Air Fryer Egg Rolls

published Dec 15, 2021
Air Fryer Egg Rolls Recipe

For delicious and crispy egg rolls, look to the air fryer.

Makes10 egg rolls

Prep20 minutes

Cook36 minutes

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egg rolls on a rectangular black plate, with a red dipping sauce in a white ramekin on the side
Credit: Tara Holland

Fried egg rolls are delicious — there’s nothing quite like biting into that crispy wrapper to find the piping-hot filling inside — but did you know you can also make egg rolls in the air fryer?

Egg rolls, an American-Chinese creation, are cigar-shaped pastries that are either shallow- or deep-fried and have fillings similar to a traditional Chinese spring roll. (Spring rolls tend to be fried in rice paper, making the exterior lighter in texture.) I had my first egg roll experience during my first-ever Chinese takeout dinner, after moving to the United States from the United Kingdom. Little did I know back then how easy they are to make — especially in an air fryer!

Why Are They Called Egg Rolls and Who Created Them?

To this day, the origins are unclear, and various claims are still disputed. However, it seems that the egg rolls we know today, created with paper-thin pastry wrappers, didn’t surface until 1930 in New York, as Andrew Coe wrote in his book on the history of Chinese food in America. Some say the “egg” part comes from shredded egg omelet being one of the fillings, while others claim the rolls were dipped in beaten egg before frying.

Most egg rolls have a base of shredded cabbage, carrots, scallions, celery, and sometimes bean sprouts. If you’re in a hurry, coleslaw mix is a great time-saving hack. You can add pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu, or whatever protein your heart desires. Oyster sauce is often used to flavor the filling. I’ve also added soy sauce for salt, Sriracha for spice, and sesame oil for a touch of nuttiness.

What to Do with Leftover Egg Roll Wrappers

Some packages have 24 wrappers. You can either freeze the remaining wrappers or assemble a larger batch of egg rolls — this recipe freezes well, and surprisingly, the egg rolls take the same amount of time to cook from frozen.

What Temperature Do You Air Fry Egg Rolls?

Although air fryers differ, when developing and cross-testing this recipe, we found that 380℉ created a perfect golden color and crispy exterior without getting too dark.

Credit: Tara Holland

Air Fryer Egg Rolls Dipping Sauces 

Egg rolls are versatile when it comes to dipping sauces, but here are some suggestions.

Air Fryer Egg Rolls Recipe

For delicious and crispy egg rolls, look to the air fryer.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 36 minutes

Makes 10 egg rolls

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/2

    large Napa, Savoy, or green cabbage

  • 1

    large carrot

  • 1 large clove

    garlic

  • 1 large stalk

    celery

  • 2

    large scallions

  • 1 (1-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 8 ounces

    ground pork

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Chinese five-spice powder (optional)

  • 1 cup

    fresh mung bean sprouts, or 1 cup drained canned bean sprouts

  • 2 tablespoons

    oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    Sriracha (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 10

    (7x7-inch) egg roll wrappers, thawed if frozen

Instructions

Prepare the filling:

  1. Finely shred 1/2 large Napa, Savoy, or green cabbage until you have 4 cups. Peel and grate 1 large carrot on the large holes of a box grater until you have 1/2 cup. Finely grate 1 large garlic clove on the small holes, then peel and grate 1 (1-inch) piece ginger on the small holes until you have 1 tablespoon. Finely dice 1 large celery stalk and finely chop 2 medium scallions.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a wok or large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the celery and cook, stirring often, until bright green and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 8 ounces ground pork and 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder if using and cook, breaking up the pork with the back of a spoon, until cooked through, lightly browned, and any liquid has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and 1 cup bean sprouts and cook, stirring often, until the cabbage is wilted, about 4 minutes.

  3. Add 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Sriracha if using, and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and stir to combine. Add the scallions and carrots and cook, stirring often, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let the filling cool slightly, about 15 minutes.

Assemble the egg rolls:

  1. Prepare a small bowl of water and have a pastry brush on hand. Place 1 egg roll wrapper on a flat surface in a diamond shape. Cover the remaining wrappers with a damp towel so they do not dry out.

  2. Place 1/4 cup mixture on the bottom half of the egg roll wrapper and shape into a rough rectangle shape. Roll the bottom point of the wrapper over the filling, tightly rolling one and a half turns so mixture is contained. Fold in the left point to the middle and repeat with the right point so it looks like an opened envelope. Brush the unfolded part of the wrapper at the top with water, then continue to tightly up until it forms a cigar shape. Press down at the end to seal; brush with more water if needed. Place on a plate and repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.

  3. Heat and air fryer to 380ºF. Air frying in 2 batches (unless your air fryer basket can fit all 10 egg rolls in a single layer with space around each one), brush 5 egg rolls all over with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place seam-side down in the air fryer basket, making sure they are not touching each other. Air-fry until slightly brown at the tips, about 6 minutes. Flip and cook until the egg rolls are golden-brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and tent with aluminum foil while you air-fry the remaining egg rolls. Serve warm with desired dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes

General tips: When rolling the egg rolls, cover the remaining wrappers with a damp paper towel so the pastry does not dry out.

Substitutions: Substitute an equal amount of ground chicken. Cook time will be about 5 minutes.

Storage: Refrigerate leftover egg rolls in an airtight container or resealable zip-top bag for 3 to 4 days.

Make ahead: Freeze uncooked egg rolls on a baking sheet until firm, then transfer to a large freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. They do not need any longer in the air fryer when cooking.