Chicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (Larb Gai)

Quick and EasyChickenLettuce Wraps

Ever had chicken larb?! If you're looking for a quick, super flavorful, and spicy meal, look no further than this spin on Laotian chicken larb. Use either ground chicken or turkey and serve it in sweet, buttery lettuce wraps.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

If the idea of a meal of spicy meat punctuated by lime, mint, and cilantro floats your boat, then add this recipe for Chicken Larb to your weeknight fast food rotation.

In this recipe, you cook ground chicken (or turkey) in a skillet quickly until it browns, add some chopped shallots and season it all in the end with lime juice, chili sauce, and fresh herbs. Pile it all into a lettuce cup for a supper that has tons of flavor with very little effort.

Our Favorite Videos

Chicken Laab Recipe add the cilantro and chili

What is Larb?

Larb (pronounced lahb) is a Laotian dish that is also popular in northern Thailand, where the flavor adaptation is slightly different (the Thai version is not as sour and does not contain fish sauce like the Laotian one here).

In the Laotian version, which for simplicity’s sake I have adapted here from authentic versions of the dish, normally contains a choice of beef, pork, chicken, duck, or fish spiked with lime juice, fish sauce, chili, and mint—flavors which add a lot of perk to the mix.

Another ingredient that is common in Laotian larb is ground toasted rice—it adds a smoky touch. In the interest of making this a quick, weeknight meal, I omitted that step in the recipe. (I did try it, but in the end, decided it was not practical.)

Sambal oelek is also a good ingredient for larb. It is an Indonesian chili paste that tastes a lot like you’ve added fresh chilies to a dish when you cook with it. The ingredients are simple: crushed raw red chiles, a little vinegar, and salt. That’s it! It’s a great chili paste to have around when you want to add a kick to everything from mayonnaise to a winter squash soup.

What Does Chicken Larb Taste Like?

The flavors here are what you would expect and prize from Southeast Asian cuisine—a winning balance of hot spice (chilies), sour (limes), sweet (brown sugar and sweet chili sauce) and salty (fish sauce).

Fish sauce is loaded with umami and really rounds out the flavor. Add as much or as little of the chili slices as you wish. Your taste buds will wake up at the first bite.

How to Serve Chicken Larb

While it’s often served alongside rice and a green papaya salad, serving larb in lettuce wraps adds a pleasant freshness and crunch to the spicy filling. Put on a pot of rice, and by the time it is cooked, the filling will be ready.

Dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes? I’m in.

More Southeast Asian Recipes to Try!

Chicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (Larb Gai) Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 Thai red or green chilies, thinly sliced, or to taste
  • Water, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Thai chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or sambal oelek
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 head of Boston lettuce or 2 small lettuce heads, separated into leaves
  • 2 limes, quartered, for serving
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  • Mint, cilantro or Thai basil sprigs, for serving
  • Extra sriracha or sambal oelek sauce, for serving


1 Cook the chicken: In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Without stirring too much, cook for about 6 minutes or until it browns on the bottom. Turn and break it up with the edge of a spatula. Continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes longer, or until the meat is browned.

Stir in the shallots and chilies and cook for 30 seconds. If the mixture looks dry, stir in some water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the pan from the heat.

Larb Gai Recipe brown the chicken Laos Food Chicken Larb

2 Add the seasonings: In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, fish sauce, chili sauce, and brown sugar. Stir the mixture into the meat, along with the chopped cilantro and mint.

Chicken Laab Recipe add the cilantro and chili

3 Serve the larb: Transfer the meat to a serving platter and place lettuce leaves, lime wedges, and more cilantro alongside. Set out a bowl of cooked rice and a bowl of chili sauce. Spoon some rice into each lettuce leaf and top with a spoonful of larb, a squeeze of lime juice, and chili sauce to taste.

Laos Food Chicken Larb serve the larb

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Products We Love

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

More from Sally

6 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (Larb Gai)

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Will

    Sally, you’ve hit the nail on the head! I lived with two host families in Bangkok for 11 months, one of them was from E-San (Northeast Thailand) near Laos and Myanmar.

    Tonight, I served the laab as an appetizer to a curry that I thought would be the star, but after making this dish for the first time it clearly pulled away as the winner. The Fresnos I subbed for Thai Chilis did their job well. I served family style adding crushed peanuts for a little crunch. Amazing how easy this dish is. Thank you!


    Show Replies (1)
  2. Andrea's Whittell-Rudeberg

    Hi asian food lover!
    What ever you call this dish it will never be called a Lahb!
    You can never, ever put sugar in this dish and you cannot disclose Khao kua(roasted grinded uncooked rice)And never use any wet chilie based sauces.Only chilli powder!So please dont misslead people by using names from asian original dishes when is so far from the real stuff.By all means you made a nice tasting dish.But don’t use fake names on it.I know cause I live here and seen the faces of the people if I try to change ingredients..Otherwise no harm from my side.I like your passion for the Asian kitchen.Best wishes/A.W.R

  3. Lynne

    We really enjoyed this dish. We love the fresh and light taste of the lime and fresh herbs and nice bit of spice. I added some sliced cabbage, and served on cabbage leaves. I think a lot of different vegetables would work great. Thanks for the yummy and healthy recipe!


  4. Christina

    Made this last night and it was very delicious. Its flavors were a deviation from what we normally eat, probably due to the mint and basil. Didn’t find fish sauce, so used soy sauce and extra lime and didn’t find thai peppers, so used dried Mexican chili peppers (found in the Latin section of your store in a bag). Decided to do ground turkey and used a nonstick wok – didn’t need to add any water. We plan to make this a go-to recipe and hopefully will have fish sauce to try with in the future.


  5. Gemma

    This was easy, fast, flavorful, and delicious! The husband asked for more- this recipe is a keeper! Thank you for sharing the recipe.


Turkey Larb RecipeChicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (Larb Gai)