There are two kinds of spring rolls you'll commonly see in restaurants. One is the tight little fried cylinders, all crisp and golden. These use a wheat-based dough as an outer wrapper. The other is wrapped with rice paper and is usually served uncooked. Depending on the restaurant, you might also see them called Vietnamese rolls, summer rolls or simply "fresh" spring rolls. Although they're normally eaten as is, without frying or baking, there's no reason you can't use the rice paper wrappers to make a baked roll. It's an easy way to make them gluten free, or – since you can eat them raw or cooked – you can keep just one kind of wrapper on hand instead of two. Either way, it's an easy and convenient option.

Avoid Juicy Ingredients

Putting together a baked spring roll is a bit different from making them fresh. When you're going to be eating them cold, you'll want to load them up with crunchy, juicy vegetables and maybe some freshly cooked noodles. You might even opt to drizzle a bit of sauce over the ingredients before you roll them up. When you're baking the rolls, that's a bad idea because the excess liquid will cook out and make the wrappers soggy. They might even blow out, if there's too much steam trying to escape. For cooked wraps, you're better sticking with vegetables like shredded carrot or cabbage or even using a filling that's precooked and then cooled.

Roll Them Up

To make the spring rolls, set out your filling ingredients, rice paper wrappers and a bowl of hot water on your work space. Dip the wrapper into the water until it's just barely pliable, because it'll continue to soften as it sits on the counter. Lay it out flat and arrange your fillings along the bottom third of the rice paper. Fold the bottom edge of the rice paper over your fillings and roll it once so the filling is enclosed. Next fold the side edges in neatly to seal up the sides and then roll it up the rest of the way like a burrito. Transfer each roll to a parchment-lined baking sheet as it's finished.

Bake Them

You'll need your oven heated to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray or brush the rolls lightly with your preferred cooking oil and slide the sheet into your oven. They'll need to bake for 10 to 12 minutes at this temperature or perhaps a bit more if you let the rice paper wrappers get too wet when you dunked them. Turn them once during the baking time, so they'll crisp evenly. They're done when the wrappers have plenty of blistered, golden-brown spots on each side. Serve them as soon as possible, while the wrappers are still crisp, because steam coming from the hot filling will start to make them chewy after the first few minutes.

About the Author

Fred Decker

Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including, and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.