Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Had this dish actually been posted in 2015 (it was made, photographed, and devoured last year, just preempted in favor of, you know, cookies and stuff), it would probably have made my favorites list. No offense, shrimp and mango lettuce wraps but this cashew chicken number has you (just slightly) beat.

One of those meals I could seriously eat day in and day out, and maybe I just will, these flavorful wraps are healthy (I know, I know, such the tag word this month) and so super easy to prepare. Every time I post a new lettuce wrap recipe, I gush. Maybe it’s just me and lettuce wraps. We have a thing for each other. All I know is that I’d pretty much be happy living on a deserted island with these cashew chicken wraps for the rest of forever (ok, ok, I’d bring my family and deodorant, too).

Oh, and just because I forgot to photograph these babies topped with the chopped cucumbers and tomatoes doesn’t mean you should forget to add them. The hit of fresh and crunchy with the flavors and textures of the cashew + chicken is almost too much.

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

What To ServeFresh fruit
Roasted Broccoli (or other veg): toss broccoli florets with olive oil, salt, pepper and roast it at 425 degrees, stirring once or twice, until golden and tender, 10-15 minutes
Pao de Queijo or Cilantro Lime Rice (or both!)

One Year Ago: Korean Beef and Rice {Or Quinoa}: Simple 20-Minute Meal
Two Years Ago: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies Perfected
Three Years Ago: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Quick and Delish}

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Yield: Serves 4-5

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Although I forgot to add them for the pictures in the post, trust me that the cucumbers (and tomatoes, too, but mostly the cucumbers) make this dish really shine. Also, really important, if you aren't using low-sodium soy sauce, you'll probably want to omit the salt from the recipe (and even then, I'm not sure how salty it will be since I've only ever used low-sodium here).


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 cup finely diced (or shredded) carrots
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw cashews (lightly toasted, if desired)
  • Bibb or green leaf lettuce leaves for wrapping
  • Chopped cucumbers and tomatoes for serving


  1. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion and carrots. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
  2. Season the chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper and add to the skillet with the onions and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until the chicken pieces are cooked through, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the soy sauce and maple syrup and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, letting the soy sauce and maple syrup bubble and simmer.
  4. Stir in the cashews, cooking until they are just heated through. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Serve in lettuce leaves topped with tomatoes and cucumbers (the freshness adds a delicious element to the flavors!).

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Tiffany S. (a MKC reader who sent it to me)

47 Responses to Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps {20-Minute Meal}

  1. Teresa R. says:

    I was hoping you would post something healthy today. This fits the bill plus it sounds absolutely delicious and easy! Thanks Mel ( and Tiffany)!

  2. Yay! To healthy simple dishes. These flavors look fabulous together.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Oh my goodness Mel, this is dinner soon at my house! Love the simplicity but all my favorite things.

  4. Paige says:

    We love lettuce wraps in our family! The cashew chicken sounds delicious, we’ll definitely be giving it a go soon!


  5. meg says:

    Happy new year Mel!! This recipe looks so darn delicious!! So, I 100% trust your recipes, as does my grateful family, but I am doing this thing called whole 30 this month, and I can’t have any sweeteners (bye bye, sugar in all forms! :). Anyway, I was wondering your opinion about whether these would be worth making without the maple syrup, or if I should just wait until I’m done and make them correctly. Thoughts? Thanks!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Meg – I think you could make them without the maple syrup – I mean, the flavor will obviously be different and you might want to cut down on the saltiness (the soy maybe). I assume you’ll use coconut aminos for the soy? I think it’s a bit less salty but not much. If you make them now, just be sure to make them again after your Whole30 is done and taste the difference. 🙂

      • meg says:

        Perfect! Yes, I’ll be using coconut aminos. I’ll try them now without the maple, and next month with it! Thanks so much Mel:)

  6. Sarah says:

    You had me at “cashew” 🙂 Looking forward to trying these!

  7. Annalisa says:

    These were SO good! My family devoured them, & I wished I’d doubled the recipe. I added some water chestnuts to give it a little more crunch, but otherwise followed the recipe as written. We loved them! Thanks, Mel!

  8. Amy says:

    These are great, we make a similar recipe.

  9. Tatyana says:

    Just made these and they have that simple, old-time recipe charm, have a lovely and delicate flavor and were super easy to make (and eat too many of! Lol).

    Thanks for the great recipe.

  10. SBakes says:

    Sorry, this one just didn’t do it for my family. The maple syrup gave it a flavor that we didn’t like. Considering I’ve made most of the recipes on your site and this is the first we didn’t like, I’m not complaining!!

  11. Molly says:

    I just made this tonight, and my family loved it! My husband doesn’t even like anything Asian-inspired, but even he liked this recipe! It was super quick to put together and will definitely go in my rotation. Thanks for a yummy, healthy recipe!

  12. Jana says:


  13. Liz says:

    I didn’t have lettuce, but had everything else including a cucumber that needed to be used…so made the filling and had it over cold soba noodles – delicious! I added a teeny bit of toasted sesame oil, but otherwise as written.

  14. Anna says:

    This looks awesome! But what if I only have lightly roasted and salted cashews… would that ruin it?

  15. Rachel Russell says:

    Made this last night – huge hit with all and kids wanted left-overs in their lunches today. Tried the cheese buns as well and even though delicious, couldn’t get first batch out of pan – so used papers the next time- then couldn’t get the papers off!? Not sure what I did wrong – but dinner was tasty regardless!

  16. Emie says:

    Just finished having them for dinner tonight! They are soooo good! I am not an avid fan of lettuce wraps as I find most tasteless but these packed a punch and you were right adding the cucumbers and tomatoes add another dimension. The only change I will do in the future, is be more careful with the salt; I may have gone a bit over when seasoning the chicken.

  17. meg says:

    Well I made this tonight and made it whole 30 compliant by not using any make syrup, and using coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce. Oh, and walnuts just because we didn’t have cashews. It was incredible!!! All those textures together are amazing, and the sweetness of the carrots really adds to the flavor!! Thank you so much Mel!! I can’t wait to make this again with the right ingredients!!

  18. Kari says:

    This was delish!! I was skeptical of the sauce only being soy sauce + maple syrup, but it really turned out great. Also, we added the cashews to our wraps after cooking everything because one person in the family is allergic to nuts and it worked out just fine. Thank you!

  19. Anne says:

    Just wondering if you think it would work to use honey instead of maple syrup? I’m not a fan of maple flavor.

    • Mel says:

      I think so, Anne – of course the flavor will change but that may be a good thing if you want a change from the maple (which doesn’t lend a super strong maple flavor BTW).

  20. Viviana L. says:

    These were fantastic!!! Thank you!

  21. Haley says:

    We loved them!

  22. Sheree L says:

    Delicious! I liked them even better with a bit of chili-garlic sauce for a little kick and extra flavor!

  23. Rayanne Andrus says:

    I love this recipe. It is delicious and pretty quick to put together.

  24. Jen T says:

    Made this tonight, and forgive me, but I have never done lettuce wraps for my family ever, and my oldest is 18, I know. I have been missing the boat. Anyway, I made this tonight , and my whole tortilla/rice/noodle loving family devoured them! yum! So easy and sooooo good! Thank you Mel!

  25. Mollie says:

    Made this for lunch the other day on a whim – which is funny because I never cook myself lunch. But it was so worth it! And really, it was super fast to put together, especially since I used cooked rotisserie chicken to save time. I used liquid aminos, and it seemed to work fine, and roasted salted cashews, I just watched the salt level closely. SO AMAZINGLY GOOD.

  26. Angie F. says:

    Hi Mel!
    First of all, I’m a huge fan of your recipes! I’m planning on making these tonight and have a silly question. Would Log Cabin syrup count as real maple syrup?

  27. Darla says:

    We just ate this for dinner and my family devoured it. They were scraping the pan to get out every last bit! I will definitely double the recipe next time. I’m not on a Whole30 but we do eat paleoish. I subbed coconut amino for the soy sauce and it tasted great. You can’t taste the maple flavor at all either. Can’t wait to make it again.

  28. Danielle says:

    When I look at the picture I feel like I am looking at bell peppers but when I checked the recipe for bell peppers they weren’t listed. Was it just carrots and onions posing as red and yellow bell peppers?

    • Mel says:

      Those are just carrots that probably look a bit dark in the picture but you could certainly add bell pepper (especially a sweet red bell pepper would be delicious!).

  29. Courtney says:

    Delicious! I made these tonight for my husband and two girls. One of my girls is especially skeptical of new foods. The girls just ate the chicken plain (no lettuce), but that’s still a win in my book. We all loved them!

  30. NancyV908 says:

    I’ve made these twice recently. I love them! But you must be one fast chopper–it took me more than 20 mins! 🙂

  31. Robyn says:

    Oh my! This was seriously one of the best meals I’ve ever had!!!! Thank you. You have blessed my families lives with your wonderful recipes. P.S. Do you have any smoker recipes?

    • Mel says:

      Hey Robyn – glad you loved these! I don’t have any “official” smoker recipes, I usually just kind of fly by the seat of my pants and do a lot of looking online for tips. And I don’t really go crazy – we do smoked turkey, ribs, brisket and that sort of thing.

  32. Debbie says:

    I made these for dinner last night and they were fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  33. Kristina says:

    My husband has declared this one a keeper! We loved it. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  34. Amy says:

    What kind of lettuce do you use for your lettuce wraps? We usually have romaine lettuce, but the leaves don’t seem big enough most of the time.

  35. Anissa says:

    This was DELICIOUS. We have nut allergies in our house so I subbed water chestnuts in place of the cashews. Still amazing.

  36. Carolee says:

    Mel, these were so delicious. A hit with the entire family! I only wish I had thought to double the recipe, and to make some rice to go with it. We all were wishing for more! Oh well- next time!

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