What is the best type of lettuce to use for lettuce wraps? – that is the question! If you’re on a low-carb diet or just aren’t a fan of bread, using lettuce as your outer vessel is a great option! You can wrap it around a burger, or lunch meat or use it as a lettuce cup to hold your favorite tuna salad! But – what type of lettuce should you use? Lettuce find out!
Ladies and gentlemen: wraps. They peaked in the 90s (they were EVERYWHERE!), but even though it’s not the 90s anymore, they are still highly popular. Wraps are easy to make, low-carb, and very delicious, especially if we give them a healthy twist. Yes, you guessed it — we’re talking about adding lettuce to the equation.
If you’re not a big fan of flour or you’re into a clean, healthy lifestyle, wrapping your favorite proteins in a leafy green is a great alternative to tortillas. But what is the best lettuce for wraps?
We know that not all lettuce is the same, and that’s why we decided to look for answers. Here we have listed different types of lettuce and which ones are the best not only for wraps but for other equally tasty meals like burgers and sandwiches. So head to the kitchen, prep your favorite wrap filling, and lettuce fill you in!
The 5 Best Types of Lettuce for Wraps, cups & FOR WRapping Sandwiches, and Burgers
Contrary to popular belief, lettuce is not only good for salads. Rather, lettuce is the perfect canvas for you to experiment with flavor combinations in a variety of ways — including wraps, cups, sandwiches, and burgers.
We’ll focus mainly on wraps because if you want to step up your wraps game, you’d better know which lettuce you should use. But if you then want to make yourself a couple of sandwiches or a burger to enjoy during your lunch break, we’ll add which type of lettuce goes best with each food. Let’s start with the first one: iceberg lettuce.
1. Iceberg Lettuce
- Very mild flavor (doesn’t overshadow other ingredients)
- Can hold heavy fillings
- Too crisp
- It can tear if you try to wrap it up
You may look at the big, round leaves of iceberg lettuce and think, “wow, they sure hold a lot of ingredients here — they’re perfect for wraps!” and yes, they can hold a bunch of stuff with little effort, but… It’s not the ideal lettuce for wraps.
You see, the texture is a very important factor when choosing lettuce for wraps. We’re looking for greens that are strong enough to hold a heavy protein filling, but also flexible enough to wrap without breaking. In addition to being mild in flavor, iceberg lettuce is strong but has an overly crisp texture due to its thick ribs and crunchy leaves. It is great for cups, sandwiches, and burgers — but not for wraps.
2. Romaine Lettuce
- Thick ribs that can break
- Narrow leaves
If we talk about popular lettuces, romaine lettuce is definitely one of them. It is the star of Caesar salad, and its slightly bitter taste and natural freshness are perfect for sandwiches. It’s also good for wraps, but not the best.
The thick ribs of its leaves are what you need when you’re looking for a good crunch, but when it comes to rolling them up to hold protein and vegetable mixes, they’re prone to tearing. That’s why they’re best recommended for making “boats”, a non-wrapped variation of wraps… If that makes sense.
Also, their leaves tend to be somewhat narrow compared to other types of lettuces, so, if you want to make wraps with them, you’ll have to use the larger outer leaves.
3. Butter Lettuce
- Strong but flexible
- Buttery texture
- Light flavor
- Wide, round leaves
We’ll just say it: in our opinion, butter lettuce is the best lettuce for wraps. Believe us with this one. You’ll hardly miss the bread.
For a wrap, you want something hearty, flexible, slightly crunchy, and has a nice light taste — and butter lettuce ticks all those boxes. Its leaves are also quite broad and round, making them perfect for wrapping and stuffing without worrying about them falling apart.
As for its flavor, not only is it light (meaning it won’t overshadow other ingredients), but it also has a sweet twist that will round out just about anything. And its texture is also a winner, silky soft and delicate on the palate — similar to butter.
4. Green Leaf Lettuce
- Wide leaves
- Not as soft as other varieties
If you don’t have butter lettuce at home but are craving some good wraps, green leaf lettuce can be a decent option.
It has a semi-bitter flavor, not overly present. It’s pliable and has wide leaves, meaning you can spoon a generous filling into it. But if you want a tear-free wrap, we suggest that you cut the base of the steam. That way, you will have a circular leaf, which is easier to handle.
Mind you, green leaf lettuce is not ideal for sandwiches, but it is a good choice for burgers and an acceptable alternative for wraps.
5. Little Gem Lettuce
- Crisp and buttery
- Hard to wrap
Last but not least, we have the little gem lettuce. As its name suggests, it is small and really, REALLY cute.
This green is special, as there is nothing else like it. It is crisp but buttery at the same time — like a cross between romaine and butter lettuce —, and its flavor stands out for being somewhat sweet. Many chefs love to put them on burgers, but we love mini-sized lettuce cups. Making a full wrap with them is a bit difficult because of their size and texture, but the cups have nothing to be jealous of.
In a nutshell, little gem lettuce is adorable and useful at the same time — and we love that combo!
Our Overall “Best” Most Versatile Lettuce for Wraps, Cups, Sandwiches & Burgers
After having tasted the crunchiness, softness, and strength of several types of lettuce, there is one that stood out among the rest. As versatile as it is fresh, butter lettuce is a must-have in your leafy greens drawer.
Butter lettuce is not too crispy and not too tender, which not only makes it a good lettuce for wraps but also for sandwiches, burgers, and pretty much anything. Of course, it doesn’t have the heavy crunchiness of iceberg lettuce or the compact size of little gem lettuce, but it truly is a happy medium. Just give it a shot, and you’ll see!
How Do You Keep Lettuce From Getting Soggy In Wraps When Storing?
Some say that the best lettuce for lettuce wraps is the one that doesn’t get too soggy once you store it for later, and honestly, that’s a fact. Unfortunately, if you store an assembled wrap full of sauces in the fridge, all types of lettuce are prone to absorbing moisture. That’s why if you can’t stand soggy wraps, your best bet is to eat the whole thing in one day.
However, if your scenario is that you need to pack your wrap for work and don’t want it to be soggy by the time lunch break rolls around, it’s best to pack the filling in a plastic container, and the lettuce leaves in a sandwich bag. You will only have to spoon the filling into the lettuce leaves.
You can also opt for a drier filling without any sauce if you don’t like the idea of assembling your wraps on the go. That will surely keep the leaves from getting soggy as quickly.
Are Lettuce Wraps Healthier Than Bread?
Great news for all our calorie-and-carb-conscious readers: lettuce wraps are healthier than bread! A single lettuce leaf contains less than 2g carbs and 11 calories, while a tortilla has about 6g carbs and 41 calories. And when it comes to white bread, a single slice has around 12g carbs and 67 calories… Ouch!
Lettuce clearly wins the healthy race here — by replacing bread or the classic flour tortilla with lettuce leaves, you can cut down calories and carbs. As long as you pair it with healthy fillings, of course. Wrapping a pizza in lettuce will not make it any healthier.
How Do I Make My Lettuce Leaves Crisp?
What can you do to get your lettuce leaves back that signature crispness? Simple: give them a quick bath.
You’ll have to fill a bowl with ice-cold water, soak the greens for about 30 minutes, drain the excess water, and voilà! Crisp lettuce leaves in a jiffy. They won’t be as crisp and fresh as the day you bought them, but they’ll definitely get some of that crunch back.
What Is The Best Way To Store Lettuce?
After you have found the best type of lettuce for wraps, it’s only fair that you store it in the best possible way — inside the fridge.
If your fridge has a drawer with adjustable humidity settings, you won’t have to do anything but store your lettuce there — without overcrowding it — and keep the humidity setting high. But if that’s not the case, then carefully wrap the leaves in paper towels, put them in a plastic bag or airtight container, and store it in the crisper drawer.
Another trick to keep lettuce fresh longer is to open the bag you stored it in and blow into it. We know it sounds weird, but this technique is known as “puffing,” and it works by using the carbon dioxide our lungs release to slow down the natural ripening process.
Also, keep the leafy green away from veggies or fruits that release ethylene gas — it speeds up the ripening process.
Should You Tear Or Cut Lettuce?
Long story short, you can cut it or tear it — it won’t make any difference! To cut or not to cut lettuce, that is the question. You probably grew up with someone telling you, “don’t cut lettuce! Just gently tear it,” on the premise that metal knives can cause the green to turn brown prematurely. However, that myth has been debunked.
Just because a metal utensil makes contact with your lettuce will not cause it to wilt any faster than if you cut it with a plastic utensil, or if you tear it. It will only make a difference if you cut it with a dirty knife, as the bacteria will transfer from the knife into the lettuce.