Culinary Arts

What Is Butter Lettuce? Plus, a Simple Butter Lettuce Salad Recipe

Written by MasterClass

May 29, 2019 • 3 min read

The sweet, tender leaves of butter lettuce make for simple everyday salad greens, but can also be transformed into an edible vessel for low-carb meals—think tacos or Korean grilled beef lettuce wraps using the large outer leaves of the plant. As long as what you're eating is scoopable, butter lettuce has you covered.

What Is Butter Lettuce?

Butter lettuce is a type of lettuce that includes Bibb lettuce and Boston lettuce. It's known for loose, round-shaped heads of tender, sweet leaves and a mild flavor. All varieties of butterhead lettuces have smooth, loosely-coiled leaves that are often sold with the roots still attached to preserve freshness.


What's the Difference Between Butter Lettuce and Romaine Lettuce?

Butter Lettuce has a softer, buttery texture compared to crisp, almost watery romaine lettuce. The shape of butter lettuce leaves are rounder and petal shaped, while romaine leaves are elongated.

What Are the Health Benefits of Butter Lettuce?

Butter leaf lettuce is brimming with vitamins and nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and iron, which help fortify bones and fight off inflammatory diseases.

9 Varieties of Butter Lettuce

Butter lettuce is typically divided into two types, green-leaf and red-leaf:

The nine green-leaf varieties of butter lettuce include:

  1. Boston bibb
  2. Bibb
  3. Victoria
  4. Divina
  5. Tom Thumb
  6. Kweik
  7. Santoro
  8. Butter Babies
  9. Buttercrunch

The seven red-leaf varieties of butter lettuce include:

  1. Flashy Butter Oak Leaf
  2. Carmona
  3. Skyphos
  4. Blushed Butterhead
  5. Speckles
  6. Yugoslavian Red
  7. Four Seasons

How to Prep and Store Butter Lettuce

If lettuce comes with the root attached, store lettuce head in its original container or a plastic bag, leaving the roots in tact and moist. If it is without the root, wash and dry the loose leaves, wrap them in paper towels, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

When serving as lettuce cups, store submerge leaves in a large bowl of cold water in the refrigerator. This method helps to keep lettuce cold and crisp. Gently dry with a kitchen towel before serving.

9 Butter Lettuce Recipe Ideas

  1. Avocado and Grapefruit Salad. Torn butter lettuce with grapefruit segments and ripe avocado slices, tossed with white wine vinaigrette.
  2. Apple, Walnuts and Gorgonzola Salad. Torn butter lettuce, green apple slices, toasted walnuts, and crumbled blue cheese with a mustard vinaigrette.
  3. Smashed Chickpea Salad Wraps. Smashed chickpeas combined with mayo, mustard, red onion, jalapeño, and hot sauce. Served with baby tomatoes and chopped parsley in lettuce cups.
  4. Rainbow Veggie Lettuce Wraps. Julienned purple cabbage, carrot, and radish pickled in rice vinegar. Served with soba noodles, edamame hummus, and lettuce cups.
  5. Turmeric Tilapia Lettuce Wraps. Inspired by the Vietnamese dish cha ca la vong, toss fried turmeric-seasoned fish with sautéed scallions and fresh dill. Serve with vermicelli noodles, roasted peanuts, dipping sauce, and lettuce cups.
  6. Mexican Chipotle Shrimp Lettuce Wraps. Chipotle-spiced grilled shrimp with black beans, avocado, and garlic-lime crema. Served in lettuce cups and eaten-taco style.
  7. Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Ground chicken cooked with ginger, garlic, water chestnuts, and green onions with hoisin sauce. Spoon the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf.
  8. Korean Grilled Beef Lettuce Wraps. Thinly-sliced beef marinated in a sweet and spicy marinade then seared on a grill. Fold a piece of steak, rice, raw julienned vegetables, and herbs inside a bib lettuce leaf.
  9. Mediterranean Lamb Meatball Lettuce Wraps. Meatballs with spiced ground lamb, served in lettuce cups with tzatziki sauce and diced tomatoes.

Simple Butter Lettuce Salad Recipe

Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
  • 2 heads butter lettuce
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. Separate the lettuce leaves. Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry the lettuce.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and black pepper to make a vinaigrette. Add the lettuce, radishes, fresh herbs, and toss well. Serve immediately.