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Chicken Lettuce Cups

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This is a healthier version of a popular restaurant recipe for Chicken Lettuce Cups. It's loaded with vegetables for added nutrition and full of flavor!

  • Author: Yumna Jawad
  • Posted:

I think we’ve all been to P.F. Chang’s at least once and enjoyed their Chicken Lettuce Cups. And, I think we’ve all come home and thought I wonder how they make them. Well, I sure did and I’ve been making a variation of them for a few years now. And I don’t think these are quite the same but they are definitely inspired by the restaurant version. And guess what, they are definitely healthier that the restaurant version!

Final dish prepared for the Chicken Lettuce Cups with the chicken mixture inside the butter lettuce

What I love about these Chicken Lettuce Cups is that they are loaded with savory stir-fry chicken and colorful veggies – a low-carb easy weekday meal. Or if you’re having guests over, they work great as an appetizer, like they’re served at most restaurants! Best part about this recipe? It’s really fun to eat! I mean, who doesn’t love eating with their hands?

My kids do for sure. I tell them it’s like an Asian taco, and they eat so much more than they would if the chicken and vegetables were served over rice. I think this recipe is a great way to introduce new flavors to your munchkins if they haven’t had much variety before. The other great thing is this recipe sneaks in tons of vegetables because they are all small diced and hidden under that beautiful golden brown marinade. Totally intended and totally works with my kids!

How to Make Chicken Lettuce Cups

Start by chopping up all the vegetables you’ll use in the recipe. I know some people are weirded out by the texture of mushrooms, so you can definitely leave that out. I like using them because it bulks up the chicken mixture without adding too much cholesterol or fat to the dish. I chose to use mushrooms, carrots, celery and red peppers today. You can use any or all or none!

Vegetables to add to the chicken lettuce cups including celery, carrots, red peppers and mushrooms

Here’s all those chopped vegetables along with ground chicken, ginger, garlic, diced onions, and sliced green onions. You can literally cook everything together at once as I’m doing here, or start with the chicken and then add the veges.

Large pan with all the ingredients inside chopped and ready to be cooked. Includes ground chicken, carrots, mushrooms, onions, green onions, red pepper, celery, ginger and garlic.

Next we make the sauce – possibly (actually not possibly, truly) the best part of this recipe. I’ve see a lot of sauces that use hoisin, but sometimes it can be hard to find, so instead I make mine with more basic pantry ingredients like peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar and a little spice factor from the sriracha. Because I use fresh ginger chunks, I blend mine in a small blender, but a whisk works perfect fine too. If you use ground ginger, it’s not necessary.

Collage of two images. On the left are the ingredients to make the sauce including soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, ginger and sriracha. On the left are the ingredients all blended

Now I mix the sauce with the chicken mixture. But I like to leave a little for serving later. Some of us like it extra saucey!

Cooked chicken and vegetables mixture with the sauce ready to be served

Then it’s basically an Asian taco party! You can add as much of the chicken mixture as you’d like, then add more sauce, some peanuts, extra green onions or other toppings you might like too.

Large plate with 3 butter lettuce and the chicken mixture inside the butter lettuce. On the side are the condiments for serving the chicken lettuce cups including the sauce, peanuts and green onions

Tips to Make Chicken Lettuce Cups

  • Dice the vegetables small. This is a great way to blend (hide {wink, wink} the vegetables well with the ground chicken. But it’s also great way to make sure that every bite is filled with all the textures and flavors of the dish. I chopped everything by hand this time, but you can also use a food processor to chop them!
  • Use fresh ginger in the sauce. So much of the flavor of this dish (and many Asian dishes) comes from the fresh ginger used, so if possible don’t use ground ginger. Get the fresh stuff and use a small blender or food processor to really blend the ginger well to make the sauce. I promise it makes it so amazing!
  • Pick the right lettuce. It’s not fun if the lettuce is falling apart. So I recommend using something that is wide, sturdy and can hold a good amount of the chicken mixture. Many restaurants use iceberg lettuce, which works really well. I also like to use bib lettuce or butter lettuce, pictured below. Whichever one you use, cut off the bottom white part and the leaves will just fall apart, ready to be washed and served.
Plate of butter lettuce an small bowl of extra sauce set aside for serving

Now when you crave these popular restaurant chicken lettuce cups, you can whip these up at home for a healthier version that tastes just as good…maybe even better! It’s a low-carb, high protein, extra high fun meal that everyone will love!

I hope you love this healthy-ish feelgood Chicken Lettuce Cups recipe. If you make it, please leave me a comment telling me how you like it, or use hashtag #feelgoodfoodie on Instagram so I can see your recreations

Close up shot of the final dish prepared for the Chicken Lettuce Cups with the chicken mixture inside the butter lettuce

If you’re looking for other low carb, high protein and vege meal options, you should try my Taco Stuffed Peppers and my Spaghetti Squash Stuffed Lasagna!

5 from 1 vote
Final dish prepared for the Chicken Lettuce Cups with the chicken mixture inside the butter lettuce
Chicken Lettuce Cups
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins

This is a healthier version of a popular restaurant recipe for Chicken Lettuce Cups. It's loaded with vegetables for added nutrition and full of flavor!

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Chicken Salad, Lettuce Cups
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 234 kcal
Author: Yumna Jawad
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms diced
  • 3-4 carrots diced
  • 1/4 red pepper diced
  • 2-3 celery stalks diced
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha optional
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
  • 1 head butter lettuce for serving
  • Peanuts for serving
  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the chicken, onions, ginger, garlic and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is browned, stirring frequently to break down the chicken, about 10 minutes.

  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce. If you're using fresh ginger, I recommend blending in the blender to make sure the sauce is smooth without any chunks of ginger.

  3. Transfer the sauce to the skillet (leaving about 1/4 cup for serving, if desired) and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to make sure the chicken mixture is well coated by the sauce.

  4. To serve, scoop the chicken mixture on to the lettuce. Add peanuts, extra sauce and extra green onions, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container, with the chicken mixture and lettuce separate. The recipe will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.

Make Ahead: The easiest part of the recipe to prepare in advance is the sauce. Just store it in the fridge when complete and it will be ready for the recipe. I would also recommend chopping the vegetables in advance, which can be a tedious part of this recipe if you choose to use all the vegetables I chose.

Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.

  • Ground chicken: You can substitute ground turkey, ground beef or even small diced chicken breasts for the ground chicken!
  • Vegetables: All the vegetables are optional. You can omit any or all of them or substitute with your favorites. 
  • Soy Sauce: If you have a soy allergy, try tamari sauce, or liquid aminos, and you can't tell the difference in taste.
  • Peanut Butter: If you have a peanut allergy, you can substitute any nut butter or seed butter.
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Lettuce Cups
Amount Per Serving (3 lettuce cups)
Calories 234 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 488mg 20%
Potassium 755mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 4g
Protein 17g 34%
Vitamin A 125%
Vitamin C 16.1%
Calcium 4.2%
Iron 8.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

1 Comment

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    September 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm


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