Classic Chinese Egg Rolls

Classic Chinese Egg Rolls are a quintessential dish in Chinese cuisine, celebrated for their crispy exterior and savory, hearty filling. The journey of making these egg rolls starts with the preparation of the wrapper, a thin, delicate sheet made from a dough of flour, water, and sometimes eggs. This wrapper is key to achieving the signature crunch of the egg roll.

The filling is a melody of flavors and textures. Typically, it includes ground pork, which is cooked until browned and crumbly. To this, a variety of vegetables are added – commonly cabbage, carrots, and sometimes bean sprouts or bamboo shoots, all finely chopped or shredded. These vegetables are stir-fried with the pork, absorbing the flavors and adding a fresh, slightly crunchy texture to the filling. Seasonings like soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic are essential in imparting the rich, umami flavor that characterizes Chinese cuisine.

Assembling the egg rolls involves placing a portion of the filling onto the wrapper, then folding and rolling it neatly, ensuring the filling is securely encased. A dab of a flour and water mixture is often used to seal the edges, preventing the rolls from opening up during cooking.

The cooking of the egg rolls is another critical step. They are typically deep-fried in hot oil, which crisps up the wrapper to a golden-brown hue, creating a delightful contrast with the juicy, flavorful filling inside. The high heat of the oil also helps to cook the roll quickly, keeping the vegetables slightly crisp and vibrant.

Served hot, these egg rolls are often accompanied by dipping sauces like sweet and sour sauce, hoisin sauce, or a simple soy sauce-based dip. The experience of biting into a classic Chinese egg roll is a play of textures and flavors – the crackling, golden exterior giving way to the succulent, richly flavored filling, making it a beloved dish in both traditional and modern Chinese cuisine. It’s a perfect appetizer or side dish, embodying the harmony and balance of flavors that are the hallmarks of Chinese culinary arts.

Makes about 12 egg rolls


12 egg roll wrappers

1 pound ground pork

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

4 thinly sliced scallions

2 minced garlic cloves

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

Vegetable oil for frying


Heat a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Cook the pork until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks.

Add cabbage, carrots, scallions, garlic, and ginger to the pork. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until vegetables soften.

Stir in soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat to cool.

Mix cornstarch and water to make a slurry for sealing the wrappers.

Place filling on each wrapper, fold, tuck in sides, roll tightly, and seal with the slurry.

Heat oil to 350°F (175°C). Fry egg rolls in batches until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Variations & Tips:

For a vegetarian version, use tofu or shiitake mushrooms.

Add Chinese five-spice powder for extra flavor.

For a healthier option, bake the egg rolls instead of frying.

Ensure the filling is not too moist to avoid soggy wrappers.

The rolling technique may take practice but contributes to the perfect crunch.

Indulge in these homemade egg rolls, a culinary expression of heritage and creativity. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, the process of making egg rolls is as rewarding as savoring them. Enjoy the harmonious blend of flavors and textures that make this dish a timeless classic.

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