These Thai chicken lettuce wraps are made in under 30 minutes and make a delicious dinner or appetizer. The sweet, savory, and spicy filling will have you licking your fingers!
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Fresh, Flavorful, and Healthy
Thai chicken lettuce wraps are one of my favorite ways to put together something healthy, tasty, and quick for a light lunch or an appetizer. When paired with other Asian-inspired recipes like pineapple fried rice these wraps are perfect for dinner, too.
Crisp lettuce is wrapped around a sweet, savory, and slightly spicy filling made with juicy ground chicken, crispy coleslaw, and the best sauce. These Thai lettuce wraps are a family favorite.
Why This Recipe Works
- Quick and easy. They’re one of the best 30 minute meals that work for busy weeknights, as ladies’ night or party appetizers, and fun Asian-inspired dinners.
- Customizable. There are plenty of ways to switch up the ingredients to suit your tastes and preferences. Omit the spice and make PF Chang’s lettuce wraps or add nuts like in cashew chicken lettuce wraps.
- Fun to prepare and eat! Everyone loves eating with their hands, especially the kids!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Ground chicken: This is lean meat so you won’t have a lot of excess grease to worry about.
- Olive oil: Used to cook the chicken and onions first.
- Cabbage coleslaw mix: Adds a great crispy crunchy texture as well as some color to the dish.
- Herbs and spices: Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped cilantro
- Aromatics: Chopped onion, minced garlic, and fresh ginger. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
- Saucy goodness: Thaw sweet red chili sauce (which I usually pick up at Trader Joe’s), soy sauce, and lime juice for a sweet, savory, and spicy combination.
- For serving: Lettuce leaves plus sweet chili sauce and green onions for garnish.
Best Lettuce for Wraps
Butter lettuce or Boston Bibb lettuce are my recommendations as they have bright green, wide leaves.
You can also use Romaine lettuce, which is a bit stiffer and not as pliable but works great as a boat for these Thai chicken wraps. Iceberg lettuce is another option.
Substitutions and Variations
Get creative with your filling! It’s all about the textures and flavors, but there’s no one right way to make this filling.
- Nuts: Add some chopped peanuts or a different kind of nut like cashews or walnuts for added crunch.
- Veggies: If you don’t have any coleslaw mix, julienne your own veggies like carrots, and cabbage, or switch it up and use red bell peppers.
- Add-ons: Pile on some diced avocados and enjoy it with peanut sauce or natural almond butter for dipping or drizzling on top.
- Different meat: For a change in the chicken mixture, try using ground turkey or ground pork instead. Or skip the meat altogether and use tofu for a vegetarian version.
- Darker greens: For even more nutrients, swap the lettuce for kale leaves or collard greens.
How to Make Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
In just a few steps and under 30 minutes, this lettuce wraps recipe will be ready to enjoy!
- Brown the chicken. Cook the onions in a large skillet over medium heat in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Then, stir in the chicken and cook until no longer pink and lightly brown. Drain any excess fat and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss in remaining ingredients. Add the coleslaw, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add extra chili sauce, lime juice, or salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish and serve. Sprinkle with cilantro and scoop out the filling into washed and dried lettuce cups. Garnish with green onions and enjoy!
- Wash each lettuce leaf. You want to do this separately to ensure each leaf is rid of any dirt. Make sure they’re completely dry before using them.
- Clean out your fridge. Thai chicken lettuce wraps are flexible and can be made with whatever veggies you have in your fridge.
- Eat them immediately as the lettuce will start to wilt with the heat from the filling.
- Use leftover chicken. Although traditionally made with ground chicken, there’s no reason you can’t use leftover shredded chicken instead.
Due to the soy sauce in the ingredients, they are not gluten-free as listed. However, a simple replacement of the soy sauce for either coconut aminos or tamari will make the entire recipe gluten-free.
You can just eyeball it! There’s no exact amount. Depending on how big your lettuce leaves are and what ratio of leaf to filling you like, you can decide how much to add. Start with one large spoonful and go from there.
Cutting the head of lettuce without ripping the leaves is key to having a whole leaf available to hold all of the filling. Cut the bottom part of the lettuce where the hard stem holds all the leaves. Then, cut the head in half vertically down the middle.
Gently peel away the layers, trying your best not to rip the gentle buttery leaves.
Make-Ahead and Storing
I don’t recommend assembling these ahead of time as they will get soggy quickly and most likely fall apart.
You can, however, make the filling a few days ahead of time and keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to assemble, heat the filling on the stovetop (or even the microwave if you’re feeling extra hungry) and get to stuffing!
The filling freezes well too, so whatever you don’t use, you can save for later.
More Lettuce Wrap Recipes
Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 pound ground chicken
- Kosher salt , to taste
- Ground black pepper , to taste
- 1 cup cabbage coleslaw mix
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger , or 1/2 teaspoon ground
- ¼ cup Thai sweet red chili sauce , plus more to taste (see note)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce , or olive oil
- ½ lime , juiced
- 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Crushed red pepper flakes , to taste
For serving: Butter or Bib Lettuce, Sweet chili sauce, Sliced green onions
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook until lightly brown. Drain excess fat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the coleslaw, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, soy sauce, and lime. Cook 2 minutes. Add more chili sauce, lime, salt, or pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cilantro.
- Serve in lettuce cups. Sprinkle green onions over the top.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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