Chicken Lettuce Cups

4.93 from 53 votes

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!

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These healthy chicken lettuce cups are full of flavor and topped with homemade peanut sauce. When you’re in the mood for something that feels gourmet but doesn’t keep you tied to the kitchen for hours, these chicken lettuce wraps are your answer. Full of texture from the crispy lettuce, chewy chicken, and the nutty crunch of peanuts, paired with a sauce that’s both rich and tangy, makes this Asian-inspired dish so good. And the best part? It’s a meal that comes together in minutes, proving that delicious doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

Final dish prepared for the Chicken Lettuce Cups with the chicken mixture inside the butter lettuce
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What I love about these Chicken Lettuce Cups is that they are loaded with savory stir-fried 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! The 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 lettuce bowl 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 chicken lettuce cup 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!

Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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. I don’t think these are quite the same, but they are definitely inspired by the restaurant version of Asian lettuce wraps. And guess what? They are definitely healthier than the restaurant version!

Why You’ll Love These Asian-Inspired Lettuce Cups

  • Easy to whip up. When I say these are simple to make, I genuinely mean it. Even if you’re not a seasoned chef, you’ll find assembling these lettuce cups so easy, giving you more time to enjoy your meal.
  • A healthier choice. These lettuce wraps are where delicious meets nutritious. You get to enjoy a fulfilling meal that sits light, keeping you vibrant and energized.
  • Perfect for personal tweaks. I love a recipe where you can easily swap ingredients based on your preferences or dietary needs, and this is certainly one of those. Feel free to get creative with your choice of proteins or veggies.
  • A hit at gatherings. Every time I serve these at a get-together, they are loved by everyone, and you can either have them self-assemble or you can pre-assemble, depending on what you prefer.

Ingredients for Chicken Lettuce Cups

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

Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page for the measurements.

  • Ground chicken: Serves as the main protein for our cups, bringing in a tender and juicy element that pairs well with the crisp lettuce and vibrant veggies.
  • Olive oil: Used to cook the chicken, it adds a subtle richness and ensures our ground chicken is nicely browned and not sticking to the pan.
  • Fresh ginger and garlic: These are the aromatics that introduce a warm, spicy note to the dish, laying a flavorful foundation for the chicken mixture.
  • Veggies – onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, carrots, and red pepper: They add a crunch and freshness to the dish, creating a colorful and nutrient-dense filling that is both pleasing to the eye and the palate.
  • Creamy peanut butter: The star of our sauce, it lends a rich and creamy texture while offering a delightful nutty flavor that ties all the ingredients together harmoniously.
  • Rice vinegar: It brings a tangy note to our sauce, balancing out the richness of the peanut butter and adding a zesty freshness to the dish.
  • Soy sauce: Adds depth and a savory umami flavor to the sauce, complementing the peanut butter and enhancing the overall flavor profile of the dish.
  • Sriracha: For those who love a hint of heat, sriracha gives a spicy kick that you can adjust according to your preference, adding an exciting dimension to the dish.
  • Toasted sesame oil: Introduces a distinctly aromatic and nutty flavor that elevates the sauce, giving it a complex and delightful character.
  • For serving – Bibb or butter lettuce, green onions, and crushed peanuts: These components bring the dish together, offering a crisp wrap and a fresh, vibrant garnish that adds a delightful crunch and aesthetic appeal to the final presentation.
  • Alternative proteins: While ground chicken is the staple here, feel free to experiment with ground turkey, beef, or even a plant-based ground meat for a vegetarian or vegan option. Each brings a different texture and flavor profile.
  • Bring in more crunch: Consider adding more crunch with additions like bamboo shoots or bean sprouts. They not only add a fresh and crispy texture but elevate the dish’s nutritional value as well.
  • Spice it up: If you’re a fan of heat, don’t hesitate to add a chopped green or red chili to the chicken mixture while cooking. Adjust the amount according to your heat preference to get that perfect kick.
  • Variations to the sauce: Play around with the sauce by substituting almond butter or cashew butter in place of peanut butter for a different nutty note. Moreover, adding a splash of lime or lemon juice can introduce a tangy zest, giving the sauce a brighter note.
  • Add some fresh herbs: Garnish your lettuce cups with fresh herbs such as cilantro or mint. These herbs can bring a refreshing note, elevating the overall palate and adding a vibrant color contrast to the dish.
  • Lettuce choices: While Bibb or butter lettuce is recommended, feel free to explore other options like iceberg or romaine lettuce. They offer a different kind of crispiness and can hold up well to the hearty chicken filling.

How to Make Chicken Lettuce Cups

Below is just a preview with basic steps on how to make Chicken Lettuce Wraps. You can find the full recipe with the steps in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Make the peanut Sauce

The sauce is possibly (actually not possibly, truly) the best part of this recipe. I’ve seen 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 perfectly fine, too. If you use ground ginger, it’s not necessary.

  1. Add all your sauce ingredients to a bowl. [Image 1]
  2. Stir until well combined. [Image 2]
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

Make the chicken lettuce wrap filling

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper. [Image 1]
  2. Cook until no longer pink. [Image 2]
  3. Add the onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, carrots and peppers. [Image 3]
  4. Continue cooking until the vegetables soften. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. [Image 4]
  5. Lower the heat, transfer the sauce to the skillet. [Image 5]
  6. Cook for a few minutes to make sure the chicken mixture is well coated with the sauce. [Image 6]
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.

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.

Tips to Make the Best 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.
Cooked chicken and vegetables mixture with the sauce ready to be served


Storing and reheating chicken lettuce cups the right way is key to enjoying this meal at a later time without compromising on its freshness and flavor. Here’s how to do it:


  • Cool it Down: Before you store the chicken filling, allow it to cool down to room temperature to maintain its texture and flavor.
  • Separate Elements: Store the lettuce and other fresh elements like green onions and peanuts separately from the cooked chicken to retain their crunch and freshness.
  • Airtight Container: Use an airtight container to store the filling. This helps in preserving its freshness for a longer duration.


  • Microwave: To quickly reheat the filling, transfer it to a microwave-safe dish. Cover it and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until it’s heated through.
  • Stovetop: If you prefer reheating on the stovetop, transfer the chicken to a pan and reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it is warmed to your liking.


When stored properly, the chicken mixture can last in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It’s best to enjoy the lettuce fresh, so try to use it within a day or two for the best texture and flavor.


While you can freeze the chicken filling, it is not advisable to freeze the assembled lettuce cups with all the fresh elements as they will lose their crispness. If you decide to freeze the chicken mixture, store it in a sealed, airtight container. It can retain its quality for up to 2 months in the freezer. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving with fresh lettuce and toppings.

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

Frequently Asked Questions


A few of these wraps are filling enough and tasty enough for a main meal. However, if you are looking for something more substantial, you can serve them with Bulgur Pilaf, fried rice or as the appetizer for pad Thai.


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.

My chicken filling is too dry. What did I do wrong?

If your chicken filling turns out too dry, it might be because the chicken was overcooked. To fix this, you can add a splash of chicken broth or water to the mixture and cook it on a low heat for a few minutes. Also, ensuring to use ground chicken that has a bit of fat can help in keeping the filling moist.

Why is my peanut sauce too watery and how can I fix it?

If your peanut sauce is too watery, it could be because of the liquid ingredients overpowering the peanut butter. You can fix this by adding more peanut butter to your sauce to achieve a thicker consistency or by using a slurry. Additionally, allowing the sauce to simmer on low heat for a longer time can help it thicken.

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

Now when you crave 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, and an extra fun meal that everyone will love!

More Low Carb & High Protein Recipes

Taco Stuffed Peppers

Spaghetti Squash Stuffed Lasagna

Broccoli Pizza Crust (Low Carb & Gluten-Free)

Low-Carb Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

I hope you love this healthy-ish feel good 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!

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Chicken Lettuce Cups

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!
4.9 from 53 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Appetizer
Calories 431
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ¼ pound ground chicken
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts diced and drained
  • 4 ounces mushrooms diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • ¼ red pepper diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves minced


For serving

  • 1 head Bibb lettuce leaves or butter lettuce
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • Crushed peanuts


  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until no longer pink, 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, carrots and peppers and continue cooking until the vegetables soften, 5 more minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the sauce.
  • Lower the heat to low and transfer the sauce to the skillet, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to make sure the chicken mixture is well coated with the sauce.
  • To serve, scoop the chicken mixture onto the lettuce. Add peanuts and green onions, if desired.


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.


Calories: 431kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 122mg, Sodium: 990mg, Potassium: 1287mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 5491IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine Asian
Course: Appetizer

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Recipe Rating


  1. Priscilla says:

    So delicious and easy to make. Highly recommend! thank you for the recipe

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much!! You’re so welcome!

  2. Mayra says:

    Followed this recipe as is and it was absolutely delicious! My son and I loved it! I can’t cook worth a damn but your recipes have upped my cooking game 😆 thank you!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yay! That’s so great!! You’re so welcome!

  3. Laura says:

    Tried this recipe out a few days ago and it was a hit! I switched out the peanut butter for SunButter and I added a tbsp more of rice vinegar and a tbsp more of soy sauce to make the sauce less thick. This recipe will definitely be a regular!

  4. Audrey says: