Make crispy homemade egg rolls in an air fryer! It is easy to make air fryer egg rolls at home without the mess and hassle of deep frying. These takeout favorites are crispy on the outside and filled tasty pork and cabbage.
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Egg rolls are one of my favorite parts of Chinese takeout! They are perfect crispy finger food. But let’s face it, as a deep fried food they aren’t very good for you.
An air fryer offers two big advantages over other cooking methods. First it is fast, so you can cook things liked baked potatoes quickly. Second it allows you to cook with little to no oil, which means favorite meals like fried catfish, fried chicken or fried egg rolls become much better for you.
Using an air fryer means you can make these homemade egg rolls without deep frying in oil. The hot circulating air still gives you a nice crispy egg roll texture, even without the oil.
What is the Difference Between Spring Rolls and Egg Rolls?
One of the biggest differences between spring rolls and egg rolls is that spring rolls are usually served cold and egg rolls are served hot. The other big difference between the two is that the wrapper is completely different.
Egg roll wrappers are made from flour and are thicker to hold up to frying. Spring roll wrappers are thinner, translucent, and are made of rice flour. But both are excellent sides to serve with dinner and you can find my recipe for black bean spring rolls here!
What is Inside Egg Rolls?
Cabbage is probably the most traditional thing to have in egg roll filling. After that it can vary a lot. Many times meat is included with the cabbage, in which case it can be pork, shrimp or chicken. I’ve never seen egg rolls with beef, but the beauty of homemade egg rolls is you can do whatever you want, so if you want to use beef go for it.
My totally non-scientific survey of Chinese restaurants over the past 20 some years leads me to believe that pork is the meat most often used in egg rolls. Based on this I used for pork for my homemade egg rolls.
Making the Air Fryer Egg Roll Filling
Making the filling is very easy. I just browned the ground pork with some onion and then stirred in some vegetables for a few minutes to soften and cook.
To save time and make these homemade egg rolls super easy to make I used a bag of shredded coleslaw in the filling instead of slicing cabbage. Using the coleslaw mix means my filling has a few carrots too.
I also added sliced mushrooms and celery to the egg roll filling for added flavor. Once the coleslaw mixture and veggies had cooked for 5 minutes the filling was ready and it was time to start rolling.
Rolling the Homemade Egg Rolls
Rolling the filling tightly in the egg roll wrappers takes a little practice. The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t really matter if your egg rolls are perfect. Is anyone going to refuse to eat one of your egg rolls because it is a little wider on one side than the other? Of course not!
To roll the egg rolls place a wrapper on a cutting board along with a bowl of water. The water is used to seal the edges of the egg roll wrapper together.
Then put about 1/3 cup of egg roll filling in the top corner of the wrapper. Fold the top over the filling and roll it up tightly towards the bottom corner, folding the edges in as you go.
Use your fingers to add a little water around the bottom so the egg roll stays sealed during cooking. Then put the egg roll aside and make a few more.
The key to rolling the egg rolls is not to use too much filling – it is not supposed to be stuffed like a burrito! Rolling the egg rolls is kind of fun and becomes easier as you do it.
How to Air Fry Egg Rolls
When cooking the egg rolls in an air fryer it is critical not to put too many in the air fryer basket at one time. An air fryer works by circulating hot air, so you need to leave room between the egg rolls or the air can’t circulate. My Omorc Air fryer basket can fit 6 in a time, but yours might vary.
The egg rolls will brown more nicely if you add a little oil to the wrappers before cooking. I usually just spray them with cooking spray. However if you prefer to cook them without any oil they will still taste good, they just won’t be as brown.
I set my fryer at 400 F and cook the egg rolls for 6-8 minutes, turning them once with tongs about halfway through the cooking time. If you don’t think they look crispy enough after 8 minutes add another minute or two of cooking time on.
What to Serve With Air Fryer Egg Rolls
I like to serve my air fryer egg rolls with a variety of dipping sauces. I usually put out dipping bowls of soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and peanut sauce on the table. Then there is something for everyone!
Can I Make Egg Rolls Ahead of Time?
This is an easy recipe to make ahead of time because it keeps well. So you can do the more time consuming part of making the filling and rolling the egg rolls hours before you cook them.
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Put the filled egg rolls on a plate covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours and then just put them in the air fryer when you are ready to serve.
By using the high heat of an air fryer to cook egg rolls you can make this tasty side dish without a lot of grease and mess. The high heat of the air fryer crisps up the egg rolls for a crispy outside shell, which contrasts perfectly with the pork and cabbage filling.
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 bag coleslaw mix
- 4 ounces mushrooms
- 1 stalk celery
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- egg roll wrappers
- Heat a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the ground pork and onion and cook until pork is no longer pink.
- Add the mushrooms, celery, coleslaw mixture and salt to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes to soften the vegetables.
- Put the wrapper on a cutting board. Add 1/3 cup of filling mixture to the top corner of the egg roll wrapper. Fold the top down over the filling. Then roll the wrapper up, tucking the sides in as you go. When you get to the bottom use your fingers to moisten the edges of the wrapper and seal it in place.
- Continue to roll the egg rolls until the filling is gone.
- Spray the egg rolls lightly with cooking spray if desired. This will ensure even browning of the egg rolls.
- Cook the egg rolls at 400F for 6-8 minutes, flipping once with tongs half way through.