Wrapped in fresh lettuce, these garlicky Asian chicken lettuce wraps are the perfect low-carb tacos. Stir-fried with soy sauce and hoisin sauce, they make the perfect healthy bite.
Easy Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Once you taste them, these Asian lettuce wraps will have you driving past your favorite takeout place for a long time. Healthier and packed with much more flavor than what you get at restaurants, this is the best copycat recipe out there for authentic chicken lettuce wraps.
Loaded with garlic and fresh ginger, each bite of these healthy “tacos” is exciting and sharp. Lots of water chestnuts also keep things nice and crunchy too. Best of all, don’t worry about them ever getting boring. You’ll have enough versions of this recipe between pork and jicama to keep you munching throughout the year.
Add some crispy rice noodles to make them extra special, and watch your friends and family fight over the last lettuce leaf. Fortunately, when that happens, you can switch over to lettuce wrap rice bowls before your dining room turns into a battlefield.
What You’ll Need
The sauces and garlic are the most important ingredients, so don’t skip them. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
- Olive oil – You can also use vegetable, canola, corn, or peanut oil.
- Yellow onion – White onion works too.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic is always better, but you can also substitute it for 4 teaspoons of garlic powder.
- Ginger – I prefer fresh ginger, but 2 teaspoons of ground ginger also work.
- Ground chicken
- Hoisin sauce – You can also substitute this for oyster sauce.
- Low-sodium soy sauce – If it’s regular soy sauce, just watch the amount. Add a little bit at a time to taste.
- Rice vinegar – Shao Xing wine is a great alternative.
- Hot sauce – Use your favorite.
- Toasted sesame oil
- Canned water chestnuts
- Scallions – Feel free to use green onions.
- Salt and black pepper
- Bibb lettuce
What’s The Best Lettuce for Lettuce Wraps?
The best kind of lettuce for wraps is sturdy and crunchy lettuce so that you can fold your tacos properly without them falling apart. I love Bibb and iceberg lettuce for this recipe.
Stay away from Romaine lettuce because, although crunchy, it’s too narrow and won’t fold. Italian and French lettuce also do not work well.
You might as well open a restaurant with these incredible but simple variations of Asian lettuce wraps.
- Use pork. Substituting the chicken for ground pork is super delicious! You can also use ground beef if you prefer.
- Add bacon. This is a slightly more Americanized version of the dish but is equally tasty. Dice some bacon and add it to the ground chicken when cooking. Let it render its fat in the pan to infuse its wonderful smokey flavor. Continue with the recipe as usual.
- Use jicama. Depending on where you live, it might be easier to get a hold of jicama than water chestnuts. If that’s the case, peel it, dice it, and swap them out!
- Add fried rice noodles. Carefully lower dried rice noodles into a pot of hot oil (350˚F) and fry them for 5 to 10 seconds or until crispy. Add them to your tacos and enjoy an even crispier bite.
- Use peanuts. Add chopped unsalted, toasted peanuts (or cashews) to the chicken mixture to taste. If you can only find salted peanuts, rinse them well under cold water.
How to Make Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Cooking these Asian lettuce wraps only requires six easy steps.
- Cook the onions. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook them for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir and let them cook for another 20 seconds.
- Mix the wet ingredients. Whisk the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce, and toasted sesame oil in a small bowl until well combined.
- Add the chicken. Use a spatula to add the ground chicken to the pan. Break it up into little pieces and let it cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until fully cooked. It should be beige, not pink.
- Add the sauce. Pour the mixture into the pan and stir well to combine. Let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce reduces a little bit.
- Add the chestnuts. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chestnuts and scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve. Spoon chicken mixture down the center of each lettuce leaf and enjoy.
Tips for Success
These tips will help you achieve the best Asian lettuce wraps you’ve had in a while:
- Preheat the pan. Make sure the pan is hot when you add the oil. Then wait 1 to 2 minutes for the oil to heat up too. If your pan and oil aren’t hot enough, the ground chicken will “steam” in its own released moisture. This gives it a different texture, which we’re not after.
- Brown the chicken. Keep the chicken in the pan until it’s lightly browned. Undercooking chicken increases the risk of food poisoning.
- Use a salad spinner. Place your washed lettuce in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture and keep it crunchy.
- Don’t overcook it. Keep an eye on the chicken because leaving it in the pan for too long will dry it out.
- Add a pinch of brown sugar. Mixing half of tablespoon dark brown sugar in the sauce will make it thicken in the pan and coat the chicken a lot better.
Asian lettuce wraps are good (and hearty) enough to be the main dish at any dinner party. However, if you’re keen on serving them with other things, try my Asian Chicken Noodle Soup and Stir Fry Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles!).
For something light and crunchy, try my Sesame Cucumber Salad and Sesame Snap Peas.
Don’t worry if you run out of lettuce. Add steamed rice to bowls and top them with the ground chicken mixture for some lettuce wrap rice bowls!
Can Ground Chicken Wraps Be Made In Advance?
- Absolutely! Make it up to 5 days in advance and store it in an airtight container.
- To reheat it, sprinkle the wraps with a couple of teaspoons of water and then microwave for up to 2 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat it in a pan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
More Healthy Chicken Recipes
- Crock Pot Chicken Quinoa Enchiladas Casserole
- Baked Chicken Meatballs with Garlic Dill Yogurt Sauce
- Caprese Chicken Nachos
- Piri Piri Chicken (Nando’s Chicken)
- Crock Pot Orange Chicken
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce, optional
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ cup canned water chestnuts, drained and thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 head Bibb Lettuce, separated into individual leaves
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok set over medium-high heat.
- Add onions to the heated oil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened.
- Stir in the garlic and ginger, and cook for 20 seconds.
- Add ground chicken and continue to cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until opaque and no longer pink. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon while cooking.
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce, and toasted sesame oil.
- Pour the sauce into the skillet and stir to combine; cook for 2 minutes or until the sauce reduces slightly and the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove from heat.
- Stir in the chestnuts and green onions.
- Season with salt and pepper; taste and adjust.
- Spoon the chicken mixture into the center of each lettuce leaf.
- Garnish with green onions and serve.
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps: These lettuce wraps are prepared with ground chicken, but you can also use ground pork, ground beef, ground sausage, and so on.
- Lettuce: The best wraps to use are sturdy head lettuces with thicker ribs on their leaves which should be deep enough to hold the filling. Good choices are bibb lettuce, Boston, and little gem.
- Water Chestnuts: If you can’t find water chestnuts, you can use thinly sliced jicama.
- Hot Pan: Ensure that the wok or pan is hot to avoid steamed chicken.
- Thicker Sauce: For those who fancy a thicker sauce, add 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar to the sauce.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.