See how to make healthy ground beef lettuce wraps with just 5 ingredients and in less than 30 minutes. Easy beef lettuce wraps are the best combination of flavors! Crunch lettuce leaves stuffed with a juice beef + veggies mix and tasty salsa. The quick lettuce wrap recipe makes a light lunch or easy dinner idea for busy weeknights.
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Ground beef lettuce wraps
This easy lettuce wraps recipe is what quick dinner dreams are made of! Browned beef and healthy veggies are seasoned with flavorful salsa sauce and tucked into a crisp lettuce leaf. YUM! My beef lettuce wrap recipe makes a great weeknight dinner, but it’s also a tasty appetizer to serve guests.
While Asian lettuce wraps are still going strong, my hubby loves Mexican food. I decided it would be fun to create Mexican-inspired ground beef lettuce wraps. I also share some ideas for Asian-style beef wraps below.
Ingredients for beef lettuce wraps
We only need 5 ingredients for this easy lettuce wraps recipe:
- ground beef: I simply used regular ground beef because it’s affordable and produces good flavor. If you prefer a leaner dish, try ground chuck.
- lettuce leaves: Butter lettuce, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, or endive leaves are all excellent choice for easy lettuce wraps. I share more tips below.
- veggies: I used a mix of grated carrots and chopped bell peppers, but you can also opt for a single vegetable. Chop your veggies into small, bite-sized pieces, so they cook faster.
- salsa: My secret for delicious beef lettuce cups is a good-quality salsa. I used a mild red salsa in this Mexican ground beef lettuce wraps recipe. Of course, salsa verde or hot salsa would also be tasty options.
- garlic: 2 minced garlic cloves make the ground beef filling very flavorful.
You can optionally season your quick ground beef lettuce wraps with salt and ground pepper or taco seasoning. The salsa provides plenty of flavor, and I skipped any extra seasoning.
You want to grab the following equipment to make my lettuce wrap recipe:
- non-stick pan: A good-quality non-stick pan is so handy for quick one-pan dinners.
- cooking spoon: This cooking spoon is one of my favorite kitchen helpers, and I use it almost daily.
How to make beef lettuce wraps
How do you prepare lettuce wraps? Easy lettuce wraps with ground beef come together in a cinch, making them perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. The beef filling can even be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
- Brown the beef. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds until fragrant, being careful to not let it burn. Add beef and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until mostly browned, breaking the meat up as it cooks. You don’t need to add any cooking oil, the fats in the ground beef are enough.
- Cook the veggies. Add the carrots and bell pepper and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the veggies are tender.
- Add salsa. Pour the salsa into the pan and stir to coat the beef in sauce. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the salsa is soaked up. Taste the mixture and optionally season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Assemble the lettuce wraps. Lay out the lettuce leaves. Scoop the beef mixture into lettuce leaves and add any reaming sauce from the pan. Garnish with toppings and serve.
Beef lettuce wraps FAQ
What lettuce do you use for wraps?
Wondering what lettuce is best for lettuce wraps? Here are a few ideas:
- Iceberg lettuce is a popular choice for lettuce wraps. It has a nice crunch, but it’s a little more challenging to peel off leaves without breaking them.
- Butter lettuce (Boston/bibb lettuce) is also popular in lettuce leave recipes as it rolls up nicely.
- Romaine lettuce, endive, or radicchio leaves will also work great with this recipe. They are shaped like little boats and hold the filling well.
Choosing fresh lettuce is the best way to ensure that your wraps hold together and keep them from falling apart.
How do I cut lettuce for wraps?
To prepare lettuce for wraps, start by cutting off the bottom end. Then gently peel off the large pieces of lettuce. Separate the lettuce into individual cups. Some will be small; others will be large.
If you notice dirty leaves, rinse under cold water. Let dry in a colander or pat them dry with paper towels.
Customize the easy lettuce wraps
Easy beef lettuce wraps are very versatile. You can easily customize this healthy recipe to your liking.
- ground meat: You can substitute the beef with other ground meats like ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground pork. Turkey and chicken have less fat than beef and get dry if cooked too long, so watch the cooking time closely.
- veggies: Instead of carrots and bell peppers, you can also include celery, zucchini, corn, or turnips in your lettuce cup recipe.
- condiments: If you prefer Korean beef lettuce wraps use 3 to 4 tablespoons Gochujang sauce instead of salsa. For Chinese beef lettuce wraps, substitute the salsa with 4 to 5 tablespoons Hoisin sauce.
What are good toppings for beef lettuce wraps
The options for toppings are endless. Here are my favorite lettuce wrap topping ideas:
- sliced onions, pickled shallots, or green onion add loads of flavor to the wraps
- chopped nuts (e.g. peanuts, pecans, almonds) for a little crunch
- grated cheese like cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican-style 4 cheese mix
- herbs such a parsley, cilantro, or chives pair well with this easy lettuce cups recipe
- chili flakes for extra spicy beef lettuce wraps
- sour cream
What do you to serve with homemade lettuce cups?
Personally, I find this ground beef lettuce wrap recipe to be a complete meal, so you don’t really need a side dish with it. But if you want, feel free to serve your lettuce cups with:
- cooked rice
- corn slaw
- fried noodles
Do lettuce wraps have carbs?
Yes, lettuce wraps have carbs but not that many. The recipe is low carb-ish. To really cut back on the carbs and make this a keto ground beef recipe, swipe the carrots for celery and pick a sugar-free salsa.
Storage, shelf life, and meal prep
Healthy beef lettuce wraps are best served immediately. They don’t store well because the leaves start to soften once you add the warm filling.
Can you make lettuce cups ahead?
Ground beef lettuce wraps are best if eaten right after being assembled. Still, you can definitely prepare the veggies and cook the ground beef 1 day ahead of time. Just keep the filling in an airtight container in the fridge.
Once you’re ready to eat your easy lettuce wraps, warm the ground beef filling in a pan with a little oil, just until heated, then fill the lettuce cups and enjoy. Be careful not to overheat, as ground beef can dry out quickly.
Can lettuce wraps be frozen?
No, because lettuce doesn’t freeze well at all. However, you can freeze the ground beef mixture for up to a month and have it ready whenever you need quick dinner ideas for your family.
Simple cook the ground beef according to the recipe and let cool. Then transfer into a zipper freezer bag and freeze. I also recommend labelling the bag because you will forget what’s inside. It happened to me all the time before I got more organized in the kitchen.
Take the frozen beef out of the freezer the day before and let it deforest in the fridge overnight.
I usually double the beef filling and make two freezer meals to save time on hectic weeknights.
More easy ground beef recipes
Looking for more beef dinner ideas? If you love these easy homemade beef lettuce wraps, try these other ideas:
- ground beef casserole
- slow-cooker meatballs
- Swedish meatballs
- easy beef stew
- meat-stuffed pasta shells