{recipe} Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

It’s 6:30, you have dinner guests are arriving in less than an hour, and all you have in the fridge are some boneless skinless chicken breasts and a head of lettuce. There are legos all over the living room floor and the toddler still needs to be changed, fed, and bathed. What do you do?

Well, this is a true story with a happy ending, because I made these easy and delicious chicken lettuce wraps. This is a super simple recipe that comes together quickly. You marinade the chicken for 30 minutes or so, and right before dinner, it cooks up in a frying pan in about 5 minutes. The marinade becomes a saucy glaze. Throw some rice in the rice cooker, and serve it all with sriracha or sambal oelek. Put rice, chicken, and hot sauce in a lettuce leaf and eat it like a little lettuce taco.

Dinner crisis averted, once again. As for the legos… I’m afraid you’re on your own.

What are your favorite last minute recipes? I can always use more ideas!

Recipe: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
serves 6


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tblsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tblsp mirin, rice wine, or white wine
  • 4-5 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 Tblsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tsp sesame oil, divided


  • Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.
  • Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and 1 tsp sesame oil. Stir well to dissolve brown sugar. Add chicken, cover, and marinate for 30 minutes (or more, up to 4 hours.)
  • Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add remaining 2 tsp sesame oil. Use a slotted spoon to add chicken in a single layer and cook until browned and cooked through, stirring often, approximately 5 minutes. (You will probably need to do this in 2 batches.)
  • When the last batch of chicken is almost done, add marinade to pan and cook until sauce is reduced and glaze-like.
  • Serve with lettuce leaves, rice, and sambal oelek or sriracha.

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2 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    I make a similar recipe that uses ground chicken or turkey – it is so fast and it always seems so “fancy” for a last-minute meal. If I’ve planned far enough ahead to get the ingredients, crab rangoon dip with tortilla or pita chips is a great appetizer/side dish. (cream cheese + crab (real or fake) + scallions + garlic powder)

  2. Dana says:

    This is the perfect sort of recipe to have in a ouch. The best part? The dinner guests will likely react as though you spent a fair amount of time preparing for them and be thoroughly impressed.

    That is, so long as you don’t let them in on the part where it’s super simple and you got it together in the last hour while scrambling to clean house (and child). I ten to be unable to keep that secret:).