The best chicken lettuce wraps feature moist chicken, aromatic vegetables and crunchy water chestnuts glistening in a robust sweet and sour glaze. Nestled in soft lettuce leaves and eaten by hand, there’s nothing better on a hot summer night.
Lettuce wraps are said to have originated in China and are enjoyed throughout Asia. Classic versions of the dish are made with a variety of meats, although the most well-known version in America is made with ground chicken. It’s because PF Chang’s version is made with chicken, and the restaurant chain is touted as the first to put lettuce wraps on the menu. The hearty starter is described as their “signature dish” and the appetizer is so beloved that it is the most copied menu item in the restaurant industry.
To be clear, there’s no way to truly replicate PF Chang’s version since the “secret family recipe” is closely guarded, but we can come close and even make something that’s arguably better.
My chicken wraps are gluten-free, budget-friendly, and fully customizable. Use this easy recipe as a starting point for creating delicious, endlessly adaptable lettuce wraps.
Packed lunch:This is the only pasta salad recipe you’ll ever need
How to Customize Your Chicken Lettuce Wraps
The chicken: This recipe calls for ground chicken, which is typically 92-97% lean. This means that this healthy dish contains very little fat from your protein source. You can also use diced chicken breasts, fillets or chicken thighs. If you want to substitute a different protein, try ground or diced lean pork, beef, turkey, or tofu.
The vegetables: I chose carrots for their sweetness, as they pair perfectly with the savory elements of soy sauce and hoisin sauce. I also added onion, green pepper and water chestnuts for taste, texture and crunch. Adding vegetables also helps stretch the filling to serve more people. Feel free to add or substitute vegetables. For example, add shiitake mushrooms or swap in jicama instead of water chestnuts.
The soy sauce: You can substitute the soy sauce for coconut aminos if that’s your preference. If you avoid gluten, use tamari sauce.
The hoisin sauce: Choose a gluten-free hoisin sauce if you are limiting gluten.
Peanut oil: You can substitute peanut oil for vegetable oil, olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil, if desired.
Peanut butter: Use creamy or chunky. If you are allergic to peanuts, use whatever nut or seed butter you prefer.
Heat level: You can make your wraps spicy by adding crushed red pepper flakes, hot sauce, or sriracha. Add a little or a lot depending on your taste. You can also serve hot sauce on the side.
The lettuce: Choose sturdy lettuce leaves with thick ribs. Great choices include Bibb, Boston, Iceberg, and Little Gem. The leaves should be deep enough to hold the filling (like a cup) and tough enough to pick up and eat like a wrap.
Leftovers: Store lettuce leaves and garnish separately. Store the filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store lettuce in a zip lock bag in the fridge for up to 3 days, preferably in your produce drawer.
For dessert:How to make 3 ingredient blender ice cream
Recipe: Better-than-PF Chang’s Chicken and Lettuce Wrap Recipe
Makes: 4 servings as a main dish, 6 as a starter
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, plain or seasoned
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter, creamy or chunky
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil or oil of your choice
- 1 pound ground chicken
- ⅓ cup chopped white onion or spring onion
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 8 ounces water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lettuce leaves, such as bibb, boston, iceberg, or little gem, rinsed and patted dry
- 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
- In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, peanut butter, honey, chili sauce, garlic powder and ginger. If your peanut butter is firm and not mixing, microwave the mixture for 30 seconds and whisk until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Put aside.
- Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Add the onion, bell pepper and water chestnuts and cook, 3 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens and reduces. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Serve with lettuce leaves and chopped peanuts. Enjoy by spooning the chicken mixture into the lettuce leaves and garnishing with the peanuts.
Questions or comments? Email the culinary team at firstname.lastname@example.org.