If you enjoy indulging in the famous restaurant version of chicken lettuce wraps, then you'll love this recipe for a homemade version! It's made with lots of fresh and delicious ingredients, ready and on the table in no time flat!
Chicken Lettuce Wraps, a Restaurant-Inspired Original
I'll be the first one to say that I love to gain inspiration for some of my more “fusion-y” recipes from eating out at restaurants, both the more famous ones as well as the more hole-in-the-wall places (the latter being more of a preference).
And while I've only gone to P.F. Chang's twice, and have tried their famous chicken lettuce wraps only once, I must admit that they made an impression on me as being a tasty and flavorful little appetizer.
So I thought I'd have some fun diving in and making my own tasty chicken lettuce wraps recipe from scratch, using fresh ingredients, and even adding in my own bells and whistles and flair. I couldn't resist!
After all, isn't homemade and fresh always best?
What came out of my experimenting was this delicious and flavorful version—a restaurant-inspired “original”—that leaves out what I don't want, and adds a sprinkle of what I do want!
So what do you say?
You ready to give this delicious homemade chicken lettuce wraps recipe a try and see which one you prefer?
Chicken Lettuce Wraps, the Basics and Some Swaps
I really love the sauce that comes with the chicken wraps, and it's quite simple to recreate with a few main ingredients that pack a flavorful punch.
For my version, I use a combination of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and a touch of chili garlic sauce. My perfect combination of those ingredients create that rich, sweetly-savory sauce that gets poured into the ground chicken mixture at the end of the cooking process.
And I make a little extra sauce for drizzling over top of the wraps!
Of course, chicken lettuce wraps wouldn't be chicken lettuce wraps without the chicken, and ground chicken is what I use for these. It cooks quite quickly, takes on flavor perfectly, and is finely crumbled so each bite of these wraps just melts in the mouth.
This recipe also has those familiar flavors of ginger and garlic, but I like to add a little extra into my version for good measure, and for more of a “punch”.
And while I love the water chestnuts in the restaurant version, and kept those as part of this recipe, I omitted the mushrooms and opted rather to add in a sprinkle of shredded carrots and chopped peanuts for a tad more crunch and flavor!
The pop of green color and freshness from the green onions ties everything together, so those got the “green light” to stay in my homemade version.
And because all of this tasty, savory and saucy chicken filling needs to be all wrapped up with something cool and fresh, butter lettuce leaves are my personal pick and are pliable enough to hold everything together.
So what do you say, you ready for a bite?
Tips & Tidbits for Chicken Lettuce Wraps:
- Choose ground chicken: You can use either ground chicken breast or ground dark meat for these, but because dark meat is more flavorful, I opt for that when available. You can also substitute ground turkey or ground pork as well.
- Make ahead: If you'd like to prepare the recipe ahead of time, it's easy! Prepare your sauce by mixing together all of the ingredients and keeping it in a container in the fridge. You can also prepare/cook your chicken filling mixture ahead as well; and then, when you're ready to serve these, reheat the filling with the sauce, garnish, and serve.
- Pick which greens: I love butter lettuce for these wraps, but you can also substitute traditional iceberg lettuce, romaine leaves, or even chard or kale greens.
- Leave out the peanuts if you wish: While this recipe uses a little sprinkle of peanuts for a bit of extra flavor, you can absolutely leave them out.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: 12 wraps (serves 4 people at 3 wraps each)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
• 1 (9.4 ounce) bottle hoisin sauce
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
• 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Chicken Lettuce Wraps Ingredients:
• Avocado or peanut oil (about 3 tablespoons)
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 1 pound (454 grams) ground chicken
• 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 teaspoons grated ginger
• 1 (8 ounce / 227 gram) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
• ¼ cup crushed peanuts, plus 2 tablespoons extra for garnish
• 3 green onions, finely sliced (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)
• 12 butter lettuce leaves
• 1 cup shredded carrot
• Cilantro, for garnish
-Begin by preparing the sauce: whisk together all of the sauce ingredients, and set aside.
-Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add in the oil; once hot, add in the diced onion and saute for a few minutes until translucent and softened.
-Add the ground chicken, and using a spoon or spatula, break it up in the pan into fine grounds; cook for 5-6 minutes until cooked through, and the liquid has evaporated.
-Add in the garlic and the ginger, and stir those in for about 1-2 minutes to incorporate; once aromatic, turn off the heat and add in the chopped water chestnuts and the ¼ cup of crushed peanuts, and stir those in; add in half of the sauce (about ½ a cup), and stir that into the chicken mixture.
-Sprinkle in most of the green onion (reserving some for the garnish), and stir that in.
-To assemble, fill each butter lettuce leaf with a sprinkle of carrot, then some of the chicken filling, and top each with an extra sprinkle of green onion and crushed peanut, and some cilantro.
-Serve with the remainder of the sauce on the side (about ½ a cup) for a little extra drizzle over top.
Cook's Note: This recipe has been updated with even more love! And new photos!