Chinese Spring Roll Skin Recipe

Spring rolls began showing up on American Chinese menus in the 50’s and 60’s. That’s easy to understand when you consider they’re not Cantonese but hail from the Eastern and Northern regions of China, where they’re typically eaten during spring festivals. Thus the name. Chinese spring rolls are made with wheat skins as opposed to rice paper (the latter being Vietnamese).

The ultra-thin wrappers are made via an unusual technique whereby a large mass of high-gluten dough is dabbed on a hot plate. The skin cooks up in about a minute, and is then peeled off. More on that in the tutorial. For now you’ll need:

1 lb. 10 ounces bread or high gluten flour
1 lb. 8 ounces water
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Stir to combine, about two minutes until a lumpy dough forms. Pour about two cups of water into the mixer bowl, enough to cover the dough with water, then refrigerate the bowl overnight.

The next day pour off the excess water and affix the paddle attachment to the mixer. Turn the mixer on medium-high and mix for about 15 minutes, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and gathers around the paddle.

Heat a nonstick skillet over very low heat on a stove top. It should be about 200 degrees…hot enough so you can comfortably place your finger on it for about one second. Pick up the mass of dough in one hand and dab it momentarily onto the pan. It will leave a film behind. Smooth out any larger blobs with a spatula. Let the dough cook until the edges start to curl upward, then peel up the whole skin. Remove it to a plate and cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool about 30 seconds before starting again.

17 thoughts on “Chinese Spring Roll Skin Recipe”

  1. Could you use regular flour and add gluten to it? That’s surprisingly the cheapest option here and I like good deals. What would be the ration if this is possible?

    1. Yes indeed you can add a tablespoon and a half of vital wheat gluten to it. That should do the trick!

      – Joe

  2. Awesome! I’ve been getting a lot of fresh cabbage from people’s gardens and now I will have a crunchtastic way to use it up. Thanks bundles.

  3. hi Joe,
    when I was little, I remember my mum buying them from a veg market fresh and always been fascinated on how thin they were. (brings back good memories for me). I loved how fresh they smell and was hoping I could find the same type when I moved abroad. the commercially made spring roll wraps are just not the same.

    I can’t wait to try them. yet I do thank you in advance, this is such a great thing to learn and hopefully pass on to my little girl.

    1. Hello Maria! Please do try them, then get back to me about the results, since I’ll be curious. These skins fascinated me as well, and I had lots of fun making a mess with this dough!


      – Joe

  4. Hi Joe

    Thanks for sharing the technique. Made the skins today and the only addition I did was to add 2 tbsps of tapioca flour and one egg white to give them a slightly translucent papery appearance. Found it easier to dab the dough on the skillet after stashing it in the fridge, after the 15 minutes mixing in the morning. Filled them with stir-fried turnips and homemade chili sauce. Yummy 🙂

  5. Hi Joe
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. In terms of freezing leftover skins, can I simply place them in a ziplock bag or plastic container and freeze?

    1. Yes. Just in case you might want to put pieces of wax paper between them.

      – Joe

  6. Dear Joe,
    I am originally from Malaysia. I have lived in the States for the past 34 years. Popiah is one of my favorite snacks growing up, and it can be a healthy snack if loaded with fresh vegetables. I have been searching the web for technique and recipe for the wrapper. There are hundreds of video clips and recipe out there, however, it seems like you are one of the few who is nice enough to share your secret with the most comprehensive list of ingredient without omitting the essential ingredient ‘gluten’. Thank you thank you.

    1. It’s my pleasure, Teen! Pease let me know how yours turn out!


      – Joe

  7. triman ke akasih …saya tadi sdh mencoba…awalnya sukses tapi untuk lembaran ke 5 gagal..adonan tidak menempel di wajan…kenapa ya joy….

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