Chicken Lettuce Wraps

5 from 22 votes
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Asian-inspired chicken lettuce wraps that are easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes! The meat and veggies are tossed in a delicious sauce combination for maximum flavor.

This dish is so versatile that you can easily swap out the chicken and make turkey lettuce wraps, or tofu lettuce wraps for a vegetarian option.

Delicious chicken lettuce wraps on a plate.

Chicken lettuce wraps are a must when dining at Chinese restaurants, but making them at home is easier than you might think. Yep, it’s a fast and flavorful meal that comes together in one large pan. The key to making a stir fry is in the ingredient preparation, so you can drop it in the wok and let it cook for 10 minutes.

This healthy, low-carb recipe is perfect for an appetizer for a party and hearty enough to feed a hungry family for dinner. I like to pair it with my favorite Chinese dishes like potstickers and crispy egg rolls for a complete meal.

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients needed to make chicken lettuce wraps.
  • Chicken: I use lean ground chicken in the recipe as a quick-cooking protein option. You’ll need to purchase a 1-pound package.
  • Vegetables: I add colorful vegetables like carrots, water chestnuts, yellow onions, and green onions. Minced ginger and garlic add spice to the dish.
  • Seasoning: To make a simple three-ingredient umami-packed sauce for the lettuce wraps, all you need is hoisin, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.
  • Oil: Use a neutral tasting high smoke point oil like vegetable oil or olive oil to cook the vegetables and chicken. Sesame oil adds a toasted aroma and flavor to the chicken mixture.
  • Lettuce: For tender lettuce for lettuce wraps, butter lettuce is the best choice. The outer and middle leaves make big boats to hold plenty of filling.
  • Nuts: Peanuts are added as a crunchy garnish.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Cook the vegetables

Step 1: Chicken has a neutral flavor and is low in fat, about 4%. Without mix-ins, the taste will be bland. Add chopped carrots, water chestnuts, yellow onions, and green onions in a wok or large skillet heated over medium-high heat. Cook them in sesame oil and vegetable oil with garlic and ginger to bring out their natural sweetness.

Cook the chicken

Ground meat chicken seasoned with salt and pepper and cooking in a wok.

Step 2: The ground chicken cooks quickly, especially when using a wok over high heat. To get a flavorful browned surface on the meat, ensure the oil and pan are hot and ready to sear. Quickly break the protein down to make bite-sized pieces.

Let it sear until a golden crust forms, then stir-fry to ensure that the poultry is fully cooked, flavorful, and doesn’t dry out. The process takes about 4 minutes. I season with some salt and pepper before tossing in the sauce.

Toss with flavorful sauces

Hoisin and soy sauces mixed in with the ground meat.
Cooked ground chicken mixed with savory sauces.

Step 3: Various fermented soybean products like soy sauce and hoisin, balanced with sweet and tangy ingredients, enhance the savory taste of the chicken. Just add it directly to the wok and toss to combine.

Add the vegetables back in

Ground meat and vegetable filling that will go inside chicken lettuce wraps.

Step 4: Add the reserved vegetables back to the wok and stir them evenly into the ground chicken.

Step 5: Fill one lettuce cup with the stir-fry mixture, then top with fresh slices of green onion and crunchy cashews or peanuts. You can double up on the lettuce to make a thicker or larger wrap if needed. The taste is best when served warm.

Make Ahead Tip: Chill the filling after cooking to meal prep for a quick lunch or dinner. If you have leftover filling, serve it on top of steamed rice with extra vegetables like bok choy.

Flavor variations

Now that you know how to make this chicken lettuce wrap recipe, it’s easy to customize!

  • Chicken: Use pieces of chopped chicken breasts or thighs, but cut them into small, ¼-inch dice for stir-frying.
  • Protein: Switch up the meat with ground turkey or ground beef, or go meat-free and use tofu.
  • Vegetables: Other types of vegetables can be added, like red bell peppers, brown mushrooms, corn, and bamboo shoots.
  • Gluten-Free Sauce: Instead of soy sauce, use coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari. Purchase gluten-free hoisin sauce.
  • Spicy: Add red chili flakes, sriracha, or chili oil. Add ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon at a time until the desired heat level is reached.
  • Lettuce Leaves: Other types of lettuce can be used, like bibb, iceberg, or romaine hearts. They just need to have a large enough bowl shape to hold the chicken filling.
  • Nuts: Instead of peanuts, try sliced almonds or cashews.

Serve this with

Frequently asked questions

What are chicken lettuce wraps?

Ground chicken meat stir-fried with a mixture of vegetables, then tossed in a savory soy sauce. The filling is served wrapped inside lettuce cups, topped with chopped nuts and green onions, and enjoyed as an appetizer or light meal.

What kind of lettuce do you use for lettuce wraps?

For sturdy and foldable lettuce wraps, butter leaf lettuce works best. The leaves are curved to hold the filling and are pliable to cover it up, making it easy to eat. If you prefer a crisp option, iceberg or romaine are excellent choices but are much more rigid.

How do you make it spicy?

Add dried red chili flakes, chili oil, or chili paste like sriracha to make the chicken filling spicy. Add it at the end of cooking, using a tiny amount, ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon at a time, to gradually increase the heat.

Four chicken lettuce wraps topped with crushed peanuts and served on a white plate.

Wait to add the garlic and ginger

In traditional Chinese stir-fry dishes, garlic and ginger add aromatics and intensity. When using minced pieces, they can burn quickly in the wok and oil. Saute the vegetables first so there is residual moisture in the pan. Add aromatics, and it will gently infuse.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Asian chicken lettuce wraps, ready in under 30 minutes! The meat and veggies stir-fry in flavorful sauces, then get scooped into lettuce cups.
5 from 22 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ cup finely diced carrots
  • ½ cup minced yellow onions
  • ½ cup finely chopped water chestnuts
  • ½ cup sliced green onion, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped, optional
  • 1 head butter leaf lettuce, washed and dried, 12 leaves

Instructions 

  • Cook the Vegetables – Heat a large wok or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sesame oil. Once hot, add the carrots and onions, and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the water chestnuts, ¼ cup green onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl, and set aside.
  • Cook the Chicken – Return the wok to the stovetop, and heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat. Add the ground chicken, break it into smaller chunks, and stir-fry until the meat is no longer pink, about 3 to 4 minutes—season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss with Sauces – Stir in the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.
  • Warm the Vegetables – Add the stir-fried vegetables and mix evenly wiith chicken—season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To Serve – Evenly divide the chicken filling among the lettuce cups. Garnish with peanuts (if using) and remaining green onions. Top with additional hoisin sauce if desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 3 cups of filling
  • Serving: 1 wrap
  • Storing: Store cooked chicken filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Cover and cook on high heat in 15 to 30-second intervals until hot.
  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use coconut aminos or tamari and gluten-free hoisin sauce. 
  • Make it Spicy: Stir in red chili flakes, sriracha, or chili oil. Add ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon at a time until the desired heat level is reached.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12 servings
Calories 104kcal (5%)Carbohydrates 7g (2%)Protein 8g (16%)Fat 5g (8%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0.02gCholesterol 33mg (11%)Sodium 316mg (13%)Potassium 324mg (9%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 1383IU (28%)Vitamin C 3mg (4%)Calcium 21mg (2%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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9 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Mary Caffrey says

    Hi Jessica
    Hoisen sauce is not usually gluten free. Is there a GF brand that you suggest, or another substitute?
    Thank you
    Mary C.

  2. Keith Kase says

    Wow, these were so good! Thank you again for your amazing and easy to prepare delicious recipes!!

  3. David Flatt says

    I made your cook book version of this yesterday. My family completely loved it. I did add a half of a red pepper, just cause it was in the fridge, other wise it was from the book. I used your times, and that helped me from overcooking it, a charastic of mine.

    The peanuts added the salt that I crave, but not too much.

    thank you!

  4. JJ says

    Delicious as written. We actually used this as a main, without the lettuce. I took a couple cups camping, and found it delicious as a cool lunch. Very versatile, not too many ingredients, easy peezy. What’s more to ask?? 🙂

  5. Larry Vaught says

    Hey…this was great. Very easy to fix and tastes awesome. Did all the cooking in a large non-stick skillet. Worked great! Thanks a bunch!