A quick 10 minute side dish, these crispy brussels sprouts are pan fried and perfectly buttery! Crisp and caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside, so good even the kids will love them. With just a handful of simple ingredients, these little cabbages are great for an easy Thanksgiving side dish not taking up oven time!
Brussels sprouts are a great side dish during the colder months of the year. They are healthy and takes on other flavorings like a charm. My go-to brussels sprouts recipe is these honey balsamic brussels sprouts, but they are oven roasted. We don’t always have room in the oven, but I didn’t realize until relatively recently that they are actually equally delicious pan fried!
A fresher take on brussels sprouts is this lemony blackberry brussels sprouts and broccoli side dish, but for fall I really love this healthy shredded brussels sprouts and chickpea salad. That also has the honey mustard combination like this recipe has, because that is the ultimate sweet and savory combination.
The funny thing is that I used to hate brussels sprouts, but look at me! I now love them so much, they are one of the veggies I use most in my fall recipes, apart from pumpkin and butternut squash of course.
There aren’t many ingredients in this dish, but they all serve the purpose of creating the most delicious fried brussels sprouts.
- Brussels sprouts – in themselves, don’t taste much more than a little mild and sweet cabbage. If you overcook them, they will taste bitter. However, the reason why I love them is that they absorb other flavors amazingly.
- Olive oil – has a moderately high smoke point and is resistant to oxidization, which is needed when frying at high temperatures. Any high smoke point oil can be used for this recipe, but olive oil is tasty and one of the healthiest oils as well.
- Butter – does not have the high smoke point as olive oil has, but it has impeccable flavor. Nothing is as delicious as nutty brown butter! Combining it with the olive oil, helps with the low smoke point. There’s no problem in using only olive oil, but butter is so good.
- Honey and mustard – are PERFECT for each other. It’s something about that sweet and savory combo that gets me every time.
- Rice wine vinegar – acid will make the flavors in this dish pop. Any kind of light vinegar or even lemon juice will work, but you can also omit it and the dish will still be delicious.
- Walnuts – my favorite fall nuts. Dry roast them to get a nuttier taste. So worth the extra two minutes. You can use whatever nuts you like, or even omit them if you can’t or don’t want to eat nuts.
- Salt and pepper – salt is the best flavor enhancer. Freshly ground pepper is also a very nice spice that works with almost everything. And yes, always freshly ground.
- Herbs: Can never go wrong with a little thyme or parsley!
Why are they soggy (or not crispy)
It is very easy to overcook brussels sprouts, and they will become mushy and get a bitter taste. But another problem is that you may not use enough oil in the pan (or sheet pan when oven roasting). According to The Kitchn, you should use 2 tbsp of oil per 1 pound of brussels sprouts.
Not enough oil
If you don’t use enough oil, the brussels sprouts will soften and not caramelize and crisp up. This is great if you don’t want to use too much oil, but don’t expect them to become as crispy as they can be. There’s a reason why deep fried potatoes are much crispier!
Too low heat
Another issue is that you use too low heat. If you use too low heat they won’t have the chance to crisp up and caramelize properly. That is why, in this recipe, I am using a cast iron skillet which is amazing for high heats. It is important to pre-heat the skillet before adding any oil to it, and to heat the oil for a while before adding the food. If you add cold food to a cold pan it will make the food stick.
Also, remember that a cast iron skillet is more effective than any other skillet, so you don’t need as high temperature to cook the food nice and crisp. A medium high heat is perfect as long as you pre-heat the pan.
Moving the food around too much
Back to brussels sprouts, you should also put the cut side down in the pan to help all the layers crisp up. Let them sit undisturbed so they caramelize perfectly. And don’t discard the leaves that fall off when you cut them, they will become like little chips! Turn when they self-release from the pan, that’s when they are ready to be flipped anyway. Just like with a steak!
Store and reheat
It is not so easy to keep the brussels sprouts crispy after cooking. You should keep the cooked brussels sprouts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can reheat them in the oven on 350F (175C) for about 5 minutes or until heated through, but they will not be as crispy. Add a little oil to the baking sheet to avoid them sticking to the pan. They will not be as crispy as the first time they were made, but they will still be delicious.
Pan roasted brussels sprouts
Start by washing and trimming the brussels sprouts. Cut the stem off and cut them in half, removing any yellow or dark leaves. Keep the fresh looking leaves, they will turn out like little brussels crisps!
To make crispy brussels sprouts in a pan, we first need a hot skillet. Pre-heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, for about 2 minutes. Then add in oil and heat for another minute, add in the butter and once that has melted, place the brussels sprouts in with the cut side down. Let this sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes or when the brussels sprouts self-release from the skillet.
Turn them around and add in the rest of the ingredients, apart from the walnuts. Stir to combine and stir occasionally until brussels sprouts are done, about 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, in a dry nonstick skillet, add chopped walnuts and roast for a couple of minutes, until slightly browned and smell nutty. Sprinkle, along with the herbs, over the brussels sprouts and serve these delicious super easy pan fried brussels sprouts right away. That’s it!
Enjoy these crispy brussels sprouts with a rosemary butter steak and scalloped potatoes, chicken in a chanterelle sauce, pumpkin gnocchi or perhaps Moroccan harissa chicken and butternut squash? Just head to my main course page and I’m sure you will get tons of ideas right there.
Did you like this recipe? Here are more easy side dishes I think you will like:
- Honey Balsamic Brussels Sprouts (Oven Roasted)
- Garlic Butter Wilted Kale
- Garlic Parmesan Green Beans
- Moroccan Oven Roasted Carrots
- Patatas Bravas with Spicy Tomato Aïoli
- Fennel Grapefruit Salad
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