Egg rolls are a classic Chinese-American appetizer that are enjoyed around the world. With a crispy outer wrapper and savory filling, egg rolls make a tasty party snack or addition to a Chinese takeout meal. While deep frying gives egg rolls their signature crunchy exterior, this cooking method requires hot oil and can be messy and dangerous. Luckily, it’s possible to achieve crispy egg rolls without deep frying by baking them in the oven. With just a few simple tricks, you can make oven-baked egg rolls that are just as crispy and delicious as their fried counterparts.
What Makes Egg Rolls Crispy?
To make crispy egg rolls in the oven, it’s important to understand what gives traditionally fried egg rolls their crunchy texture. There are two main factors that contribute to the crispy exterior of fried egg rolls:
- The egg roll wrapper – Egg roll wrappers are made from wheat flour and water. When fried, the starch in the flour gelatinizes, resulting in a crispy texture.
- The hot oil – Frying cooks food quickly at a very high heat. This high temperature causes moisture in the egg roll wrapper to evaporate immediately, leaving behind the crispy fried exterior.
To mimic this process in the oven, the key is to recreate these conditions as closely as possible. The right cooking method and ingredients will remove moisture from the egg roll wrapper, allowing it to crisp up in the dry heat of the oven.
Choosing the Right Wrapper
The wrapper is essential for getting crispy egg rolls in the oven. You’ll want to choose egg roll wrappers that are thin and contain just flour and water as ingredients. Thicker wrappers with added oil or fat may end up soft or chewy when baked. You can find egg roll wrappers that are perfect for baking in the Asian section of many grocery stores. Look for thin, pliable wrappers that are about a foot square.
Spring roll wrappers are smaller and more delicate than egg roll wrappers. They also contain less starch, so they won’t crisp up as well in the oven. Lumpia wrappers are made with eggs and can end up tough and leathery when baked. For best results, choose dedicated egg roll wrappers.
Egg Roll Wrapper Considerations
- Look for thin, flour-water wrappers
- Avoid spring roll or lumpia wrappers
- Find egg roll wrappers in the Asian section of grocery stores
Filling Your Egg Rolls
While the wrapper is the key to crispy texture, the filling also plays a role. Wet, saucy fillings will prevent the egg roll wrapper from crisping. Opt for drier fillings with little or no sauce. Here are some tasty oven-friendly fillings to consider:
- Shredded cabbage, carrot, onion, seasoned with salt
- Minced pork and shredded vegetables
- Chicken, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, and sliced mushrooms
- Tofu and shredded vegetables
Avoid oily fillings like ground beef or fatty pork, which can make egg rolls greasy when baked. Fillings that are chopped into small pieces rather than minced will also help since they won’t release as much moisture. Cut or shred fillings into 1/4-inch pieces before assembling egg rolls.
- Choose drier fillings with little or no sauce
- Shred or chop fillings into 1/4-inch pieces
- Avoid wet, saucy, or oily fillings
Assembling Egg Rolls for Baking
Properly assembling egg rolls is important for an evenly baked, crispy texture. Here are some tips:
- Place about 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of the wrapper. Overfilling can cause rips during rolling.
- Fold up the bottom corner, then fold in the sides tightly so no filling leaks out.
- Brush the top corner with water before rolling up tightly into a cylinder.
- Place sealed side down on the baking sheet and space evenly apart.
Making the egg rolls compact with tight seals prevents hot air from penetrating and making the filling soggy. Keeping them evenly spaced allows for airflow circulation so they crisp on all sides.
Egg Roll Assembly Tips
- Don’t overfill wrappers
- Fold up bottom, then sides tightly
- Brush with water and roll up tightly
- Place sealed side down, evenly spaced on baking sheet
Baking Methods for Crispy Egg Rolls
The technique you use to bake egg rolls is key for achieving crispy results. Here are two methods that produce crunchy egg rolls every time:
This technique bakes egg rolls twice, allowing you to dry them out completely. It produces egg rolls with a shatteringly crispy wrapper exterior.
- Bake egg rolls at 375°F for 15 minutes to precook fillings.
- Let cool slightly, then brush both sides with oil. This helps facilitate browning in second bake.
- Increase oven to 425°F and bake 8-10 more minutes until golden brown.
Broiling egg rolls at the end mimics the crisping effect of deep-frying.
- Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes until starting to brown.
- Remove from oven and brush tops with oil.
- Broil 2-3 minutes until crispy and brown.
Both methods require oil to help facilitate browning. Use olive, vegetable, or canola oil. Spraying with oil or misting with water in between bakes also helps add crispiness.
Double Baking Method
- Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes
- Brush with oil
- Bake again at 425°F for 8-10 minutes
- Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes
- Brush with oil
- Broil 2-3 minutes
Tips for Uber Crispy Oven Egg Rolls
Follow these tips for the absolute crispiest egg rolls:
- Use a baking rack or elevated baking pan. This allows air to circulate underneath for even crisping.
- Spray or brush egg rolls with oil halfway through baking. Oil helps facilitate browning reactions.
- Let egg rolls cool slightly after baking before serving. This allows crispy texture to set.
- Serve with sweet chili or hot mustard sauce on the side for dipping.
With a little trial and error, you can perfect your technique and get restaurant-quality egg rolls straight from your oven. The double bake method yields the crispiest results.
Crispy Egg Roll Tips
- Use a baking rack or elevated pan
- Spray or brush with oil halfway through baking
- Let cool slightly before serving
- Serve with chili or hot mustard sauce
Common Baking Mistakes
It’s easy to end up with soggy egg rolls if you don’t follow proper baking methods. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
- Overfilling – Too much filling makes egg rolls prone to ripping and sogginess.
- Poor sealing – Make sure corners are tightly folded and sealed with water.
- Crowded baking sheet – Egg rolls need space between them to allow air circulation.
- Baking too long or at too high heat – This can make the wrapper tough and leathery.
- Not letting cool – Serving immediately steams the filling and ruins the crispy texture.
With practice, you’ll learn how to avoid these pitfalls for perfectly crispy, crunchy egg rolls every time.
Common Baking Mistakes
- Overfilling wrappers
- Poor sealing technique
- Crowded baking sheet
- Baking too long or too hot
- Not letting cool before serving
Storing and Reheating Leftover Egg Rolls
Leftover baked egg rolls can be stored and reheated for quick snacks or appetizers. For best results, follow these tips:
- Let cool completely, then place in airtight container in fridge for 3-4 days.
- To reheat, place on baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes until hot and crispy.
- You can also wrap in paper towel and microwave for 60-90 seconds.
- Eat reheated egg rolls within a few days for the freshest taste and texture.
Freezing is not recommended if you want to preserve the signature crispy texture of baked egg rolls. However, you can freeze egg roll filling for up to 3 months.
- Cool completely then refrigerate in sealed container for 3-4 days
- Reheat in oven at 350°F for 8-10 minutes
- Can also microwave wrapped in a paper towel
- Eat within a few days for best texture
Troubleshooting Crispy Egg Rolls
If your egg rolls turn out soggy instead of crispy, try these troubleshooting tips:
- Wrapper is chewy – Use thinner egg roll wrappers instead of lumpia or spring roll wrappers which have less starch.
- Filling is soggy – Reduce amount of filling and make sure fillings are chopped small and not wet or saucy.
- Egg rolls stick to pan – Line pan with parchment paper or baking rack for better nonstick results.
- Not browning well – Brush with oil before second bake to help facilitate browning reactions.
- Dense or doughy texture – Make sure to fully precook fillings before baking egg rolls.
It may take some experimenting with different wrappers, fillings and baking methods to achieve the perfect crispy egg rolls. But the tips in this article should set you up for crunchy success.
With the right ingredients and baking techniques, you can easily achieve restaurant-worthy crispy egg rolls right from your oven. Drier fillings, egg roll-specific wrappers, proper sealing, and double baking or broiling are the secrets to getting the crispiest results. Avoid common mistakes like overfilling, overcrowding, and baking at too high heat. With practice, you’ll be able to make egg rolls that are crunchy on the outside with a delicious savory filling inside. So skip the frying oil and enjoy healthier oven-baked egg rolls anytime with these simple tips.