Chicken lettuce wraps are one of our favourite appetizers when we eat out. Lucky for us, they’re also super easy to make at home using ground chicken. Every time I make them, I’m reminded of just how easy they are to make and how incredibly flavourful they are.
I like using ground chicken for this recipe because it is quick and easy to cook, affordable and offers a lean source of protein. It crumbles beautifully, stays tender and readily absorbs the Asian inspired sauce. It’s the ideal texture to go with the crisp, fresh lettuce leaves, crunchy cashews, water chestnuts and assorted toppings. That said, if you prefer to use whole chicken breasts, see this tasty version from Manitoba Chicken Producers.
You can find ground chicken in the poultry section of your grocery store. Most packages, unless labelled differently, are a blend of white and dark chicken meat. Whether it’s a blend or just ground chicken breast (white meat only), you’re getting a lean source of protein, and in my books, any appetizer with veggies and a lean source of protein is definitely a win!
Pro Tip: For gluten free version, use Tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce which contains wheat products.
Another Way to Serve with Lettuce Wraps
If you find lettuce wraps too tedious or messy, serve this dish as a Buddha bowl or “deconstructed” chicken lettuce wrap. Simply place filling next to cooked rice, shredded lettuce, herbs, cashews, and grated carrots – beautiful and delicious without messy fingers.
How to Store and Reheat Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Store filling, lettuce and toppings separately.
Leftover filling can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can even freeze the filling in an airtight container. For best flavour and texture use within 3 months. Simply thaw overnight.
Pro Tip: Follow this guide from Manitoba Chicken Producers for helpful tips on storing chicken in your fridge and freezer.
Wrap lettuce leaves in paper towel or cotton cloth and store in an airtight container or bag in crisper drawer of fridge for 4 days. Keep topping ingredients in separate airtight containers. Fresh, chopped veggies and herbs will only last a couple of days – great for tossing into salads.
Reheat the filling in a microwave or on the stove in a large skillet. Easy, peasy, delicious!
What Lettuce to Use for Lettuce Wraps?
Here are my favourite lettuce varieties for these wraps listed in order of preference. Iceberg is my favourite and most commonly used in restaurants because it is crisp and sturdy with large scoops.
- Iceberg lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Little Gem lettuce
- Butter lettuce
- Leaf lettuce
How to Cut Iceberg Lettuce for Lettuce Wraps
Don’t be intimidated by the lettuce cups, they’re actually quite easy to make.
- Select a full, dense head of iceberg lettuce. One head of iceberg lettuce is enough for my family of four.
- Peel and discard any wilted leaves. Hold head in hands with core or root end facing down. Firmly smash core on counter. It will naturally split so you can pull it out of the lettuce. Or use a knife to cut out the core.
- Run water into the hole left by the core and between the layers of the lettuce. This will make it easier to separate the leaves. Turn upside down and drain.
- Carefully separate the leaves and set them on a clean dish cloth to drain.
- Trim lettuce cups with kitchen scissors to desired size and shape. Save trimmings and small leaves for salad.
- Let air dry or pat dry when ready to use. Stack and serve next to filling and other toppings.
Homemade Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe
Homemade Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1 head iceberg lettuce separated into individual leaves
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp ginger grated
- 6 white or cremini mushrooms finely diced
- 2 tsp sesame seed oil
- 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce*
- 1/2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes optional
- 1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 can water chestnuts 8 oz. (227 ml) drained & diced
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 3 green onions sliced
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cup carrot shredded
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- To prepare lettuce cups, remove core from lettuce by cutting it out or smashing the bottom tip of the core on a counter until you can pull it out. Run water into the opening and between the layers of the lettuce to clean it and help the layers come apart easily. Gently remove one layer of lettuce at a time and let drain clean towel until ready to serve. (See video)
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground chicken and sauté until brown.
- Stir in garlic, ginger and mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes until liquid from mushrooms starts to evaporate.
- Stir in sesame seed oil, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, lime juice and hot pepper flakes. Mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add red pepper and water chestnuts and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until tender. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat.
- Transfer to serving bowl and top with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve with an assortment of toppings including lettuce, cashews, cilantro, shredded carrots and lime wedges.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
What to Do with Leftover Chicken Filling
In the unlikely event that you have any leftover chicken filling, consider using it as a base for Fried Rice. While preparing this article, I made several batches of this filling so we had some extra to experiment with. I used some of the filling to make Asian chicken fried rice and it turned out to be AMAZING. If you want to try it, I recommend making an extra batch of sauce to mix in with the rice and veggies. If you love the flavour of chicken lettuce wraps, you’ll love this fried rice!
Have you tried making homemade chicken lettuce wraps? Let me know your experience and if you try this recipe, please take a photo and tag #getgettys and @ManitobaChicken so we can see it and like it!
This recipe was written in paid partnership with the Manitoba Chicken Producers. It’s always a pleasure to partner with them and support our local farmers. As always, opinions are my own and a sincere reflection of life in my home.
Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer sharing tips and recipes to build confidence and teach skills on how to use whole seasonal foods. She is the author of several recipe books, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener. Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this.