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How to Make Brussels Sprouts Delicious

I’ve been having a bit of a battle with Brussels sprouts lately. Every time someone else makes them for me, I love them. But when I try to make them myself, they suck and are too bitter. What was I doing wrong?!

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Last week, I finally found out. I was over at Elle’s place (aka “the clubhouse”) with the girls, as per usual, and I brought a big thing of sprouts to roast up as part of one of our awesome potluck dinners.

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I rinsed the sprouts off and starting putting them in a plastic bag to add olive oil, salt, and pepper, when my friend Jillian asked “Do you want me to help you slice those?”

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I turned around, shocked. “Wait… you have to slice Brussels sprouts?!”

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“Yeah,” said Jillian. “The ends are the bitter part — don’t you usually slice them?”

Um…

I looked over at Elle and gave her a look that said “Is this true?! All this time, and I never knew?!” She nodded. And we all started laughing.

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See that little part to the right of the sprout? Apparently that’s the part you slice off to get rid of the bitterness, along with any leaves that fall off.

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Hallelujah. Problem solved.

Once they were cut, I popped them all into a large zip lock bag, drizzled in some olive oil and added in some cracked sea salt and pepper:

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Then closed the bag and mixed it all around so the sprouts were evenly coated. Feel free to add other seasonings, too!

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Pop them in the oven on a baking sheet at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once so they cook evenly.

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Et voila. Delicious Brussels sprouts, you are finally mine.

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Am I seriously the only person that didn’t know you’re supposed to slice the ends off of Brussels sprouts before cooking them? Please tell me I’m not alone in this ;)

Comments

  1. 1

    haha, I did not know either! I had also had decided frozen ones are the better choice (and mostly cheaper!). ESPECIALLY the frozen petite brussels sprouts from Whole Foods!

    • 2

      Ew!!! No!!! I’ve never had a frozen brussel sprout that wasn’t mushy!

      • 3

        Do the frozen turn out okay? they aren’t mushy are they? Do you thaw them out first or clean them like the raw ones?

        • 4

          I’ve only tried it with fresh so I’m not sure – I’d think they might be mushy though. I would just get fresh if you can!

          • 5

            I do this with frozen one and they are awesome. I love them and they are crisp and not mushy. I just pull them out of the bag frozen, mix with olive oil, salt and pepper and then bake.

    • 6

      Girls, girls, I will never stop learning. Who knew, surely not this “ole chick”. My husband loves them, me, not so much just as stated from others the bitterness. Truly, just did not know how to prepare them. Just bought a bag of frozen and stuck it in the freezer and came to pc to find out if indeed they could be delicious. Thanks a bunch for the input.

  2. 7

    These look amazing! I didn’t know you had to slice them either! Lol!

  3. 8

    1. I did not realize this either.
    2. I am surprised that this post did not include bacon. That is one of the best ways to make brussels delish.

  4. 10

    OH! I had no idea! This explains SO much.

  5. 11

    I’ve only eaten brussel sprouts one time and it was when I made them myself… and I DID NOT cut the ends off! That must be why they were too bitter for my liking. Now I’m going to have to make them again! Thanks for sharing this, Anne!

  6. 12

    i always cut the ends off. i must be perfect. ;) (in reality, rob got me hooked on them and showed me how to properly prep & roast these tasty little guys!) SO good. glad you’ve mastered the technique, my dear!

  7. 13
    Jen Robinson says:

    I am pretty sure like, nobody, knew this. I certainly didn’t! Maybe i’ll try to roast them myself sometime- since, like you, I’ve always enjoyed them when I’ve eaten them at other places!!

  8. 14

    Also great with balsamic vinegar and EVOO or a teriyaki/soy sauce combo. And have you tried a grated brussels sprout salad? I haven’t attempted that at home but grated they are like shredded lettuce.

  9. 16

    I had NO IDEA about this. I’ve never tried to make Brussels sprouts at home because I’ve always hated them, probably because I’ve never had them cooked properly. Actually, just the other day I was having a conversation about how they’re the only vegetable I can say I really, truly dislike. Maybe I should give them another chance.

  10. 17

    Yup always slice mine too, though I couldn’t tell you where I picked that trick up. Someone must have told me along the way. Funny the cooking tips you pick up without really knowing the origin. The method above is the way I usually make them, so incredibly simple. That said, I’ve been waiting for a holiday to try out this recipe: http://www.slashfood.com/2007/12/19/lucys-brussels-sprouts/

    I’ve had it bookmarked forever. It has cream so it is DEFINITELY on the indulgent side, but boy does it sound fantastic.

  11. 21

    I like to slice mine in half too, so they get extra crispy! Garlic Gold is awesome on brussels sprouts too.

  12. 23

    I always cut the ends off of mine, but I think my parents always just scored the ends with a little plus-sign before steaming them when I was growing up…buuut I also like Brussels sprouts more now than I used to.

    Also, it’s great to add a little maple syrup for like the last third of the roasting time or before the last time you stir the Brussels sprouts. It doesn’t make them sweet, but it helps with the caramelization process- tasty!

  13. 25

    lol. You are funny. Your family must not cook brussels sprouts very often. They are delicious and I am sure yours were too. I add a little garlic to mine. I am a garlic fan.

  14. 27

    That is so funny! I honestly think I had to google how to cook a brussel sprout the first time I tried it. Oh my favorite is to roast with peices of garlic and then when you pull it out of the oven drizzle a tinch of balsamic vingar. It almost makes it sweet. SOoOOOOOOO good!! :)

  15. 28

    Anne, did you write this post for me? I think you wrote this post for me. ;)

    I definitely never knew that, and I guess I’ll *have* to give b. sprouts ONE MORE CHANCE now that this new information has been provided… ahahaha

  16. 30

    That’s news to me!! Thanks for sharing :)

  17. 31

    It’s interesting because I’ve always sliced them, but I just thought it was to remove the harder stem piece, not because it had a bitter flavor. Thanks for the tip. :)

  18. 32

    Oh, thank you so much!! I did not know that you had to slice them and am always so disappointed afterwards – not anymore!! Can’t wait to try this out.

  19. 33
    Katherine says:

    I trim them like that and and also slice them in half lengthwise. That gives them more surface area to get nice and crunchy and brown.

  20. 34

    interesting… I have always sliced mine not sure why. Might have just been thinking they cooked f aster that way. Now I know why!

  21. 35

    I believe I knew about cutting the ends off. Last summer I received some from my local CSA and I too would score the bottom with a plus sign, then steamed them and put them in a casserole. However, I really didn’t care much for the taste, it was still bitter (and neither did my husband for that matter). So when I get the little guys again this summer, I will give this a try and see how they turn out! Perhaps I will even try them grilled on outside grill. :)

  22. 36

    Hmmm I knew you had to slice the ends off, but I don’t think I’ve been removing the outside leaves. As a result, my b sprouts of late have tasted like badness.

    I will try this new trickery next time! ;)

  23. 37

    I always slice off the tips, mainly because they always look a little weird to me hahaha. I didn’t know that was the bitter part though!

    I like to add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar along with your toppings before baking, it gives it a sweet tang that’s yummy!

  24. 38

    You are not alone Anne! I was cracking up reading this because I always like them at restaurants and then I try them at home and I always hate them! Thanks for sharing :)

  25. 39

    I always slice the ends off and slice them in half length-wise. Halving them allows even cooking throughout! So as long as you’ve got the knife and cutting board out, try cutting them in half too!

  26. 40

    Don’t worry, I never knew either! Thank you for sharing with me. I usually HATE brussels sprouts but I’m willing to try them now that I know this secret :D

  27. 41

    After cutting off the ends, I like to slice them in half. Drizzle w/ olive oil and place cut-side down on the pan before roasting – this provide crispiness on the outside and an almost steamed-like center. Glad you are enjoying b. sprouts! :)

  28. 42

    You aren’t alone. I didn’t know about slicing off the ends either. I’ve never cooked them fresh, always used frozen before. Thanks for the tip.

  29. 43

    *hangs head in shame* I had no idea, either.

  30. 44

    hahah I always used to use the frozen kind and just pop them on an oven pan, but now that I buy fresh (WAY better), I slice them! I guess I looked it up somewhere.

  31. 45

    Wow, is all I can say….

    Anyways! haha. Another bonus tip, after you cut the bottom off, slice a little ‘X’ into the bottom too, to help the insides get an extra kick of heat… melt like buttah in your mouth!
    I also like to just slice them in half and roast them that way if i’m short on time 10-15 min @ 400 degrees…

  32. 47

    You are not alone – I had no idea! I thought I must be missing the “secret ingredient”. Hahaha. Well, now I can’t wait to try them this week!

    Thanks! Here’s to delicious tasting brussel sprouts!

  33. 48

    i actually LOVE brussels!! weird, huh??

  34. 50

    Funny to read your post…my dinner last night was a plate full of roasted brussels sprouts. I crave brussels sprouts, and every time I roast them, I make sure there’s enough for the next day’s lunch. I slice mine in half lengthwise, drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle kosher salt and pepper and then add chopped bacon bits and roast for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees! They’re the best and so good for you:)

  35. 51

    It wouldn’t matter if you were a non-taster for PTC, like me! ;)
    (PTC is a compound (phenylthiocarbamide) which is extremely similar to many compounds found in “bitter” vegetables. The ability to taste this compound and others is genetically determined (~70% of people are tasters, depending on ethnic background). It’s commonly used in biology labs as an exercise, students taste a little strip of paper coated with PTC and either have a violent bitter reaction or none at all!) Heh, little bio lesson there! :)

  36. 53

    I love brussels! They’re my favorite veggie. I always chopped them because my mom always made them growing up that way. I never knew that is what made them less bitter though.

  37. 54

    :) I always have chopped off the ends because that’s what other people have told me to do. I never knew the end part was bitter though!

  38. 55

    I love brussels sprouts. I didn’t discover them until four years ago and have been eating them mostly nonstop since.

    I never trim the ends off and I *like* the way it tastes. Typically I cut them in half lengthwise and toss them with olive oil, garlic/onion powder (not salt), salt, pepper and rosemary. Maybe it’s because I add all that other stuff that I don’t notice?

    I also eat the frozen ones – mostly because I feel guilty if I microwave them at the office and the frozen ones have a tendency to stink less. I buy Trader Joe’s brand and they’ve never seemed mushy to me but it could just be a personal preference.

  39. 58

    I had no clue! Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to make sprouts soon and taste the difference for myself.

  40. 59

    I never knew, either! :) Although I’ve never made them fresh, just always frozen. My favorite way is roasted with a little balsamic and sea salt/pepper!

  41. 60

    I prefer steaming brussel sprouts, actually. It takes the bitterness out without me having to slice them. But anytime I make roasted sprouts, I definitely chop the ends off.
    Happy eating!

  42. 61

    I HAD NO IDEA! I made them once and they were HORRIBLE. I might just have to try them again- THANKS!

  43. 62

    Hold the phones! I was doing it wrong all this time too! I just avoided them and thought my taste buds were off. I will try again and hopefully love them!

  44. 63

    It’s okay.
    We can still be friends. (0:
    For the record I had to be schooled on how to eat a mango, because after the first two I just threw a bunch away. “they’re too hard or something” I told a friend. She had a good laugh.

  45. 65

    I buy frozen sprouts so it’s all good in the ‘hood over here, but I had forgotten you had to slice the ends off freshies. :) Thanks for the reminder!

  46. 66

    Hahaha I actually had never sliced them off! I do it ocasionally, but usually I go hard core:) Brussels sprouts roasted are my faveeee

  47. 67

    Oh joy! I’m just about to make a batch of roasted brussels sprouts. :)

  48. 68

    I had no clue either!! I HATED them when I made them at home … haha …http://debarooroo.blogspot.com/2010/11/baconless-brussel-sprouts.html

  49. 69

    This is cute! I guess I learned that from Ina Garten. Roasting brussel sprouts is the only way I will eat them. They’re fabulous with homemade pizza. Yes, people do think I’m weird: pizza, beer, and brussel sprouts? haha!

  50. 70

    I sort of knew that, but that is more because the only way I have ever cooked them is shredded.

  51. 71

    haha, I knew that (well was also told late in the game) but and usually too lazy and cook them as-is. I don’t think they make much of a difference but then again, I’m lazy ;)

  52. 72

    They’re still evil, Anne!

  53. 73

    I didn’t know you had to cut the bitter part off, either! thanks for the public service announcement, because roasted BSs are on my menu for next week!

  54. 74

    I love roasted brussel sprouts. I think it’s the only way I’ll eat them!

  55. 75

    the first time I cooked brussel sprouts I didn’t know I had to cut off the ends either! lol, but growing up I’ve always been a BIG fan of those little suckers

  56. 76
    Adventurer says:

    You’re not alone, Anne; never heard it was all about cutting off the ends!

  57. 77

    Brussels sprouts are so darn good! They are my new favorite veggie. The first time I had them I didn’t know how you prepared and cooked them so I had to google it. I have never roasted them before but I do like them sauteed.

  58. 78

    I’ve never cut off the ends, nor have I ever tasted bitterness. Or maybe I just like bitter vegetables.

  59. 80

    Great tip! I love Brussel sprouts but can’t get my husband to eat them. I did stir fry them with olive oil, bacon and garlic which tasted great, but this looks a lot more healthy! Thanks for sharing.

  60. 81

    I love brussel sprouts! My best friend hates them, but ever since I told her to cook them like this, she has converted!

  61. 82
    Pat Elsberry says:

    I’m a little behind on my email, but wanted to say that you are not alone! I am a new fan of the brussel sprout (just since last year!). I do cut the ends off, but I also steam them in the microwave for a few minutes prior to roasting. I also always add garlice (fresh, minced) or powder along with the sea or kosher salt and pepper. Now that the weather is getting nice we love to roast them on the grill!! Super delish!! :)

  62. 83

    Thank you so much for sharing. I did not know about cutting the ends off either but will do so now. I had always purchased the frozen kind and when I had attempted to use the fresh version which I steamed, I had been so dissapointed because they had that bitter taste. Now I can enjoy them steamed and even have a new way to prepare them…roasted!! Can’t wait to try them.

  63. 84
    Heather Wakeen says:

    Another tip is to cut the end, then cut an “X” across the bottom…doesn’t do anything other than to look pretty in the end.

    Also if you want a vibrant green, blanch the brussel sprouts before you put oil & seasonings on.

    Boil water, drop in cut sprouts for 1-2 min, then into an ice bath. Pat dry, season & bake. That sets the deep green color.

    Delicious!!

  64. 85

    I didn’t know that. How do you prepare them so that they don’t have that burned texture on the outside. How do you make them uniformly green all around?

  65. 86

    Um, the whole reason that I found your blog was because I did not know how to prepare brussel sprouts. So, no, I didn’t know you were supposed to cut off the ends! I’m going to try out your instructions. I grew up eating frozen brussel sprouts so I hope I dig the fresh ones I bought :-)

  66. 90

    Well, I didn’t know until I read your article, so thank you!

  67. 91

    Hey Anne P,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the easy and delicious recipe! These sprouts turned out terrific and were a hot with the whole family.

    -Stay At Home Utah Dad Learning to Cook

  68. 93

    Thank you for sharing this info! None of the other recipes I found mentioned it, so I’m glad I clicked around a little more and found this. Besides, I’m glad my search led me to your blog. It is lovely!

    -Corinne (a.k.a. willworkforfoodgirl)

  69. 95

    Hi Anne,

    Your blog came up first when I searched how to prepare brussel sprouts. I didn’t know that you cut the ends off either. I prepared them as you suggested, and they were nummy!

    Take care,
    Nancy

  70. 97

    I live in Toledo, Ohio and found a fresh veggie and deli market called Monnets. It’s kind of like an old world style veggie market and everything there is so cheap compared to the bigger stores. There, I found huge brussel sprouts, some bigger than golf balls. I never knew that you should not boil them. Question is?? do I cut the larger ones in half, season and put in oven, or leave them hole? Thanks for the ideas.
    ps, when I was a kid, my mom use to make me eat these things, it was the only time I was the only one sitting at the dinner table after everyone was done eating. These use to make me gag, lol, now I love them.

    • 98

      I would definitely cut them – at least in half and maybe even in quarters if they are that big! I usually cut mine in half before roasting them – adds to the deliciousness. :) And I used to hate them, too!

  71. 99

    Ahhh, thank you so much for posting this – I ruined a whole batch of them last week and didn’t understand why, and have been afraid to try again! Now I understand!

  72. 100

    I am making Brussels sprouts this evening and had no idea you needed to cut the end off. So glad I came across your article while searching for recipes :) Now at least they won’t come out bitter! I think I’m going to roast mine with garlic, olive oil, lemon, fresh parsley, salt and pepper.

  73. 102

    I just tried this. They’re so good! :D They got more charred than I’d have preferred, but still pretty yummy. Thank you!

  74. 103
    Lashawnda says:

    I live in Detroit!! That’s right the D-Town. i love how you had pictures to show each step. i will try this and email you back with my feed backs!! Thank you.

  75. 104

    As I was sitting here eating my failed first attempt at BS, I decided to google, “how to prepare brussel sprouts.” This post is the first link that comes up. I was specifically questioning if I should have sliced the stems off. So, just know, in mid-2012, your “d’oh” moment is still helping other people have THEIR “d’oh” moment. But in a good way. ;)

  76. 106

    I just cooked some brussel sprouts and I was looking for a recipe for an idea of what to do with them and I came across this page. I only just, and I mean just, found out, through this article that you had to cut off the ends.
    Thanks.
    I hope they still taste good!

  77. 107

    I haev ALWAYS hated brussels because of that bitter flavor, but since becomeing a vegetarian, I have wanted to reconcile my differences with them. This might actually help because, no, I didn’t know you were supposed to cut the ends off either! Thanks for sharing. =)

  78. 108

    I got brussel sprouts to try and had no idea you had to slice off the ends. Thanks! Glad I found that out before I tried cooking them! :)

  79. 109

    Yea…I had no idea how to prep them. That’s how I found my way here! Thank goodness for internet search. After reading the other posts, I’m getting excited to try the recipe I’m using for Thanksgiving. I will trim the bottoms, slice them in half, and will be sauteing them. The rest of the ingredients are Applewood Smoked Bacon, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
    Thanks for the info!

  80. 110

    thanks so much for bringing this to so many of us ……. the bitter brussel sprout battle is over….yeah

    thanks

  81. 111

    As a kid growing up in the UK, my Mum taught me all about the joys of brussel sprouts early on, and now I live in the States they’re a staple (for me anyway) at Thanksgiving and Christmas. My wife and son hate them so I get to eat them all myself. When my Mum showed me how to prepare them (“topping and tailing”), she’d chop of the stalk, peel off the outer layers until they’re were clean and blemish free, then she’d always cut a cross (about 1/4″ deep) into the base of what remained of the stalk. She told me that it was to let the hard center cook. Just thought I’d pass it on as my sprouts are always delicious and soft all the way through :)

  82. 112

    Can’t thank you enough for this tip! Husband said he wasn’t a fan of these mini cabbages because they are bitter. I roasted some tonight and made sure the end was all trimmed and all halved. They are delicious!

  83. 113

    Wow, bitter. This can be solved by sprinkling them with sugar before cooking. I had some for the first time and mine were great. I added olive oil, seasoning (like Mrs. Dash), sugar, salt, and pepper and roasted them after slicing them of course. They are great.

  84. 114

    lol! I just googled, “How to cook brussel sprouts” and came across your blog. Funny… I would have a very bitter experience because I was going to boil some water and drop them in, ends and all. LOL!

  85. 116

    I’m so happy to find out that you should take the outside leaves off , in my wildest dreams never knew but I can’t wait to try this way mine were always bitter, thanks bunch

  86. 117

    Very good advice. Thank you, really enjoyed them.

  87. 118

    Hi,
    I just found this blog post last night. I hated brussel sprouts as a kid, they were so bitter and I couldn’t stand the taste. My mom would make me sit at table for hours and then I’d device ways to get rid of the brussel sprouts, shove them in my cheeks until I looked lik a squirrel and then go spit them out in toilet:) Anyway, recently I tried brussel sprouts with some friends at a couple restaurants and loved them and couldn’t figure out why they weren’t bitter??
    Now, I have the answer:) Thanks for the blog post. My husband grilled some last night and we added butter, garlic and balsamic and it was good and not bitter at all. I can’t wait to make them again and try some of the great cooking methods mentioned in this post.

    Thanks again!!!

  88. 120

    No, no no. Do not cut off the ends. That’s the best part of the brussel sprouts. But i guess im the only weird person out there, who loves the bitterness to the vegetables/greens.

  89. 121

    I’m amazed – my husband and I recently just tried them again – 3 times now and have had to force them down! I’m going to give it another go because they are so good for you. This sounds great. Thank u!

  90. 122

    Thank you for this tip. I am going to prepare Brussel sprouts for the first time ever today! I would have had no idea about the bitter end. Now I also have a simple recipe thanks to this post!

  91. 123

    I didn’t know that the ends were bitter and that you should slice them off. I’ve always just eaten them as is and after a while, the bitterness has become an acquired taste. I also use frozen sprouts, sometimes store bought and sometimes I freeze them myself after a light blanching. I like my sprouts muchy with lots of gravy anyway, so I have no complains. lol.

  92. 124

    So that is the reason…. I hated them in The Netherlands, always bitter like hell, but typical part of the Dutch cuisine. This year I tried them in Poland and Canada out of politeness, and they were so good that I kept serving them on my plate :)

    I just bought a bag today, so this will be the first time I ever cook them.

    Wish me luck!

  93. 126

    This the best recipe ever. I could just eat it over and over.

  94. 127

    I LOVE roasted brussels sprouts, but how do I deal with leftovers? Can I microwave them?

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