Filipino Lumpia are crispy, delicious Filipino egg rolls that are perfect to serve at parties. They also freeze well and are perfect to make for snacks, lunch, dinner, or for last minute guests!
Growing up, food was a huge part of my life. I gained my passion for cooking from watching my Lola -- my great-grandmother, who lived with us -- make magic in the kitchen morning, noon, and night.
My parents entertained A LOT. We were constantly going to relatives' houses. Family and friends were always in and out of our own home. The one single food that you could always find at all of our homes: Lumpia.
What is lumpia?
Lumpia is a Filipino egg roll or Filipino spring roll. It's also known as Lumpiang Shanghai, and Lumpia Shanghai. Whatever you call it, it's the best spring roll you will have in your life!
Yes, I am biased, but it's true. Just ask anyone who has ever had authentic Filipino lumpia.
These traditional Filipino egg rolls are filled with a mixture of ground beef and tons of chopped vegetables. Then they are wrapped using thin egg roll wrappers. You'll find various lumpia versions that include fillings like ground pork, shrimp, and even ground chicken.
Learn how to make Filipino lumpia from scratch
I've been so spoiled living in the same state as my mom, that it took me a long time to learn how to make Lumpia on my own.
So one weekend I invited some friends over for a little cooking class. It was easy to find friends who wanted to participate -- everyone loves lumpia! In fact, I ended up hosting a lumpia cooking class again for a school auction event.
Our lumpia cooking class always starts off with the most important part: a cheers to good friends and good food.
Then, my mom put us to work!
How do you make lumpia from scratch?
Lumpia requires a lot of prep work. A LOT.
You start by chopping a lot of vegetables: carrots, celery, garlic, onions, potatoes, green beens, jicama, cabbage, and mushrooms.
Or, as exhibited in the photo below, enlist your mom and friends chop veggies. Meanwhile, you silently raid a plate of delicious bacon-wrapped dates.
Once all of the veggies are chopped and prepped, it's time to sauté the garlic and onions in a large stockpot.
Once the garlic and onions are translucent, add the ground beef, Shitake mushrooms, Johnny's Seasoning Salt (see pic below in the post), salt, pepper, soy sauce, and sauté until the beef is browned.
We decided to give this job to the muscles of the group.
Drain the excess oil from the pan, add chicken broth and bring to boil. Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Then, add the green beans, cabbage and celery and simmer for another 5 minutes.
The vegetables should be slightly crisp. Remove the pan from heat and add the jicama. You could add bean sprouts instead of jicama, but I prefer jicama. I find the texture and shape of the bean sprouts to be too distracting in this dish.
Drain excess fats and liquid mixture, which you could do by pouring the pot over a strainer. Or, you could use my mom's method and use a large slotted spoon to scoop out the solids into a separate large bowl, and then draining the remaining liquid in the pot.
Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature.
Drink more wine and eat more bacon-wrapped dates while waiting. I'd say this part is optional, but we all know it's mandatory.
How to assemble Filipino lumpia
Now it's time to assemble these beautiful Filipino spring rolls.
Separate individual sheets of Lumpia wrappers very carefully, so as not to tear them. Do not allow them to dry out and become brittle, or you will be dealing with sad broken wrappers.
Place 1 full tablespoon of the filling diagonally near one corner of the wrapper, leaving a 1.5 inch edge of space at both ends. Fold the corner along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends so that it almost looks like an envelope, and roll neatly and tight. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge.
The egg rolls can be fried immediately or frozen for later use (see Frying Tips below).
If frying them immediately, cover them with plastic wrap or a moist towel to keep the wrappers from drying out while you are frying the rest.
Frying fresh lumpia
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add vegetable oil to about 1 inch depth, and heat for 5-10 minutes. Fry the egg rolls for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until all sides are golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil.
Enjoy immediately. I know every recipe says this, but seriously: eat these right away, before your friends and family gobble them all up!
I hope you all enjoy our family's authentic Filipino Lumpia rolls!
These lumpia shanghai are perfect for holiday parties. They're also great to keep on hand in the freezer, ready to fry up when those unexpected guests come into town -- or when you have a gaggle of hungry kids descend upon your house after school!
I leave you with some lumpia cooking tips, lumpia freezing tips, and serving sauce tips, plus the printable recipe.
Tips for cooking lumpia
- For the best lumpia, use these lumpia wrappers (pictured above, right). These spring roll wrappers are thinner and are part of what make these egg rolls AWESOME. You could try other spring roll wrappers, but make sure they are thin enough.
- You can keep the lumpia wrappers moist and pliable during assembly by storing them in a plastic bag, or under moist towel.
- Another key to making Lumpia: add Johnny's sea salt seasoning to the meat while it's browning.
Can I freeze lumpia?
Yes, you can freeze lumpia! Any respectable Filipino has at least one bag of frozen lumpia in the freezer at all times. You can assemble a huge batch of lumpia. Then freeze them, uncooked.
Uncooked lumpia frozen will keep in tightly sealed freezer bags for up to three months.
Can I fry frozen lumpia?
Yes! If you have a batch of uncooked, frozen lumpia, it's easy to fry them. When you are ready to cook the lumpia rolls, take the frozen lumpia out of the freezer and fry them right away. You do NOT need to thaw frozen lumpia before frying.
In fact, it's so much better when you fry lumpia frozen straight from the freezer. They are crispier and the flavor is locked in. SO GOOD!
What do I serve lumpia with?
We love eating lumpia with everything. It really goes with almost every kind of Asian-inspired meal imaginable! Most of the time, my family enjoys it simply with some rice and an easy cucumber salad.
If you want to serve an authentic Filipino meal, you can serve lumpia shanghai rolls as a side dish to go with Filipino Adobo Chicken, Filipino Pancit Bihon, or Filipino Fried Rice. And don't forget the Filipino Macaroni Salad! Lumpia would also be an excellent side dish to easy, unfussy Homemade Ramen Noodles.
What wine do I serve with Filipino lumpia?
The richness of Filipino lumpia calls for a white wine that can cut through the grease and complement the Asian flavors of the dish. I'd pair lumpia with a Sauvignon Blanc, like the Browne Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has notes of green apple, lime, and passionfruit that complement the Filipino spices well.
More Filipino recipes & other Asian recipes
- Instant Pot Filipino Chicken Adobo
- Pork and Shrimp Wontons in Chili Oil
- Thai Peanut Curry
- My Filipino Fried Rice with Bacon or Sausage
Filipino Lumpia Recipe
Lumpia (Filipino spring rolls)
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup yellow onions chopped
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 can Chicken Broth
- 2 medium potato peeled and diced
- 1 cup carrots peeled and julienned
- 1 cup green beans French cut
- ½ cup celery diced
- 1 cup bean sprout or jicama
- 1 cup cabbage thinly sliced
- 4 pieces dried Shitake mushrooms softened and coarsely chopped
- 50-75 frozen Lumpia wrappers from any Asian market
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a skillet, sauté the garlic and onions in hot oil until the onions are translucent. Add the ground beef, Shitake mushrooms, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and sauté until the beef is browned.
- Drain the excess oil from the pan, add chicken broth and bring to boil. Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the green beans, cabbage and celery and simmer for another 5 minutes. The vegetables should be slightly crisp. Remove the pan from heat and add the bean sprouts or jicama. Drain excess fats and liquid mixture. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature.
- Separate the individual sheets of wrappers, being careful not to tear them. Keep them moist and pliable during assembly by storing them in a plastic bag, or under moist towel. Do not allow them to dry out and become brittle.
- Place 1 full tablespoon of the filling diagonally near one corner of the wrapper, leaving a 1.5 inch edge of space at both ends. Fold the side along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends, and roll neatly and tight. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge.
- The egg rolls can be fried immediately or frozen for later use. If frying them immediately, cover them with plastic wrap or a moist towel to keep the wrappers from drying out. If freezing them, place them in a Ziploc (for freezer), putting plastic wrap between layers. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. Do not thaw the frozen egg rolls before frying them. Just separate them and fry them while still frozen.
- Frying instructions
- Heat a skillet over medium heat, add vegetable oil to about 1 inch depth, and heat for 5-10 minutes. Fry the egg rolls for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until all sides are golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil.