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Quick Guide to Brussels Sprouts

The most delicious foods are waiting for you this season, and we’re here to help you discover them. Through mid-November we’re featuring must-have information on the season’s best ingredients and dishes — winter squash, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, stuffing and pies! — to help you plan the tastiest celebrations and everyday meals.

There are two kinds of people: those who love Brussels sprouts and those who’ve never had them — or at least never had them cooked properly.

Autumn through early spring is peak season for these mini cabbage look-alikes, so now is the time to try them or experiment with new recipes.

Selecting
Choose firm, small, compact Brussels sprouts with a good green color and stem ends that are clean and white.

Avoid those with wilted or yellowed leaves or that feel spongy. When possible, select sprouts of uniform size for more even cooking.

Storing

Do not wash or trim Brussels sprouts until you are ready to use them.

Sprouts purchased on the stem can be kept on the stem in the refrigerator if you have room. If not, remove them with a sharp knife and store loose sprouts in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator (discard the stem).

Fresh sprouts will keep refrigerated for several days.

Preparing

Trim any bruised or yellowed leaves if necessary as well as the stem end, being careful not to trim away too much so the outer leaves don't fall off during cooking.

Cut an “X” in the stem end of each sprout so the interior cooks as quickly as the outer leaves.

Regardless of cooking method, test for doneness by inserting the tip of a knife into the stem end, which should be barely tender.

Overcooking activates the cabbage-like odor that can be pretty unappealing.

Earthy, nutty-tasting Brussels sprouts can be boiled, steamed, oven roasted, braised, grilled and even enjoyed raw.

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Holiday Recipes

Here are a few easy Brussels sprout recipes that are likely to be everyone’s unexpected favorite dish at your holiday table.

  • Roasted. Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts is a simple all-purpose recipe with delicious results. Try one of our tasty twists by adding rosemary and parmesan or have fun coming up with your own. Enjoy it as a side at dinner and use leftovers for a salad the next day!
  • In a salad. Pan roasting Brussels sprouts is a versatile preparation method. The results can be crispy or creamy, if cooked with a sauce. Searching for a gluten-free vegetarian side dish or main course? Flavorful and hearty Warm Millet Salad with Brussels Sprouts, Creamed Mushrooms and Sage is a match.  
  • With bacon. Bacon and Brussels sprouts make a delicious savory pairing in Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Crispy Bacon, a simple skillet side dish that comes together quickly and easily.

Warm Millet Salad with Brussel Sprouts, Creamed Mushrooms and Sage
Warm Millet Salad with Brussel Sprouts, Creamed Mushrooms and Sage

Everyday Recipes

No need to save Brussels sprout dishes for dinners with company; they’re easy to prepare on weeknights too.

  • In a stew. Slow cooking sprouts makes for soft sprouts that have been infused with flavor. Beer Braised Beef Stew with Brussels Sprouts is a filling and comforting German-inspired dish made with savory beef and winter vegetables.
  • Steamed. Gentle cooking methods keep the sprouts extra green. Steamed Carrots and Brussels Sprouts with Tarragon is a colorful and flavorful side that easy to prepare.
  • Raw and shredded. Brussels sprouts belong to the brassica family, along with kale and broccoli, and they’re terrific treated to the same sort of salad preparations. Core the sprouts then separate the leaves or shred them for a variation on this Waldorf salad or use extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice to create a quick and flavorful dressing like in this salad. Tip: Use a mandoline or the shredding blade on your food processor to quickly shave Brussels sprouts.

Leftovers

Have leftover roasted Brussels sprouts? Use them as a pizza topping like in our Brussels Sprout and Chicken Pizza with Parmigiano-Reggiano or add them to a frittata.

Be sure to check out all of our favorite Brussels sprouts. And for more seasonal recipe collections, tips and how-tos, visit our holiday guide.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Brussels sprouts?