Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These Chinese chicken lettuce wraps are an easy, healthy meal made with ground chicken that’s cooked in soy sauce, ginger, and oyster sauce and served in butter lettuce leaves.

A rectangular plate with six Chinese chicken lettuce wraps and a bowl of extra filling beside it.

This is one of those dishes that I have to order every single time I go to Chinatown and see them on the menu. I love the crunch of the lettuce, the saltiness of the soy sauce, and the sweetness of the oyster sauce.–Joanne Weir

Chicken Lettuce Wraps FAQs

What is oyster sauce?

Oyster Sauce made from oyster extract, (so obviously, those allergic to shellfish should avoid) and it doesn’t taste like a sea creature at all. Instead, this thick, nearly black sauce has an earthy, slightly sweet, and salty taste. It is a mixture of boiled down oyster juices (which have caramelized), along with salt and sugar.

I can’t find butter lettuce, what is a good alternative?

If you can’t find butter, look for Boston lettuce as a substitute. If you can’t find that, make the recipe your own and get creative. Collard greens are a perfect size and shape to become a burrito-type-vehicle for tasty fillings.

Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

A rectangular plate with six Chinese chicken lettuce wraps and a bowl of extra filling beside it.
These Chinese chicken lettuce wraps are an easy, healthy meal made with ground chicken that’s cooked in soy sauce, ginger, and oyster sauce and served in butter lettuce leaves.
Joanne Weir

Prep 15 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 20 mins
Appetizer
Chinese
6 servings
244 kcal
4.5 / 4 votes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 pound ground dark meat chicken (or substitute ground turkey or pork)
  • 8 scallions white and green parts, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup water chestnuts chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and grated (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (regular or low-sodium)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 large head butter lettuce leaves separated

Directions
 

  • Warm the oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken, scallions, and cornstarch and cook, stirring constantly and crumbling the chicken with the spoon, until the chicken is cooked through 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the water chestnuts, carrot(s) if using, soy sauce, ginger, and oyster sauce and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  • To serve, take 1 lettuce leaf at a time and spoon a heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture into the center. Wrap the lettuce around the filling. Serve immediately.
Print RecipeBuy the Weir Cooking in the City cookbook

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Notes

Wine Suggestion

Gewürztraminer, pinot gris, or pinot grigio.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 244kcal (12%)Carbohydrates: 9g (3%)Protein: 16g (32%)Fat: 16g (25%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 57mg (19%)Sodium: 422mg (18%)Potassium: 378mg (11%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 4602IU (92%)Vitamin C: 8mg (10%)Calcium: 42mg (4%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is a great appetizer and much healthier than the usual spring rolls. You do need nice large leaves so that you can wrap these up like a cabbage roll and then eat them in your hand. Needless to say, there were no leftovers and that, to me, is always the sign of a good recipe.

Joanne Weir knows how to take simple ingredients and add just the right combination of herbs, spices, and other accents to make the dish special. There is not a thing unusual or difficult about this recipe, but it comes together so deliciously, you’ll think you had takeout delivered from the best Chinese restaurant in town—only fresher.

These Chinese chicken lettuce wraps were so quick and easy to put together and my whole family loved them. I substituted hoisin sauce for the oyster sauce, and it worked perfectly. Loved being able to enjoy Chinese food while knowing it was still a super healthy meal to put on the table.

Originally published March 18, 2004

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Comments

  1. 3 stars
    Made this today, after a lengthy hunt for water chestnuts all over the neighbourhood. I used fresh mushrooms and chopped everything by hand. It is good and filling and a very good dish for people avoiding carbs, but having had the real thing I found it bland on Chinese flavours.

    1. We’re sorry to hear that this didn’t quite live up to your expectations, Sana. Judging from your photo, you did a fantastic job of making the lettuce wraps!

  2. Made this last night. Incredibly quick and very delicious.

    Pulsed air-chilled chicken thighs, cold from fridge, to a moderate degree in processor.

    Garnished liberally with hand-torn Thai basil leaves just before serving. Wilted nicely into the hot chicken.

    Romaine leaves instead of butter lettuce, I fold like a taco. Tiny amounts of leftover Jasmine rice in lettuce first, then chicken atop.

    Great for when pressed for time but want something delicious.

    Thank you Joanne Weir, via David and Company.

    1. Hi N, we had the same thing last night for dinner! There is something so fun about folding up food in a lettuce leaf, right?

  3. 5 stars
    Good stuff – And tasty! Love the hint of ginger and the hefty dose of scallions…but still so quick and easy you can pause whatever you’re watching on Netflix and have these ready for the second half.

  4. 5 stars
    This is very quick and tasty, and healthy, too. We’re not big lettuce fans, but this made polishing off an entire head between two people absolutely no problem. The balance of flavors is a bit Americanized but pleasant nonetheless.

  5. 5 stars
    The wraps came out well, and this was a quick and easy recipe to follow. I think this works best accompanied by some dim sum, and it’s a great weeknight dinner for the family. The chicken mixture was tasty, and it was fun eating it with our hands.

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