BH&G Cooking Workshop

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

Hungry for a new flavor experience? Cook along with Andrea Nguyen as she discusses ingredients and demonstrates key techniques. Or pour yourself a drink, sit back, relax and watch an expert at work. We will keep the recipe and prep instructions here for future reference.

Shopping and Prep List 

If you’d like to cook, gather the filling components you want for your rolls. Prep as much as you like before we get started!


“Noodle”: choose 1

  • 3 to 4 oz dried small round rice noodles (maifun) or dried rice capellini
  • 12 oz bean sprouts

Protein: choose 1

  • 18 medium cooked shrimp (about 1/2 pound)
  • 18 medium (36 to 42 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 ounces baked tofu, leftover cooked chicken, steak or pork, thinly sliced

Lettuce: choose 1

  • 1 1/2 cups baby spring lettuce mix
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
  • 1 small head butter, red or green leaf, leaves separated

Other veggies: choose 2

  • One mango, peeled, pitted and cut into thin strips to match cucumber
  • 2 medium Persian cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into thin long strips about 4-inches in length
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into thin matchsticks

Herbs: choose 2

  • 6 to 8 mint sprigs (2 tbsps coarsely chopped leaves)
  • 6 to 8 basil sprigs (2 tbsps coarsely chopped leaves)
  • Small handful cilantro sprigs (2 tbsps coarsely chopped leaves and tender stems)

Rice paper

  • 12 (8 inch) rice paper rounds: Brands: 3 Ladies brand, sold at Asian markets and on Amazon


  • Sea salt



  • 2 to 2 1/2 tbsps sugar
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tsp unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar (optional)
  • 3 to 4 tbsps fish sauce
  • Optional add-in: 1 or 2 Thai or serrano chiles, thinly sliced or 2 to 3 tsps chile garlic sauce
  • Optional add-in: 1 large garlic clove, minced


Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls Prep Instructions

Makes 12 rolls, to serve to 4 to 6

Ready the filling

  • Boil the noodles in a pot of water for 3 to 5 minutes (the timing depends on the noodle brand), until chewy-soft. Drain, quickly rinse, then set aside to drain and cool to room temperature.
  • Fill a small (1 1/2 to 2-quart) saucepan half full with water, add the salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Add the shrimp, slide the pan off heat, and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes, until the shrimp have curled up and are pinkish orange. Drain and transfer the shrimp to a plate and let cool.
  • To make the shrimp lie flat, cut each one into symmetrical halves. Lay it flat on a cutting board and cut in half horizontally: use the index and middle fingers of one hand to steady the shrimp as you wield the knife in a sawing motion with the other hand. Set aside on a plate. Season the cut mango with 2 pinches of salt and add to the shrimp plate.

Set up a wrapping station

  • Use flat work surface (a cutting board, inverted baking sheet, or dish towel) and a shallow bowl, baking dish, or deep skillet (choose something that’s wider than the rice paper) filled with about 1 inch of very warm (think bath temperature) water. Place the noodles, shrimp, mango, cucumber, lettuce, herbs, and rice paper nearby.
  • Slide a rice paper round into the water to wet both sides, then place on your work surface. When the rice paper is pliable and tacky, position 2 tbsps of lettuce in the lower third portion of the round, arranging it into a rough 4 by 2-inch rectangle.
  • Put an egg-size mound of noodles atop the lettuce, spreading it into a rectangle. Arrange some cucumber and mango on top.
  • Sprinkle some herb leaves on the ridge.
  • Bring up the lower edge of the rice paper to cover the filling. Roll upwards like a cigar so the lettuce faces you.
  • Add 3 shrimp halves, cut side facing up, to the unrolled portion of rice paper; line the shrimp up snugly along the partially finished roll. Fold in the sides of the rice paper to cover the filling.
  • Finish by rolling upward, jelly roll– style, to create a snug cylindrical package. The rice paper is self-sealing.
  • Repeat to make 12 rolls total, placing the finished rolls on a serving platter; cover to prevent drying.
  • Serve with the sauce. Invite guests to spoon sauce into the rolls.


Makes 1 cup

  • In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsps of the sugar, 3 tbsps of the lime juice, and the water.
  • Add the fish sauce; how much you use depends on the brand and your own taste. Aim for a bold, forward finish that’s a little gutsy.
  • If desired, add the chiles, garlic, and/or carrot.
  • Set the sauce at the table so diners may help themselves, or portion it out in small bowls in advance for serving.

MAKE AHEAD: The sauce can sit up at room temperature for up to 8 hours until serving.