Elevate your salad game with these 20 different types of lettuce.
From classic iceberg to the more unique Batavia lettuce, there’s plenty to choose from.
Lettuce is so much more than just leafy greens. They’re crispy, buttery, and great for adding moisture to a dish.
Of course, they’re also good for more than just salad.
For example, lettuce is essential in a Dutch stamppot and Endives au Jambon. And who can resist a spicy lettuce wrap?
Seriously, lettuce is so underrated! And it’s time to change that.
Below are 20 super cool types of lettuce you gotta try. So Romaine calm, and keep reading.
20 Types of Lettuce You’ll Love
The wrong lettuce can make a dish watery or bitter or… bleh. Particularly with salads.
Some lettuce types are better raw, some are better cooked, and some are like the “IT girls” from the nineties… they can do it all!
But each kind has its own merits. And I’m here to teach you about them all! Lettuce get to it!
I’m starting with a classic: iceberg lettuce.
Go to any chain restaurant, whether sit-down or fast-food, and you’ll find iceberg lettuce.
And there’s a reason for that – well, a few, actually.
First, iceberg lettuce has a fabulous crunch, bringing texture to softer dishes. That’s why it’s found in tacos, burgers, and salads.
Secondly, iceberg doesn’t have a lot of flavor due to its water content. That makes it a perfect base for many dishes because it lets other flavors shine.
Plus, it’s quite refreshing.
Finally, iceberg lettuce is extremely economical. You can get a whole head for less than $2.
That’s a lot of lettuce AND it lasts a pretty long time when stored properly. So you get more bang for your buck!
In the States, Romaine is probably the next most popular type of lettuce.
It’s commonly used in Caesar salads for its slight bitterness and fantastic crunch.
It’s quite a bit more flavorful than iceberg lettuce, but the flavor is still mild. So, again, it’s a really good base for holding flavors.
If you’re eating low-carb, Romain is a terrific bread replacement too. Use it as a wrap, taco shell, or burger bun.
Finally, it grills well and sautés beautifully. So you can even toss it on the grill.
Also known as Rocket, Arugula will send your taste buds sky-high with its distinctive bite.
It’s healthy, it’s delightful, and it’s loaded with peppery goodness.
I love raw Arugula, though it does cook well. So toss it into salads or throw it on a pizza.
You’ll recognize Arugula by its bright green color, small size, and oak-like leaves.
Check out my post, “What is arugula?” to learn more.
This frilly lettuce has a very distinctive curly look. In fact, that’s exactly why it’s called frisée – it means ‘curly’ in French.
Frisée is a part of the chicory family, like endives (more on those later). So that does mean that it’s a bit on the bitter side.
It’s not a bad bitter, though! It’s almost refreshing.
The bitterness is best balanced out with herbs, cream, and a bit of sweetness. So, go for a creamy honey mustard dressing if you add this to a salad.
5. Butterhead Lettuce
Butterhead lettuce is a loose-leafed variety that will have your tongue singing a sweet song.
That’s because butterhead lettuce has a lovely sweet profile and a buttery finish.
And by sweet, I don’t mean sugary. Rather, it’s not bitter.
So it’s a fantastic way to get picky eaters to eat salad. And it has the bonus of being quite healthy and full of antioxidants.
Butterhead is ideal for subs and wraps. My fave is creamy egg salad with a few leaves.
6. Loose-Leaf Lettuce
Loose-leaf lettuces are known for their flowy and wavy leaves.
Unlike their more uptight cousins, loose-leaf lettuces don’t form a tight, round head (think iceberg).
They’re mild and buttery with a lovely tender texture.
Use them in everything from burgers and tacos to sandwiches and salads.
7. Coral Lettuce
At first glance, you may think this has been plucked from a fish tank.
Instead, it’s a fun coral-like lettuce with tight curls and lots of pockets to catch salad dressings.
That’s why it works so well on sandwiches and salads.
Also, it has a mild and sweet flavor that works with many different dishes. Plus, it comes in a variety of colors, so it’s pretty too!
Sometimes called watercress, this tiny, tasty green is actually a member of the mustard family. Which means it’s loaded with bold flavors!
And they are delicious.
Cress is also chock-full of nutrition, so it’s great for boosting the health of your dishes.
You definitely want to use younger leaves because the more mature ones are pretty bitter.
But if you like that, you do you! Either way, cress is lovely on pizza, in salads, and even in sandwiches.
Speaking of being a bit bitter… let me introduce you to endives. A member of the chicory family, they’re not *technically* lettuce.
But this isn’t a horticulture blog; it’s a food blog. And this stuff sure does look the part! So for all intents and purposes, we’ll count it as lettuce.
Endives have a slightly bitter flavor and are fabulously crunchy. So, use them in salads or sandwiches when you need a crispy texture.
However, I think they’re best cooked. They’re fabulous when braised, grilled, or baked with tons of cheese.
Bibb lettuce is a type of butterhead, so it’s smooth, buttery, and absolutely delicious.
Bibb is pretty similar to Boston lettuce, which I’ll discuss shortly.
Light and delicate, it pairs very well with vinaigrettes. The leaves also make fabulous wraps or taco shells for low-carb eating.
Bibb does tend to be more expensive, but it’s worth it for the taste and texture.
Like endives, escarole is a part of the chicory family. But it looks a lot more lettuce-like than endives.
It has a bitter flavor that’s best when cooked, which is why you’ll often find it in soups and stews.
However, it does work in raw salads, too.
12. Boston Lettuce
Boston lettuce is another kind of butterhead lettuce that’s mildly sweet and fabulously tender.
In fact, it’s one of the more popular types of butterhead lettuce.
You can differentiate it from Bibb lettuce by its size. Boston is larger and less expensive… so you’ll get more bang for your buck!
13. Little Gem Lettuce
Sometimes called baby Romaine, little gem lettuce looks and tastes like Romaine.
It’s just a bit smaller and has a lovely amethyst hue on the ends.
It’s what I buy when I only need a little – knowing I’ll likely have to throw out a larger head of Romaine after a few days.
14. Batavia Lettuce (a.k.a French Crisp or Summer Crisp)
Batavia lettuce is like the lovechild of iceberg and a loose-leaf variety. It’s looser than iceberg lettuce but less wavy than loose-leaf lettuce.
It’s a bit crunchy but less watery than iceberg lettuce and has a light, sweet flavor.
I think it’s great in sandwiches!
Mache lettuce is a leafy and delicate green that looks a bit like watercress, but its flavors are much milder.
It has a nutty flavor that’s tasty raw and cooked. And it’s often confused with spinach.
Luckily, you can use it in many of the same ways you’d use spinach. It’s really yummy sautéd in butter.
I recommend combining mache with other types of lettuce if you want to make a salad since it’s not very bulky.
16. Lamb’s Lettuce
Lamb’s lettuce is very closely related to mache.
They have similar flavors and textures. They also have very similar uses.
Thanks to its nutty, tangy taste and bright green color, it’s ideal for side salads and as a garnish.
17. Oakleaf Lettuce
Arugula has oak-like leaves, but oakleaf lettuce takes the crown. From a distance, it’s practically indistinguishable from its namesake.
Unless, of course, you’re looking at the red variety. But enough about appearances… how does oakleaf lettuce taste?
Well, it’s buttery, nutty, and absolutely delicious.
Oakleaf lettuce is great in salads and wraps. It’s fabulous in a salad featuring strong flavors, like fruits, nuts, and pungent cheese.
Mignonette is a variety of butterhead lettuce that comes in a few fun colors and is quite tasty!
It’s like the passion fruit of the lettuce world – they’re both a bit sweet and a bit tart.
Although, the lettuce is… let’s say… a lot less passionate than the fruit.
It has a mild (though tart) flavor that works well with many other ingredients. And since it is a butterhead lettuce, it works well in many dishes.
19. Speckled Lettuce
Given Cruella de Vil’s obsession with spots, I daresay she’d love this lettuce. It’s perfectly speckled, with shades of greens and purples.
Speckled lettuces aren’t actually their own variety. Many types of lettuce can come in speckles. That just generally means they’re an heirloom variety.
20. Chrysanthemum Greens
Chrysanthemum greens might not be your typical lettuce, but I love them! And they’re totally worth a try.
You can enjoy them raw or cooked, but raw is best because of the peppery bite and bright flavor.
They work really well in a mixed salad and have a much more robust taste, like spinach.
Be sure to get young greens, as the more mature greens can be bitter. That said, cooking will mellow them out.
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