pork spring rolls
Snack Time

Pork Spring Rolls

A few weeks ago I ran into a friend from high school and after chatting and catching up over some beers Betsy and I invited him and his wife over for dinner one night.

There was one catch though: The meal had to be gluten free and dairy free due to some dietary restrictions. Of course, I saw this as a challenge and thought long and hard about what to make for the dinner. I decided on an Asian theme.

I’ll be completely honest. The main part of the meal was anything but stellar. I grilled some chicken which was pretty good, but I somehow managed to completely botch a pot of rice. Like, our dinner guests were nice enough to eat it, but umm… it turned out to be more of some strange porridge mixture than rice. I’m still not sure how it happened exactly as I’ve made rice probably a million times and can normally do it without issues.

Oh well. Goes to show you that sometimes things go wrong in the kitchen and you can’t do much about it except laugh it off.


The good news about my venture into the gluten-free/dairy-free world was the appetizers I made: These freakin‘ fantastic grilled pork spring rolls. This was my first attempt at spring rolls actually and while they were a bit intimidating, they were completely doable and very worth the work.

pork spring rolls

Pork Spring Rolls

Just a moment please...

Serves 4-6.
Prep Time
Total Time

Marinaded pork chops grilled, sliced thin, and stuffed inside spring roll wrappers with lots of fresh veggies.


1 pound boneless pork chops, marinated
1 red pepper, sliced very thin
1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
1 Handful of basil, julienned
Rice Papers for rolling
(Note: You could add tons of things to these rolls like other herbs, bean sprouts, etc.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 Thai chilies, diced (or a jalapeno)
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (gluten free)
1 Teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 Cup peanut or vegetable oil
2 Teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
Dipping sauce:
1 Cup hoisin sauce (gluten free)
1/4 Cup smooth peanut butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
Warm water until it reaches desired consistency, probably a few tablespoons
NOTE:  If I were making a non-gluten-free version of this, I'd leave out the garlic and add a tablespoon of garlic chili  sauce.
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1) For marinade, combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Then add pork chops to a plastic bag with marinade and let sit for at least an hour.

2) To cook pork chops, grill on high heat or cook in a cast iron skillet or grill pan for 4-5 minutes per side depending on pork chop thickness.  Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into them.  Slice them thinly.

3) Prep all over veggies for rolls.  Be sure to spend time slicing thinly and evenly.

4) For dipping sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  If you don’t have a food processor, just mix everything really well in a bowl.

5) To make rolls, start by pour some warm water on a large plate.

6) Add a spring roll wrapper to the plate.  Flip it over once or twice until it relaxes and becomes flexible, probably about 15-20 seconds.

7) Move wrapper to a clean work surface.  Add a few strips of pork along with a few strips of all other veggies to wrapper.  Don’t add the fillings to the middle of the wrapper.  Add them about 2/3s down the wrapper, closer to you.  Leave about 1/2 an inch around the filling.

8) Fold the wrapper over the filling, working away from you.  Fold the edges in and continue to roll.  As you roll, pull back on the filling to keep it snug and tight in the wrapper.

9) Once you have all the rolls wrapped, slice them in half and serve them with the sauce!

Adapted from a Rasa Malaysia recipe.

Prepping the Pork

The marinade for this pork is really flavorful and pretty important to the final taste. Luckily it’s easy to make. Just roughly dice up your garlic and chilies and stuff and add them to a bowl with all the other ingredients.

It’s a pretty dark marinade.

marinade for pork

A quick marinade.

Add your boneless pork chops to a bag with the marinade and let them sit for at least an hour. Longer would be just fine.


Good flavors in there.

I cooked my pork on my grill on super-hot heat, but you could also cook them in a cast iron skillet if you wanted. The brown sugar in the marinade will create a great crust on the pork, but it might cause some smoking if you cook them indoors.

A grill would be best, but use what you have. Depending on the thickness of your pork, the chops will probably need 4-5 minutes per side on high heat.

Then let them rest for 10 minutes or so and slice them pretty thin.

I was proud of these guys and honestly, they would’ve been great just by themselves!


Grilled and sliced!

Making the sauce

The dipping sauce for these rolls couldn’t be easier. Just add all the ingredients to a food processor and give it a quick pulse to combine everything. Depending on your peanut butter and hoisin sauce, you might need to add a bit of warm water to thin it out some.

It shouldn’t be clumpy at all.

dipping sauce

Quick hoisin sauce.

If you don’t have a food processor, you could easily just stir everything together in a bowl. Just make sure to mince your garlic really finely if you’re using it. You definitely don’t need a food processor to make this recipe.

Making the rolls

I’ll be honest. I was nervous about these guys.

I wanted to make sure that I had everything ready, which I recommend, so at some point before you start rolling, slice up your red peppers, cucumbers, and basil. You could use lots of veggies for these guys, but these were really good as a start.

Spend some time to make sure you get nice evenly sized sticks.


Thin is the key.

Ok. Now it’s time to tackle the beast.

Spring rolls wrappers.

These guys kind of scared me because they look impossibly thin and fragile.

spring roll wrappers

Strange things.

To use them, pour some hot water on a plate and set a wrapper on the plate to soak up some of the water and soften up a bit. Flip it over once or twice and after maybe 15 seconds it should be loose and flexible.

rice paper soaking

I was pretty skeptical about my abilities here.

Here’s the thing that I wasn’t expecting about these wrappers that took me a minute to get used to: They are a lot stronger than they look. Once they’re wet, you can tug on them and really stuff them full and they are surprisingly strong.

So once your wrapper is wet, lay it out flat on your work surface, add a few strips of pork and veggies. I also ripped up some lettuce that I added to the rolls.

To key to making these work is where you put the filling. DON’T put it directly in the center of the wrapper. Put it about 2/3s toward the side closest to you and leave a good 1/2 inch to an inch around the sides of the filling.

This one is gonna be pretty stuffed.

filling added

You can pack in quite a bit.

Then fold over the end closest to you, tuck in the ends like you would a burrito and continue to roll the wrapper away from you.

Try to keep the filling as tight as possible during the rolling. As you roll, pull the filling toward you which will keep it nice and snug.

making rolls

Get it?

If it’s your first time making spring rolls, it’ll take you one or two to get the hang of it, but it’s completely doable.

I decided to slice all my rolls in half which showed off the pretty fillings.

roll cut

Will ya look at that?!

Once you roll them all, slice them up, and stack them on a plate, you’ll have a really beautiful presentation that’s healthy and very delicious.

It’s kind of a show stopper appetizer if you ask me.

spring rolls plated

So good and light.

Of course, my dinner guests were probably somewhat confused how the same person who managed this also managed to completely destroy a pot of rice, but hey. I like to keep people on their toes.

I would guess that with all the prep time and everything these guys took me about an hour to make (but you need to marinate the pork earlier) and they were completely worth it.

I think spring rolls are going to be my new thing and it isn’t even spring yet!

Are you a spring roll fan? Have you tried making them? Leave a comment!

15 comments on “Pork Spring Rolls

  1. I love Vietnamese Spring rolls but I've never tried them with pork, sounds good. I use shrimp in my rolls, the same veggies you use but I add rice vermicelli noodles. I also put my wet wrapper on a towel when I'm laying the filling on it. I got my recipe from a Hmong woman I worked with. The recipe was originally from her mother. The dipping sauce is fish sauce, white sugar, red pepper flakes and lime juice. I'll have to try the hoisin dipping sauce the next time I make it. Love your blog, Thank you!

    1. I was able to find them in my normal grocery store. Usually they are in the asian section on the very bottom shelf. Or any Asian market would have them obviously.

  2. do you have any alternatives for sauces? I can't do peanuts…

    my idea with the quinoa pasta and a sauce came from my little cousin who at one point was allergic to rice, wheat (gluten also), eggs, chicken and most nuts. He has grown out of all of the allergies but eggs and nuts. It was really fun cooking for him for a year or so after we found out about the allergies.

      1. Anita – my mom's tried and true recipe for nuoc cham, or fish dipping sauce, is:

        1 lime
        1.5 c Coco Rico coconut soda OR water if you can't find coconut soda
        1/4 c fish sauce (the 3 crabs, or squid, brands are good)
        5 tbsp sugar
        1 cloves garlic

        mince garlic & pepper
        then add lime juice & sugar
        then add coconut soda, stir to dissolve sugar
        add fish sauce last, taste and add more of whatever to your liking

        1. oh by "pepper" i meant like a thai chili pepper, or you can add Chili Garkic Sauce (the kind in a jar with the green lid) to taste.

  3. Hi Nick! Actually in Vietnamese, these are called "goi cuon" or "summer rolls" – spring rolls are actually fried and made with a different paper and ingredients. Also as a side note/trick, my mom always heated a big bowl of water, then you dip the entire paper in one 1/4 at a time and kind of quickly spin it around so it all gets wet… it's plenty of water and time to moisten, but doesn't leave the roll too soggy and wet. Yours look yummy ;)

    1. Oh, now I understand. I thought the pictures didn't look like the spring rolls I've had so far, but I am no expert. Thanks for clearing that up! I see you know what you are talking about, you have lots of experience with Chinese food I see. Have you ever made dishes using beluga caviar? I just discovered it, and I am desperately seeking some nice recipes to use them in. Thanks again! :)

  4. Can you tell me how many rolls this will make? I’m thinking of making this for a group potluck and not sure if I should double the recipe. Thanks!!

  5. These were fabulous. We ate them as our main and only course, but we added some asian noodles as well and doused the inside with the dipping sauce. I had to reduce the garlic for one person, but it tasted great with a mix of minced fresh ginger as well. These were very much like the ones we get at a local restaurant, but ours would win hands down! And that place is super popular. The biggest win was that my son loved them, veggies and all. That kid will be a food critic some day.

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