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Braised Brussels Sprouts

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Growing up in the United States, the phrase "Eat your Brussels sprouts" was often used in playground banter as an example of how unfair or mean parents can be. Perhaps, I was lucky because I was never forced to eat Brussels sprouts. Avoiding it at all costs (having remembered the horror stories), I never tasted this mini-cabbage until after I left college. Believe it or not, after first tasting them, I thought Brussels sprouts were delicious! What had I been missing out on? Why did everyone complain about these wonderful tasting vegetables and why was it the butt of many jokes in American family sitcoms? I'm not sure, but I think it might have to do with overcooking (which can release noxious smells). Forget the Brussels sprouts of your past and try this fast, simple, and flavorful preparation.

Like many people, I like braising Brussels sprouts in salt water for a couple reasons. First and foremost, it's a very fast cooking method. Using only a small amount water means the waiting time for bringing that water up to a cooking temperature is minimal. The Brussels sprouts cook fairly rapidly without becoming water-logged. Another great thing about this recipe is that it really highlights the natural flavor of the Brussels sprout without the unappetizing smell and taste that cause so many people to avoid this vegetable.

You can buy Brussels sprouts on the stalk or as individual heads. Choose heads that are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. At this size, the Brussels sprouts are generally regarded as at their peak tenderness. Also, try to choose uniform sized heads so they will cook at the same rate. The heads should be composed of green leaves that hold together tightly. Try to avoid Brussels sprouts with loose leaves or leaves that are yellow, but don't worry too much since these leaves can be removed before cooking.

For this recipe, I picked up a pound (450 g) of Brussels sprouts, a good amount for two hearty eaters. To scale the recipe, just increase the size of the pan.

If you bought the Brussels sprouts on the stalk, simply cut them off the stalk. When I buy them as individual heads, I like to slice off the very base of the Brussels sprouts because the base has often lost moisture in the store and may be tougher and more fibrous.

Peel off any loose or yellow leaves.

Wash the Brussels sprouts thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or small clinging insects. (Some cookbooks suggest soaking them for 15 minutes in lemon or vinegar water to clean them of potential insects, but I've never tried this.)

Select a pot or pan that can hold all the Brussels sprouts in one layer. Put just enough water in the pot to create a depth of about 1/4 inch (6 mm). Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is hot, add about 1/2 teaspoon table salt to the water. If you're scaling the recipe and using a larger pot, be careful how much salt you add. You want to get the water to be quite salty, but not so strong that if you tasted it you'd feel that it is unpalatable. We add the salt after the water is hot because if you add the salt while the water is cold, the salt may not immediately dissolve. Salt crystals sitting in an aqueous environment has been known to cause pitting in stainless steel, so whenever you add salt to water (e.g. when preparing pasta), do so when the water is hot so the salt dissolves rapidly.

When the water is boiling, add the Brussels sprouts to the pan. Make sure they form only one layer on the bottom and none of the heads are sitting on top of the other heads. Cover and reduce to low heat to maintain a simmer.

After about seven to eight minutes, the Brussels sprouts should be tender. The base of the head should allow you to sticking a knife in with a little gentle pressure. If you overcook the Brussels sprouts, it will produce an unpalatable sulfurous smell. (The sulfur smell comes from the excessive release of sulfur when overcooked.) Cooked just right, the Brussels sprouts should be sweet and nutty with a slight hint of bitterness (but not even close to the bitterness of many other vegetables such as bok choy).

Remove from the water and toss in 1/2 Tbs. butter and season with fresh ground black pepper to taste. The addition of butter helps augment the nuttiness of the Brussels sprouts.

Serve hot, warm, or cold - they'll be delicious at any temperature.

I should probably note that the name is "Brussels sprouts", not "Brussel sprouts" or "Brussel's sprouts" because they are named after the Belgian city of Brussels.

Braised Brussels Sprouts (serves 2-4)
1/4-in. (6 mm) waterboildissolvesimmer 8 min.
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 lb. (450 g) Brussels sproutsdrainseason to taste and toss
1/2 Tbs. butter
fresh ground black pepper

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Written by Michael Chu
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69 comments on Braised Brussels Sprouts:(Post a comment)

On September 30, 2005 at 06:35 PM, Shilo (guest) said...
Subject: Brussels Sprouts are really good.
I stayed away from Brussels sprouts because my mom never made them and she said they were disgusting. Not having lived at home for many years now, I decided to give them a try and see why they had such a bad reputation. I was surprised at how delicious they were. Braising is a great way to cook them. I also like to saute a few minced cloves of fresh garlic in olive oil and toss the braised sprouts in the garlic oil with some fresh ground pepper right before serving. Good call on this vegetable with the poorly desered reputation.

On September 30, 2005 at 10:00 PM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: B Sprouts
I have recently cooked Brussels Sprouts under the broiler. I sliced them in half, rubbed them with olive oil (in a plastic bag) salt and pepper. Added a couple of tbs Balsamic Vinegar and a handful of pecan halves. Really great, but I've always liked sprouts!

On October 01, 2005 at 12:19 AM, Zybernaut (guest) said...
Subject: The foods we love to hate.
I saw this article on Cooking For Engineers and thought of all the Brussels Sprouts that my brother was forced to eat. When we were little we each got to choose a vegetable when we were at the grocery store. I tended to choose Brussels Sprouts because I knew that my brother didn't like them. He likewise tended to choose lima beans because I didn't like them. :P

On October 01, 2005 at 01:02 AM, Dave (guest) said...
Subject: My secret for sprouts? Burn 'em.
They only way I've ever liked sprouts is as follows.

Heat heavy nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil. Cut sprouts in half and place in pan in a single layer, cut side down. Cook 8-11 minutes or until deeply browned. Turn sprouts and cover pan. Cook 10 minutes until tender. Salt to taste, finish with 1/4 cup heavy cream and 2T grated parmesan if desired.

Even without the cream and cheese, they're the only way my family eats them.

On October 01, 2005 at 03:04 AM, Michael (guest) said...
Subject: Steamed sprouts instead of boiling and using butter
When I was a kid in the 50's my parents were always buying brussel sprouts, asparagus and any number of other veggies. Mom always boiled everything as was the custom back then. You all know the old Donna Reed type of cooking. I would slather everything with butter until it was almost unrecognizable. And I loved it. All of it. But what I probably loved was the butter. Now that I've gotten much older and a little wiser, thanks to the help of my bride, I don't put butter on very much. We either place our sprouts of asparagus for example in a steamer and eat them in a nearly-cooked state or grill them on the Weber with just a little EV Olive Oil with a sprinkling of Kosher. Cut the sprouts in half to get a little char on the cut side as well. Wonderful. And I do agree that they are very much like a very small cabage but much sweeter flesh. Another note... Brussel Sprouts grown on a stalk will keep much longer and stay fresher. They just take up a lot of room in the Fridge unless you cut the stalk in half. Get out the chain saw though because the stalk in very tough. If you could show a picture of one of the stalks I think many readers would find it very interesting.

On October 01, 2005 at 04:34 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Steamed sprouts instead of boiling and using butter
Michael wrote:
If you could show a picture of one of the stalks I think many readers would find it very interesting.

Currently, none of the grocers in my area have Brussels sprouts on the stalk, but as soon as I see one again, I'll take a picture and add it to the article.

On October 01, 2005 at 08:45 AM, PhotogFan (guest) said...
Subject: Great Shots!
Could you talk about your camera and settings? Great close-ups on the Brussels sprouts. And yes, I agree, it's the smell that turns most folks off. Gag reflex was a rather powerful sensation, as I remember.

On October 01, 2005 at 09:28 AM, sungoddess444 (guest) said...
Subject: Brussels Sprouts
The first time I tasted them, was when I was a teenager at my now ex-husbands parents house. I thought that they were delious and cute.
I steam them, and then put them in a frying pan with some butter and a couple of slices of velveeta cheese. Let the cheese melt, while stirring. The best in taste, and the kids love it this way too. ;)

On October 01, 2005 at 11:28 AM, Sabrina (guest) said...
Subject: Brussels sprouts!!!
Thank you for giving time to this food of the gods.... may I share my son's favorite way of preparing these little gems?

Chop small and saute in butter - 2 medium yellow onions. Medium heat, continue sauteeing until tender and fragrant.

Prepare brussels spouts: wash, remove tough outer leaves, cut off stem close to each head, and slice head through the stem so each half remains held intact by the base of the stem. Rinse lightly and put in microwave safe bowl; microwave on high until just tender.

Add brussels sprouts to onions, and continue sauteeing until lightly carmelized. Salt and pepper to taste.....YUM!

On October 01, 2005 at 01:45 PM, kskerr said...
Subject: Skeptic
My mother fed us brussels sprouts once, they were awful. Since then my sister tried them and she liked them, said that our mother overcooked them. Think I'll add them to today's grocery list and give them another shot if the store has them in stock. We'll see :unsure: ....

On October 01, 2005 at 02:31 PM, tabacco said...
Subject: Re: Great Shots!
PhotogFan wrote:
Could you talk about your camera and settings? Great close-ups on the Brussels sprouts. And yes, I agree, it's the smell that turns most folks off. Gag reflex was a rather powerful sensation, as I remember.

Through the magic of EXIF, I can tell you this about that nice Brussels Sprout pic:

Camera: Nikon D100
Flash: None
Focal Length: 180mm
Aperture: F/2.8
Shutter: 1/100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Camera Program Mode: Aperture Priority

Does that help? :)

By the way, Michael, PHP has support built in for EXIF, if people are interested it might be a neat side feature to add a way to view embedded data on the photos (click the image for a popup or something, maybe).

On October 01, 2005 at 09:59 PM, Greg (guest) said...
Subject: Grilled Brussels Sprouts
Grilled, with oil, salt, and pepper. It's is a real treat! Put em in a vegi griller on the propane, or other grill. Just like grilling corn. They come out a little crispy and great tasting.

On October 02, 2005 at 03:10 AM, Smillie - OzFire said...
Another great way to cook them is similar to the braised method above but with i/2 cup of cider vinegar instead of the water and knob of butter... not marg... and nutmeg and a little chili. Served with parmesan cheese on top.
Tastes like little hot, sweet sauerkraut parcels

On October 02, 2005 at 03:31 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Great Shots!
tabacco wrote:
By the way, Michael, PHP has support built in for EXIF, if people are interested it might be a neat side feature to add a way to view embedded data on the photos (click the image for a popup or something, maybe).

I've taken advantage of the EXIF info for some of the other websites that I've worked on, but since this site's photography is less technical than my other work, I didn't include some of this info. I'm in the process of overhauling the look of Cooking For Engineers, and including the EXIF info is definitely something that is on my feature list.

On October 02, 2005 at 07:14 AM, fwendy said...
Although Brussels sprouts are becoming available all year round, senior British foodies will not buy them until there has been a frost on them before harvesting. It is said to improve the flavour, although I think that modern varieties are not as bitter as some of the old ones were.

I think this is why many adults think they don't like them - their memories are of what their parents tried to force-feed them as children. The flavour has got better since then.

On October 02, 2005 at 09:39 AM, Calm_Pear said...
Subject: Brussels Sprouts
To my experience it’s actually the fact that children’s taste buts are too sensitive to those green horror balls. I never liked them as a kid but as I grew older so did my taste sensation and I like them now.

On October 02, 2005 at 11:34 AM, an anonymous reader said...
A picture of brussels sprouts stalk / plant :

On October 02, 2005 at 06:17 PM, Richard (guest) said...
Subject: To slice or not to slice
Unlike Sabrina, in our house the custom is to slice the stalk end in a cross-wise fashion to a depth of about 1/4 - 1/3 of the diameter. That way more surface area of the toughest part of the sprout is exposed to the braising liquid, and therefore cooks more quickly - as Michael says, the minimum amount of cooking is needed to enjoy these chaps at there best.

Great blog, by the way.

On October 03, 2005 at 12:07 PM, Andy Minshull (guest) said...
Subject: The Only Way To Cook Sprouts
Trim the base and discard any yellow outer leaves. Steam until just tender then toss in butter. Finally, toss into the rubbish bin. Sprouts are disgusting and I still get the heaves when I remember being forced to eat them as a child. They are the Devil's testicles!

On October 03, 2005 at 07:22 PM, howie (guest) said...
Subject: Brussel sprouts
My favorite way of cooking brussels sprouts is to braise them in heavy cream. I got the recipe from Cook's Illustrated. Just halve the brussel sprouts, braise them with heavy cream, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

The heavy cream mixes with the brussel sprouts and thickens to form its own sauce. It's sooo good... but, of course, all the cream will clog your arteries.

On October 04, 2005 at 12:42 AM, Carol (guest) said...
Subject: cooking Brussels sprouts
The best way I have ever prepared Brussels sprouts is first to steam them (on the stove or in the microwave) and then fry then in a heavy pan with butter, minced onion and lemon zest. I have converted a few
Brussels sprouts haters with this method.[/b]

On October 05, 2005 at 04:38 PM, *morningstar said...
This article reminds me of a Good Eats episode that was a couple of nights ago about peas and the reason they have a bad reputation (because people have bad memories of being forced to eat them by parents that didn't know how to make them). This recipe sounds simple and delicious, I'll have to give it a try sometime. Thank you for sharing it with us :3

On October 06, 2005 at 08:53 AM, bestcopy (guest) said...
Subject: Brussels sprouts mousse
An excellent recipe (which takes away most of the smell) is this Brussels sprouts mousse (actually an English recipe ;) )
For 4
500 g steamed Brussels sprouts (not too soft!)
2 eggs, separated
1,5 dl luke-warm white sauce
nutmeg, salt, pepper
250 g lean bacon*

Heat oven to 190°C. Prepare oven-dish: butter the sides and cover with bacon slices.
Put most of the sprouts (reserve a few) in a blender with white sauce. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Fold yolks manually through the mixture.
Beat egg-whites til stiff and fold into the mixture.
Pour half in a greased oven-dish, put some sprouts in a row, add rest of the mixture. Cover with lean bacon.
Bake for 35 minutes.
Let cool a bit. Serve in slices as paté.

*Without the bacon, serve with potatoes and lard (or pork).
(For more Belgian and other simple recipes visit

On October 06, 2005 at 11:05 AM, Yasminah (guest) said...
Subject: this is not braising
Braising is a specific technique that involves browning, followed by adding a small amount of liquid and cooking at low heat for quite a long time. It is typically used for tough cuts of meat. What you have done here is simply boiling.

Brussel sprouts are great with bacon and blue cheese (as is cabbage).

On October 07, 2005 at 09:29 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: thanks!
whereas i don't particulary enjoy brussel sprouts as a general rule, i just wanted to express my appreciation for your site. excellent documentation and detailed instructions. thanks!

On October 08, 2005 at 07:26 AM, Kevin de Bruxelles (guest) said...
Subject: Great recipe
Since I live in Brussels and have yet to find a really satisfactory way of cooking Brussels sprouts, I had high hopes for your recipe and I was not disappointed; in fact it was excellent. I used walnut oil and squeezed a bit of lemon juice over them instead of the butter. I loved them but the real test was with my 2 1/2 year old twins: Christain ate a few without much comment but Francisca called them "yum" and kept coming back for more. My wife, who hates Brussels sprouts, also loved them.

Now all your need is a recipe for lima beans!

On October 08, 2005 at 07:38 PM, kdinolfo (guest) said...
Subject: roast them!
Roasting is also a great prep for brussels sprouts. Just put them on a pan with some olive oil... I am pretty liberal with the EVOO!... and then roast at 450 until they turn nice and dark on the outside. The outside leaves may even char slightly, but the insides get nice and tender. A little salt and pepper... My goodness they are good. Prob takes about 20 min, but that depends a lot o your oven. My kids will beg for them... and they are so expensive sometimes, I refuse!

On October 09, 2005 at 10:07 PM, Steve (guest) said...
Subject: powdered mustard
However you cook them (I steam), try a little butter, powdered mustard and a few mustard seeds as a sauce. No other spices except maybe some salt. Yum.

On October 13, 2005 at 01:03 AM, Doc (guest) said...
Subject: Red hots
Many years ago to preserve a relationship I learned to eat brussels sprouts steamed until just done with a drizzle of hot sauce and some sea salt. Sometimes it's a wing sauce, sometimes just a good cayenne pepper sauce. It's sort of like kimchee and I still eat them even though the relationship ended long ago. Call me weird.

On October 13, 2005 at 09:22 AM, Richard (guest) said...
Subject: Try Roasting them!
I've been roasting Brussel Sprouts for years. Clean them, place in roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, fresh garlic, kosher salt. Put in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until tender. For final 3-4 minutes broil to develop crust on outside.

Serve hot, cold, room temp. Believe me, delicious!

On October 14, 2005 at 03:19 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Personally, I think Brussels sprouts are something that the child palate just doesn't handle very well. I *hated* them as a kid; always had to eat three (why three, I don't know, but my mother's rule) and I'd hold my nose and chew them as little as possible.

Grew up, and bought some by mistake (there was a bag in with the frozen broccoli). I was broke enough that I had to eat what I had, and I cooked them *just* like my mother had (meaning, I followed the directions on the bag), and they were *wonderful.*

I've found the same true for asparagus, beets, turnips, parsnips, and rutabaga: I like them much, much more than I did as a child, even when cooked exactly the same way. (Okay, I still don't like parsnips very much, but they no longer make me want to gag.)

On October 16, 2005 at 07:00 PM, Minbar2000 (guest) said...
Subject: Brussels Sprouts
I just tried your recipe. Just what I wanted. Thanks!


On October 17, 2005 at 09:03 PM, kskerr said...
Subject: Strike 2
Ok I tried them as a kid and hated them, tried them braised and did not care for them, and now they have one last chance to redeem themselves and only because I bought 12 and only cooked 6. Think I'll go with carmalizing them as I think Sabrina suggested for trial 3. Or I'll roast three in the toaster oven and saute the rest, we'll see...

On November 13, 2005 at 07:33 PM, SF Knitter (guest) said...
Thanks, this recipe was tasty.

On November 13, 2005 at 08:53 PM, ktexp2 said...
Many vegetables are so much better only slightly cooked, if at all! Broccoli is another example - I like mine steamed or gently cooked, but my boyfriend's family likes them loaded down with salt and garlic, boiled, then roasted. I had some last Thanksgiving and I choked they were so salty! I gagged down all I put on my plate, to be polite. There was no broccoli taste left in them, which is a shame. Why eat something that doesn't taste like its supposed to? Yuck!

Anyways, when I worked for a restaurant, the chef decided he was going to make Brussels sprouts braised in Scotch. I think more Scotch went into the chef than the sprouts, but the kitchen smelled like alcohol for days. Those little buggers sure can absorb a lot of Scotch! That's all the first batch tasted like. The employees ate most of those :)

That was a fun day...

On November 19, 2005 at 09:30 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: brussels sprouts starters
As starters and to add colour to the buffet table, i use this simple recipe.

Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick pan. Sautée chopped onions on medium heat till caramalized. Add the b.sprouts ( cut into halves) and sautée for 5-7 minutes. Add juliennes of dried tomatoes. Stir for 2 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of cream. Sprinkle just a hint of dried herbs ( rosemary, basil, thyme). Add salt to taste. Serve hot. Goes well with grilled bread.

Using mediterranean dishes like baked pasta, marinated bell peppers, tomato and mozarella salad etc as other side dishes would be wiser. I prefer it as an option and not 'the' only option.

On December 11, 2005 at 11:12 AM, Clement (guest) said...
Subject: Chemical compound released in the cooking water
Hi guys,

I cooked some brussels sprouts this week end and I remember that my mother always told me to first boil the sprouts for a couple of mins and then discard the water.
You then get rid of the chemical to causes gastro problems.
Any ideas what it is?

Have a look at the pictures. The sprouts could look better but they are not overcooked. They just have been badly treated in the pan ;)

On March 03, 2006 at 11:14 AM, trist (guest) said...
i'm the only one in the family that enjoys eating brussel sprouts. maybe because they look like little cabbages to me. hehe..

i often chop them and then stir fry it with some ham and pine nuts. yummy! :D

On September 08, 2006 at 11:33 PM, Guest69 (guest) said...
Subject: brussels sprouts are mostly an adults treat
A friend of mine told me of this technique of cooking brussels sprouts and it is so good I think almost anyone would like it. You simply simmer the sprouts in orange juice ( just enough to almost cover them) minced garlic and salt for about 8 - 10 minutes or until tender. Strain off 3/4 of the liquid, transfer sprouts from pot to oven safe dish, place in a single layer and cover with grated cheddar cheese. Broil these in the oven JUST until cheese is melted, be careful not to overcook or burn them. TADA, you can now enjoy this wonderful way to eat sprouts, hope you enjoy.

On September 09, 2006 at 06:23 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: I love Brussels sprouts
They tend to give me a lot of gas, though. Oh, well.

On October 03, 2006 at 03:23 PM, daddy_cooker (guest) said...
Subject: Yummy with parmesian
I've tried this recipe twice now and love it. It cooks the sprouts just right without over cooking them. I have been adding some fresh-grated parmesian cheese to the recipe as well, as I think sharp parmesian taste works very well with the nutty flavor of the sprouts.

On October 03, 2006 at 04:41 PM, socal_chris said...
I've always loved brussel sprouts! Grew up with them blanched and served with butter and salt. I enjoy sauteeing them in olive oil and minced garlic.

My favorite way to enjoy them though is pickled. First discovered in a bloody mary in downtown Milwaukee. I've found a specialty shop here in Southern CA that carries a spicy version of pickled ones called Gourmet Atomic Frog Balls. Here's their site:

On October 05, 2006 at 01:44 PM, civil engineer (guest) said...
Subject: Mine eat Brussel Sprouts
I full-heartedly disagree with the comments on " a child's palate" not ready for Brussels sprouts. I've been serving Brussels Sprouts to my kids for years now. They not only eat their sprouts without protest, they eat many other vegetables and ask for seconds too. "Mommy can we have sauteed Brussels sprouts with dinner?" - that's actually my husband's specialty. It involves, butter, onions, salt and pepper and the iron skillet. I'm more of a "steam-them" cook.

I'd like to blame the preparation as being the reason for kids' distaste for Brussels sprouts and other veggies - from boiling into a yucky mush to overly stewed and salted jarred baby food. Maybe our mini-food processor saved my little ones' tastebuds. It's a theory anyway...

In Texas we bought frozen Brussels sprouts and occassionally the fresh version. But our best experience was eating them in France. Who'd of thought that Brussels sprouts could actually be sweet! Now we live in Maryland and I find it harder to find bagged, frozen Brussels sprouts. So, we are limited to buying in-season, fresh...not a bad thing.

Unfortunately, no matter how I prepare them, neither child likes yellow summer squash.

By the way, great website! I enjoyed all of the new ideas for Brussels sprouts, not to mention learning the correct spelling too!

On November 02, 2006 at 12:26 AM, Doubtsprout (guest) said...
Subject: Love them NOW
I can remember as a child plucking the nasty cabbage balls (brussel sprouts) my mother perpared off my plate because they were disgusting. For over thirty years I was afraid to try them because of childhood memories. Recently by mistake I had place a dinner order and brussels had arrived on my plate. I said to my self yuck cabbage balls' got to throw them away. But they didn't look the color of puck green as when my cooked them, but were a rich green color...looked good enough to eat. So I tried one my goodness they were wonderful. Now I'm a fan of the sprout.

On February 26, 2007 at 03:45 PM, Amanda (guest) said...
I always kind of liked them, even as a kid, though mostly because I could pick them apart and eat one leaf at a time... it was never quite the same, chewing on the whole thing. I'd definitely try them again now with a different recipe than just butter.

On February 26, 2007 at 08:54 PM, eltonyo said...
Subject: You do "Cisco" Proud
Here in the Pacific NW, there is a local garden specialist, who has his own TV show (and books) called "Gardening With Cisco".

And Cisco's most favorite food in the whole universe is "Brussels Sprouts".

If you look him up, and his web sight, you will see zillions of recipes for these little gems.

I will try this recipe, as it sounds simple, elegant and delicious... and I must confess... (I am a brussels sprouts virgin!)

Thanks again.

Good stuff!!!

- TonyO

On July 15, 2007 at 05:49 PM, HazeHead (guest) said...
Subject: Oh Yeah!!!
This recipe rocks. I was looking for a new veggie to cook and found this recipe. I'm now picking up Brussels sprouts a couple of times a month, but a little less in the summer. Great winter veggie and a perfect accompaniment to a nice roast or grilled lamb.

On September 30, 2007 at 08:23 PM, beev (guest) said...
Subject: Preparing Srouts
A couple of suggestions:

I had sprouts at Cafe Marcella in Los Gatos, CA about a year ago prepared a way I had never had them. I have subsequently prepared them many times at home this way. Its a lot of work, but worth it. Prepare teh srouts by trimming and separating into individual leaves. This takes a lot of time! then heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet, toss in the sprouts, season with sea salt and pepper to taste and toss until done, usually a few minutes. The results are incredible.

Also, a traditional british way of serving them, which I like a lot, is to cook as in Michael's recipe and then toss with butter and freshly grated ( or jarred if you prefer ) horseradish. Not as good as the above, but very passable, although the "gas" factor is considerably enhanced even from regular sprouts.

On November 11, 2007 at 08:41 AM, dotcommillionaire (guest) said...
Subject: A slight variation
My family likes the sprouts cut in half longitudinally and cooked in water until barely tender. While sprouts are cooking heat 1 to 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until the milk solids begin to brown. Drain the sprouts, dump into the pan with brown butter, and toss with chopped toasted hazelnuts and additional salt (if necessary to taste).

We toast hazelnuts a couple of times a year, and keep them on hand in a airtight container in the freezer. It's easy to pull out what you need and chop them quickly to add a crunchy, nutty flavor to a range of foods. They last for several months left as intact, toasted halves.

On November 26, 2007 at 07:47 AM, Biomole (guest) said...
I have an unproven theory that the world is sharply divided into those who like an those who dislike "Sprouts". This is one vegetable that needs to be properly cooked. Any rawness is unpleasant.

On December 23, 2007 at 09:48 PM, Whirlwind (guest) said...
Subject: Braising Brussels sprouts
Thank you for giving the braising recipe for Brussels sprouts, instead of boiling. If cabbage taste is too much for your family, add a chicken or vegetable boullion cube to the water. Only problem I've encounted in growing them in the Pacific Northwest (Everett, WA) is aphids. Cheaper to buy them instead of growing them here.

On November 15, 2008 at 07:23 PM, Emily (guest) said...
Subject: Thank you: a few years late
I first tried Brussels Sprouts after seeing them here in this post and then subsequently at the farmers market that fall of 2005. I loved them and I have been pointed to other good recipes for them since, so that we cook them many different ways. I've converted other members of my family to liking them, to the point where my sister says they are her favorite vegetable.

This year, I was finally able to grow some in my own garden. Tonight we harvested them (though they're a bit small). You can see our harvest at

Thanks for your demystifying of Brussels Sprouts.

On November 16, 2008 at 03:47 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Thank you: a few years late
Emily wrote:
This year, I was finally able to grow some in my own garden. Tonight we harvested them (though they're a bit small). You can see our harvest at

Emily, that looks like an awesome harvest and I'm glad to have introduced you to brussels sprouts. Lately, I've taken to cutting them in half (top to stem) and browning them in the grease from a few slices of bacon until browned (about 5 minutes) and then adding a little water and putting the lid on for another 2 minutes. (Then I stirred in the chopped up cooked bacon.) Sometimes I'll add a little bit of apple cider vinegar (a combination that I love to do with savoy cabbage as well).

On November 23, 2008 at 06:09 PM, Hmmm (guest) said...
Subject: Braising
Doesn't sound like braising... sounds like par-boiling.

On November 27, 2008 at 12:24 AM, kccook (guest) said...
Subject: Christmas Brussels sprout
I could eat a few sprouts when I was a kid and I discovered the ones that were brighter green tasted better (and I enjoyed eating them leaf by leaf too) All my kids liked them and so do my grandchildren. I think its how theyre cooked AND the attitude of the adult presenting new foods to the child "You must eat some of these!" vs "Oh looky, baby cabbages, yum!"
Here is a recipie from a cookbook long lost of holiday dishes needing only 3 ingredients. Ive had people who said they HATED them, now make this recipie for Christmas. They are very festive looking, red & green. I dont have the exact amounts (since the book is lost) but you can eyeball it, it's so simple. The absolute BEST way to eat B.sprouts I have ever had.
Christmas Brussels sprouts.
Aprox 1 lb Fresh sprouts, about a cup of dried cranberries (aka Craisins) salt & butter. Halve the sprouts through the stem, then lightly steam them in salted water just till bright green and remove from water. Then add the cranberries to the water for about 2 minutes and drain also. Combine sprouts & cranberries and saute in hot butter until lightly browned on edges. Salt to taste. Yum!

On December 11, 2008 at 10:59 AM, tset (guest) said...
Subject: Partially cooked, then fried
Thanks for this post. Our current favorite method is a mix of this and that of some of your other commenters. Trim and halve the sprouts and microwave for roughly 2 minutes in a little bit of water (can also steam as you did). Heat olive oil in a large pan, saute some mashed garlic and red pepper flakes until the aromatics release their goodness, add the sprouts and saute until parts of the outside develop little browned spots. We actually fry for quite a while: the caramelized bits are sooo yummy!

On December 26, 2008 at 11:49 AM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: Kids and Brussels Sprouts
I have always steamed my brussels and either served them cold as dipping vegetables or hot with stone ground mustard. When I went to get the cooked brussels out of the fridge for the Christmas buffet, I discovered that they were missing.

When questioned, my kids (6 year olds) told me they'd been hungry. In a house full of Christmas foods, they'd taken a bowl of cold brussels into their room and eaten then all.

I don't think I've been happier about making due with substitutes. And they didn't get sick (I was a little worried: they snacked on 1.5 pounds of sprouts.) Apparently, though, sprouts aren't just for grown ups.

On March 01, 2009 at 09:50 PM, Tyson999 (guest) said...
Subject: Braising
For an "analytical" site its weird you call these braised brussel sprouts.

Braised is a dry method and wet method combined. There's only a wet method described here.

I'd expect a better grasp of terms from an engineer; Rachal Ray shouldn't know more than you.

On June 04, 2009 at 10:34 PM, sprout lover (guest) said...
Subject: Try them raw!
Sprouts are good raw. Seriously! Just wash em and eat em. They're not terribly bitter, crunchy like cabbage with a bit of bite to them.

Give it a try!

On February 01, 2010 at 10:37 PM, mxh (guest) said...
Subject: sprouts
try this variation...

steam the sprouts for 4-5 minutes. no longer.
heat 2 TBL butter in a saute pan

immediately transfer the sprouts to the butter to finish the cooking. sprinkle with a little salt and oregano. go easy on the oregano. don't wanna kill it.

saute for 2 minutes. let sprouts sit in pan for a few seconds or so without disturbing during the saute. then toss and let sit again. this creates areas of browning on the sprouts that taste good.

serve immediately.

On April 17, 2010 at 08:46 PM, Viv (guest) said...
Subject: Spicy Frog Balls (Brussels Sprouts)
Somebody point me in the direction of the recipe for those awesome "frog balls"!! Had my first one today by someone who brought a jar back from!

On April 18, 2010 at 11:13 AM, Jim Cooley said...
Brussell sprouts shouldn't even be braised -- they should be incinerated! :D

On June 28, 2011 at 07:01 PM, SeeCilCook (guest) said...
Subject: Brussels Baby!
I had never had a Brussels Sprout as a child -- It's not featured in Filipino cooking.

One star-studded event at the W Hotel in Los Angeles changed my life! Apparently the chef there is quite famous for their Brussels. It has an Asian flair stirfried with nuts and crispy garlic. AMAZING! I had to ask my friend what it was.

I've been hooked ever since. Love them crispy with olive oil, garlic and parmeseano reggiano.

On June 28, 2011 at 07:47 PM, Dilbert said...
Brussels spouts fall into the "hate 'em" / "luv' em" category.

not dissimilar to lima beans.

makes not a wit "how" they are prepared, some folk hate 'em; some folk luv' em.

there is for taste, no accounting. . . .

On October 26, 2011 at 01:15 PM, badchippo (guest) said...
Subject: This isn't braising...
This is only simmering. Braising starts at very high heat for a maillard reaction and then moves to low heat in a covered pot for a long slow simmer. It's a method most often used for breaking down the connective tissue in tough cuts of meat.

Quickly simmering brussel sprouts is a great idea, but please don't call it braising since it's really only a shortened version of the last step of actual braising.

On October 30, 2011 at 12:55 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Brussels sprouts on the stalk are available at Trader Joes. I told my kids they were monster spines as it is Halloween time. :) :)

On March 09, 2012 at 09:14 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: New to your site
Always loved sprouts, also known in the Navy as little green MF-ers. But I don't remember any courses in my EE curriculum including recipes like this. Just found your site and love it. Thank you.

On November 17, 2013 at 11:08 PM, Debelack said...
Subject: Carmelize them
I disdain braised vegetables. It takes away from their flavor. This is one of the few applications where I use a microwave. I prepare the Brussels sprouts as you suggest, but cut them in half. I will microwave them for 60-90 seconds, then caramelize them face down until nicely browned. I often will cook some bacon lardons first, then brown them in the drained residue.

On November 19, 2013 at 08:27 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Carmelize them
Debelack wrote:
I disdain braised vegetables. It takes away from their flavor.

Are the vegetables being braised too long? In this recipe, they are only braised for 8 minutes.

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