Lettuce wraps can be eaten as an appetizer but we eat them for a meal. They are light and full of flavor from the ground chicken and hoisin sauce, with a bit of crunch from the water chestnuts and lettuce.
The ground chicken in these lettuce wraps combined with the Asian flavored sauce, the crunchy water chestnuts, and crunch of the Butter Lettuce is amazing. They taste light and fresh and will fill you up. You can top of the lettuce wrap/cup with chopped green onions if desired.
Chicken for Lettuce Wraps
I use ground chicken for these lettuce wraps. Ground chicken is so easy to use in recipes. There is no trimming, cutting, or chopping those chicken breasts! Just throw the ground chicken in a skillet, and cook it fully!
Some chopped yellow onion will be added to the ground chicken as it cooks.
The Lettuce for Lettuce Wraps
For the lettuce wrap/cup, I use Butter Lettuce (also called Living Lettuce). It will have the roots still attached to the bottom of the lettuce. This keeps it fresh in the packaging.
This type of lettuce gives you the perfect cup for these lettuce wraps. They are bright, fresh, crunchy, and slightly firm to hold the chicken filling.
Alternative Lettuce: You can use romaine or even iceberg lettuce leaves in a pinch, but you will not get the same crunch and flavor. Other lettuce tends to fall apart and won’t hold the filling as well.
Before I start anything on this recipe I prepare the Butter Lettuce leaves so they are ready to be filled with the filling.
Cut off the root ball first.
Then pull off and separate the leaves. Throw away any bad leaves. Give them a rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel.
TIP: I lay them out on paper towels while I cook the chicken and prepare the sauce. If you lay them out they can air dry and will be ready for the chicken filling. (Aren’t they the perfect little lettuce cup!)
The Sauce for Lettuce Wraps
Make the sauce for the Lettuce Wraps before you start cooking the ground chicken.
The sauce for the chicken easy! You need soy sauce, sweet chili sauce (bottled, found with the Asian foods), sesame seed oil, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar (cider vinegar works great too), garlic powder, salt, pepper, ground ginger and hoisin sauce.
Hoisin is really the star of the show! I make my own hoisin sauce, but bottled is just as delicious!
To make the sauce for Lettuce Wraps, just mix all of the ingredients together and adjust the flavor to your liking.
Set the sauce aside.
The sauce for the lettuce wraps needs Hoisin sauce. You can buy Hoisin sauce at the store and use it, or make your own Homemade Hoisin Sauce.
If you are making your own hoisin sauce just add the ingredient in small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Whisk it good. You can adjust the flavors as needed.
See the pics below for my Hoisin Sauce.
Note: If you make my Hoisin Sauce, it will make more than is needed for this recipe so you will have leftover Hoisin Sauce and will not use it all. Only add the amount of Hoisin Sauce the recipe calls for!
Making the Lettuce Wrap filling
Heat the canola/vegetable/olive oil and sesame seed oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
Then, add the ground chicken. Start cooking the chicken.
While the chicken starts cooking, chop up the small yellow onion.
Add the chopped onions to the ground chicken. Mix it together and cook the chicken until is not longer pink and the onions are soft.
Add the minced garlic. I use bottled/jarred garlic to save time.
Let the garlic heat in the chicken and become fragrant.
Pour the sauce over the ground chicken and let it simmer/cook for 5-10 minutes. This allows the flavors fully come together! The sauce will cook down as it simmers, and won’t be as runny.
Water Chestnuts and Green Onions
As the chicken and sauce simmers and cooks, drain and chop your water chestnuts. Chop them as big or as little as you like. I chop them pretty small.
Add the chopped water chestnuts to the ground chicken filling. Let it cook for a few minutes.
If you are going to top the lettuce wraps with green onions (totally optional) then chop them up and set them aside. You can do this while the chicken and sauce simmers.
Serving Lettuce Wraps
Fill up each leaf/lettuce cup with chicken filling (top with green onions if desired)!
You can drizzle extra soy sauce as needed. I like to drizzle some extra sweet chili sauce on top for a bit of a kick!
These will keep in the fridge up to 4 days!
Store the chicken filling in an airtight container.
Place the un-used lettuce leaves/cups in a zip top bag, wrapped in paper towels (this will help with too much moisture) and store in the fridge.
You may need to add some soy sauce when reheating if the chicken seems dry.
If you liked this recipe please take the time to leave a comment and a star rating below! Also, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram!
For some other delicious Asian Inspired recipes try my Orange Chicken, Easy Chicken Broccoli Ramen Stir Fry or my Easy Korean Beef made with ground beef, my Easy Chicken Stir Fry or my Easy Egg Rolls!
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- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp sesame seed oil for cooking the chicken, see notes
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 8 oz can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped *only 1/2 can is used
- 3-4 green onions, chopped (optional) *for serving
- 1 head Butter Lettuce, rinsed and leaves seperated
Sauce for chicken
- 1/4 cup hoison sauce or bottled see notes for my Hoisin Sauce Recipe- if you make my recipe it makes more than 1/4 cup so you will have leftover
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce *make sure it is low sodium or they will be salty
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar, or cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame seed oil for the sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce see note
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Prepare the Butter Lettuce. Cut off the root ball, pull off and separate the leaves, rinse the leaves, and pat them dry with a paper towel. Lay them out on paper towels or clean kitchen towel and let them finish air drying.
- Make the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, 1 tsp sesame seed oil, brown sugar, sweet chili sauce, ground ginger, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.*** NOTE: if you make my hoisin sauce it will make more than what is needed for the recipe… You only need 1/4 cup of Hoisin sauce so you will have some leftover
- Chop the onions into smaller pieces and set aside.
- In a large skillet, add the canola oil and 1 tsp of sesame oil on medium heat. Add the ground chicken and cook the chicken for a few minutes.
- Add the chopped onion to the chicken and cook until the chicken is no longer pink and the onion is translucent.
- Add the minced garlic. Stir it into the chicken and onions and let it cook/heat until it becomes fragrant.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken, let it simmer on medium-low for 5-10 minutes. The sauce will cook down as it cooks so the chicken won’t be as runny.
- Add your chopped water chestnuts, stir and let simmer for 3-5 more minutes on med-low heat. Remove from heat.
- Place about 1/4 filling into each lettuce leaf. Top with green onions if desired. Serve immediately. Additional soy sauce or sweet chili sauce can be drizzled on top if desired.
- The chicken can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days in a sealed container. The lettuce leaves can be kept in a zip top plastic bag, wrapped in paper towels (to soak up moisture).
- When reheating the chicken, some additional soy sauce can be added if the chicken filling is dry.
- Sesame seed oil, hoison sauce, sweet chili sauce and water chestnuts can all be found with the Asian foods at your grocery store.
- You can chop the water chestnuts as as little or as big as you like (or leave them whole).
- Butter leaf lettuce (also called Living Lettuce) is the BEST kind of lettuce to use. It is fresh and crunchy but slightly firm to hold the chicken filling. You can use romaine or even iceberg lettuce leaves in a pinch but you will not get the same crunch and flavor, and they tend to fall apart more and don’t hold the filling as well.
- You can make your own Hoisin Sauce. My recipe will make more Hoisin Sauce than is needed for Lettuce Wraps so you will have leftovers- but it makes a great stir fry sauce!
- The Sweet Chili Sauce has a bit of heat so if you don’t like things spicy you can leave it out or start out adding a little and add it slowly to taste. I love to drizzle extra Sweet Chili Sauce on my lettuce wraps!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should only be used as an approximation.