These Thai lettuce wraps are light but filling, loaded with fresh flavor, and take only 20 minutes to make, for a summery appetizer or main meal you’ll want to make time and time again.
After two trips to Thailand, I am a devout Thai food lover, and I crave these bright, bold flavors often. You’ll find a trove of beloved Thai recipes on my blog, like my Thai turkey meatballs in coconut red curry sauce, Thai chicken and cucumber salad, and my Thai garlic and black pepper tofu with mushrooms, but Larb is one of my all-time favorite dishes because of its fresh flavors and simple ingredients. These authentic Thai larb chicken lettuce wraps come from blogger Jaden Hair, from Steamy Kitchen, from her cookbook, Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites. It’s a classic Thai dish that’s delicious and light, yet satisfying. The addition of fresh herbs and lime is key to this larb’s amazing flavor—it’s one of the best things you’ll ever put into your mouth. Jaden’s recipe calls for cilantro and mint, but Thai basil’s aromatic licorice notes would be a classic Thai complement to the salty flavor of the fish sauce. Don’t be timid about the fish sauce—the salty umami it imparts helps make the dish. Best of all, this recipe is incredibly easy and comes together in just 20 minutes or so.
What’s in These Thai Lettuce Wraps
I made just a couple of tweaks to Jaden’s original recipe, like swapping ground chicken breast for chicken thighs (more fat, more flavor). Jaden’s original recipe also calls for iceberg lettuce leaves, but I prefer the smoother envelope that butter lettuce provides.
Here’s what you’ll need to make these Thai lettuce wraps:
- Cooking oil (neutral flavored—you could use canola or avocado oil)
- Ground chicken breast (I prefer thighs for this)
- Canned water chestnuts
- Red onion
- Fresh chiles (jalapeños or Fresno)
- Fish sauce—(if you don’t want to use fish sauce, substitute it with 2 parts regular sodium soy sauce and 1 part lime juice, which would make a great vegetarian option if you subbed the chicken for extra firm tofu)
- Lime (you’ll use the juice in the larb, but I also like serving these wraps with lime wedges)
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Butter lettuce
- Fresh herbs—cilantro and mint are a winning combo here, but Thai basil would also be delish
- Ground peanuts or Marcona almonds (optional), but they’re a great sprinkle to the individual wraps if you’re into adding a little crunch
- Scallions (I added these as a garnish)
Tip: Dollop a bit of Hoisin sauce on your wraps for even more flavor!
How to Make Thai Lettuce Wraps
These Thai chicken larb lettuce wraps couldn’t be easier to make. After washing and prepping your veggies, all you have to do is cook the chicken larb filling (which takes all of 5 minutes). Here’s how to make them:
Brown the chicken. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the chicken. Use your spatula to break up the meat and spread it out over the surface of the pan. cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the aromatics. Push the ground chicken to one side of the pan and swirl in the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil. To the oil, add the shallots, red onion, garlic, and fresh chiles and sauté the aromatics until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce.
Serve it up: Spoon the larb filling into your lettuce cups and top with herbs, chopped nuts (if using), and scallions (if using), and serve with lime wedges.
Tip: Should find yourself with any leftovers, the chicken larb filling is also crazy good in scrambled eggs the next morning, (just trust).
What Side Dish Goes with Thai Lettuce Wraps
You can serve these on their own, but here are some tasty sides that could go with them:
- Thai Coconut Noodle Salad
- Thai Cucumber Salad (just omit the chicken)
- Thai Zucchini Noodle and Quinoa Salad
What Kind of Lettuce is Good for Lettuce Wraps
Jaden recommends iceberg lettuce in her book, but I actually prefer butter lettuce because it’s smoother and helps cup the filling well. I recommend doubling up on your leaves to better support the filling. You could also use Romaine if you wanted more of a crunch.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Thai Lettuce Wraps
- 1 1 /2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 pound ground chicken breast , (I prefer thighs)
- 1 4 ounce can water chestnuts , chopped
- 2 tablespoon shallots , diced
- ¼ tablespoon red onion , diced
- 1 clove garlic , very finely minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chiles , Jalapeño or Fresno (amount is up to your level of spiciness)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 head butter lettuce , leaves separated into cups
- 1 handful of cilantro and/or mint , chiffonade-cut
- roasted Marcona almonds or peanuts , finely chopped, for serving (optional)
- scallions , chopped, for serving (optional)
- lime wedges , for serving (optional)
- Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the chicken. Use your spatula to break up the meat and spread it out over the surface of the pan. cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
- Push the ground chicken to one side of the pan and swirl in the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil. To the oil, add the shallots, red onion, garlic, and fresh chiles and sauté the aromatics until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce.
- Spoon the larb filling into your lettuce cups and top with herbs, chopped nuts (if using), and scallions (if using), and serve with lime wedges.
More Thai Recipes You’ll Love
- Thai Ginger Chicken and Rice
- Thai Coconut Noodle Salad
- Shrimp in Thai Coconut Curry Sauce
- Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)
- Thai Chicken and Cucumber Salad
- Thai Turkey Meatballs in Coconut Curry Sauce
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