These chicken egg rolls are crispy on the outside and filled with a tasty, textured filling of chicken, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and carrots. Learn how to make chicken egg rolls from scratch in no time at all!
In China, we actually call these egg rolls “Chun Jian” (春卷), which directly translate to spring rolls. But that name gets confused with the Vietnamese style spring rolls that are made with rice paper, and these are more commonly known as egg rolls outside of China. Egg roll is a festive dish that people cook and enjoy on the eve of Spring Festival (春节, chun jie), or Chinese New Year. You can find egg rolls in many areas of China, but they are most popular in the southern part, in places such as Shanghai, Fujian, Guangzhou, and Jiangsu.
These Cantonese chicken egg rolls show you the beauty of authentic Chinese food. They use the perfect combination of meat, savory dried foods, colorful veggies, and a well-balanced sauce to release the ultimate umami. I learned this recipe from a famous Hongkongese dim sum chef. And it’s quite different from the takeout style chicken egg rolls that are filled with cabbage and chicken. This is a must-try if you’re into real Chinese food.
Chicken egg rolls ingredients
Egg roll wrappers
Like I said, since we usually call egg rolls “Chun Juan”, aka spring rolls, the wrappers’ package usually uses words such as “Spring Rolls Shells” or “Spring Roll Pastry”. They are super thin sheets that are made from wheat flour and they are cooked. They are quite thin but with a texture that is easy to handle, so don’t worry about tearing them apart in the process of wrapping the rolls.
When shopping for the wrappers, make sure you get the kind made from “wheat flour”. Make sure you don’t get the Vietnamese spring roll wrappers that are made from rice flour.
You can find egg roll wrappers in most Asian markets, in the refrigerated or freezer section. These days you might be able to find them in larger grocery chains as well.
Dried shiitake mushrooms add umami flavor and a tender texture to the egg rolls. I consider them very important for this recipe. To use the dried mushrooms, you need to rehydrate them first, until they turn tender. Then slice them into very thin pieces before adding to the filling.
You can find shiitake mushrooms in most of the Asian markets or on Amazon.
Bamboo shoots add a fun crunchy texture to the filling. If you have access to Chinese or other Asian markets, I highly recommend you get a whole bamboo shoot if possible. It’s fresher and has a better texture. Alternatively, you can use canned shoots. You can find them in the Asian section of a big supermarket. Or you can get them on Amazon.
Mise en place
Here are the ingredients you need to make chicken egg rolls.
- Chopped veggies (bamboo shoot, carrot, rehydrated and sliced mushrooms)
- Aromatics (ginger and green onion)
- Ground chicken
- Mixed sauce for the filling
- Egg roll wrappers
How to make chicken egg rolls
Make the chicken egg roll filling
- Brown the ground chicken
- Lightly cook the aromatics
- Saute the mushrooms and carrots
- Cook the bamboo shoots
- Add the sauce
- Cook until the sauce is absorbed
Assemble the egg rolls and cook
- Add the filling towards one corner of the wrapper
- Fold the wrapper over the filling
- Keep rolling the wrapper upwards
- Fold both sides to wrap the filling inside like an envelope
- Keep rolling up the filling
- Smear some water onto the edge of the wrapper
- Fold to seal the roll
- Deep fry the egg rolls in oil
Can I bake or air fry the chicken egg rolls?
I frequently receive questions on how to avoid having to deep fry the egg rolls. Unfortunately, after many tries, I still couldn’t find a great way to create the best texture without deep frying.
I have tried baking and cooking the egg rolls in the air fryer many times, with different temperature settings. The issue is, the rolls won’t be browned evenly. The edges often brown very quickly with the main part of the roll still undercooked. Baking the egg rolls also over-cooks the filling, resulting in a dry texture.
I don’t love deep frying, either. But I think deep frying is the only way to create golden crispy chicken egg rolls, like the ones you would get at a dim sum restaurant.
Store and reheat
You can store the chicken egg rolls before frying them. However, I prefer to fry all of them before storing them. Assuming you will be serving the egg rolls once you wrap them, it’s easier to fry all of them and reheat them in the oven later on.
These egg rolls freeze and reheat very well. So if you make a big batch, you can freeze them in small bags and bake to reheat them as a snack for game or movie night. They are also perfect finger food for a party or dinner gathering.
More delicious dim sum recipes
- Chinese Chicken Dumplings (鸡肉饺子)
- Cantonese Shumai with Pork and Shrimp (烧麦, Shao Mai)
- Air Fryer Char Siu Pork (空气炸锅叉烧肉)
- Black Sesame Sweet Rice Balls (黑芝麻汤圆, Tang Yuan)
- Gua Bao (Taiwanese Pork Belly Buns, 割包)
Cantonese Chicken Egg Roll (广式鸡肉春卷)
- 1 pack spring roll wrappers , thawed if using frozen
- 4 to 5 medium-sized dried shiitake mushrooms yield 1/4 cup once sliced
- 1/2 small bamboo shoot , sliced into strips (or 1 cup canned bamboo shoot)
- 1 small carrot , sliced into strips (yield 1/2 cup strips)
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- 2 cloves garlic , grated
- 2 green onions , sliced
- 8 oz (225) ground chicken
Dipping Sauce options (*Footnote 1)
- Sweet chili sauce
- Add dried shiitake mushrooms into a small bowl and add hot water to cover. Let rehydrate for 10 to 15 minutes, until turning tender. Gently rub mushrooms to remove dirt. Discard the liquid. Squeeze water out of the mushrooms and slice them into thin strips.
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Cook the filling
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ground chicken. Cook and cut the chicken into small pieces, until fully cooked. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Pour 1/2 tablespoon oil and the garlic into the same skillet. Stir a few times until fragrant.
- Add bamboo shoots, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add back the cooked chicken and pour in the sauce. Cook and stir for a minute, until the sauce is evenly mixed with the ingredients and mostly absorbed.
- Transfer the filling to a plate and place in the fridge to cool.
Assemble the roll
- Place the spring roll wrappers onto a cutting board. Cover with damp paper towels to prevent them from drying out. Place a small bowl of water nearby.
- Work on the spring rolls one at a time: gently peel a spring roll wrapper from the stack and place it on the working surface, a pointed end facing you. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of filling and two slices of green onion onto the lower third of the wrapper. Fold the lower part of the wrapper upward to cover the filling. Tuck and roll the filling tightly upward until half way through. Fold the both sides in to secure the filling inside like an envelope. Keep rolling the filling tightly upward until it forms a roll. Rub some water onto the top point of the wrap. Gently fold and push to seal the roll. Place the roll seam side down on a cutting board or a plate. Continue working on the rest of the rolls in the same way. When you finish assembling half of the rolls, cover them with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. Continue to work on the rest of the rolls.
- Add enough oil into a deep pan for frying. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350°F (170°C). Place a cooling rack over a baking tray and set it near the stove.
- Fry spring rolls in small batches without crowding the pan. Fry until the bottom side turns pale golden. Flip and continue to fry, until both sides are golden. Transfer the rolls to the strainer to drain and render the extra oil. When the next batch of rolls is cooked, move the ones from the strainer to a plate. Continue cooking the rest of the rolls.
To serve the rolls
- Serve the rolls hot as an appetizer with the dipping sauce you prefer.
Reheat leftover egg rolls
- Place leftover egg rolls on a metal baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake at 350°F (170°C) until the rolls are warmed up (You don’t need to preheat the oven). It takes about 10 to 15 minutes. You can also heat up the rolls in an air fryer at 300°F (150°C).
- The egg rolls are delicious by themselves. They also go very well with sriracha if you prefer a hot sauce, or sweet chili sauce if you like a sweeter taste.