Revisiting My Favorite Lettuce Wrap Recipe

PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps on

Photo by Nisa, via Creative Commons license.

My PF Chang’s lettuce wrap recipe is just as tender and juicy as at the restaurant. A perfect copycat recipe for your quick weeknight dinner, and an excellent cure for boring dinnertime-itis. A lot of people are out there searching for copycat recipes, and this PF Chang’s lettuce wrap recipe is one of the best out there. I know because I’ve eaten it many, many times, both in the restaurant and here at home, so I’ve had a lot of time to refine it and make it the best it can be, using fresh chicken and natural ingredients. This easy copycat recipe quickly became a favorite at our house, and I think it will be on constant rotation at your dinner table as well.

Americans love to eat out, and it’s pretty clear that this habit is tough to let go of when the economy tumbles, taking your dining-out budget along with it. So why not try to make your favorite restaurants dishes at home? Using copycat recipes, you’ll even be able to change them up a bit, using fresher, healthier ingredients than you’d likely find at a chain restaurant.

There are lots of great sites out there that specialize in copycat recipes, one of the best being On this robust cooking blog, Stephanie Manley (the copycat herself) masterfully recreates some of America’s favorite dishes at home, for much cheaper (and much healthier!) than you’d find at your local TGI Friday’s, Macaroni Grill, or Outback Steakhouse. So, give copycat recipes a try and see what you think. And then leave a comment to let me know about your favorite copycat recipe, either that you’ve found or created yourself.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Copycat Recipe: PF Chang's Lettuce Wrap Recipe
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These lettuce wraps taste just like those from PF Chang’s, only they’re way better for you! A perfect dish for Asian dinner night.
For dipping and pouring sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sugar or agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or gluten free tamari
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup or canned tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
For stir-fry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or gluten free tamari
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (not packed tightly)
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
For stir-fried chicken
  • 1 teaspoon hot water
  • 1 tablespoon nice dijon mustard (use the good stuff, it will make a difference)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into half-inch cubes”
  • 1 – 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained and minced
  • 1/2 cup minced mushrooms (minced to the same size as the water chestnuts)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 large leaves of iceberg lettuce
For dipping and pouring sauce
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup hot water. Blend in soy sauce or tamari, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and dark sesame oil. Mix well and set aside in the refrigerator until the rest of the dish is ready.
For stir-fry sauce
  1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce or tamari, brown sugar, and rice vinegar. Mix well and set aside.
For stir-fried chicken
  1. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon hot water, dijon mustard and minced garlic and set this aside.
  2. In a wok or large frying pan over high heat, combine olive oil and sesame oil. Heat until it shimmers, about one minute. Add chicken chunks and stir fry until entirely cooked through, about five minutes. Remove from the chicken pan and allow to cool, but reserve the oil in the wok or pan, keeping it hot over a low flame.
  3. Take the pan or wok that you cooked the chicken in (with the still warming oil) and turn it up to medium-high heat. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, wait one minute, and then add the garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, cooked chicken, and the stir-fry sauce. Cook everything, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms have cooked through and are tender, about four minutes. Remove from pan and place in a serving dish.
  4. Add mustard/garlic mixture that you set aside to the pouring sauce, 1/2 a teaspoon at time to taste.
  5. Serve the entire lettuce wrap recipe in a nice, big serving tray, complete with stir-fry and iceberg lettuce leaves, and pouring sauce in small bowls. Wrap the stir-fry in lettuce leaves, then top with pouring sauce.


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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Paige Orloff says

    Ok, I get snubbing MacDonalds, and Twinkies…but stuff that tastes great to you, and you can recreate, more healthfully, and no doubt less expensively, at home? That is a no brainer. Forget provenance; it’s all about palate. And joy. (My cooking joy of the moment is the blog round up SummerFest–check it out over at The Sister Project.)

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      I’d have to agree with this – it’s all about palate, regardless of origin. Especially when it can be improved upon!

      • millie says

        I came here via Paige and her RT on Twitter, and I agree with the sentiment of not worrying about where the recipe came from in terms of recreating it in a tasty healthy way at home.

        I was actually thinking about this question of restaurant recipes from a different perspective though because of a personal project, and I’ve found that it’s hard to try to follow actual recipes from restaurants, good recipes from places that use quality local ingredients because of quantities and such. You’d think it would be fairly easy for an experienced cook home cook to just adapt and cut down recipes, but I’ve been surprised to find that it’s harder than it seems.

  2. Warren Bobrow says

    PF Changs is upscale fast food. It has no provenance nor history.
    Why copy recipes that have been created in a corporate kitchen setting, rather than recipes passed down through generations.

    There really are better places to eat than corporate fast food, aren’t there?


    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      I agree, BUT – I find that snubbing a dish just because of its origin is a little obtuse. Why ignore the potential in a recipe that can be taken home, made your own, and added to your own personal repertoire? It’s not like PF Chang’s invented lettuce wraps. They just made one recipe that I particularly like, giving it a spin I hadn’t thought of. :)

      • Warren Bobrow says

        Stephanie: please accept my heavy handed comment. It wasn’t my intention to speak in the manner that my words pronounced.

        My apologies. I’m a restaurant reviewer for NJ Monthly, Edible Jersey and the Morris Cty., NJ Daily Record newspaper. Often, I get wrapped up in the fine dining and not so fine dining…and fast food is another language entirely. I think my difficulty lay in the PF Chang name, not the dish. I often seek out a very similar preparation for a local Thai restaurant- please accept my apology.

        • Stephanie Stiavetti says

          No worries. In fact, I welcome the discussion because honestly, it’s not something I’d given much thought to. You definitely made me think about the origin of recipes and the merits thereof, so thanks. :)

          • Warren Bobrow says

            If I had read the copy more closely, I would have seen that my friend from the real time internet Stephanie Manley penned this recipe.

            Please accept my heartfelt apology Stephanie for my boorish behavior. Friends don’t do this. My blunder. wb

  3. Jerry (CbsoP) says

    I agree. Snubbing a recipe just because it came from a chain restaurant is folly. Even chains come up with great ideas. A personal favorite of mine is one I learned when I worked at Lyon’s restaurant. It’s a recipe I still make today, and one I need to post on my blog.

    I love it that much. Who cares where it came from?

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      You worked at Lyon’s? I worked at their corporate office like fifteen years ago, doing marketing stuff. How funny! Would love to see this recipe when you post it. :)

  4. Cookin' Canuck says

    Whether or not this recipe is based on one from a fast-food type of restaurant, it tastes darn good. While I appreciate recipes that have a story and are passed down from generation to generation, I believe that we can make our own stories by sharing good food with the people we love.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      True. And who’s to say that these restaurant recipes aren’t someone else’s old family dish, redone on a mass scale?

  5. Kalyn says

    Your lettuce wraps look delicious! This is a great dish, any time of year. (And who cares who created the recipe; not me!)

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Thanks, Kalyn! Besides the flavor, I think they’re so good because they let you eat with your hands, which is always fun and takes me back when finger foods were the best thing ever.

  6. Gabi says

    I know a lot of people find these wraps incredibly addicting. Whenever we were ordering takeout for my office, people would fight over them!

    I am excited to try these out sometime (just have to wrangle together all the sauces – moving west made me ditch many pantry items). But I am wondering about turning them vegetarian.

    Do you think I can just drop the chicken, or would I need to to sub in tofu to give them some heft? It sounds like most of the other items in the filling would probably cook down.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      I think subbing tofu or some other seitan-based chicken analogue would be great. Though, if you’re gluten free, seitan would be out since it’s made with vital wheat gluten. If this isn’t an issue for you, then go for it!

      • Renee says

        I have made them with tofu. They were very good.The chicken-based recipe I copy-kat’ed had oyster sauce and fish sauce in it too – this was where my search for gf and vegetarian oyster sauce started. I might have to try your recipe now since it doesn’t have either of those in it. I subbed in more hoisin and gf soy sauce instead.

  7. RV says

    This is a dish that I would love to make. I have never been to P.F.Chang, but I am sure this bright and appetizing dish will be my favorite.

  8. MyKidsEatSquid says

    I’ve had versions of this recipe from a variety of different locales–including a very local Malaysian restaurant in our town (not to be confused with PFC’s). At home, we’ve tried it with pork and it was tasty.

  9. Alexandra says

    Will try this. In France, I really liked the wraps at the Vietnamese restaurants with mint leaves inside. Ever thought of adding mint?

  10. MarthaAndMe says

    My mom actually made this over the weekend for us. I’m not sure what recipe she used or where she got it. It was good. I’m like you – I don’t care what restaurant it’s from or who came up with it if it tastes good!

  11. Sheryl says

    Any time there’s a healthy version of a food that was (formerly) on my list of no-no’s, I’m game. Thanks for posting this. Just printed it out and am looking forward to making it!

  12. Kare says

    If I go to P.F. Chang’s, it’s usually for the lettuce wraps! Love ’em, though as a veggie I go for the tofu version. Looking forward to seeing how this recipe adapts to tofu. Thanks.

  13. The Writer's [Inner] Journey says

    I love the flavor of these wraps and will try this at home. Thanks for interpreting the recipe!

  14. Patricia says

    First, Yum! We just had these wraps for dinner and I had to stop myself and walk away because I knew I was full but I really didn’t want to stop… it tastes so good.

    A question for you… when you cook the chicken, do you get a bunch of liquid from the chicken? And if so, do you drain it or keep it when you add the chicken back? I kept it tonight but it made things really juicy :)

  15. CopyKat Recipes says

    I am going to have to try out your recipe. Lately I have been swapping out to organic raised chicken, and have a bottle of agave nector I have trying to use. Healthful choices are always good 😉


  16. Sarah @ Celiac in the City says

    Made this recipe this summer for a friend who was in the hospital and just wanted some REAL food, and was craving lettuce wraps. She LOVED them. (I did too, and it’s actually how I started following your site on my Google reader!)

  17. Fat lazy celiac says

    This recipe is great, and the whole reason I now regularly read your blog. I’m planning on making this for New Years Eve!

  18. Clara says

    Wow! it is almost midnight and my stomach is growling. pf chang’s lettuce wraps are my favorite. I know what i’m having for dinner tomorrow night!

  19. Di says

    This looks completely delicious. I am pretty good at making many different types of foods but really lack Chinese food skills. I’ve been trying to learn how to make several things and would like to try this. I can’t have lettuce so I’ll make it with lettuce for my family but may eat it with wonton wraps or something like that.

  20. Rachel says

    This recipe has become a very popular one in my house! Not only do my husband and I enjoy the wraps, but my children do as well! This blog has given me a new look on Gluten free foods, and given me hope that my children will and do enjoy food again!

  21. Tia @ Buttercreambarbie says

    Hi, I’m going to feature these in my Copycat Club monthly round up on Jan 7/11. :) Thanks!!! They look soooo yummy!

  22. jacob adams says

    Awesome! my girlfriend and I love going to pf chang’s for some soup in the lettuce wraps . tonight we make them , after the gym , 4 eggs post workout snack . we’ve added broccoli , and green onions , and then talk to them with some fresh cilantro .

  23. Deanna says

    I have never thought of PF Chang’s as ‘Fast Food’! It is one of my favorite restaurants. I’ll give you that it’s a chain, but that allows them to keep prices down and provide an atmosphere of finer dining for us middle class! We just went to a Fine Dining Thai restaurant in January and spent 100 dollars for 2 people! And, although the food was delicious, I didn’t consider it worth the extra money. I really LOVE PF’s Lettuce Wrap’s and their Wok Seared Lamb. Thank you for providing this recipe! We just tried it for the first time, and it will become a staple in this house! I did ‘doctor’ the recipe a little though, to suit my own taste’s.

  24. Casey says

    what are the green bits in the picture as well as when you go to PF Changs and order the lettuce wraps? Scallion?

  25. Andrea says

    In the recipe for the stir fry chicken, you list minced garlic twice. Once stating 2 garlic cloves and the second time, 3 garlic cloves. Can you clarify which it should be? Thanks so much! Can’t wait to try this!

  26. britney says

    I love this recipe!!!! So delish, i substituted minced carrots for the mushrooms because i hate mushrooms, and minced bellpepper for waterchestnuts because I hate them too! That sauce was divine!!

  27. lisa says

    Wow, so many things wrong with this. Garlic listed twice. Missing: pine nuts, black mushrooms, mirin, scallions. DIJON? Really?? No. Chinese hot mustard. Just by reading it I wouldn’t try it.

  28. A Troike says

    This was a 5 star hit at our house of 5 picky eaters! :) Everyone ate their veggies rolled up and loved it. My youngest still thought he needed to dip his in ranch dressing … but at least he tried something new and ate more than one bite. After cooking the chicken and onions/garlic, I filled the pan with the mushrooms/waterchestnuts, and a bag of broccoli slaw/shredded carrots, bok choy, and made 4 times the sauce for our large family. Hardly any left for my left overs tomorrow! :(

  29. Leslie says

    I loved this recipe! The only thing I ever order is the lettuce wraps at PF Chang’s and this recipe is very good– We added the rice noodles to the dish like PF Chang and used Bibb lettuce. To those who stated the garlic was used twice, it was for two different sauces ( the mustard sauce and the the pouring/dipping sauce. Listing this with each step made the preparation time so much easier so you didn’t forget ingredients. Granted I didn’t care for the Dijon mustard sauce, but not a fan of mustard sauce at the restaurant either– We tried it, but won’t make it next time but that is just a taste preference. This recipe was definitely a keeper. Not too hard to assemble either. I would give it 5 stars

  30. Leslie says

    Oops- I made a mistake, the two garlic amounts were for the mustard sauce and also in the stir fry vegetables/chicken part, not in the dipping/pouring sauce. Sorry for that!

  31. Gregory B says

    Can these be made ahead of time and reheated? This would make great tailgate food? Has anyone tried reheating or even freezing them after all was made

  32. Webbsdon'twait says

    Loved the recipe. However, mine did not turn out like the picture. I think there may have been too much chicken and I confused the method for the chicken it said “Add chicken chunks and stir fry” I thought they meant the sauce, so I had to make more for step 3. Turned out great though. We topped with pine nuts for crunch.

  33. Betsy says

    Is this any less fattening than the dish at PF Chang’s? I know their version is one of the most UNHEALTHY meals. I would love to be able to make a healthy version of those wraps!!!!!

  34. Kari@Loaves n Dishes says

    I noticed some of the comments snubbing PF Chang’s. I’m from Western Canada so I know good Chinese food. Now I live in South Florida, we don’t have good Chinese food, so PF Chang’s is about as good as it gets and my husband looooves the lettuce wraps. I personally am totally digging on your copy cat lettuce wraps!

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Thanks, Kari! I totally agree. When I’m traveling around the country, I feel relief when I see a PF Chang’s. As far as big chains go, it’s pretty awesome.

  35. Nancy says

    We too love PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps, so when browsing World Market I picked up a pre-made lettuce wrap sauce packet and made it with ground pork (ground chicken also was recommended), chopped carrots, water chestnuts, sliced green onions and peanuts. Really very good, but started looking for a homemade sauce recipe because didnt want to be dependent on buying a $4 sauce packet that served 4. Aminterested in trying this recipe!

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Oh wow, I didn’t know they sold a spice packet. I might have to try it just to see what it’s like. I’m not personally a fan of prefab spices, but I’m curious! Thanks for the heads up.

        • Becca says

          I buy a squishy sauce packet of lettuce wrap sauce from Kroger (our grocery store). :) It’s Panda Brand. BUT….only out of convenience. It takes no time at all to make them with the sauce packet….however it doesn’t taste nearly as good as this homemade recipe!

          • steph says

            Ha! I didn’t know such a packet existed. I’ll have to check it out… I’m super curious.

  36. Melissa B. says

    So I’ve never commented on a copycat recipe, but I just wanted to say that, with our closest P.F. Changs almost 2 hours away, I’ve felt a need to learn to cook my favorite dish from there. And let me tell you, you NAILED this one…I made a few modifications and don’t know how those affected the dish overall, but it tasted EXACTLY like the lettuce wraps we get there. Here are the modifications I made:

    -ground chicken instead of small chunks
    -emptied the skillet (the chicken I used held a lot of water I guess) after cooking the chicken.
    -used expeller pressed coconut oil instead of olive oil
    -hoisin sauce instead of ketchup [though I don’t use the dipping sauce, if I were to, I think I’d prefer the taste of the ketchup)
    -at the end, even though I had emptied the skillet, it was more runny than I would’ve liked. So, I took about a Tbsp. of arrowroot powder and mixed with about 2 Tbsp. of the dipping sauce and stirred that into the stirfry.

    So, very minor changes that probably didn’t affect the overall taste/quality. Either way, I’m SO excited about this. Thank you!

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Awesome!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and that’s a good call on the arrowroot. It’s the perfect thickener. :)


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