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How to Cook the Perfect Brussels Sprouts

How to Cook the Perfect Brussels Sprouts

Sides, Winter | 29th October 2019 | By

Love them or hate them, it’s always useful to know how to cook the perfect Brussels sprouts. This quick guide shows you how along with a few tips and tricks. Plus there’s a selection of delicious Brussels sprout recipes to inspire you.

Brussels sprouts are available, here in the UK, from mid-October to the end of February. I’ve just received the first of the season in my veg box. And it made me think about all those Brussels sprout haters and what a shame that was. I’m sure a lot has to be laid at the door of those hideous yellow mushy sulphurous sprouts some of us were forced to eat during school dinners.

How to Cook The Perfect Brussels Sprouts

A good Brussels sprout is a wondrous thing. It should be green, slightly al dente and never sulphurous. In fact, cooked well, they have a lovely nutty flavour. The key to how to cook the perfect Brussels sprouts is to cook them for a very short time. Anything over six minutes is probably too much. Got an egg timer?

You can see from the above photos that I didn’t have the perfect batch of Brussels sprouts. The size differentials were quite marked, they weren’t in the best condition and they’d been sitting in the fridge for a few days. Yet despite this, the finished cooked sprouts were still really good and they had that classic nutty flavour.

Personally, I like to serve Brussels sprouts cooked this way with a little butter and a good grinding of black pepper. But you could just as easily serve them au naturel or with a drizzle of peppery extra virgin olive oil. Another alternative is to stir in a spoonful of homemade pesto.

We ate this lot with smoked tofu, yoghurt, olives and spring onions rolled in Greek flatbreads. It was one of the best meals we’ve had in a while.

Top Tips for Cooking the Perfect Brussels Sprouts

  • DON’T mark the bases with crosses. This is not only a complete waste of time, but it’s likely to make the sprouts soggy.
  • Keep the cooking water for making the gravy or adding to a soup or stew. It’s really nutritious and it’s a shame to waste it.
  • If you’re cooking the sprouts as part of a big roast dinner, make sure they are the very last thing you cook so they can be served hot and freshly cooked.
  • Not all Brussels sprouts have to be green. You can get purple ones too.

Purple Brussels Sprouts

  • Best not to use frozen sprouts if you want to serve them simply boiled.
  • There’s more ways to cook a sprout than just boiling them though. You can steam, roast or stir-fry them. If you shred them finely they make a good salad too.
  • Buy on the stem if you can. This will keep them fresher for longer.
  • For the ultimate in fresh Brussels sprouts, you could grow your own. The best ones I’ve ever eaten were cooked about ten minutes after they were picked. But I have to confess, I’ve never tried growing them myself. I like the idea, but to be honest, kale is easier.

Some Brussels Sprouts Recipes You Might Like

If sprouts are to be part of a grand roast feast, such as Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving, I personally like them to be served relatively plain. They thus act as a foil for all the other tastes, textures and rich sauces that abound. However, there are plenty of other things you can do to a Brussels sprout than just boil it.

Asian roasted Brussels sprouts with cashews via The Flexitarian

Baked Brussels sprout tater tots (vegan) via Yup, it’s Vegan

Brussels sprout tater tots.

Photo courtesy of Yup it’s Vegan.

Broccoli and shredded Brussels sprout salad (vegan) via Veggie Inspired

Brussels sprouts and goat’s cheese tart via Planet Veggie

Cacio e pepe Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and ricotta via oat & Sesame


Photo courtesy of Oat & Sesame.

Cranberry, chestnut and tofu facon Brussels sprouts (vegan) via The Vegan Larder

Pan fried sprouts with walnuts, honey and stilton via Easy Peasy Foodie

Pan fried sprouts with walnuts, honey & stilton.

Photo courtesy of Easy Peasy Foodie.

Roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic via Stacey Homemaker

Roasty smoky Brussels sprouts with chickpeas (vegan) via The Taste Space

Stir-fried Brussels sprouts with leeks, ginger, garlic & chilli (vegan) via Tin and Thyme

Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Teriyaki rice bowl with tofu and sprouts (vegan) via Tin and Thyme

Teriyaki Rice Bowls with Tofu and Brussels Sprouts

If you’d like even more recipe ideas for Brussels sprouts, take a peek at my Brussels Sprouts Pinterest board.

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Perfect Brussels Sprouts. PIN IT.

How to Cook The Perfect Brussels Sprouts.

How to Cook the Perfect Brussels Sprouts – The Recipe

How to Cook the Perfect Brussels Sprouts
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5 from 11 votes

How to Cook the Perfect Brussels Sprouts

A quick guide on how to cook the perfect Brussels sprouts for your festive feast or any other occassion.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: British
Keyword: brussels sprouts, Christmas, how to, Thanksgiving
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 38kcal


  • 350 g Brussels sprouts
  • 150 ml water
  • pinch sea salt
  • knob of butter (about 10g) (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper (optional)


  • Trim off the sprout bases and remove any damaged leaves.
  • Half any particulaly large sprouts.
  • Give the trimmed sprouts a quick rinse in a bowl of water.
  • Place the cooking water and salt in a medium sized lidded pan and bring to the boil.
  • Add the Brussels sprouts and boil lightly for four to six minutes or until the sprouts are al dente, but still beautifully green. You can test with a sharp knife, but trying one is a surer way to tell.
  • Drain off the water and serve immediatly with the butter and pepper if desired.


If you're cooking the sprouts as part of a big roast dinner, make sure they are the very last thing you cook so they can be served hot and freshly cooked.
It's best not to cook them for more than 6 minutes or they are likely to become sulphurous and yellow.
Serve au naturel or with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil instead of the butter, if preferred.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on serving size and exact ingredients used.


Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 340mg | Fiber: 3.3g | Sugar: 1.9g | Iron: 1mg


I’m sharing this quick guide on how to cook the perfect Brussels sprouts with Easy Peasy Foodie for #CookBlogShare.


  1. Chloe Edges

    29th October 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Love it! The rice bowl you made looks delicious. I do sometimes think outside of a roast dinner with sprouts but not often enough! But I’m going to want to boil those bad boys for a minimum of 20 minutes. We like em’ good and soggy in this house!!!

    • Choclette

      29th October 2019 at 3:08 pm

      Aghhhh, Chloe, I should have known some people would love the yellow sulphurous mushy kind of sprouts and that you would be in that camp!

      • Chloe Edges

        29th October 2019 at 3:41 pm

        ha ha! Mostly I rile against my childhood food but this is one of the things that I embrace! I will actually eat them cooked lightly too don’t worry. But we’ll probably get the sprouts on for Christmas some time next week!!!

        • Choclette

          30th October 2019 at 3:05 pm

          You do make me laugh Chloe, but I’m relieved that you can tolerate them cooked properly too.

  2. angiesrecipes

    29th October 2019 at 2:43 pm

    My favourite winter veggie :-)9 Have been having them lately though my stomach starts complaining about it..well, I don’t care. LOL I love them with lots lots lots of butter :-))

    • Choclette

      29th October 2019 at 3:07 pm

      Glad to hear you love them Angie. Well it’s true lots of butter will probably make them taste even more delicious, but I do try and go easy on the butter given how much I bake with the stuff.

  3. Donna

    29th October 2019 at 3:14 pm

    We all love sprouts! I like them just boiled, but also as part of a stir fry! They are yummy. I didn’t like them as a kid, but my mother is very much an over boiler of veg!!

    • Choclette

      29th October 2019 at 3:54 pm

      I’m so glad you came through the childhood dislike of overdone sprouts and out the other side. Seems such a shame to miss out on such delicious veg.

  4. Shannon @ Yup, it's Vegan

    29th October 2019 at 3:37 pm

    A big bowl of blanched Brussels sprouts is one of my favorite things to eat! Thanks for including me 🙂

    • Choclette

      29th October 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Oh yes, blanched. That’s a very good way of describing my recipe Shannon. And thanks for contributing one of your recipes.

  5. Priya Srinivasan

    30th October 2019 at 3:58 am

    We don’t cook sprouts often, i have never tried them this way! You made it look very simple! When perfectly made, these cute lil things would make a lovely side on the dinner table!

    • Choclette

      30th October 2019 at 7:46 am

      Cooking sprouts is very simple. The key is to not use too much water and not to cook them for too long.

  6. Monika Dabrowski

    30th October 2019 at 7:40 am

    Great post Choclette, Brussels sprouts are so delicious but can be completely ruined if cooked too long, I agree. I think people who claim not to like them have probably been subjected to soggy sprouts as children. They need to read your post!

    • Choclette

      30th October 2019 at 7:50 am

      Thanks Monika. I was subjected to plenty of soggy sulphurous sprouts when I was a child, but luckily I was saved by my mother’s cooking. She always cooked her sprouts well.

  7. sherry

    30th October 2019 at 11:29 am

    i’ve not seen purple sprouts before. how pretty. we adore brussels sprouts in this house. so nice roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt and some bacon. not that you eat bacon of course:-) cheers sherry

    • Choclette

      30th October 2019 at 1:46 pm

      Hahaha, thanks Sherry. Purple sprouts aren’t particularly common, but they make a nice change.

  8. Cat | Curly's Cooking

    30th October 2019 at 11:43 am

    I love sprouts but my go-to recipe has bacon in it. I can’t wait to try some of these delicious veggie recipes!

    • Choclette

      30th October 2019 at 1:45 pm

      Now you’ve mentioned your go to recipe Cat, you’ve given me an idea for a veggie version which might work well.

  9. Leanne

    30th October 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Brussel sprouts are a staple side dish in our house this time of year! I usually just roast them, so I appreciate your tips on how to cook them perfectly! I’m picking some up at the market later this week, so I’ll be sure to remember your tips!

    • Choclette

      30th October 2019 at 3:04 pm

      Well roasted sprouts are great too. It’s just if they are part of a big feast, I reckon plain can sometimes be best.

  10. Byron E Thomas

    30th October 2019 at 3:28 pm

    You’re so right – I think the reason why Brussels sprouts have a poor reputation is because people have only eaten them as overcooked lumps of yellowish-green mush. I love them and I think they’re best when cooked until just tender and served in a simple way like with butter and a bit of seasoning. Perfection!

    • Choclette

      31st October 2019 at 1:59 pm

      I’m completely with you on all this Byron. I’m just heading in to town now and might see if I can pick up some sprouts en route.

  11. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    30th October 2019 at 4:29 pm

    YUM! I love sprouts. And I totally agree about cooking them last and not for too long. Not a fan of soggy sprouts. Thanks for including my recipe in your roundup! Eb x

    • Choclette

      31st October 2019 at 2:00 pm

      My pleasure Eb. Soggy sprouts are no fun at all.

  12. Sisley White

    31st October 2019 at 11:54 am

    I really love Brussels Sprouts. Apparently I’m odd for that. I love the ideas you’ve given me on how to cook them.

    • Choclette

      31st October 2019 at 2:01 pm

      Well I’m not sure why it’s odd to love Brussels sprouts, but I’m very glad you do Sisley.

  13. Rosemary

    1st November 2019 at 10:25 am

    So good to see a champion for Brussels Sprouts. I sometimes feel I am fighting a lone battle to convert others (including all my family members) to the deliciousness of this much maligned vegetable. Nothing better than a well-cooked sprout with a knob of butter!

    • Choclette

      1st November 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Oh no Rosemary, that’s terrible. I blame school dinners! I hope you start to make progress soon.

  14. Annabelle

    1st November 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Great tips and recipe. Brussels sprouts are a Winter staple at home. Love them except when they are soggy! My favourite way of cooking them is by roasting them. Thanks for including my recipe in the roundup!

    • Choclette

      1st November 2019 at 5:45 pm

      Roasted sprouts are delicious and I often cook them that way too. But if I’ve got lots of rich dishes to feast on, I quite like my sprouts plain.

  15. Jacqui Bellefontaine

    4th November 2019 at 3:09 pm

    I love sprouts but the rest of the family dont like them so I dont get them that often:(

    • Choclette

      4th November 2019 at 4:01 pm

      Oh boo, how disappointing. Have you tried roasting them? It might just tempt them.


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