I was beyond words when I found out PF Chang’s was launching here in Canada. My husband and I are huge fans of Asian food, so we rushed to book a table there for dinner. Needless to say, we were impressed!
Of all the amazing dishes we had, I knew I had to try and replicate PF Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps. Tender, juicy and just so full of flavor.
These chicken lettuce wraps are so versatile – they work really well as starters or as part of a main course, depending on how many people are at the table.
What I absolutely love about these delicious wraps is that they’re child-friendly, can be frozen for quick meals, and are super easy to make (once you’ve mastered it!).
My copycat recipe for PF Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps comprises two main parts that work magically with each other: the chicken stir-fry and the peanut sauce.
Most of the ingredients will already be in your pantry, but if not, you can always run to the nearest supermarket for things like hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
For the chicken stir-fry, you will need:
- Vegetable oil: Sunflower oil, canola oil, or olive oil are acceptable, but stay away from oils that have too strong of a smell, like coconut oil.
- Toasted sesame oil: Toasted sesame oil is made by extracting sesame seeds. These small seeds pack a punch in nutrients and give off this rich, nutty fragrance that’s just so unique! It’s a key ingredient in Chinese dishes, and you won’t know how good it is until you’ve tried it in person.
- Lean ground chicken: Opt for breast meat to get the leanest cut with the lowest amount of fats.
- Large carrots: Peeled and shredded finely to mix into the ground chicken.
- Shallots and garlic: The power couple of Chinese stir-fry dishes!
- Ginger: Grate fresh ginger.
- Pro Tip: Ditch the vegetable peeler when it comes to ginger – you can get the skin off ginger by using a spoon and scraping away at it.
- Hoisin sauce: A thick, sweet and spicy sauce made of soybeans and a variety of spices. Teriyaki sauce is a close substitute, if need be.
- Fresh cilantro leaves: Refreshing, citrusy leaves for garnish. Discard stems before use.
- Butter lettuce: Broad, smooth leaves that can hold the weight of delicious chicken filling. See below for alternatives.
For the peanut sauce, you will need:
- Creamy peanut butter: The base of peanut sauce shockingly is peanut butter. To create extra texture, use crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy.
- Reduced sodium soy sauce: A healthier option than soy sauce which is usually high in sodium.
- Lime: Pick a large lime and squeeze to make lime juice.
- Brown sugar: To balance out the acidity and sourness of lime juice.
- Garlic: To give a tinge of spice to the peanut sauce.
- Ginger: When freshly grated, the sharp flavor of ginger is reduced and hints of it make peanut sauce very appetizing.
What Kind of Lettuce Can I Use for This Recipe?
I know, I know – what a question to ask, right? But trust me, I’ve been down the rabbit hole, reading up on lettuce varieties, and here is my take on it.
I always opt for butter lettuce when making chicken lettuce wraps because of its smooth texture and broad leaves. But if you can’t find butter lettuce in the store, don’t just grab something green and leafy! You can also go for romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, and little gem lettuce.
We are ideally looking for leaves that are firm enough and can hold the weight of the fillings. We also want big leaves like on iceberg lettuce, that can fold up with filling inside and are easy to hold.
Romaine lettuce, although firm and crispy, are smaller. Little gem lettuce leaves, true to their name, are much smaller and will allow you to make lettuce cups instead of lettuce wraps.
Remember that depending on the size of lettuce leaves you are getting, you may have extra servings of chicken lettuce wraps to go around – yay!
Follow these steps and you’ll be having PF Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps in no time.
Step One: First, prepare the fresh vegetables. Then, peel and shred the carrots and mince the shallots and the garlic. You’ll want to then grate the ginger and chop the cilantro. Only keep the cilantro leaves, discarding the stems.
- Pro Tip: Ditch the vegetable peeler! To peel ginger, all you need to do is to scrape with a spoon.
Step Two: Now we’re ready to make the peanut sauce! This will be drizzled onto your wraps and will also make a very nice dipping sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and ginger. Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of water if needed until you reach a smooth consistency. We will then set this in the fridge until we’re ready to serve.
Step Three: Heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. They should mix well in the skillet. Add in ground chicken, carrots, and shallots.
Step Four: Stir-fry the mixture until browned, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks. Once the chicken is browned, stir in the garlic and ginger. Do this for about 1 minute.
Step Five: Stir in hoisin sauce until it evenly coats the chicken mixture.
Step Six: Remove the skillet from your heat and stir in the cilantro leaves.
Step Seven: Now we’re ready to serve! After rinsing your lettuce leaves, lay them out on a chopping board. Spoon several tablespoons of the chicken stir-fry into the center of a lettuce leaf, fold the sides up taco-style, and drizzle with the peanut sauce. You can then transfer the wraps onto the serving plate.
Other Toppings and Variations
If you want to adapt this recipe and switch it up a little, here are some yummy recommendations I’ve personally tried and enjoyed.
With shiitake mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms will add lots of umami into whichever recipe, making it extra tasty. If you are using it in this recipe, I recommend chopping it and stirring it into the mix together with the chicken.
Fresh green spring onions for garnish: Some people just aren’t fans of cilantro or parsley or the family of fragrant herbs. If that’s your case, you can swap the cilantro with spring onions. I love how the stems of spring onions are crunchy to bite into. It also makes your dish have a pop of bright green!
Roasted peanuts or crunchy peanut butter: In this recipe I’ve used creamy peanut butter for the peanut sauce. But if you have crunchy peanut butter, that will introduce a new texture to the sauce. You can also stir chopped, roasted peanuts into the sauce.
Keeping these for future use? Great idea! Chicken lettuce wraps are a quick and easy fix if you are pressed for time.
Allow the chicken stir-fry to cool to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container. If you pack cooked food while it’s hot, it tends to go bad faster. The same goes for the peanut sauce.
As for the leaves, keep them separate from the chicken stir-fry in an airtight container with a paper towel. I’ve been using this trick for the longest time, and my lettuce leaves stay crispy even after a week.
There it is – my copycat chicken lettuce wraps recipe. Which PF Chang’s recipe should I try next?
If you’re looking for more starters and appetizers for big parties, you might want to check out these recipes:
- Summer Berry Salad With Candied Almonds & Goat Cheese
- Delicious Steak Salad With Yogurt Dressing
- Easy Bruschetta Recipe
Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe
For Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 2 pounds lean ground chicken
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 large carrots, peeled and finely shredded
- 3 shallots, finely diced
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 6 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated
- 3/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (not the stems), chopped
For Peanut Sauce
- 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 lime, freshly squeezed
- 3 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
- 2 heads of butter lettuce
For Peanut Sauce
- To make the peanut sauce, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons water if needed until smooth desired consistency is reached; set in the fridge till ready to eat. Re-Whisk right before ready to serve.
For Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- First, peel and shred carrots, finely dice shallots, mince garlic, grate ginger and chop cilantro.
- Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground chicken, carrots and shallots.
- Cook until browned, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks.
- Once chicken is browned, stir in garlic and ginger, about 1 minute.
- Stir in hoisin sauce until heated through, about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.
- To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, taco-style, drizzled with peanut sauce.