Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a quick and health(ish!) weeknight dinner that you can throw together in about 30 minutes.
Here is another super quick weeknight dinner to add to your arsenal of "need dinner NOW!" recipes. Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps are ready in about 30 minutes, but have such a lovely, complex flavor thanks to green onion, ginger and garlic. And, orange juice, soy and maple are reduced down into a tangy, savory and sweet (but not too sweet) sauce. Big lettuce leaves and more green onion add a burst of freshness to this flavorful dish.
A disclaimer: this is not any sort of authentic recipe, just my favorite version of teriyaki sauce. I hope you enjoy it!
This recipe has more ingredients than my usual recipes, but it's so worth it in my opinion! Plus, all of these ingredients should be readily available in a regular grocery store. To make these delicious teriyaki chicken lettuce wraps, you will need:
- Orange juice: if you have the few extra seconds go freshly squeezed! To get the ½ cup juice the recipe calls for, you will need about 1 ½ - 2 oranges.
- Maple syrup: this adds sweetness and also complexity to the teriyaki sauce. If you don't like or don't have maple syrup, try honey.
- Low Sodium soy sauce: regular soy sauce was just a bit too much, so low sodium soy sauce is the way to go here! To make the recipe gluten free, make sure to use gluten free reduced sodium tamari soy sauce.
- Green onions: you will need to separate the dark green tops from the light green/white bottoms; save the dark green parts for garnish at the end.
- Fresh ginger and garlic: these two simple ingredients add so much flavor! I really recommend using the fresh versions here if you can, dried garlic and ginger won't give you the same burst of flavor.
- Red bell pepper: if you don't have red bell pepper, use any kind you like. I just think the red looks pretty!
- Boneless chicken breasts: you can substitute boneless chicken thighs if you prefer
- Cornstarch: just a little bit is used to thicken the sauce at the end
- Water: you only need a splash to mix in with the cornstarch to prevent the sauce from getting lumpy
- Oil: only a little bit to help cook the bell pepper and chicken. You can use any kind of oil you like to cook with. I used olive oil.
- Lettuce: you want nice, big leaves of lettuce. My preferred type of lettuce for lettuce wraps is butterhead lettuce. You can also use red or green leaf lettuce. See the next section for more info on lettuce for lettuce wraps!
What kind of lettuce should I use for lettuce wraps?
You have a few different options when it comes to lettuce for lettuce wraps. But, for best results, I find that large sized leaves that are flexible, rather than crisp, work the best. Butterhead, green leaf, and red leaf lettuce are all good options.
If you can't find one of these types of lettuces, romaine could be an option too: the outer leaves are rather large, but each leaf has a crunchy rib running down the center, so it may be a little hard to wrap up. Iceberg could work in a pinch too. Iceberg has nice large leaves and a natural cup shape, but is very crispy so would also be a little tricky to wrap up.
What if my lettuce leaves are too small?
If you can't get your hands on large lettuce leaves, or you want to use the entire head of lettuce, down to the little center leaves, here's what you can do. Just overlap two smaller leaves together in your hand, and you've got a great landing pad for all that delicious teriyaki chicken!
Teriyaki sauce tips
This recipe isn't hard to make, but you will need to reduce the teriyaki sauce to thicken it and concentrate its flavors, and make a determination about when it's cooked enough. Here are some guidelines on nailing the perfect teriyaki sauce:
- The sauce is finished reducing when it coats a spoon and you can draw a line through the sauce with your finger, like this:
- This should take about 12 - 14 minutes at a gentle boil, (plenty of time to prep the remaining ingredients!).
What if my sauce is too thick?
- If you cook the sauce too long and and it gets too thick, you can save it as long as it's not burnt! Just stir in a little extra orange juice or water.
- Remember, just turn the heat off the saucepan as soon as the teriyaki sauce reaches the proper thickness. It will keep just fine until you are ready to add it to the chicken.
What if my sauce is too thin?
- If the sauce is too thin, you can always keep reducing it. If you need to, you can cut the heat on the chicken pan so it doesn't overcook while you work on the sauce. Or, if you've already poured the too-thin sauce into the chicken and added the cornstarch, you can cook the final dish for an additional minute or two. But, I wouldn't go beyond this because your chicken will start to overcook and get rubbery.
- A better option is to make a small amount of additional cornstarch slurry and pour it in, a little bit at a time, stirring in between, until you achieve the texture you want.
If you’ve tried this recipe for Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps, please let me know what you thought about it in the comments down below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious recipes from Nibble and Dine!
And if you need a few more quick dinner ideas, here are some of my favorites:
- Lemon Butter Chicken
- Garlic Herb Baked Turkey Meatballs (with Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce!)
- 30 Minute Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Chicken flavored with ginger, garlic and green onions, and a homemade, sweet and tangy teriyaki sauce, all wrapped up in fresh lettuce leaves.
- ½ c. orange juice, preferably freshly-squeezed (from about 1 ½ - 2 oranges)
- 3 tbsp. maple syrup
- ⅓ c. low-sodium soy sauce (for gluten free recipe, use gluten free reduced sodium tamari soy sauce)
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 green onions
- 1 ½ lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 tsp. neutral oil
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 head butterhead lettuce, or other large leaf lettuce (see note)
- Add the orange juice, maple syrup and soy sauce to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil, and allow to cook for 12 - 14 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. While sauce is reducing, continue on to the next steps. (If the sauce has reached the right thickness before you are ready to add it to the chicken, turn the heat off and let sit on the stove until ready to use.)
- Prep the produce and chicken: finely chop the ginger and garlic. Dice the bell pepper. Thinly slice the green onions, and separate the dark green parts from the light green/white parts. Separate the leaves of lettuce, rinse and dry them, set aside. Cut the chicken breast into small cubes, set aside.
- Add the oil to a large skillet set on high heat. When oil is hot, add the bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the chicken to the bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Chicken should be mostly opaque, but does not need to be completely cooked through at this stage.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and white/light green parts of the green onion. Cook for another minute, stirring frequently.
- Add the reduced sauce and cook for another minute, or until chicken is cooked through. (If sauce has not finished reducing at this stage, turn the heat off the chicken pan while the sauce finishes reducing.)
- Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until no lumps remain. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the chicken. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Sauce should thicken and coat the chicken. (If it's too thick, stir in 1 - 2 tbsp. of water or orange juice. If it's too thin, mix an additional 1 tsp. cornstarch and 1 tbsp. water and stir in gradually, until desired texture is reached.)
- Garnish with remaining green onion and serve immediately with prepared lettuce wraps.
If you can't find butterhead lettuce, red leaf and green leaf lettuce are good substitutes.
Keywords: teriyaki chicken, lettuce wraps, easy teriyaki chicken, easy lettuce wraps, fast dinner recipe