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How to Clean and Cut Brussels Sprouts

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Brussels sprouts are a delicious and easy to make vegetable with a nutty flavor. They resemble tiny cabbages and also have a similar taste. Fresh brussels sprouts can be cooked in various ways. If you’ve never cooked this cruciferous vegetable before check out this tutorial to learn how to clean and cut brussels sprouts.

brussels sprouts cleaned and sliced in half on a cutting board next to a chef's knife

Where and When to Buy Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts can be found at almost every grocery store or farmers market. In the last few years they have become much more popular with many stores also offering them in the frozen section.

While brussels sprouts are available all year long the best time to buy them is during their peak season from late fall to early spring. This makes them the perfect addition to your fall and winter comfort foods.

How to Store Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are best stored in the refrigerator for up to a week after purchasing them. Frozen brussels sprouts will last up to 6 months in the freezer.

Why do brussels sprouts get a bad reputation?

Brussels sprouts get a bad reputation because when they are over cooked they are mushy and very bitter. By roasting, steaming or air frying sprouts this problem can be avoided.

How to Clean Brussels Sprouts

Before cutting your brussels sprouts it is important to clean them. There are two options here: either rinse well under cold water or soak them. To soak brussels sprouts fill a large bowl with cold water and add a few tablespoons of vinegar. Add sprouts and let them soak for 10-15 minutes. Then, drain and rinse well with cold water.

Next, inspect your brussels sprouts for signs of bugs. Because of the shape these vegetables it is very easy for little bugs to make their way inside. You may also find some while cutting them. If you find any with bugs that can not be easily rinsed away I recommend tossing them.

Brussels sprouts in a strainer being rinsed under the sink
Rinse the brussels sprouts under cold water.

How to Cut Brussels Sprouts

Be sure to use a sharp knife while working with raw brussels sprouts. A paring knife or chef’s knife will work well for chopping. They are not a mushy vegetable and a sharp blade will help you slice through them easier.

First, start by trimming the stem end off of the sprouts on a chopping board. This is the part that is attached to the stalk they grow on. Even after cooking this piece is tough so be sure not to skip this step. If you haven’t seen how brussels sprouts grow it is really cool. Usually you can find them still on the stalk at stores like Trader Joe’s during the holiday season.

Chopping off the stem end of the brussels sprouts on a cutting board
Cut off the stem end of the brussels sprouts. it will be tough even after cooking.

Next, even though we’ve washed the sprouts I prefer to remove a few of the outer leaves. Remove yellowing leaves, loose leaves or even just the entire outer layer of leaves. This will show you if there are any other bugs hiding in the leaves as well.

Close up picture of little bugs on brussels sprouts.
The little bugs you can find hiding on brussels sprouts. Be sure to rinse them away or toss the sprout if there are lots of them inside the leaves.

Then, decide how you are slicing the sprouts. They can be cut in half, quarters or in very thin slices so they are shredded. For small sprouts you can even leave them whole as they will cook fairly quickly.

Brussels sprouts cut in half on a cutting board next to a knife.
Slice brussels sprouts in half after cleaning and removing the outer leaves.

Different Ways to Cook Brussels Sprouts

There are many options when it come to cooking brussels sprouts from roasting to steaming and also eating them raw in salads. These methods make for an easy side dish to your main dish.

Roast Brussels Sprouts

The most common way to cook brussels sprouts is to roast them. In order to roast brussels sprouts cut them in half and then toss them in olive oil. Place them cut side down on a greased baking sheet or parchment paper in a single layer and season them.

Garlic salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder and more are all great choices for roasted brussels sprouts. Roast them at 425 degrees for 20-40 minutes depending on how roasted you prefer them.

Roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and parmesan on a sheet pan. A pink towel is next to the pan.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Parmesan Cheese

Steam Brussels Sprouts

Another way to cook brussels sprouts is to steam them. Steaming can be done with halved or whole brussels sprouts in the microwave or on the stove. Use just a little bit of water when steaming them so they don’t become too mushy or lose too many of their nutrients.

Mushy or over cooked brussels sprouts can have a bitter taste. If desired, once steamed to your preference they can be placed in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Air Fry Brussels Sprouts

Air frying brussels sprouts is another easy way to cook them, simply follow the same directions for roasting and drop them into your air fryer basket. Cook at 425 degrees until cooked to you desired preference.

Stir Fry Brussels Sprouts

One more way to cook brussels sprouts is to cook them on the stove top in a saute pan. For this I like to slice them thin to give them as much surface area to cook as possible. This is a great method for our Warm Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad.

What do brussels sprouts pair well with?

Brussels sprouts pair well with balsamic vinegar, bacon, parmesan cheese, sweet potatoes, almonds, goat cheese, black pepper, maple syrup, walnuts, cranberries, garlic, pine nuts, apples, mushrooms, and more!

How to Store Leftover Cooked Brussels Sprouts

Store your leftover cooked brussels sprouts in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Leftovers should be eaten within 5 days.

Warm Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad in a white bowl. Salad is topped with lots of parmesan cheese and fresh black pepper.
Warm Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

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