Skip takeout and make egg rolls at home! These sweet and sour chicken egg rolls are have classic sweet and sour chicken rolled up in an egg roll wrapper. Cooked in the air fryer you can make homemade crispy egg rolls without deep frying. Dip in sweet and sour sauce for an easy better than takeout treat.
One of my favorite things about take out Chinese food is the egg rolls. The problem is deep fried egg rolls aren’t very good for you. My solution is to make homemade egg rolls in the air fryer – which means they are crispy and tasty but much better for you.
These egg rolls have all the classic taste of sweet and sour chicken, with healthy vegetables, pineapple and tender chicken, in an egg roll wrapper. If you love egg rolls as much as my family does make sure you check out my recipe for traditional pork air fryer egg rolls or Southwest egg rolls after you make these chicken ones!
Better than Take Out?
I wish I could tell you that air fryer egg rolls taste exactly like deep fried. But they don’t. They are however crispy and crunchy and much better than oven baked egg rolls.
To me these sweet and sour egg rolls are better than take out because they give you egg roll taste without the fat and calories of deep fried. And as I have gotten older I have less tolerance for eating fried food.
When making these sweet and sour chicken egg rolls I was looking to make this recipe quick and easy. So I used a few short cuts like bottled sweet and sour sauce and frozen pre-cut vegetables.
Chicken – This recipe uses ground chicken. I used 95% fat free chicken. You could substitute another kind of ground meat, like turkey or pork if you prefer.
Vegetables – This is where I really took short cuts. I used a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables rather than slicing my own fresh ones. My stir fry vegetables had sugar snap peas, carrots and red peppers.
My grocery store has quite a few different stir fry vegetable options so I picked one in which the vegetables were cut nice and small. It is easier to roll the egg rolls if the vegetables are diced into little pieces.
Pineapple – Sweet and sour chicken has to have pineapple! I used a can of crushed pineapple to add sweet tropical flavor.
Sweet and Sour Sauce -You want to have lots of sauce for dipping the egg rolls. I bought a bottle of premade sauce, but you can make your own if you prefer.
Egg Roll Wrappers – These wrappers are usually in the produce section of the grocery store.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Egg Roll Filling
1. Brown the Chicken
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes. Add the chicken and cook until it is no longer pink. Break it up as it cooks. I also added half an onion to my chicken as it browned.
2. Add the Vegetables
Once the chicken is mostly browned stir in the vegetables. You want the mixture to be about 50/50 meat and vegetables, which was half a package of the frozen vegetables.
Stir everything together and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the drained, crushed pineapple and sweet and sour sauce, stir it and turn off the heat.
3. Let it Cool
It will be easier to assemble the egg rolls if you let the filling cool for 5-10 minutes. You can also let the filling cool completely to room temperature, refrigerate it, and make the egg rolls another day.
And this sweet and sour filling is pretty tasty by itself. I have skipped the egg rolls and just served it with rice for dinner. So if you have leftover filling after making the egg rolls don’t let it go to waste!
Making the Egg Rolls
Rolling the egg rolls up can seem intimidating if you haven’t done it before. But it is really quite easy. And if your egg rolls are a little misshapen or not even it doesn’t matter.
As long as the egg rolls are tightly sealed so the filling doesn’t leak out they will be fine. Once you have rolled a couple it will seem much easier.
1. Set Up
Before you start trying to roll these appetizers up get everything ready. You need the egg roll wrappers, slightly cool filling, a small bowl of water and a tray or plate for the finished egg rolls.
I like to roll egg rolls on a cutting board. Take one egg roll wrapper off the stack and set it with one corner pointing down, towards you.
Put 1/4 cup of filling in the top corner of the egg roll wrapper. Don’t try to put extra filling inside. If the filling is runny use a slotted spoon to avoid excess moisture.
Fold the top corner of the wrapper over the filling and fold the sides in. It is folded like it is an envelope.
Roll the egg roll down the cutting board, foling in the sides as you go. Roll it until only the bottom corner of the wrapper is left unrolled.
Dip your fingers in the water and moisten the bottom corner of the egg roll wrapper. Then roll it all the way over and press it into place. Put the egg rolls on a tray and make some more.
Cooking the Egg Rolls
Preheating the air fryer will make the egg rolls cook better. I rarely preheat my air fryer – but I do for this recipe. So preheat it at 400 F for 2-3 minutes before you cook the egg rolls.
Spray the egg rolls very lightly with cooking spray. This will make them brown up better. You can skip this step if you want, but then your final egg rolls will not be as pretty.
Put the egg rolls in the air fryer basket, being sure to leave space between them. The air fryer works by circulating air, so if you crowd the egg rolls they will not cook as well.
Cook the egg rolls at 400 F for 6-8 minutes, flipping the egg rolls with tongs halfway through the cooking time. At the end of the time if they aren’t brown enough put them back in for another 2-3 minutes and check them again.
Top Tips for Best Egg Rolls
In summary here are my top egg roll making tips:
- Don’t overfill the egg roll wrappers
- Don’t overfill the air fryer basket
- Wrap the egg rolls tightly
- Don’t worry if your egg rolls aren’t perfectly shaped
No Air Fryer?
But what if you don’t have an air fryer? It seems like half the people I know got an air fryer for Christmas this year! But you can still bake these egg rolls in the oven and I include oven directions in the printable recipe card below. Using an oven just takes a little longer.
And if you are looking for an air fryer here are some that might be a good fit, whether you are looking for budget options or one for a big family.
Easy to Make Ahead
These egg rolls are easy to make ahead of time, especially if you are planning a party. First you can make the filling ahead of time, refrigerate it, and make the egg rolls a day or two later.
Or you can roll and air fry the egg rolls and then freeze them for later. You can’t roll the egg rolls and store them unbaked though. The egg roll wrappers will not stand up to that. So once they are filled and rolled you need to cook them.
Freezing the Egg Rolls
To freeze the egg rolls let them cool to room temperature. Then put them in freezer bags and freeze them in a single layer.
To cook frozen egg rolls you can either let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight or reheat them from frozen.
Reheat them in the air fryer at 350 F for 6-8 minutes if thawed, or 8-10 minutes if frozen. You can also heat them in a 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes.
No matter how you heat them if you are reheating frozen egg rolls you should check the internal temperature with a thermometer and make sure it reaches 165 F for food safety.
These egg rolls will lose some crispness and crunchiness when they are reheated. So for optimal taste eat them when they are freshly made.
What to Serve With Sweet and Sour Chicken Egg Rolls
The best sauce for dipping these egg rolls is of course sweet and sour sauce. Soy sauce or a sweet chili sauce are also great dipping choices.
These sweet and sour chicken egg rolls make an excellent appetizer for a party. They are also great to serve along with dinner like this Pepper Steak recipe. So skip the take out and make these quick and easy chicken egg rolls for your family this week!
- 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
- 1/2 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/2 package (6 ounces) of Stir Fry Vegetables, frozen
- 1/2 cup crush pineapple, drained
- 1/4 cup Sweet and Sour sauce
- 8 egg roll wrappers
- Heat a skillet on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add ground chicken and cook, stirring. Break the chicken up with a spoon as it cooks. Cook for 5 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink.
- Add the frozen stir fry vegetables. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes.
- Add the crushed pineapple and stir to mix. Then add the sweet and sour sauce and mix it in. Take the skillet off the heat.
- The egg rolls will be easier to handle if you let the filling cool for 5 minutes.
- To roll the egg rolls position an egg roll wrapper on a cutting board with one corner towards you.
- Put 1/4 cup of filling in the top of the wrapper. Fold the top corner over the filling and fold in the sides. Roll the egg roll wrapper down, folding in the sides as you go. Put a little bit of water on the bottom corner of the wrapper before you roll it all the way up to help it seal.
- Continue to roll the egg rolls until all the filling is gone.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 F for 2-3 minutes. I rarely preheat my air fryer, but I do for egg rolls.
- Put the egg rolls in an air fryer basket and spray the egg rolls lightly with cooking spray if desired. This will ensure even browning of the egg rolls.
- Cook the egg rolls in a preheated air fryer at 400 F for 6-8 minutes, flipping once with tongs half way through.
- If they aren't quite brown enough put them back in for a another few minutes.
- Serve with more sweet and sour sauce for dipping.
Preheat your air fryer for this recipe, it makes a difference.
Don't over fill the egg rolls.
Don't over fill the air fryer basket.
If you don't have an air fryer you can bake in a preheated oven at 400F for 15-20 minutes.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 194Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 294mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g
Nutrition facts are estimates.