Viet Rice Paper Rolls

Practically any ingredient can fill a rice paper roll so long as it’s soft or thinly cut so it can be easily manipulated and contained. Use this recipe as a road map for quantities of ingredients and assembly instructions. Once you learn the basics of rolling, swap the shrimp for pork, chicken, or tofu, or the fresh carrots and cucumbers for sautéed shiitake mushroom caps. The key is preparing the chosen ingredients then gathering them near where the rice paper sheets will be moistened, filled, and rolled.

Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
6 to 8


  • 1 (5- to 6-ounce) package uncooked rice stick noodles (maifun) or 12 ounces fresh bean sprouts, blanched, or a combination of the two

  • 16 (8 1/4-inch) round rice paper sheets

  • 4 cups baby lettuce mix or thinly sliced butter lettuce or red leaf lettuce

  • 32 fresh mint leaves or 5 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint

  • 32 fresh cilantro leaves or 5 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips or matchsticks

  • 2 Persian cucumbers, cut into thin strips or matchsticks

  • 24 peeled and deveined cooked medium shrimp, split lengthwise into symmetrical halves

  • 1  cup Nuoc Cham, for serving


  1. Use a cutting board, inverted baking sheet, or non-terry dish towel as a work surface. (If your guests are making their own rolls, provide each a dinner plate for a work surface.) Fill a large, deep skillet or shallow bowl (wider than the rice paper sheets) with 1 to 2 inches very warm water (a little hotter than bathwater; it will cool as you work) to moisten the rice paper sheets. (When making rolls at the table with guests, set out multiple bowls of water.) Arrange the filling components (lettuce, herbs, noodles, proteins) near your work area. If people are eating as they roll, ready the accompanying sauce.

  2. Boil the noodles in a pot of water until tender-chewy, or blanch the bean sprouts until crisp-tender; drain and rinse with cold water. Let drain until ready to use.

  3. To assemble the rolls, work with 1 rice paper sheet at a time. Slide it into the water, gently rotating the sheet with your hands for a few seconds to wet both sides. Place it on your work surface. Let rice paper stand until completely pliable and slightly tacky, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (Do not leave rice paper sitting in water.)

  4. Arrange about 2 tablespoons lettuce into a 4- to 5-inch strip across bottom third of rice paper sheet. Arrange about 3 tablespoons noodles neatly over lettuce. Top with a few leaves each of mint and cilantro. Top with a pinch of carrot, a pinch of cucumber, and 3 shrimp halves.

  5. Fold bottom of rice paper sheet up and over filling. (If paper is too tacky, dip your fingertips in water, then lightly remoisten edges of sheet.) Roll away from you once so that the bottom edge is just tucked under, keeping wrapper pressed tightly around filling. Fold outer sides of sheet in toward center. (If roll is too full, fold in 1 side, and leave remaining side open.) Starting with the filled side, roll up, jelly roll–style, to create a small, burrito-like roll. The rice paper is self-sealing and is now ready to eat or store.

    Viet Rice Paper Rolls
    Greg DuPree

Make Ahead

To hold or transport the rolls, weave plastic wrap between the rolls to prevent sticking. Alternatively, arrange the rolls in a circle with corners barely touching. Cover with plastic wrap, and keep at room temperature up to 3 hours. (Refrigerated rolls will harden and may come apart if filling is wet.)

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