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.
If you are looking for a new vegetable side dish, these crispy Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are the answer! Ready in less than 30 minutes, these sprouts couldn’t be easier to make!
When it comes to veggies, Brussels Sprouts are at the top of my list. While they once had a bad reputation as being soggy and flavorless, today’s Brussels sprouts are crispy, caramelized, and packed with flavor. They taste amazing.
Plus this recipe is so easy to customize! Add bacon for an extra special side dish. Finish the caramelized sprouts with some Parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Or make them holiday-inspired with dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and an extra drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Why You’ll Love Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
- Super crispy: This recipe has a few tricks to make caramelized, crispy sprouts with all those delicious, browned crispy edges.
- Sweet and savory: The combination of honey and balsamic vinegar makes the most delicious glaze. Add nuts, cheese, or fresh herbs for even more flavor.
- Easy to make: With just 4 ingredients, these sprouts couldn’t be easier to make and the flavor is seriously delicious.
Ingredients and Swaps
Here is everything you need to make these crispy, caramelized sprouts.
- Brussels Sprouts: These are the start of this dish. Choose bright green, firm Brussels sprouts with tightly packed leaves. For the best results look for medium-sized sprouts. Small sprouts may burn and larger sprouts will stay tough in the center.
- Olive oil: Choose a good-tasting quality olive oil for coating the sprouts. They should be lightly coated. Swap in avocado oil or another neutral oil if you prefer.
- Honey: The sugars in the honey ensure that the sprouts get caramelized and crispy. Swap in pure maple syrup if you prefer.
- Balsamic vinegar: Vinegar provides the perfect balance to the sweetness in the honey and creates that irresistibly sweet, tangy, and savory combination. Swap in another vinegar if you like but I find balsamic works best.
- Salt and pepper: Make sure to liberally season the sprouts so that the flavor really pops. Add additional seasoning or herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano if you like.
How to Choose Brussels Sprouts: Look for firm, vibrant green sprouts with tight leaves. They should be free of brown sprouts. Also, try and choose sprouts that are similar in size. This ensures an even cooking time and caramelization process, resulting in a perfect balance of textures.
How to Caramelize Brussel Sprouts
This recipe teaches you how to caramelize Brussels sprouts in the oven, which I think is the easiest and most foolproof way to get super caramelized sprouts that are both crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
With that said, you will also find instructions below for making caramelized sprouts in a heavy cast iron skillet, which is a great option if you don’t have extra oven space.
1. Prep the Brussels Sprouts
Use a sharp knife to trim the tough ends of each Brussels sprout. Peel away any yellow, browned, or wilted/damaged outer leaves. Rinse the sprouts in a colander to remove any dirt and debris.
Pat dry with a towel, removing as much water as possible. Cut the sprouts in half (or quarters for larger sprouts). Dry the again with a towel. The drier the sprouts, the crispier they will be.
Once they are dry, toss the halved sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
2. Preheat oven and baking sheet
One secret to getting crispy, caramelized vegetables is preheating your baking sheet. Simply place it in the oven as it preheats. When you do this, the sprouts sear and brown as soon as they hit the pan, increasing all those delicious browned, crispy edges.
3. Roast sprouts
Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and add the sprouts, cut side down, in a single layer. It is extremely important that you take the time to make sure all the sprouts are cut side down so that the largest surface can caramelize. Use parchment paper for easier clean-up if you like, but skip it for the crispiest edges
It is also critical that the Brussels sprouts are in a single layer and aren’t crowded. When the sprouts are crowded and too close together, they instead of roasting.
4. Toss with sweet and savory glaze
Mix the honey and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl. Feel free to add some additional flavors here as well like Dijon mustard, rosemary, minced garlic, thyme, or red pepper flakes.
Once the sprouts are nicely browned and caramelized, carefully remove them from the oven. Drizzle the honey balsamic glaze over top and toss to coat.
Return the Brussels sprouts to the oven and cook for 5-10 minutes until the glaze gets sticky and caramelized. Remove and serve immediately.
Brussels sprouts get super crispy and caramelized when cooked in a heavy cast iron skillet, but if you are making more than a couple of servings, you will have to cook them in batches for the best results.
Start by prepping the sprouts in the same way as the oven method. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the halved sprouts, cut side down in a single uncrowded layer.
Cook them undisturbed for 5-8 minutes, until the sprouts are deeply browned and caramelized. Then give them a stir and continue to cook for an additional 6-8 minutes until they are cooked through and browned all over.
Add the glaze and stir well to coat. Cook for 1 more minute to thicken the glaze.
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts vs. Roasted Brussels sprouts
While you can make crispy, caramelized sprouts in the oven or in a heavy skillet, they come out slightly different. Here are the key differences:
- Texture: Oven-roasted Brussels sprouts are more tender and softer than skillet sprouts. When cooked in a skillet, the Brussels sprouts stay more tender-crisp while they soften more in the oven. Both are delicious, it’s just personal preference.
- Servings: If you are cooking multiple servings, the oven is much more efficient since you can fit substantially more Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet compared to a skillet.
- Caramelization: If super crispy, almost burnt sprouts are the goal, you have more control in a cast iron skillet than in the oven since you can leave the sprouts undisturbed at high heat. Adding a touch of extra oil can help with this process.
Recipe Ideas and Variations
There are so many ways to customize this recipe, especially for the holidays, with the simple addition of nuts, seeds, cheese, fruit, herbs, and more. Here are some favorites.
- Add crunch: Finish this recipe with some crunch from roasted walnuts, pecans, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, or pistachios.
- Add cheese: Create even more flavor with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, crumbled feta, or goat cheese.
- Citrus: Add a pop of flavor with some fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Bacon: Bacon and Brussels sprouts are a classic combination for a reason. Add some chopped bacon right to the baking sheet for a delicious sweet and salty side dish.
- Extra balsamic: For even more balsamic flavor, drizzle the dish with some balsamic glaze before serving.
- Fruit: Add dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, chopped dates, or golden raisins.
Main Dishes to Serve with Crispy Brussels Sprouts
These caramelized Brussels sprouts make the perfect side dish for so many meals. Here are some favorites:
- Turkey and chicken: Make a holiday meal with this Crockpot Turkey Breast, Baked Turkey Tenderloin, or Rotisserie Chicken.
- Fish and seafood: A delicious side dish with Lemon Pepper Salmon, Easy Baked Cod, or Blackened Shrimp.
- Pork or beef: Serve these alongside some Crispy Baked Pork Cutlets, Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork, or Broiled Flank Steak.
- Vegetarian: Make these caramelized sprouts to serve with Chickpea Nuggets, Basil Pesto White Beans, or Basil Tofu and Green Beans.
5 Reasons Roasted Brussels Sprouts Aren’t Crispy (With Solutions!)
Here are the top five reasons that your Brussels sprouts aren’t turning out caramelized and crispy.
- Overcrowding the Pan
- Problem: Placing too many Brussels sprouts on the baking sheet leads to overcrowding, causing them to steam rather than roast.
- Solution: Ensure a single layer of sprouts, allowing proper air circulation. Use two pans if needed for a larger batch.
- Insufficient Drying
- Problem: Failing to pat the Brussels sprouts dry after washing leaves excess water, hindering the crisping process.
- Solution: Thoroughly pat dry with a kitchen towel to remove excess moisture before tossing with oil and seasoning. Use a salad spinner to get them extra dry.
- Low Oven Temperature
- Problem: Roasting at a low temperature results in slow cooking, promoting moisture retention and sogginess.
- Solution: Preheat the oven adequately (at least 425°F) and maintain a high temperature throughout the roasting process for crispiness.
- Using Frozen Brussels Sprouts
- Problem: Frozen sprouts release more moisture during roasting, leading to a softer texture.
- Solution: Opt for fresh Brussels sprouts whenever possible. If using frozen, thaw and pat dry before roasting to reduce excess water content.
- Not Enough Oil
- Problem: Inadequate coating of Brussels sprouts with oil can result in dry surfaces and sogginess.
- Solution: Ensure an even coating of olive oil or your preferred cooking oil to promote browning and crispiness. Toss the sprouts well before roasting. They should be well coated but not drenched or dripping in oil
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about how to caramelize brussels sprouts.
Oven-roasted sprouts are more tender, while skillet-cooked sprouts maintain a tender-crisp texture. Both are delicious, catering to personal preference.
Customize with nuts (walnuts, almonds), cheese (Parmesan, feta), citrus (lemon juice, zest), or bacon for a sweet and salty twist.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
- Get in your Inbox
- 1.5 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1.5 tbsp honey
- 1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Like this Recipe? Try our Meal Plans!
- Weekly Meal Plans
- Easy Shopping List
- Healthy, Low Carb, & Vegetarian
- Nutritional Information
Switch to prevent your screen from going dark.
Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Place the Brussels sprouts cut side down on the baking sheet in a single layer. They shouldn’t overlap or be crowded in the pan or they will steam and not caramelize. Place them back in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the cut side is browned and crispy.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
Replace the honey with maple syrup if you prefer.
Get delicious, healthy recipes delivered each week right to your inbox.
Snap a picture and show us what you made on Instagram or Facebook.
Tag us using @SlenderKitchen or #slenderkitchen.