How to Cook Brussel Sprouts (+ 30 Recipe Ideas)

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Everything you have ever wanted to know about how to cook Brussels sprouts including roasting, sauteing, slow cooking, and raw preparations. Plus tons of delicious recipes, grocery store tips, nutritional information

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Are Brussels sprouts the new kale? Maybe. I can tell you, I didn’t touch either as a kid, and now I love them both so very much. I think, growing up, a lot of veggies were considered to be wholesale “terrible,” and no one ate them. Brussels sprouts, kale, and peas come to mind. Even if you were served these veggies as a child, I feel like most of us could say they came out bland and mushy, and that’s no way to treat a vegetable.

Now, Brussels sprouts are one of my all-time favorite vegetables (and I finally learned how to spell it). They are great almost any which way (except cooked to death). Sliced raw in a salad, roasted, grilled, in pasta, in a veggie mix, or served all by themselves, I think Brussels sprouts are one of the most versatile vegetables out there. Plus, those little, tiny cabbage heads are adorable.

Brussels sprouts have been popular in Brussels, Belgium, for a long time. Unsurprisingly, that’s most likely where these edible buds of the Gemmifera group of cabbages may have gotten their name. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge, what are you waiting for?

Brussels sprouts are filling, low-calorie, low-fat, and chock full of vitamin and mineral goodness. If you are watching what you eat, consider adding these groovy globes to your diet.

Choosing and Prepping Brussels Sprouts

Before it's time to cook your sprouts, they need to be prepped. Follow these simple steps to wash and prepare Brussels sprouts for cooking or enjoying raw. 

  1. Grocery store tips: Begin by choosing firm, vibrant green Brussels sprouts (loose or on the stalk) with tightly packed leaves. They should feel heavy and firm, avoid any that feel mushy. The leaves shouldn’t be loose or falling off around the sprout. If the leaves are yellowing, aging, or have any black spotting, those are signs of sprouts gone bad. Choose sprouts that are similar in size so they cook at the same rate.  If the sprouts are attached to the stalk, cut them away as close to the stems as possible.
  2. Trim the ends and remove outer leaves: Use a sharp knife to trim the tough ends of each Brussels sprout. Peel away any yellow, loose, or damaged outer leaves.
  3. Clean debris: Place the trimmed and peeled Brussels sprouts in a colander and give them a thorough rinse under cold running water. This removes any residual dirt or debris. Dry well with a kitchen towel or salad spinner.
  4. Prep for recipe: Depending on your recipe, you will usually halve or quarter the Brussels sprouts. This not only promotes even cooking but also enhances the caramelization process, creating that delicious crispy texture.
  5. Pat Dry with a Towel: After rinsing and chopping, gently pat the Brussels sprouts dry again with a clean kitchen towel. Dry sprouts ensure a better chance of achieving that coveted crispy exterior during cooking.

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts

There are so many different ways to cook Brussels sprouts from oven-roasting to sauteing to grilling and even cooking them in the slow cooker. Here's how!

1. How to Roast Brussels Sprouts

Roasting is one of my favorite ways to eat Brussels sprouts (well, any vegetable, really). When you roast vegetables, it caramelizes the sugars within, creating delicious browned, crisp edges. If you are short on time, you can always cut the sprouts smaller or shred them into individual leaves for faster roasting.

  1. Preheat the oven to 450. Place the baking sheet in the oven so that it also preheats. 
  2. Rinse sprouts in cool water and dry thoroughly. Chop off the tough ends and remove any loose leaves. Chop sprouts in half or quarters depending on size.
  3. Toss the halved Brussels sprouts with olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. The sprouts should be well coated, but not dripping with oil. Add any additional spices or seasoning you like including minced garlic, herbs, spices, or a splash of vinegar. You can also add sliced onions or chopped bacon for more flavor. 
  4. Spread the sprouts out evenly over the sheet pan with the cut side down. Make sure to add them in a single layer with some space. Do not overcrowd the pan or the sprouts won't caramelize.
  5. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are crispy and nicely browned. Add any toppings you like including fresh lemon juice, cheese, fresh herbs, nuts, dried fruit, vinaigrette, or another sauce. 

The most delicious Crispy Balsamic Brussel Sprouts taste like your favorite restaurant sprouts but are healthy and easy to make at home. An easy weeknight side dish and a holiday staple.

Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts that are roasted until crispy and brown and then tossed with the most amazing 3 ingredient sauce are a side dish that will have everyone eating their veggies.

You seriously need to make these Garlic Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts as soon as possible. Perfectly crispy roasted brussel sprouts with bacon, garlic, and parmesan cheese. The best!

Crispy and caramelized Roasted Brussels Sprouts make the perfect side to your meal! Ready in just 30 minutes from prep to finish, they couldn’t be easier to make and will change your mind about Brussel sprouts.

2. How to Saute Brussels Sprouts

There are two popular ways to make sauteed Brussels sprouts. Sauteed shredded sprouts come out more tender and soft. They are a great side dish and also delicious added to pasta, rice, or as a warm salad.

Caramelized skillet sprouts come out more crispy and caramelized, similar to roasted Brussels sprouts. 

Shredded Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

  1. Start by shredding the Brussels sprouts with a mandoline, food processor, or sharp knife. Or buy a bag of shredded sprouts.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add any aromatics like shallots, garlic, onion, or red pepper flakes to season the oil and sprouts.
  3. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook undisturbed for about 6 minutes, letting the sprouts caramelize.
  4. Stir and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes more until tender and cooked to your liking.
  5. Season with balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice, or fresh herbs if you like. 

Caramelized Sprouts

  1. Start by prepping the sprouts. Chop off tough ends and remove loose leaves. Chop the sprouts in half.
  2. Toss the sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add any additional spices or seasoning you like.
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the halved sprouts, with the cut side down in a single uncrowded layer. Cook them undisturbed for 5-8 minutes, until the sprouts are deeply browned and caramelized.
  4. Give them a stir and continue to cook for an additional 6-8 minutes until they are cooked through and browned all over.
  5. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add a splash of balsamic vinegar if you like. 

Crispy, caramelized Brussels sprouts with a sweet and savory honey-balsamic glaze. This 4-ingredient brussels sprouts recipe is easy to make, seriously delicious, and makes the best side dish.

3. How to Grill Brussels Sprouts

Already throwing a protein on the grill? Add Brussels sprouts and then you don't need to make a separate side dish.

  1. Remove any browned or loose leaves from the outside of the Brussels sprouts. Cut the sprouts in half.
  2. Add your Brussels sprouts to a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Drain off the water. Or par-boil the sprouts for 4-5 minutes until bright green and slightly soft. 
  3. Toss the sprouts with olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and any other spices you like.
  4. Thread the sprouts on skewers, with 5-7 sprouts per skewers. If possible, have the cut side facing up on the skewers. so it can get browned. You can also cook the sprouts in a grill basket or on foil.
  5. Cook the Brussels sprouts on a hot grill for 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. If using a grill basket, preheat the basket. Add the sprouts to the basket and cook for 10 minutes, shaking or flipping the sprouts after 5 minutes. If cooking on foil, make sure to leave the foil packet open. Cook for 10 minutes, shaking halfway through.

This recipe for Grilled Brussels Sprouts is a must; tender on the outside and crispy and browned on the outside make for a seriously delicious side dish that will change your mind about Brussels sprouts.

How to Slow Cook Brussels Sprouts

If you need to free up space in the oven or stovetop, you can make really delicious sprouts in the slow cooker. Just note that they will be softer than roasted or sauteed sprouts. 

  1. Add the whole Brussels sprouts to the slow cooker and toss with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and any other seasoning or spices you like.
  2. Cook on high for 1-2 hours until tender or low for 3-4 hours. The Brussels sprouts are done when they are tender but not mushy.
  3. Taste and season as needed. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and balsamic glaze if you like.
  4. For crispy sprouts, pop them on a baking sheet in a single layer and broil for 4-5 minutes (or until nicely browned). Then add Parmesan cheese and balsamic glaze, if using.

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts in the Instant Pot

Another great option for freeing up oven or stove space is to cook the Brussels sprouts in the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot allows you to get some crispiness from sauteing the sprouts first. 

  1. Prep the Brussels sprouts by trimming the tough ends and removing any loose leaves. Clean and dry the sprouts. Then cut the Brussels sprouts in half.
  2. Toss the sprouts with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you like. 
  3. Turn the Instant Pot to Saute. Add the sprouts to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring as needed, until lightly browned.
  4. Add 1 cup of water, chicken broth, or vegetable broth to the Instant Pot. Close the lid and cook on the manual mode for 5 minutes. Then do a quick release. 

Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts

If you love crispy Brussels sprouts, the air fryer is a great option. 

  1. Prep the Brussels sprouts by trimming the tough ends and removing any loose leaves. Clean and dry the sprouts. Then cut the Brussels sprouts in half. Cut larger sprouts into quarters. 
  2. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. 
  3. Toss the sprouts with olive oil, salt, and black pepper until they are well coated. Add them to the basket of the air fryer.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes, tossing the basket 2-3 times during cooking. 

How to Use Brussels Sprouts in Salads

Brussels sprouts make a crunchy and nutritious option in salads and slaws. Since sprouts can be tough and fibrous, it is best to slice them thinly or shred them before adding them to salads.

Or if you want to use larger pieces, consider cooking them first so that they are easier to chew.

This Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with apples, and goat cheese all tossed in a Dijon honey vinaigrette is the perfect side dish for any meal. It's also great for the holidays.

Bonus! Four Dinner Recipes with Brussels Sprouts

Elevate your dinner game with these main dish recipes featuring versatile and delicious Brussels sprouts. From savory one-pan wonders to pasta dishes, these dishes not only showcase the versatility of Brussels sprouts but also promise to make your dinner super tasty.

Lemon Brussels Sprout Pasta comes together in less than 30 minutes and is packed with fresh Brussel sprouts, cannellini beans, lemon, and plenty of Parmesan cheese for an easy meatless meal.

10 Ways to Add Flavor to Brussels Sprouts

  1. Balsamic Glaze: Drizzle Brussels sprouts with a balsamic glaze for a sweet and tangy flavor.
  2. Garlic Parmesan: Cook Brussels sprouts with minced garlic and finish with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
  3. Honey Mustard: Toss Brussels sprouts in a mixture of honey and Dijon mustard before roasting. 
  4. Lemon Herb: Brighten up Brussels sprouts by adding freshly grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and chopped thyme or rosemary.
  5. Soy Ginger Glaze: Create an Asian-inspired glaze by mixing soy sauce, minced ginger, sesame oil, and a touch of honey. Roast or saute the Brussels sprouts and add the glaze during the last few minutes of cooking.
  6. Maple Dijon Marinade: Combine maple syrup and Dijon mustard to create a flavorful marinade. Coat Brussels sprouts before cooking or add in the last few minutes of cooking. 
  7. Add bacon: Enhance the richness of Brussels sprouts by incorporating bacon. The smoky, salty flavor complements the sprouts' natural taste.
  8. Curry: Sprinkle Brussels sprouts with curry powder and cook them with coconut oil to infuse them with warm and aromatic Indian-inspired flavors.
  9. Add onions: Add sliced red onions, yellow onions, or shallots to your Brussels sprouts for even more flavor. 
  10. Cajun: Add a kick to Brussels sprouts by seasoning them with a Cajun spice blend. 

How to Store Brussels Sprouts

Keep unwashed, loose Brussels Sprouts in an uncovered bowl or container in the refrigerator for three or four days. Though freshest in the first few days, they can sometimes keep for longer -- be sure to check in on them once in a while. If they still look bright green and delicious, then they’re good to go.

If your sprouts are cooked and you’re storing leftovers or fresh-cut sprouts, those will still reheat and be tasty for up to another three days if kept in the fridge.

If you want to freeze your Brussels sprouts, I recommend that you blanch them first for a few minutes. You can then store them in your freezer in an airtight container, freezer bag, or vacuumed sealed bag for up to a year.

Nutritional Information Brussels Sprouts

According to the USDA, one cup of Brussels sprouts has:

  • Basics: 38 calories, 3 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fat, and 0 grams of cholesterol.
  • Vitamins and minerals: 37 mg of calcium, 342 mg of potassium, and healthy doses of vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K. You’ll also receive 13 percent of your recommended daily intake of folate, 11 percent of thiamin, and 7 percent of your needed riboflavin intake for the day.

Brussels sprouts stalk with individual sprouts.

7 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

Are Brussels sprouts good for weight loss?

Brussels sprouts, with their low calorie and high fiber content, make them an excellent choice for weight loss. They're filling, easy to prepare, and a versatile addition to your meals.

Can Brussels sprouts be bad for you?

While Brussels sprouts offer numerous benefits, moderation is key. Excessive vitamin K intake may interfere with blood clotting medications. Overconsumption can also lead to excessive fiber, causing bloating and digestive discomfort. Consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms.

Do Brussels sprouts make you gassy?

Yes, due to their fiber content, Brussels sprouts can cause gas. If discomfort arises, temporarily eliminate them from your diet and reintroduce them gradually.

Are Brussels sprouts a superfood?

Absolutely! As part of the cruciferous family, Brussels sprouts stand out for their cancer-fighting antioxidants and rich nutritional profile, making them a superfood worth incorporating into your diet

  1. Low-Calorie Goodness: Brussels sprouts are a calorie-wise choice, packing only 38 calories per cup, making them an ideal addition to your diet if you're mindful of your calorie intake.
  2. Keeps You Full: Packed with fiber, Brussels sprouts keep you feeling full long after your meal. With 13 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake in one cup, they support digestive health and help control your appetite.
  3. Heart Healthy: The fiber content not only aids digestion but also reduces the risk of heart disease and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. Additionally, Brussels sprouts contribute to lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of stroke or heart disease.
  4. Surprising Protein Source: Despite expectations, Brussels sprouts offer a surprising protein boost, providing six percent of your daily protein needs in just one cup. Ensure your body gets the necessary protein for optimal function, from tissue growth to the health of your nails, skin, and hair.
  5. Cancer-Fighting Antioxidants: Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants, particularly Sulforaphane, currently under study for its potential anti-cancer properties. These antioxidants combat inflammation and neutralize free radicals at a cellular level.
  6. Bone Strength Booster: The vitamin K in Brussels sprouts plays a vital role in blood clotting and strengthens bones, potentially warding off osteoporosis.
  7. Nutrient Powerhouse: Loaded with vitamins K, C, and A, as well as folate and manganese, Brussels sprouts contribute to heart health, bone strength, and immune system support. They also serve as an excellent plant source of Omega-3s.

Frequently Asked Questions

To achieve crispiness, preheat your oven to around 425°F or use an air fryer. Trim the Brussels sprouts, cut them in half, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread them evenly on a baking sheet. Roast or air fry until they are golden brown and crispy on the edges, usually around 20-25 minutes.

Trim the ends and halve the Brussels sprouts. Toss them in olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast them in the oven at 425°F (220°C) for about 20-25 minutes or until they're golden and slightly crispy. Alternatively, sauté them in a pan on the stovetop for approximately 10-15 minutes.

Experiment with balsamic glaze, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, or crumbled bacon for added flavor. You can also try herbs like rosemary or thyme, or spices such as smoked paprika or cayenne pepper to suit your taste.

Roast Brussels sprouts with a touch of honey or maple syrup to introduce sweetness. Incorporating crispy bacon bits or melting cheese over the top can also make them more appealing for those who may be hesitant about trying Brussels sprouts. Adding a squeeze of lemon can provide a refreshing twist.

On How to Cook Brussel Sprouts (+ 30 Recipe Ideas)
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