People of all ages will have fun making these fresh and delicious, totally crowd-pleasing summer rolls.

By Elizabeth Brownfield
Pictured: Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
AllrecipesPhoto

Summer rolls are healthy, delicious, and packed with fresh produce. Everyone from kids to grandparents love rolling, dipping, and noshing on them, making them a perfect party food. Plus, they're easy to customize to different preferences and dietary restrictions, so everyone's happy. What's not to love about summer rolls?

Best yet, you do all the prep ahead of time and everyone gets in on the rolling, meaning you'll actually have time to relax and enjoy your own party. Follow the easy plan below for a fresh take on entertaining that's interactive, delicious, and sure to please the crowd.

Related: 12 Summer Rolls to Cool Down Dinner

Summer Roll Recipes

Try our traditional Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with succulent shrimp, rice vermicelli, Thai basil, and mint, served with a tasty duo of sauces that are quick and easy to make. Or, try our Steak Summer Rolls, made with wallet-friendly flat-iron steak and quick-pickled veggies.

Our Lemon Grass and Chicken Summer Rolls, stuffed with chicken, cucumbers, and herbs get a punch of heat from fresh ginger and jalapeños. Chicken Caesar Spring Rolls are a creative take on everyone's favorite classic salad.

Want to mix-and-match instead so you and your guests can invent your own flavor combinations? Just stock up on the ingredients below, and make a quick batch of homemade Thai Peanut Sauce for dipping. You can also think outside the rice wrapper with optional ingredients like sliced mango or avocado, shaved purple cabbage, and even edible flowers like nasturtiums or borage.

What You'll Need to Make Summer Rolls

Follow one of our tried-and-true recipes suggested above, or gather the ingredients suggested below so you and your guests your own custom creations.

Ingredients

  • Rice vermicelli
  • Rice paper rounds (about 8 to 9 inches in diameter)
  • Carrots, English cucumbers, radishes, and bell peppers
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Fresh herb like Thai or regular basil, mint, and cilantro
  • Proteins (optional) like shrimp, chicken, or tofu
  • Ingredients for your sauce of choice

Equipment

  • Wide, shallow pans (like pie plates) filled with warm water
  • Clean surfaces or plates for your guests to assemble their rolls
  • Lots of hands for rolling!

What to Prep Ahead for a Summer Roll Party

  • Make the sauces.
  • Cook and chill the rice vermicelli.
  • Cut the carrots, English cucumbers, radishes, and bell peppers. Chop them into matchstick-size pieces, thinly slice them using a mandoline, or just slice them as thinly as you can.
  • Rinse and dry the lettuce leaves.
  • Rinse and dry the herbs. Remove the basil and mint leaves from the stems, keeping the leaves whole. Trim the ends of the cilantro stems so they're about 5 or 6 inches long. (Cilantro stems are flavorful and easy to eat, so you can leave them whole instead of picking off the individual leaves.)
  • If using proteins like chicken or tofu, cook and slice into bite-size pieces. If using shrimp, remove the shells, cook, devein, and slice the shrimp in half through the middle so you have two "C" shapes.

How to Roll 'Em Up

Rolling these beauties is easy enough for kids to do, and is a fun activity for cooks of all ages. Just be sure not to leave the rice paper wrappers in warm water for too long or they'll become overly soft and more prone to tearing.

  1. Fill pie plates with warm water.
  2. Working with one rice paper round at a time, soak the paper in the warm water until it's softened, about 30 seconds. (If the water cools, replace it with more warm water.) Transfer to a clean work surface.
  3. Start to add vegetables and herbs to the center of the roll. The papers are semi-transparent, so if you want your rolls to be extra pretty, use pretty herb leaves, colorful veggies, or pink shrimp for the first layer. Then add other proteins, rice vermicelli, and lettuce. (Be careful not to add so much filling that you won't be able to seal the roll.)
  4. Fold the bottom of the rice paper over the filling. Next, fold in the sides.
  5. Finally, roll the bundle up into a cylinder shape (like you would a burrito)
  6. Cut roll in half on a diagonal and transfer to a platter, seam side down.

Related: Browse our entire collection of Vietnamese Recipes.

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