With saucy ground beef topped with pickled cucumbers and spicy mayo, these lettuce wraps have a well-balanced mix of salty + sweet + sour + spicy. They can be made in under 30 minutes with just a skillet on the stovetop, and are great for keto and low carb diets with only 2.5g net carbs per serving.

Prep: 15minutes mins
Cook:10minutes mins
Yield: 4 servings


Pickled Cucumbers:

1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 english cucumber, diced
Spicy Mayo:

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sriracha

3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons confectioners swerve sweetener
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
Filling & Wrap:

1 pound ground beef
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated


1-Pickle Cucumbers: Microwave vinegar in microwave-safe bowl or measuring glass until hot, about 1 minute. Stir in diced cucumbers until well-coated with vinegar. Set aside at room temperature.

2-Prepare Sauces: Stir mayonnaise and sriracha in second bowl until very smooth. Stir soy sauce, sweetener, sesame oil, and garlic in third bowl until well-mixed and aromatic. Set aside.

3-Brown Beef: Add beef to skillet over high heat. Crumbling beef with stiff utensil, cook until juices have evaporated and beef begins to fry in its own fat, 8 to 10 minutes. Keeping everything in skillet, stir in soy sauce mixture and cook until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat.

4-Assemble Wraps: Divide beef mixture among lettuce leaves, prioritizing rounder cup-shaped ones. Strain out pickled cucumbers and distribute over beef. Spoon sriracha mayo on top. Serve.


(1) White Vinegar. This can be substituted with rice vinegar.

(2) Cucumber. Half of an english cucumber is about 5 ounces weight. I use english cucumbers because they’re seedless; you can use other types, like Persian cucumbers, which are smaller so you will need to use more than half of one for the same weight. I don’t peel the cucumbers.

(3) Sriracha. For extra spicy: use 2 tablespoons. I use the brand Huy Fong. You can substitute with another chili garlic sauce or your favorite hot sauce.

(4) Soy Sauce. I use regular soy sauce by Kikkoman, not low or reduced sodium.

(5) Sweetener. Confectioners Swerve is a dry sweetener that measures the same as regular powdered sugar; it’s not the same as pure erythritol, which is about 70% as sweet. Substitute with your preferred dry or liquid sweetener by adding it to taste.

(6) Sesame Oil. I use toasted sesame oil by the brand Kadoya. Toasted sesame oil is dark-colored and very flavorful and aromatic — you’ll smell it as soon as you pour it out. Untoasted sesame oil is light-colored and tastes neutral.

(7) Ground Beef. I use 85% lean. If you use less than 85%, you may want to drain off some of the grease after browning to avoid overly greasy beef.

(8) Butter Lettuce. One head is about 8 ounces weight. It’s sometimes sold under more specific names like Bibb or Boston lettuce. In the UK, they are sometimes called “round lettuce.” They typically have a loose arrangement of leaves, with tender texture and mild sweet flavor. They’re also low carb; each ounce of lettuce has only 0.3 grams of net carbs. When you’re separating out the leaves from the core, the best leaves are the small to middle sized ones, which tend to be rounder and cup shaped. They’re great for holding up the toppings. Avoid the larger outer leaves, which are flatter and will break under the weight of the toppings — resulting in a messy, but still delicious meal.

(9) Skillet. I use a 10-inch nonstick skillet. It’s not necessary to pre-heat the skillet, and oil is not required since the beef will release fat as it cooks.

(10) Serving. These lettuce wraps are best when served immediately. If you’re not planning on serving them right away, separately store the lettuce, pickled cucumbers, sriracha mayo, and ground beef with sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat the ground beef with sauce in the microwave or on a skillet, then assemble the wraps.

(11) Carbs. The nutrition calculation assumes you are using Swerve or a similar erythritol-based sweetener that uses sugar alcohols, whose carbs are non-impact and therefore not included in the nutrition estimate. Apps that count sugar alcohols will show a higher number of carbs.

(12) Recipe Inspiration. These lettuce wraps are inspired by a recipe in Cook’s Country June/July 2018 issue. I reduced or substituted the most carb-dense ingredients (brown sugar, sriracha, seasoned rice vinegar, and cucumbers) to reduce the net carbs to only 2.5g per serving, making it more suitable for anyone on a keto diet. I also made minor changes in the proportion of ingredients to maximize flavor.


ServingsAmount Per Serving:
Calories440 (65% from fat)
Total Fat32g 49%
Saturated Fat8g 39%
Cholesterol110mg 37%
Sodium910mg 38%
Net Carb2.5g
Total Carb3.5g 1%
Dietary Fiber1g 4%
Vitamin A 39% · Vitamin C 8% · Calcium 7% · Iron 21%