This easy recipe for Maple Brussels Sprouts is out of this world! Fresh sprouts caramelized in maple syrup and topped with crispy bacon pieces will become your new favorite vegetable side dish!
Brussels sprouts are some of the healthiest veggies — and tasty, too, if done right. These Maple Brussels Sprouts are the perfect bite with the leafy sprouts, salty bacon crunch, and sweet maple syrup to cut the bitterness! Try this quick and easy side dish made for weeknights and holidays!
What are Brussels Sprouts?
Those little cabbage looking vegetables that many kids try to hide or feed to the dog are a cruciferous vegetable. Named after the city Brussels, Belgium, it is always capitalized and always ends with an S, no matter how many you have!
How to Make Them Crispy
Oven roasting is the best method for getting crispy sprouts. As the outer leaves start to brown they take on a much sweeter flavor that kind of balances out the bitter taste. You will want to cut the bigger ones in half as well as trim any brown from the stem.
People who don’t care for this vegetable might find that they just didn’t like them prepared by steaming, boiling, or microwaving! Slow cooking produces lifeless, colorless, stinky sprouts. Think overcooked cabbage or broccoli here. This right here is why lots of people dislike them — they have only eaten them overcooked!
I’ll eat them cooked just about any way someone serves them to me, but I think the baked ones have a superior flavor. Another way to make your sprouts crispy is to sauté them in oil in a medium-hot skillet. Don’t use high heat or you’ll burn them!
How to Make Maple Brussels Sprouts
- Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Also, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or non-stick foil for easier cleanup.
- Cut your bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy over medium-high heat. Drain your bacon and set it aside for now, but save the grease!
- Now, prep your sprouts by trimming the brown bits off the stems and removing any loose or yellowed leaves. Slice any larger sprouts in half for even roasting.
- Then, add your sprouts to a mixing bowl with a little bit of bacon fat, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together until all the sprouts are covered.
- Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the outer leaves have darkened but not blackened.
- When done, stir in your cooked bacon and serve. Enjoy!
Cook the Bacon Separately
It’s hard to get sprouts and bacon cooked perfectly at the same time. Usually one is way overcooked. I find the best way to avoid this is to cook the bacon separately and sprinkle the cooked bits over the sprouts when they come out of the oven.
- I cook the bacon first and save some of the bacon fat for roasting. This bakes a bacon flavor into them.
- I wouldn’t add any bacon to this that wasn’t at least partially cooked first. Trust me on this. You don’t want flabby bacon in this. You also don’t want to burn the maple syrup trying to get the bacon cooked.
- Cooking the bacon first lets you omit any cooking oil and using strictly bacon fat for flavoring.
Why Use Real Maple Syrup?
Real maple syrup is really required in this recipe. I don’t have anything against pancake syrup, my husband likes it better than the real deal!
Pancake syrup doesn’t actually even have any maple syrup in it and has way too much corn syrup or other sugar added to it.
Real maple syrup will not make them overly sweet and will counteract the bitterness instead of just coating everything with sugar.
Why Do Brussels Sprouts Smell?
They emit hydrogen sulfide gas when cooked. Short of reducing your cooking time to less than 5 minutes, there really isn’t much you can do about the smell.
I promise you that after you taste these, the smell will have been well worth it!
How to Serve Them
These are fancy enough to serve with holiday meals!
Brussels Sprouts will go with just about any meal that you would serve a green vegetable with.
Here are our favorite recipes for serving with Maple Brussels sprouts:
- Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil to prevent a sticky baked-on mess
- Use fresh Brussels sprouts that are tight and firm
- Cut larger sprouts in half to ensure the big ones cook all the way through
- Use real maple syrup
- Use bacon fat for extra flavor
- Cook the bacon separately from the sprouts
How Long Can I Keep Leftover Brussels Sprouts?
Store cooked Brussels sprouts in an airtight container like a covered bowl or a sealed plastic baggie in a refrigerator. These leftovers should be eaten within 3 days.
How to Reheat
Brussels sprouts can be placed in a microwave-safe container and microwaved for 45 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on how many you are trying to reheat.
They can also be placed back into a 400-degree oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through. This is preferred if you have the time!
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Maple Brussels Sprouts
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
- Cut bacon into small pieces and fry in a skillet over medium-high until bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels and set aside. Reserve the fat from the pan.
- Prepare the Brussels sprouts by trimming the hard stem end and removing any loose or yellowing leaves. Slice any large Brussels sprouts in half.
- Add Brussels sprouts to a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat, maple syrup, salt, and pepper and mix until all the sprouts are covered.
- Pour Brussels sprouts mixture onto the baking sheet and place into the preheated oven.
- Roast for 25 to 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Brussels sprouts are done when the outer leaves begin to turn medium to dark brown.
- Remove from the oven and add the cooked bacon. Stir to combine.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!