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Spring Roll Wrappers

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2002

Which are the best wrappers to use for spring rolls?

Spring roll wrappers are the traditional choice for Vietnamese and Thai spring rolls. Made from a paste of rice flour and water that is stamped into bamboo mats and dried, rice paper wrappers are translucent, brittle, and delicate—meaning they can be difficult to work with. On trips to Asian markets we also noticed wrappers made from wheat flour or ground tapioca. We bought all three kinds and went back to the kitchen to test them.

The wrappers made from wheat flour were thick and opaque, too firm for the delicate spring roll, and their distinct wheat flavor muddied the bright flavors of the vegetables. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the wrappers made from tapioca flour were very nearly transparent and very fragile. Their texture was too flimsy and sticky for many tasters. the rice paper wrappers proved the most neutral of casings. Tender, yet structurally sound enough to hold the fillings, the rice paper wrappers were also neutral in flavor, allowing us to fully appreciate the bright mix of flavors within the roll.