Learn how to make healthy, delicious Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Chicken at home with this customizable recipe. Featuring ultra-tender coconut chicken, crisp veggies, sweet mango, soft noodles, and fresh herbs wrapped in a rice paper blanket with plenty of umami peanut sauce for dipping. Stop overpaying for the pre-made chicken rice paper rolls at the store and start making them yourself!
Continue to read on for helpful tips and easy tricks for preparing perfect spring rolls to serve as an appetizer, healthy snack, grab-and-go lunch, or light summer dinner.
Update: This post was originally published in June 2017. I’ve made updates to include more detailed information about rice paper rolls.
Hey! Hi! Hello! Happy almost weekend, friends! And, happy second day of summer!
We are going to celebrate the season by eating it up. Literally! Because, today we are feasting on fresh spring rolls with tender coconut chicken and the most luscious peanut sauce. SO yum!
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About this recipe for spring rolls with chicken
Also known as – super fresh summery goodness jam packed into portable, little rolls!
These Vietnamese chicken spring rolls feature tender, succulent, tropical coconut poached chicken; cool, crisp, crunchy veggies; juicy, sweet mango and slurp-able noodles all snugly rolled up in a soft rice paper wrapper. But, you can’t have a fresh spring roll without some sort of sauce for dipping. These rolls are served with a creamy, salty, sweet peanut sauce that is to die for delicious!
Essentially, these rolls are bright, light, colorful and addictively good! They’re packed with protein and loaded nutrient-dense, fiber-rich fresh vegetables! If you are looking for a delicious way to eat more vegetables, these handheld beauties are perfect for you!
Fresh Chicken Summer Rolls + Silky Peanut Sauce = all the heart-eye emojis the world has to offer. 😍 times infinity. The end.
What are Vietnamese spring rolls?
Rice paper rolls – also known as Gỏi cuốn, fresh spring rolls, summer rolls, or salad rolls – are a Vietnamese dish made from crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, cold proteins and thin noodles rolled in rice paper wrappers. These translucent, cigar-shaped rolls are comparable to an uncooked (not fried) version of egg rolls.
Summer rolls are traditionally filled with proteins such as shrimp, pork or chicken; however, they are very adaptable and can be stuffed with anything, from bacon and salmon to tofu and tempeh!
What are rice paper wrappers?
Rice papers are super thin, edible, transparent sheets made with white rice flour, tapioca flour, salt and water. The Vietnamese wrappers are very brittle straight out of the package, and must be soaked briefly in warm water to become pliable.
Where to buy rice papers?
Rice papers are typically sold dried in crisp, circular sheets that are stacked together and wrapped in cellophane. You can find them in the international food aisle of most major grocery stores, or at a Vietnamese food market. If you can’t find them at the store, they can easily be found online.
What’s in this spring rolls with chicken recipe?
The filling for fresh Vietnamese spring rolls typically includes four elements: the vegetables, the cold protein, the noodles and the fresh greens.
Below are the ingredients I typically use. However, these rolls are totally customizable! I encourage you to get creative and use whatever ingredients you love – just make sure they are fresh for the best taste!
- Vegetables: Thinly sliced cucumber and shredded carrot
- Cold Protein: The recipe below uses coconut poached chicken; however, you can use rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken, or regular poached chicken breasts too.
- Noodles: Rice vermicelli noodles
- Greens: Fresh cilantro and mint
- Extras: Thinly sliced mango and red pepper flakes
Variations of chicken summer rolls
Not a fan of one of the ingredients in these chicken vietnamese spring rolls? No problem! Below are all delicious ingredients you can substitute instead. Experiment with different flavor combinations and add what you love to your fresh spring chicken rolls!
- Vegetables: Avocado, alfalfa sprouts, bell peppers, radishes, edamame beans, beetroot or sugar snap peas. Tip: Make sure you thinly slice (julienne) any long vegetables first!
- Greens: Butter lettuce, watercress, cabbage or spring greens
- Herbs: Thai basil, chives or scallions
- Cold Protein: Small poached shrimp, cooked salmon, flakey tuna, sliced steak, thinly sliced tofu, or cooked bacon
- Grains: Thai sticky rice, quinoa, or brown rice.
- Fruit: Strawberries, pineapple, kiwi or passionfruit
How to make vietnamese spring rolls with chicken?
In case you have ever been intimidating by making vietnamese chicken spring rolls at home, don’t worry! Fresh rolls aren’t difficult make. However, there are a few simple tricks to making the wrapping and rolling process a smooth one: prep all your ingredients first and work quickly!
- Poach chicken: Cook the chicken in a mixture of coconut milk, fish sauce and lime juice. Poaching keeps the chicken incredibly tender while gently infusing flavor. You can poach and shred the chicken in advance! Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Prep the vegetables and dipping sauce: Wash and slice the vegetables and mango. Blend together the creamy peanut sauce.
- Prep the rice paper: Soften one sheet of rice paper wrapper at a time in room temperature water. When the paper begins to loosen and become soft, remove it from the water. Transfer the wrapper to a damp, clean surface.
- Assemble and roll: Arrange the chicken, vegetables, mango, herbs and noodles in the center of the wrapper. Fold the two sides over the top to secure the filling, then carefully and tightly roll up each fresh spring roll until the seam is sealed. (See below for detailed instructions on wrapping rice paper rolls.)
How to wrap chicken Vietnamese spring rolls?
In case you feel overwhelmed by using and wrapping rice paper, don’t be! Wrapping spring rolls with chicken is very similar to wrapping a burrito! And, remember – practice makes perfect. The more rolls you make, the easier it gets.
- Dip rice paper into water: Fill a wide shallow bowl with room temperature water. Working with one sheet of rice paper at a time, horizontally slide the sheet into the water. Gently press down to submerge it until the paper begins to loosen up and become soft, about 3-5 seconds. Keep in mind, you only need to moderately wet both sides of the paper. Do not allow the paper to sit in the water too long or it will get too soft and sticky.
- Place softened paper on work surface: After dipping, carefully remove the moistened rice paper and gently shake it to drain excess water. Transfer the rice paper to a flat, clean work surface, such as a plastic cutting board, inverted baking sheet or dish towel. Try to avoid any textured surfaces or wood cutting boards.
- Let the softened paper sit: Allow the moistened rice paper to sit for a minute or two. This time allows the paper to soften and become usable. The rice paper is ready for filling, wrapping and rolling when it’s pliable and slightly sticky – it should feel similar to a sticky-note.
- Add ingredients to bottom third: Center the filling ingredients in the middle of the bottom third of the wrapper.
- Fold up bottom edge: Bring the lower edge of the wrapper up and over the filling.
- Fold in the sides: Think of the two sides as flaps, and fold them in.
- Roll: Firmly roll the entire thing up, using your fingers to keep the filling tightly pushed towards the middle of the roll.
- Serve: Cut each roll in half. Serve rolls right away with dipping sauce and lime wedges.
- Storage: Lightly cover the rolls with a damp towel and refrigerate up to two hours. Cut the rolls in half, serve with sauce and enjoy!
Expert tips for the best rice paper rolls with chicken
- Prep all your ingredients: Once dampened, rice paper is delicate so preparation is crucial! Before you start rolling, prepare all your ingredients. Thinly cut all your vegetables and fruit. Remove any firm spines from lettuce. Tear off the stems from fresh herbs. Cook and cool the noodles and chicken. When prepping everything, keep in mind that thin and long ingredients are easier to work with as they conform to the shape of the roll.
- Use lettuce to wrap the filling: If you are worried about your rolls falling apart, use lettuce! Wrap the sliced vegetables, noodles and herbs in a piece of soft lettuce before wrapping it in rice paper. The lettuce will hold the filling together, making it easier to roll. I like to keep the protein – chicken, shrimp, etcetera – on the outside of the lettuce so you can see it through the transparent wrapper. Place your protein on the dampened rice paper first, and then add the lettuce bundle on top. Proceed to fold and roll the chicken rice wraps.
- Don’t overstuff: Do not add too many ingredients to your rolls! Overstuffing will lead to tearing and bursting. Keep at least 1-inch of space around the circumference of the wrapper to allow for folding.
- Work quickly: Once re-hydrated, rice wrappers become soft and sticky, so try to work as quickly as you can.
- Rice paper is forgiving: If you overstuff your rolls and the paper tears, don’t worry – simply overlap the two torn edges to seal and continue rolling! If you think your filling is too heavy for delicate single sheet of rice paper, use two papers stacked together.
- Cover rolls: Once assembled and rolled, cover filled summer rolls with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
FAQs: frequently asked questions
Why are my spring rolls so sticky?
Once dampened, rice paper wrappers are sticky! The easiest way to prevent your rice paper chicken rolls from sticking to your work surface (and sticking to themselves or your hands) is to keep the surface wet. Use a damp cloth to wet your cutting board, or lightly run the board under water. If you are still having a tough time, try working on a damp towel instead of a cutting board – this makes rolling easier and prevents sticking!
Are your summer rolls with chicken still too sticky?! Make sure you use room temperature water to soak the rice paper wrappers! Hot or warm water hydrates the papers faster which can cause the papers to turn very sticky!
Can I make rice paper chicken rolls in advance?
Fresh chicken spring rolls are best when served immediately. However, they can be made up to a day in advance if necessary.
The best way to make rolls in advance is to simply prepare all of the ingredients – cook the chicken (or other protein), slice the vegetables, cook the noodles and mix the dipping sauce – and store everything in the refrigerator until you are ready to wrap, roll and eat. The actual wrapping process doesn’t take very long and freshly prepared summer rolls taste best.
However, you can assemble and roll them up to 1 day in advance. To prepare rolls a few hours in advance, lightly cover them with a damp paper towel and store in the refrigerator. If you have multiple rolls, be careful to keep the rolls away from each other as they tend to stick to each other. To make rolls one day in advance, wrap individual spring rolls tightly in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out. Allow the rolls to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before enjoying.
What dipping sauce for chicken spring rolls?
Vietnamese salad rolls are traditionally served with nước chấm sauce. However, I personally prefer a creamy peanut sauce for dipping summer rolls! This rich peanut sauce recipe is the perfect blend of salty, sweet and savory! It’s bursting with enticing, aromatic flavors such as pungent garlic, fresh lime juice, sticky honey, sweet rice vinegar and umami-rich soy sauce. Trust me, the peanut dipping sauce is so delicious you will want to drink it up!!
What to serve with chicken rice paper rolls?
Fresh spring rolls can be served as a delicious party appetizer, light lunch or an easy, quick-fix dinner! Don’t feel limited to plain white rice and simple steamed vegetables to round out your meal! Below are a few delicious dishes to transform your fresh rolls into a full blown meal!
8 dishes to serve with chicken summer roll
- Appetizers: Steamed dumplings, potstickers, edamame, Asian chicken wings.
- Soup: Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), wonton soup, miso soup, hot and sour soup or egg drop soup.
- Salad: Green salad with ginger dressing, kimchi salad, seaweed salad or mango salad.
- Sandwiches: Bánh mì, pork burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches.
- Vegetables: Asian brussels sprouts, stir-fried cabbage, grilled corn, steamed vegetables, Sichuan green beans, or coleslaw.
- Sides: Coconut rice, sesame noodles, vegetable lo mein or fried rice.
- Sushi or Nigiri: Your favorite sushi rolls, nigiri or sashimi.
- Entree: Hoisin beef stir-fry, Thai basil chicken, pad thai, air fried shrimp, or Mongolian beef.
Fresh, fabulous and healthy to boot, these Chicken Rice Paper Summer Rolls are how you need to ROLL this summer. 😉
Until next week friends, cheers – to portable summer eats.
The best Chicken Rice Paper Rolls recipe👇
Coconut Chicken Rice Paper Rolls
- Medium Saucepan
- Mixing Bowl
- Blender or Food Processor (optional)
Coconut Poached Chicken:
- Poach the chicken: Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon sea salt to a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring the contents to a boil over medium heat and add the chicken. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, turning the chicken over ½ way through cooking. (SEE NOTES)
- Shred & toss with coconut milk: Remove the chicken from the pan, reserving ½ cup of the coconut milk mixture. Let the chicken cool completely, and then use 2 forks to completely shred the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the reserved coconut milk mixture. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Add remaining reserved coconut milk and toss again if desired.
- Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce: Place all the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a food processor or blender. Pulse, or process until smooth. Adjust for taste and consistency with honey, vinegar and water. (SEE NOTES)
- To assemble the spring rolls: Working one sheet at a time - soften the rice paper by quickly submerging it in a shallow bowl of warm water for 3-5 seconds, or until slightly soft. Remove from the water and place on a clean, damp work surface. Allow the paper to sit for 1-2 minutes, or until pliable. In the center of the bottom third of the wrapper, add a small mound of vermicelli noodles, shredded chicken, carrots, cucumber, mango, cilantro, mint and sprinkle with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Roll: Fold the bottom edge up over the filling, using your fingers to carefully tuck the filling in. Then, fold the 2 sides over top to secure the filling. Carefully and tightly roll up each spring roll. Repeat with remaining rice paper wrappers and filling ingredients.
- Serve: Place spring rolls seam-side down on a platter and serve, or cut them on a diagonal and serve. Enjoy!
- Poaching Time: The amount of time the chicken will take to poach depends on the thickness of your chicken breasts. For quicker cooking, lightly pound your chicken breasts to an even thickness before poaching!
- Ingredient Prep: Before you start rolling, get all of your ingredients prepped! Cut all the veggies, shred the chicken, tear the herb leaves from the stems, dampen the cutting board, make the sauce, fill a large bowl with water… prep it all! Having everything all set up (mise en place) will make the entire process much more pleasant and efficient.
- Water for Wrappers: Make sure your bowl of water for softening the rice paper wrappers is room temperature. I have found warm water makes the wrapper too sticky and causes it to tear easily. The bow of water should be large and shallow enough for the wrappers. A pie pan or similar shaped bowl works well! Make sure you are only soaking the rice paper wrapper until it is JUST soft!
- To prevent wrappers from drying out: Keep the filled spring rolls under a clean, damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out as you are rolling the remaining rice paper rolls.
- Peanut Sauce: Adjust the peanut sauce for taste and consistency to your own liking. Add more honey for sweetness, vinegar for sourness, or if you like things spicy, add a bit of sriracha. If you want a thinner sauce, add a bit of water until desired consistency is achieved. If you don't have a food processor or blender, you can easily make the sauce in a small bowl, just finely dice the garlic and whisk everything together. If you make the peanut sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator the sauce will become thick!! Just whisk in a bit of water to loosen it up.
- Storage: The summer rolls are best enjoyed immediately, however they can be made up to 2 hours in advance. Keep them tightly covered in plastic wrap at room temperature.
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