Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps


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No chopping or lengthy prep required for these easy weeknight-friendly Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps filled with saucy Korean ground chicken. The sauce is sweet and savory – spice it up as much as you’d like!

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps on a white tray

When I create new recipes for Asian-style dishes (noodles, stir-fries, bowls, etc.) here on the blog and over at Cook Smarts, the number one thing people ask for is more sauce! You guys love saucy Asian food. So do we!

We spent a week at the Outer Banks in North Carolina last week. We tried very hard to ditch all of our electronics, so there’s not much photo evidence, but the entire week was beach + pool + ice cream on repeat. My mom, her husband, plus all four of my siblings and their partners were there too. It was a packed (and loud) house, but we had so much fun. As is our tradition, each family took a turn cooking dinner. (My sister and her boyfriend made cactus salad one night – so good!)

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Frank and I served Asian noodle bowls with chopped butter lettuce, ramen noodles, and this Korean-style ground chicken. The chicken is super versatile, loaded with an addictive sauce (that can be spiced as much as you like), and makes great leftovers. Make it for a crowd like we did, or serve it just to your family. With no chopping, and quick cooking time, this is made for weeknights.

lettuce on a kitchen cloth

Korean Chicken Lettuce Cups Ingredients

  • Low-Sodium Soy Sauce – I always use low-sodium soy sauce in testing and cooking. If using regular soy sauce, add an extra teaspoon of brown sugar (taste and adjust it if needed) to help keep the salty/sweet balance.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – Light brown sugar will also work.
  • Gochujang – Spicy, smoky, and a tiny bit sweet – this red chili paste is used often in Korean cooking. Adjust the amount to fit your spice preference, but I highly recommend including at least a little to balance the sweetness of the sauce.
  • Rice Vinegar – A pantry staple for Asian cooking. In a pinch, another vinegar (white wine or apple cider for example) would work, but the flavor won’t be as authentic.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil – Like rice vinegar, this is a great staple to have in your pantry for Asian cooking. A little goes a long way and it gives the dish its distinctive sesame flavor!
  • Boston, Bibb, or Butter Lettuce Leaves – These are different names for a similar variety of lettuce that comes in small heads and is soft but crisp. These are the best for lettuce wraps. Romaine lettuce leaves are longer and sturdier, so those work well too and make a longer taco-like shape wrap.
  • Cooked Rice – This is optional, but I like to add a bit of extra substance to the lettuce cups with a grain or starch. Cooked brown or white rice is classic. Quinoa, farro, or cauliflower rice would also be great. (In the photos, I used short-grain brown rice cooked in the Instant Pot.)
  • Roasted Peanuts – Optional, but good for crunch!
  • Other kitchen staples like ketchup, cornstarch, and cooking oil.

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What Type of Lettuce Is Best for Lettuce Wraps?

Boston, Bibb, and butter lettuce have soft, buttery leaves that wrap easily around filling and still have a subtle crispness. Romaine and iceberg lettuce leaves have the most crunch but are more difficult to fold into wraps.

  • Boston, Bibb, and butter lettuce – Look for small heads of these lettuce varieties with leaves that are dense, bright green, and don’t look limp. (It’s what I used for the photos in this post.)
  • Romaine lettuce – Look for hearts of romaine with the outer leaves intact and showing no sign of browning.
  • Iceberg lettuce – Look for light green, firm heads of lettuce, that are fairly small (the outer leaves can be too large to use for wraps). Separate the leaves carefully to prevent tearing them.
overhead image of a knife and Bibb lettuce on a grey countertop

More Asian-Inspired Recipes

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps on a white plate

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Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps
4.71 from 17 votes

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

No chopping or lengthy prep required for this easy weeknight meal of crisp lettuce wraps filled with saucy Korean ground chicken. The sauce is sweet and savory – spice it up as much as you'd like!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • Mixing Bowls
  • Wok or Large Skillet


Sweet and Savory Korean Sauce:

Korean Lettuce Wraps:

  • 1 Tablespoons Cooking Oil (I like avocado or grapeseed oil; vegetable or canola oil would also work)
  • 1 1/2 pounds Ground Chicken (sub ground turkey or any other ground meat)
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons White Sesame Seeds
  • 16 leaves Boston, Bibb, or Butter Lettuce Leaves (see note)
  • 2 cups Cooked Rice (see note)
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Peanuts (preferably unsalted)
  • Extra Gochujang, for serving


  • Make sauce by whisking together soy sauce, 6 Tablespoons water, brown sugar, ketchup, Gochujang, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. Set aside.
  • Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil and when it begins to shimmer, add ground chicken. Saute, breaking the chicken apart, until chicken is nearly cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Pour sauce over chicken and cook, stirring, until sauce begins to bubble.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tablespoons water and cornstarch to make a slurry.
  • Pour slurry over chicken and stir. Continue cooking until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes more. Top chicken with sesame seeds.
  • Set out chicken, lettuce leaves, cooked rice (if using), roasted peanuts, and extra Gochujang. Assemble lettuce cups at the table and enjoy!


Gochujang is a Korean chili sauce that is spicy, sweet, and smoky. It is delicious and adds depth to the sauce. In a pinch, a bit of red pepper flakes or some Sriracha hot sauce would also work (but use 1/2 tsp because these have a more concentrated level of spice).
If you prefer to skip the spice you can reduce or omit this ingredient, but it would be a great idea to add some fresh chopped garlic or ginger to give the sauce added flavor that Gochujang would have given it.
Boston, Bibb, or Butter Lettuce leaves work best for these lettuce cups. Romaine or iceberg will also work (these have more crunch but are more difficult to wrap around the filling).
These lettuce wraps are great with some cooked rice to soak up the flavorful sauce. Quinoa, farro, or cauliflower rice would also work.
For a gluten-free version: substitute Tamari for the soy sauce and look for a gluten-free Gochujang or use another gluten-free hot sauce of your choice. 


Serving: 1cup (plus 1/2 cup rice) | Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1244mg | Potassium: 885mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 4.8mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1.8mg

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

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $9.00
Calories: 516
Keyword: Asian, chicken dinner, easy, easy dinner, easy, weeknight-friendly, healthyish, quick
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! I just made this for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, no leftovers in this house tonight!

  2. 5 stars
    We tried this recipe this week and I give it five stars. I actually have another similar recipe that I usually make but the sauce on this was slightly different so thought I’d give it a try and glad I did. I like that the addition of the cornstarch really thickens the sauce making it easy to spoon into the lettuce. I only had ground beef on hand so used that and it was yummy, but looking forward to trying chicken too.

  3. Chicken salad with lettuce looks very attractive, I and my husband decided to make this dish after watching the article and photos of this dish, great, thank you