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Thai-Style Minced Chicken Lettuce Cups

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Based on the popular Thai dish Larb Gai, this is a quick, easy, and flavorful weeknight dinner.

Plate of Thai-style minced chicken lettuce cups.

This recipe is based on Larb Gai, the popular Thai dish made from minced chicken, fish sauce, lime juice, chilies, and fresh herbs. You can have it on the table in 30 minutes, and it can be served in lettuce cups or over rice.

What you’ll need to make Thai Minced Chicken Lettuce Cups

thai minced chicken lettuce cups ingredientsAs you can see from the photo, the recipe is inexpensive to make with ingredients found at your local supermarket. One of the key ingredients is fish sauce. Contrary to what you might expect, it doesn’t add a “fishy” taste, but rather a salty, savory, umami flavor. If you’ve never cooked with it, I’ll warn you that it smells pretty bad (my kids RUN out of the kitchen when I use it), but please don’t let that deter you — it absolutely makes the dish! If possible, buy a brand imported from Thailand or Vietnam, and don’t worry about buying a large bottle; it keeps forever.

Step-by-Step Instructions

onions and ginger in pan

For the chicken, begin by cooking the onions and ginger in oil until soft.

softened onions and ginger

Add the minced garlic and cook one minute more.

adding the garlic

Add the ground chicken and use a wooden spoon to break the meat apart.

adding the ground chicken

Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar and red pepper flakes, and cook until the chicken is done.

adding the lime zest and sauce ingredients

Off the heat, add the fresh cilantro, mint, scallions, and nuts.

adding the herbs, scallions, and nuts

Stir to combine.

thai minced chicken

Spoon into lettuce cups and serve with finely sliced carrots, herbs and Sriracha sauce.

Plate of Thai-style minced chicken lettuce cups.

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Thai-Style Minced Chicken Lettuce Cups

Based on the popular Thai dish Larb Gai, this is a quick, easy, and flavorful weeknight dinner.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 1 large head iceberg or butter lettuce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger (you'll need a thick 2-inch piece) (see note)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken (not all breast meat)
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest, from 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1½ limes
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 large scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup chopped cashews or peanuts

Optional For Serving

  • Sriracha
  • Finely sliced carrots
  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro and/or mint sprigs


  1. If using iceberg lettuce: fill a large bowl with cold water. Place the head of lettuce on a cutting board; cut off the stem, then cut around the inner core of the lettuce and remove (do not cut all the way through the lettuce; just deep enough to remove the core). Discard the flimsy, ragged outer leaves and then place the head of lettuce in the bowl of water. Gently pull apart the leaves, then place them on a paper towel to dry. Cut any large leaves in half. Chill the lettuce cups in refrigerator until ready to serve. (If using butter lettuce, you won't have any issues pulling apart the leaves so this step is not necessary.)
  2. Heat the oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Add the ground chicken and turn the heat up to high. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until partially cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, lime juice and red pepper flakes and continue cooking, stirring frequently to break up the meat, until the chicken is cooked through, 5-6 minutes more. Off the heat, stir in the scallions, cilantro, mint and nuts. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon into lettuce cups and serve with optional garnishes.
  4. Note: Check out easy guidance on how to peel, grate, and chop fresh ginger here.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The meat mixture can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months and reheated in the microwave om on the stovetop until hot.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 580
  • Fat: 33g
  • Saturated fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Sugar: 20g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 45g
  • Sodium: 1565mg
  • Cholesterol: 195g

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • Unbelievably delicious!!! Thank you for another fantastic recipe!

    • — Noreen Resnick on May 16, 2024
    • Reply
  • Very tasty. I put 2 tbsp of filling on a mini tortilla. Topped with shredded carrot, green onions and the peanut dressing from the Thai minced chicken lettuce cups as an appetizer for a crowd. Got rave reviews and looked really pretty.

    • — Luanne on April 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • These were alright, but I’ve had better larb gai. One issue is that it’s just too wet, which means a lot of liquid running from your lettuce wraps, which is messy. This dish should be drier. Also, two pounds of ground chicken in one pan releases a LOT of moisture, which both contributes to the overly moist dish while also preventing any browning. We’ve done other larb chicken recipes that involve a little browning and, unsurprisingly, it boosts the flavor. Lastly, while the flavor is okay, it’s also just okay. Good Thai food should be bolder, and this was almost a bit bland and too sweet. We enjoyed the meals we got from this, but there are plenty of more flavorful versions of this dish that aren’t any more difficult to make. In the future we’ll make those and not this one.

    • — Alex O on March 22, 2024
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  • We loved this! So easy and the flavors melded beautifully. Will definitely make again! Thanks again for another winner, Jen!!

    • — Fred on March 3, 2024
    • Reply
  • Okay, I made this for dinner tonight and what can I say — another fabulous recipe! I have not had one recipe of yours that did not turn out great. Definitely adding this one to my to my compendium of recipes that make the cut.

    • — Julie on December 1, 2023
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  • I don’t think I have ever made one of your recipes and been disappointed. This one holds true to that statement. The chicken was fabulously seasoned with a sufficient amount of herbs to make it fresh and clean. I highly recommend this recipe.

    • — Heidi on October 8, 2023
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  • Another winner! I have made chicken wraps before from a different recipe. I liked them. But I loved this one! I used ground turkey and left out the nuts because my husband is allergic to nuts.

    • — Cindy on September 17, 2023
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  • So good!! The only change I made was adding water chestnuts (with the cilantro, scallions and mint) and used the peanuts as a garnish, along with additional mint, carrots and sriracha.

    • — kathyf on July 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • Excellent!

    • — Stephanie h on July 26, 2023
    • Reply

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