyllo dough when making vegan baklava, it’s essential not to let the thin pastry sheets dry out, which will make them useless to wrap with. Keep your stack of wrappers covered with a damp cloth as you fill the rolls.
- Rolling Rhythm: When assembling the spring rolls, make sure they are tight and brush the ends with water to secure the filling ingredients. If you end up with a tear, you can wrap the whole roll in another pastry sheet to ensure it doesn’t burst or allow oil to enter while frying. Fry them as soon as you have them wrapped so the filling doesn’t make the pastry soggy, and more likely to burst during cooking.
- Wrapper Whispers: Handle the spring roll wrappers with care, especially when flipping them in the pan. Not overcrowding the pan makes it easier to flip them without accidentally causing tears. Consider frying them in a few batches, maybe 4-6 at a time.
🤷♀️ Recipe FAQs
Once cooled, store the spring rolls in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For optimum freshness, consume within three days.
If you want to save some for later, freeze the spring rolls in a single layer on a baking sheet until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container with parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
If you freeze the spring rolls and want to eat some, the best option is to thaw the spring rolls in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Avoid thawing at room temperature to maintain the crispy texture. Otherwise, you can put them directly from the freezer into a 350°F (175°C) oven for 12 minutes until crisp and fully warmed through.
🔥 Stovetop Reheating:
For a crunchy exterior, warm the spring rolls on the stovetop. Heat a non-stick pan (don’t worry, that includes naturally non-stick pans like cast iron and ceramic pans) over medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Place the rolls in the pan, turning occasionally until heated through and crispy. This method typically takes 5-7 minutes.
🍲 Microwave Reheating:
To reheat in the microwave, place the spring rolls on a microwave-safe plate. Heat on medium power in 30-second intervals, turning between intervals until heated through. This method is quicker but may result in a slightly softer texture. Be cautious not to overheat to avoid sogginess.
Maintaining a consistent oil temperature around 350°F (180°C) ensures optimal crispiness without excess oil absorption. If you want to deep fry rather than pan fry, I recommend using a frying thermometer to get an accurate and stable temperature. An air fryer also does a great job if you spray the rolls first with cooking spray.
For a gluten-free option in making this Thai Spring Rolls recipe, opt for pure rice paper wrappers. These wrappers are made solely from starchy rice, offering a wholesome gluten-free alternative. Some wrappers may include tapioca starch, which enhances flexibility. The main difference you will see when you fry them, is that the rice paper rolls containing tapioca will have a more stick-to-your-teeth mouthfeel.
For a sweet finale, indulge in Che Khoai Mon, Taro rice pudding, or the luscious Banh Flan, Vietnamese Vegan Crème Caramel. Indonesian desserts like klepon and bubur sumsum could be perfect if you want a nice, light, pandan-scented dessert.
✌️My faves to serve with this Thai spring roll recipe:
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Crispy Vegan Thai Spring Roll Recipe
- 100 g. rice vermicelli
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 cup napa cabbage finely shredded
- ½ cup carrot grated
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 bird’s eye chilies minced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- 2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoons sugar palm sugar, or coconut sugar
- 3 cups canola oil vegetable oil, or sunflower oil for frying (or cooking spray for air frying)
- 12 frozen spring roll wrappers
- water for sealing the rolls
- Place the rice vermicelli in a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow the noodles to hydrate for 10 minutes until soft and pliable.
- Once the noodles are soft, drain them and chop into 2 cm. sections.
- In a large bowl, combine the drained and cut vermicelli with the bean sprouts, finely shredded napa cabbage, grated carrot, thinly sliced scallions, minced garlic and optional chilies. Mix in the vegetarian oyster sauce, your choice of sweetener and tamari. Mix the ingredients until well combined.
- For assembly, lay out your spring roll pastry sheets on a clean, dry surface. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture onto the center of the wrapper, placing it in the middle near one edge. Fold the sides of the wrapper over the filling, then roll tightly from the edge with the filling, sealing the roll with water.
- For frying, heat 3 cups of canola oil, vegetable oil, or sunflower oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Fry the spring rolls until golden brown and crispy, turning every minute or so as needed until golden all around.
- If you want to limit your personal consumption of oil, make these in your air fryer. Follow the appliance instructions for crispy results, using cooking spray, and make sure to leave some space between each spring roll.
- Once cooked, transfer the spring rolls to a wire rack to cool slightly and drip off excess oil.
- Serve the fresh spring rolls hot with homemade peanut sauce, nuoc cham, nam prik pao or your favorite dipping sauce.