Brussels sprouts are a very divisive vegetable: You either love them, or your hate them. If you're in the latter camp, chances are you had some bad experiences with poorly cooked Brussels as a kid, and that turned you off on them forever.
It's an understandable position, since steamed and boiled sprouts smell and look pretty foul. It's hard to get past that sliminess and sulfur odor. But you shouldn't let your age-old bad experience with Brussels sprouts keep you from enjoying them now.
If you've never had roasted Brussels sprouts, it's time to get on board. It's by far the best way to prepare them, and it's easy as well. It results in sprouts with crispy, caramelized, and delicate leaves, and it's been trendy on restaurant menus for years now. Like every cruciferous vegetable, they're incredibly healthy too, and full of antioxidants, vitamins C and K, and high in fiber.
How To Roast Brussels Sprouts: A Step-by-Step Primer
Roasting Brussels sprouts is simple, but there are some tricks to ensure perfect results every time. Once you've learned the basic cooking process, you can experiment with new ingredients, favorite flavors, and unique recipes, all of which you'll find further along in this article.
How To Prepare Brussels Sprouts for Roasting
Always pick the freshest Brussels sprouts you can find. In the fall and around Thanksgiving, that often means you can purchase them still on the stalk at farmers markets and even in grocery stores. They should be firm and bright green with minimal browning or wilting. Avoid Brussels that are very small for roasting because they'll cook through before they can get nicely browned.
Cut off the stem end (it often goes brown first) and wash the sprouts. Peel off any wilted or loose outer leaves, like you would a cabbage. Then cut them in half through the stem so that the halves stay together.
If you cut them the wrong way, one half will fall apart complete into leaves. If they're really large, cut them in quarters. Just make sure they're all about the same size so the cooking time is consistent.
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Simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe
- 1.5 pounds Brussels sprouts
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Clean and halve Brussels sprouts according to preparation directions above.
- Pile the sprouts onto a large rimmed baking sheet. You'll need a sheet pan that's large enough so the sprouts aren't touching when they're spread out. If you crowd them, they won't brown as well.
- Drizzle the olive oil, salt, and pepper over the Brussels sprouts. Using your hands, mix well until the oil and seasonings are evenly coating the sprouts.
- Spread the sprouts evenly on the pan. Try and arrange most with the cut sides down. More contact with the baking sheet means more browning.
- Roast for 12 minutes, then use a spatula to flip them and shake them around. Roast for another 8-18 minutes, depending on size and how brown you like them. The tip of a knife should go into them easily when they're done.
Air fryer directions:
- Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Toss the prepared Brussels sprouts with the oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Add just enough sprouts to your basket for one even layer. You'll have to cook them in 2-3 batches (depending on the size of your air fryer), since an air fryer is smaller than a sheet pan.
- Cook for 5 minutes, then shake the basket. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes until tender and browned. Repeat with the remaining sprouts.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Tips and Hacks
Once you've got the standard, no-frills roasted Brussels sprouts recipe down pat, it's time to add some other flavors and seasonings to make them your own. This is also a great way to make them more appealing to family members who might not quite be on board with the vegetable yet.
- Garlic: Raw minced garlic or garlic powder
- Balsamic vinegar: Adds tang and sweetness
- Bacon: Mix chopped uncooked bacon with your sprouts
- Parmesan cheese: Sprinkle on 5 minutes before they're finished roasting
- Honey: Goes great with balsamic or other types of vinegar and helps caramelization
- Maple syrup: Goes great with bacon
- Red pepper flakes: Adds a little heat
- Lemon: Add zest to the oil, and sprinkle with juice at the end
- Worcestershire: Add richness and meatiness
- Soy sauce: Adds depth
- Gochujang: Korean chili paste that goes well with honey and butter
- Dried cranberries: Add then for the last 5 minutes of cooking; also great with pecans
- Miso: Japanese fermented bean paste that adds umami
Recipes Using Roasted Brussels Sprouts
There are lots of ways you can incorporate roasted Brussels sprouts into your meals that go beyond a simple side dish. Here's a roundup of vetted, well-rated recipes to expand your Brussels sprout horizon.
1. Sheet Pan Salmon With Brussels Sprouts
An Asian-inspired hoisin, lime, and ginger glaze coats the salmon and roasted vegetables in this easy, sheet pan supper recipe. Serve it with rice for a full meal.
Recipe: Food & Wine
3. Charred Brussels Sprout Crostini
These crostini make a beautiful and delicious holiday appetizer. Instead of halving the sprouts, they're thinly sliced so they broil to golden brown in no time. Each bite is a blend of sweet, tart, and creamy.
Recipe: Food Network
4. Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Preserved Lemon Caesar Dressing
Fans of Caesar salad will love this autumnal take on the classic. Air fryer roasted sprouts are tossed in an easy, homemade Caesar dressing, with plenty of toasted breadcrumbs for the crouton-like crunch.
Recipe: Serious Eats
5. Garlic and White Wine Pasta With Brussels Sprouts
You'd never know that this creamy, alfredo-like pasta is vegan. Nutritional yeast gives the garlic and white wine sauce a cheesy bite that goes well with the caramelized Brussels sprouts.
Recipe: Minimalist Baker
6. Sheet Pan Sausage and Vegetables
Carrots, onions, and Brussels sprouts make a great base for roasted sausages in this one-pan meal. The recipe calls for Italian sausages, but you can use any flavor sausage you like.
Recipe: Once Upon a Chef
7. Apricot Pork Chop Sheet Pan Dinner
Big bone-in pork chops, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts make up this sheep pan supper. The chops are glazed with a sweet and tangy sauce made with apricot jam, mustard, and cider vinegar.
Recipe: The Modern Proper