How to Make Lettuce Cups for Lettuce Wraps

collage on how to make lettuce cups

We love lettuce cups anytime but during Chinese New Year, iceberg lettuce is considered an auspicious food to eat! One of the best ways to enjoy iceberg lettuce is make lettuce wraps.

This post was updated on 3/12/2024.

Disclaimer: Please check that all ingredients are suitable for your allergies and be sure to ask your medical care team regarding any allergy related questions (I do not share medical advice). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Make Beautiful Lettuce Cups

Why is Lettuce Considered Lucky?

In the Chinese culture, if a food sounds like a blessing for future success, then it’s part of the celebration. The word for lettuce in Chinese is Sang Choy 生菜 which sounds like growing fortune. A very traditional Cantonese Chinese New Year dish is to make lettuce wraps with pork and oysters. It’s one of my favorites but too labor intensive for an everyday meal.

I recommend Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin Sauce (Nut-Free) or Wagyu Sausage Lettuce Wrap. My sons love the hands-on experience of eating lettuce wraps! They fill their lettuce cups with ground meat and finely chopped vegetables or fried rice. Easy Vegetable Fried Rice with Eggs is delicious in lettuce cups.

Beautiful Lettuce Cups

It seems simple enough to make lettuce cups. I have even watched Master Chef Martin Yan effortlessly make perfectly circular lettuce cups in person. When I followed his instructions, the leaves tore apart as I wash them and became lettuce strips and scraps.

I’ve figured out a hack to make beautiful lettuce cups. Use water and gravity to separate the leaves and then scissors to trim the leaves. Do not waste any of the scraps and set aside any leftover lettuce. They’re great for a salad or a simple side dish such as stir fry lettuce with oyster sauce.

Allergy Mom Tip

Our children (and adult friends or family members) with food allergies need to be very self-disciplined to avoid their allergens. The constant vigilance must be emotionally draining. I try to alleviate some of the emotional burden of food allergies by preparing beautiful food. A little bit of care to make a nice presentation or a DIY experience can bring smiles. Lettuce cups also helps us to eat more vegetables. These add up to huge wins for the whole family.

Make Beautiful Lettuce Cups for Lettuce Wraps

Transform a head of iceberg lettuce into beautiful lettuce cups for Asian-style lettuce wraps.

Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chicken lettuce wraps, lettuce cups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Author Sharon @ Nut Free Wok


  • 1 head iceberg lettuce (large & heavy)


  1. Select big, dense, heavy for its size iceberg lettuce that looks fresh and free of pinkish discoloration. Usually one head is enough for 4 people.

  2. Peel and discard wilted outer leaves. Use a knife to cut out the core.

  3. Place the head of lettuce, cored side up, in a large bowl and rinse with water, aim the water in between the leaves of lettuce.

  4. Carefully lift the lettuce up out of the water and you will see that the weight of the water inside the lettuce will separate the leaves slightly. Carefully separate the leaves and set them in a colander to drain. Continue separating the leaves until the leaves are too small or too curly for making cups, set the rest aside in a bowl for other uses.

  5. Place a washed lettuce cup in the palm of your hand, use a pair of clean kitchen scissors, trim off the stiff white stem and the edges of the leaf into an approximately 7-8 inch diameter circle; set aside the prepared lettuce cup on a plate and the scraps into the bowl of lettuce pieces.

  6. Repeat with the remaining leaves, pat dry with paper towels, and arrange the lettuce cups in a stack to enjoy with lettuce wrap filling of your choice.

Beef Fried Rice with Cabbage and Carrots

Lettuce Cups with Fried Rice

Wagyu Summer Sausage Lettuce Wrap

lone mountain wagyu lettuce wrap

Use the extra lettuce in a salad or side dish

Hiyashi Chuka, a Cold Japanese Noodle Salad

hiyashi not tossed
I like using romaine lettuce for this recipe, but iceberg lettuce is a nice variation.

Stir Fried Iceberg Lettuce with Oyster Sauce

Stir fry lettuce with oyster sauce 2

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About Sharon Wong 277 Articles
Welcome to Nut Free Wok, a blog about Allergy Aware Asian Fare. I hope that you will find my food allergy mom experiences helpful and enjoyable to read as I write about recipes, cooking techniques, Asian ingredients, and food allergy related awareness and advocacy issues. My professional experiences include education, teaching, and a little bit of science and computers. Thank you for visiting! ~Sharon Wong, M.Ed.


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