Home Articles Summer Rolls vs. Spring Rolls (What’s the Difference?)

Summer Rolls vs. Spring Rolls (What’s the Difference?)

Summer rolls vs. spring rolls- what’s the difference? And which is better?

Summer rolls and spring rolls are both Asian rolls.

Summer Rolls vs. Spring Rolls (What’s the Difference?) featuring Fresh Summer Rolls with Sauce and Lime on a Plate with Chopsticks

Most often, you can eat them like an appetizer but they can become a meal. Yes, they are that delicious!

But what sets these two rolls apart? Is it the wrapper or the filling? And what in the world is an egg roll?

These much-loved snack rolls lead to a lot of questions. So to appease your curious mind, I’ll answer these questions. And more.

Get ready to unroll the mystery of the summer rolls vs. spring rolls. 

Summer Rolls vs. Spring Rolls (What’s the Difference?)

Both are Asian-style rolls. And both have a season in the name. But don’t be mistaken! 

These two rolls are not the same. 

Here are the main differences so you can tell one apart from the other:

  • Origins. Spring rolls originated in China. Summer rolls are from Vietnam
  • Ingredients. 
    • Summer rolls use rice paper. The fillings, however, can vary. Often they include raw veggies, vermicelli, and a protein. 
    • Spring rolls also vary. Typically, they feature cooked cabbage, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and carrots. Sometimes, they have meat like beef, chicken, or pork.
  • Wrapper. A clear indicator of which roll is which are the wrappers.
    • Summer rolls have a thin rice paper wrapper. It is partially transparent. 
    • Spring rolls have an opaque wheat wrapper. You cannot see through it. 
  • Preparation. Another signature characteristic is how they’re prepared.
    • Spring rolls are stuffed, rolled, fried, and served hot
    • Summer rolls skip the oil. Instead, the rice paper soaks in warm water to make it pliable. Then, you roll the paper with fresh fillings and serve cold.
  • Taste & Texture. 
    • Spring rolls have a crunchy wrapper and tender filling.
    • Summer rolls are the opposite. They have a chewy wrapper and crunchy insides. 
    • The flavors are also different. Summer rolls are all about fresh flavors. Spring rolls are fried and savory.  
  • Dipping Sauce. Both these come with yummy Asian sauces. But like everything else, the choices vary.
    • Summer rolls can include peanut sauce. Or a Vietnamese sauce called nước mắm pha. 
    • Spring rolls come with an umami dipping sauce. Sweet and sour, soy sauce and plum sauce are a few. 
Fresh Vietnamese Summer Rolls on a Square Plate with Sauce

What Are Summer Rolls? 

Known as gỏi cuốn, they are a traditional Vietnamese roll. Unlike spring rolls, you serve summer rolls cold, not fried. 

Summer rolls are the perfect bite for a hot day. They’re healthy, light, and very refreshing. 

They feature a rice paper wrapper stuffed with fresh veggies. You can also add proteins like shrimp, pork, or tofu.

The wrapper is transparent, so you can see all the goodness stuffed inside!

Serve them with a dipping sauce for a boost of flavor. 

Why Are Summer Rolls Called Summer Rolls?

Is it too hot outside to cook? Make a batch of summer rolls. 

Summer rolls are associated with the summer season. Hence, the name. 

Packed with fresh flavors, they’re a light bite served cold. 

In Vietnamese, summer rolls are called “gỏi cuốn”, meaning salad rolls. It is a very fitting name that emphasizes their refreshing nature. 

Summer rolls or salad rolls, both names mean the same thing.

Deep Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls with Sauce and Parsley on a Stone Table

What Are Spring Rolls?

Spring rolls are a type of fried Chinese food. These feature a wheat wrapper and savory filling. 

What’s shocking is how long they’ve been around the block. Some sources say they’ve existed since the Jin Dynasty (266 to 420 A.D)!

The exact date is up for debate. However, we can all agree spring rolls are savory, crunchy, and delicious.

The filling often includes an assortment of veggies and protein.

Pork is the most popular choice. A finely-chopped combo of cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms is standard for veggies. 

Like summer rolls, enjoy spring rolls with a sauce. Try them with a soy-based dipping sauce for a scrumptious pairing. 

Spring Rolls vs. Egg Rolls

Like summer rolls, folks often confuse egg rolls for spring rolls. 

There is a vital distinction between the two, though. I’ll give you one guess. . . an egg!

Egg roll wrappers contain wheat flour and egg. They have a thicker and doughier consistency. 

Spring rolls wrappers do not contain eggs. They feature only flour and water. 

Another clear indicator is the texture. 

Egg rolls look a little bumpy when fried. Spring rolls are smoother. 

Here’s another fun fact: egg rolls are an American spin on the spring roll! 

Freshly Made Vietnamese Summer Rolls  with Sauce on a Rectangle Plate on a Wooden Table

Variations of Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls 

Like most foods, spring rolls and summer rolls have many variations. 

You can make all kinds of substitutions- from the wrapper to the fillings. 

It just depends on the region and who is making it. 

You can find summer rolls stuffed with avocado and mango. 

  • Some have fruit and honey for a sweet treat.
  • Others have different proteins, like eggs, beef, or squid.

Spring rolls come in many variations too. 

  • In Indonesia and the Philippines, you’ll find spring rolls called lumpia. 
  • Cambodians have a spring roll called nem jin
  • There are also spring rolls with wonton wrappers. 
  • Then there are others with different veggies, herbs, and proteins. 

Of course, you cannot forget all the different dipping sauces too. 

Really, the only limitation is the imagination.

Sure, they’re not traditional. But they’re all super tasty!

Summer Rolls vs. Spring Rolls (What’s the Difference?)

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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