Growing up, my mom’s cheese lumpia were the only type of cheese sticks I knew. She’d usually make them on Sundays as a mid-afternoon snack, paired with sweet and sour sauce or banana ketchup as our dipping sauce. As a kid, biting into the crunchy exterior to get to the cheesy center of the lumpia was one of the most incredible eating sensations, and to be honest, it still is for me. I call for mozzarella in this recipe, but cheddar could also work. I used 6-inch spring roll wrappers (not to be confused with wonton or egg roll wrappers), and this size was perfect for covering all of the cheese but just enough to have some of it ooze out and crisp up. Fun fact: this crunchy cheese exterior adds a layer of texture you won’t get from most other lumpia recipes.
If serving for a crowd, you can easily double the ingredients and make this recipe ahead. Uncooked cheese lumpia can be stored in the freezer for up to a month.
Related: Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
Place one wrapper onto a work surface with one of the corners facing you. Add the cheese about an inch above the bottom corner and roll it away from you tightly until you get to the center. Dip your fingers in the water, then brush the left and right corners of the wrapper with water and fold them over. Continue to roll, then brush more water on the last corner of the wrapper to secure the roll. Repeat until you have 16 rolled pieces.
Fill a frying pan with oil and heat it over medium-high; adjust the amount of oil as needed to ensure the surface is covered. To check if the oil is hot enough, place a piece of lumpia wrapper into the pan. If oil bubbles around it, you’re good to go.
Cook the cheese lumpia for 3-5 minutes or until lightly golden while ensuring the pan isn’t overcrowded to avoid them from sticking together. The cheese will naturally ooze out, and that’s okay, it will crisp up and turn golden brown, which adds more crispiness.
Transfer the cooked cheese lumpia onto a wire rack to drain the oil.
Serve lumpia while hot with your choice of banana ketchup or sweet and sour sauce.