Dipping Sauces for Vietnamese Spring Rolls

January 24, 2022
3 Ratings
Photo by Betty | le jus d'orange
  • Prep time 24 hours 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I've included two popular dipping sauces here: a fish sauce-based sauce and a hoisin peanut sauce. Like the spring rolls, these dipping sauces are highly customizable, and restaurants will often have their own signature sauce. —Betty

Test Kitchen Notes

Betty, who developed these dipping sauces, also created a recipe for spring rolls as well. As she says, you can make them according to whatever you have on hand and enjoy. You can include pork, shrimp, or prawns and all sorts of different vegetable and herbs. In Vietnam, prawns are more traditional, but you can definitely use shrimp instead. She also includes some type of pork (loin, shoulder, and/or belly), but if it's a hot summer day out and you want a lighter roll, you don't have to use any pork. She's also enjoyed spring rolls with shredded mango or shiso leaves.

In her recipe, she suggests a combination of pork, shrimp, vermicelli, carrot, cucumber, mint, Thai basil, cilantro, and garlic chives. As she mentions, you can use all of these ingredients or swap out for your own, but do try to use that Thai basil if possible: "The distinctive taste of Thai basil gives the spring rolls a stamp of authenticity. You should be able to find Thai basil in most Asian supermarkets, but if you can’t, omit basil altogether and use additional cilantro, mint, or shiso in its place."

The dipping sauces are as versatile as the spring rolls you make, and the best part is both are make ahead-friendly. But the sauces do feature classic ingredients, like fish sauce, chiles, hoisin sauce, garlic, and peanut butter. Feel free to experiment with the ratios and whatever you've got in your kitchen to come up with your favorite dipping sauce combinations. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Fish Sauce-Based Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh Thai chiles
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Hoisin Peanut Sauce:
  • 5 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons pork broth
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Chopped peanuts (optional)
  1. Fish Sauce-Based Sauce:
  2. In a medium airtight container, mix the water, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, ginger, and chiles; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 1 day in order to let the chile flavor infuse.
  1. Hoisin Peanut Sauce:
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the hoisin, broth, and peanut butter.
  3. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, cook the garlic and oil, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the hoisin sauce mixture and sugar, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened. Let cool.
  4. Top the sauce with the peanuts, if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • S da Ponte
    S da Ponte
  • Marilynannette Keen
    Marilynannette Keen
  • Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands
    Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands
  • Bella B
    Bella B
  • platedpalate
betty is a food blogger and wedding photographer based in Boston, MA.

9 Reviews

S D. November 12, 2022
I'm lying in hospital, salivering over this recipe! It is so nourishing and tasty. Thank you.
S D. September 2, 2020
The Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce was delicious
Radiodugger April 12, 2016
OK, you made Nước chấm. One thing I find left out most often is gỏi cà rốt, or Carrot Salad. A tablespoon is usually added undrained just before serving. Here is a simple recipe:

Carrot Salad

2 Cups Water
4 Tablespoons White Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
4 to 5 Carrots

In a small bowl, combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir
until dissolved.

Peel carrots and shred finely.

Pour liquid over carrots, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Radiodugger April 12, 2016
The fish sauce-based is actually called Nước chấm. Ginger is not usually added. I make mine with 4 tablesp of THIS brand fish sauce:

Then I add 4 tablesp sugar, 4 tablesp white vinegar, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, and a bit of crushed red pepper. I dilute it with about a cup of water. It keeps a month, but never lasts that long! LOL!

platedpalate March 7, 2018
Adding ginger would make it nước mắm gừng, which is eaten with certain dishes such as duck rice porridge. For me, it's easiest to make the classic sauce based on proportions, which can easily be scaled up or down:

1 part lime juice*
1 part sugar
1 part hot water + 3 parts room temp water
1 part nước mắm
garlic, finely minced
chili peppers, finely chopped
*If using white vinegar, reduce to 1/2 part.
Marilynannette K. August 6, 2015
Is there any way to make these ahead of time and not have them dry out? I would love to take them for lunch and have them still taste as fresh as when I first make them.
Betty August 6, 2015
Are you talking about the spring rolls or dipping sauces? The sauces you can definitely make ahead of time. The spring rolls you can too - of course, fresh is best, but you can make them and then wrap them with plastic wrap between the rolls to prevent drying out as well as sticking. Hope that helps!
Fernando @. August 5, 2015
Love the composition, and it looks soooo yummy!
Bella B. August 4, 2015
Peanut dipping sauce is my favourite. I will have to try this recipe.