I think using lettuce as a “wrap” is a brilliant idea; you get the freshness of a salad and the satisfaction of a wrap. Arrange the lettuce around the platter of beef so people can wrap their own.–Sara Foster

Three assembled Thai-style sliced beef lettuce wraps with a bowl of dipping sauce on the side.

Thai-Style Sliced-Beef Lettuce Wraps

5 / 5 votes
Thai-style sliced-beef lettuce wraps are exactly as advertised—skirt steak dunked in a flavor-forward marinade that imbues it with an irresistible taste. All that remains is to wrap it in crisp lettuce and pop it in your mouth.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories342 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste,* hoisin sauce, or barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger, (from a 1-inch piece)
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 small fresh red or green chile, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut crosswise into 6-inch pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce or 2 endive, leaves separated
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish


  • To make the marinade, stir the cilantro, tamarind paste, soy sauce, ginger, orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, scallions, garlic, honey, and chile together in a small bowl.
  • Place the steak in a shallow glass bowl or large sealable plastic bag. Pour half of the marinade over the steak and turn the meat or shake the bag to coat it with the marinade. (Reserve the remaining marinade for serving.) Cover the bowl or close the bag and set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Remove the steak from the marinade and season both sides to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the steak for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Move the steak to a cutting board, cover it loosely with foil to keep warm and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.
  • To serve, thinly slice the steak diagonally against the grain and put the steak slices on a platter. Drizzle the meat with the reserved marinade and arrange the lettuce leaves, sliced red pepper, carrot, and cilantro around the platter.


*What is tamarind?

If you eat Thai food, you’ve definitely tried tamarind. Also used in Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, and all sorts of other national cuisines, tamarind is more popular than you might know. Those sweet, sour, brown candies that you get after Japanese food? That’s tamarind. A hardwood tree that grows in most tropical regions—Africa, India, and Pakistan are all major producers—it’s used in most of its forms (raw, ripened, powdered) in lots of international cooking. You can’t sub unripened, green fruit for ripened fruit, as the taste is dramatically different. For most home uses, a block of pulp or a jar of paste is probably the best bet. As far as a substitute goes, lime juice is pretty good, but you can also go with a 50-50 mix of vinegar and sugar. If you’ve come across a few recipes calling for tamarind paste, you wouldn’t go astray to seek some out. It’s pretty delish.
Sara Foster's Casual Cooking

Adapted From

Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking

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Serving: 1 wrap, based on 4Calories: 342 kcalCarbohydrates: 19 gProtein: 39 gFat: 13 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 107 mgSodium: 597 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 12 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2007 Sara Foster. Photo © 2007 Holly Erickson & Natalie Mortimer. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Mmmmm. This is delicious. The recipe advises marinating skirt steak from 30 minutes to overnight. I marinated it for 4 hours, which was enough for the flavor to permeate the meat, although I’m thinking 30 minutes may not be enough.

The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons tamarind paste, barbecue sauce, or hoisin sauce—this is quite a variety of possible flavor outcomes. I used tamarind. I like that the recipe also requires orange juice and zest, which is a welcome addition to the cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, lime, scallions, garlic, honey, and chile.

Rather than use a skillet, we grilled the meat. We also added a touch of Thai chile vinegar sauce for a different flavor to a couple of the wraps. This made a delicious and satisfying summer dinner and among the better Thai wraps that we’ve had.

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We often look for recipes that have a high “work to output” ratio – meaning we get a lot of bang for the buck with prep time, cook time, and honestly eating time. This recipe has all three: Short prep time, short cook time, and long eating time!

We chose to grill the steak rather than pan-sear it, simply because we like that flavor – and it was 100% worth it. The steak was melt-in-your-mouth tender and extremely flavorful. The sauce was a wonderful addition to the wraps, and also wonderfully flavored – the lime juice/orange juice combo was one we hadn’t used before, and all of us loved it.

If someone were to look over my repertoire of kitchen goodies, they’d know I’m a huge fan of Thai food and flavors. I’m also trying to be healthy, avoiding carbs, and upping my fiber. So this recipe, with lots of uncooked veggies, was right in my wheelhouse. Plus, on a scale with easy on one side and yummy on the other, it was perfectly balanced!

This is one of those amazing recipes to do when you have friends over as most of the work was done prior to guests arriving, this way you actually enjoy them instead of being in the kitchen. Prior to starting to grill the meat, I placed the lettuce cups, peppers, carrots, and cilantro in bowls at the center of the table which makes it look beautiful.

I decided to start dinner with LC Tom Yum Goong Soup which is always a HUGE hit. While we were eating the tom yum, I grilled the meat and let it stand until I sliced it super thin. I decided to warm the marinate prior to serving it as well. After placing the meat on the table, all started serving and creating their own lettuce cups. What I noticed is that each would have had more of one or the other, which made me realize that next time I do it as self-service and not have the plates all ready. I will cut more pepper and carrots to make sure there is enough for all if they decide to take more (if leftovers, we can always add them to a salad next time).

Well, let me tell you, the wows were unanimous. All loved it, especially that marinade which was the highlight of this recipe. Any novice in the kitchen can create this recipe as it is super easy to make and will shock their family or guests with the quality of the meal, as it screams fancy, exotic, flavorful, and chic. The meat came out tender and juicy. This is a full redo recipe, especially if one wants to impress the crowd.

I was drawn to this recipe because of the wonderful Thai marinade and my love of Skirt Steak. It also seemed healthy and fun to eat. Skirt Steak has such great flavor, and the marinade was delicious. It was a little messy to eat, so I passed around extra napkins, and I found that using two lettuce leaves made eating a bit more manageable. It was a big hit!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I marinated the steak for about 27 hours because I forgot about it (I’m getting old, don’t judge me). I seared it for 3.5 minutes on each side and let it sit for a good 10 minutes before slicing it against the grain. The resulting meat was incredibly moist, tender and the flavor was just different enough to send the eyebrows skyward.

    This may be a personal preference, but I felt the tamarind overwhelmed the other flavors, and only occasionally did I get a palate-peek of the other ingredients. I would definitely try this recipe again with a bit less tamarind – I think my son would love it in a quesadilla or taco. I forgot the lettuce (seriously, stop judging me) so I just ate it in a bowl with julienned carrots and peppers. It was a delicious, healthy-ish, colorful, and filling lunch.

    1. Wonderful, Kristen! We are so pleased that you and your son enjoyed this. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  2. 5 stars
    An excellent marinade, I’ve made this a couple times. I used tamarind both times. We used bird eye chilis – which made the dish SUPER hot. And if you reserve some of the marinade as a sauce, it gets spicier with each day it sits in the fridge. But, yes, really lovely marinade – interested to try it with chicken or pork.