Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps
Use ground beef to get these Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps on the table in less than 20 minutes! So delicious, healthy, and easy to make, they’ll be a new go-to for lunch and dinner. Great for meal prep, too.
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We love a good lettuce wrap around these parts, and almost as soon as I realized how easy it is to make incredible Korean ground beef bowls, I knew the filling would be perfect to serve lettuce-wrap style, as well.
In fact, the beef is prepared exactly the same way, so the only difference is in the base and the toppings. But I know I love having options, so figured this was worth its own post. 🙂
What is Korean Beef?
Korean beef, also known as bulgogi, is traditionally tender, thin-sliced pieces beef with an irresistible sweet-salty flavor imparted by a delicious sauce. This recipe is decidedly adapted from the traditional, mainly for the sake of making it quick and easy enough for lunch or a rapid dinner!
Ingredients & Common Substitutions
- Ground beef or sirloin. This recipe doesn’t need much fat, so use the leanest meat that you have, and don’t hesitate to drain extra fat if a lot is left after browning the meat.
- Garlic. Fresh adds nice flavor as it sizzles with the beef, but you can sub 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in a pinch.
- Soy sauce. Low-sodium preferred.
- Brown sugar. Light or dark, use what you’ve got.
- Sesame oil. Toasted if possible! This stuff is a terrific pantry staple if you don’t already keep it on hand; a little goes a long way, and it adds amazing depth of flavor to Asian-inspired dishes. It’s available in most grocery stores near other cooking oils — just look for a small section of specialty oils.
- Spices: ground ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper.
- Boston Bibb lettuce. Or another kind you enjoy for wraps!
- Veggies to top. Pretty much anything goes here, but my favorite combination is a simple mix of shredded carrots, chopped bell pepper, and diced cucumber. Bonus points for slivered green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds!
How To Make It
- Season and cook the ground beef.
- Prep and chop veggies.
- Assemble the wraps, beginning with two layers of lettuce, followed by spoonfuls of filling and generous sprinkles of toppings as desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
Boston Bibb is our preferred type lettuce for wraps, because the leaves are sturdy, crisp, well-sized, and have a natural curl that forms a perfect bowl. It also has a very light flavor that feels fresh but doesn’t compete with your filling. You can often find Boston Bibb in the produce section in a plastic clamshell with the root attached to the bottom, which helps it stay fresh.
Yes! This ground beef recipe reheats very well and makes delicious lunches. Simply store the seasoned, cooked beef in the refrigerator, tightly-covered, for 3-4 days. You can chop and store the veggies separately, if you like. When ready to eat, simply warm up the meat briefly in the microwave, then assemble wraps as desired.
Yes! Store the cooked beef in any freezer-safe container for 3-4 months, and defrost in the fridge for 6-8 hours before warming in the microwave or in a skillet. If the beef looks dry after reheating, add a tiny drizzle of extra sesame oil or sprinkle on a very small amount of water.
Love light and healthy meals like this? Try these jerk chicken lettuce wraps next!
These easy lettuce wraps make healthy eating genuinely fun and tasty, and I hope you love them as much as we do!
If you try these Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 8-10 cranks freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 head Boston Bibb lettuce
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 medium bell pepper any color, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium cucumber finely chopped
- small handful chopped green onions optional garnish
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds optional garnish
- Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and garlic. Break up the meat into small crumbles and saute until mostly browned. Drain excess fat if desired.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and red and black pepper. Stir this mixture into the beef, continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Lay out leaves of lettuce, layering 2 on top of each other. To assemble the wraps, spoon beef mixture into each bed of lettuce, then top with carrots, peppers, cucumber, and green onions and sesame seeds if desired. Enjoy!
- Lettuce: Boston Bibb is my lettuce of choice for lettuce wrap recipes such as this one, because the leaves are sturdy, crisp, well-sized, and have a natural curl that forms a perfect bowl for fillings. You can often find Boston Bibb in the produce section in a plastic clamshell with the root attached to the bottom.