Egg Roll vs Spring Roll: How Exactly Are They Different?

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Kaye Modified: April 22, 2022
Egg Roll vs Spring Roll: How Exactly Are They Different?
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A lot of people seem to confuse the terms “egg roll” and “spring roll” with each other. This is quite understandable since they refer to similar-looking dishes. But if you take a closer look, this egg roll vs spring roll debacle will yield many differences between the two. For starters, while the spring roll is a pillar of Chinese food, the egg roll is a much more Americanized version. Now, how else are these two dishes different from one another?

What Is a Spring Roll?

Tracing its roots back to China, the spring roll is a traditional Chinese appetizer or dim sum that is served during the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year. You’re welcome to enjoy it during regular days, though. 

Besides the classic Chinese version, there are plenty of renditions of spring rolls from around the world. There are Vietnamese, Filipino, Thai recipes, and more, all with their own twist and identity.

What Is an Egg Roll?

The egg roll is an Americanized take on the Chinese spring roll. Although it resembles the Asian dish, it originates in the United States of America. It is unclear which state it comes from, but most people believe that it hails from New York City. 

Egg Roll vs Spring Roll: The Differences

Egg Roll vs Spring Roll / Spring Roll vs Egg Roll Infographic

An egg roll is a deep-fried appetizer that is made with a hearty meat filling and a thick egg wrapper.

Meanwhile, a spring roll is a baked, fried, or uncooked appetizer commonly made with vegetables and a thin wrapper. The following are the exact differences between an egg roll and a spring roll. 

  • Wrapper – Egg roll wrappers are thick and made with flour and eggs. Spring roll wrappers are thin and made with rice or wheat flour. 
  • Filling – Egg roll fillings are typically hearty and meat-based, while spring roll fillings are lighter as they are mostly plant-based. 
  • Cooking Method – Egg rolls are usually deep-fried, whereas spring rolls are either baked, fried, or even served raw.

Egg Roll vs Spring Roll: Wrappers

One of the main differences between a spring roll and an egg roll is the fact that spring rolls are made with thin wrappers, while egg rolls are made with thick wrappers. But there’s more to this than what meets the eye. Besides the difference in thickness, these wrappers are also made with different ingredients.

Egg roll wrappers are made with flour and egg, hence the name. They become crispy and bubbly when cooked. Meanwhile, thin spring roll wrappers can either be made with wheat or rice flour. They are a lot smoother compared to egg roll wrappers, even after cooking. 

What Are Inside Egg Rolls and Spring Rolls?

The inside of an egg roll is typically filled with cooked meat, while the inside of a spring roll is usually filled with fresh vegetables. That is the simplest difference between the fillings of spring rolls and egg rolls. But of course, this can also vary. It may depend on who is making the dish, and where the dish is being made. 

Certain spring roll recipes call for a stir-fried vegetable filling. Common vegetable fillings include carrots, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, and cabbages. All of these make for an excellent vegetarian meal. But, you may also find other spring roll filling variations with either cooked pork, chicken, or shrimp — ideal for meat and seafood lovers. 

Egg roll fillings, on the other hand, are usually heartier. Apart from having cooked meat, an egg roll can also contain cooked and well-seasoned cabbages, celery, and other vegetables. 

How to Cook an Egg Roll vs a Spring Roll

A spring roll can either be baked, fried, or not cooked at all. Meanwhile, an egg roll is deep-fried.

Apart from the varying wrappers and fillings, the way one is cooked is another big difference between an egg roll and a spring roll. This is the reason why spring rolls can be anywhere from soft to crispy, while egg rolls usually have a crispy and bubbly exterior.

Which Is Healthier: Spring Roll or Egg Roll?

All things considered, spring rolls are relatively healthier than egg rolls. After all, frying is optional for spring rolls, and they are often filled with fresh vegetables. A serving of spring roll has 148 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrates on average. 

Egg rolls, on the other hand, are heavier. This is understandable, as they are often filled with meat. What’s more, egg rolls are also deep-fried. This brings the total calorie count of a regular egg roll to 223 calories per serving, with 24 grams of carbohydrates. 

Types of Egg Rolls and Spring Rolls

fresh vietnamese spring rolls, veggies, and nuoc cham on a black plate

Now you know the exact differences between an egg roll and a spring roll! That said, not all egg rolls and spring rolls are made the same. There are regional and international varieties that you should know about. Here are some examples: 

Egg Rolls

  • Southwestern Egg Roll – This is an egg roll that’s filled with ingredients reminiscent of the Southwestern part of the United States. You can expect to be greeted with a hodgepodge of beans, corn, and vegetables once you cut into the thick deep-fried tortilla wrapper of Southwest egg rolls.  
  • Mexican Egg Rolls – Mexican ingredients form the backbone of this type of egg roll. This variation is typically filled with peppers, ground beef, Mexican cheeses, and spices. 
  • Breakfast Egg Roll – Wrap your breakfast favorites like eggs and bacon in a thick egg roll wrapper, deep-fry and you got yourself some easy breakfast egg rolls!

Spring Rolls

  • Popiah – Hailing from the Fujian province of China, this kind of spring roll is also enjoyed in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and other neighboring Asian countries. It’s made with stir-fried vegetables rolled in a thin wheat wrapper, and it’s usually served fresh instead of fried.   
  • Lumpia – This is a type of pan-fried spring roll from the Philippines. For this variety, thin lumpia wrappers can either be filled with a ground pork mixture, fresh veggies, or seafood. 
  • Chả Giò – This is a kind of deep-fried spring roll from Vietnam. It’s usually made with a combination of ground meat, glass noodles, and vegetables wrapped in rice paper wrappers.
  • Fresh Spring Roll – A popular kind of spring roll in Thailand and some parts of Vietnam. Typically filled with noodles, veggies, shrimp, herbs, and nuts, this Thai or Vietnamese spring roll is served chilled instead of fried. Traditionally, it’s best enjoyed with either peanut or fish sauce on the side.  

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Kaye

Kaye is a writer and a recent oat milk convert. With a background in Language Studies, she has founded a deep appreciation of cultures, traditions, and the power of words. In her spare time, she enjoys testing some of the trendiest and most accessible recipes on the internet.