Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite veggie side dishes and I’m really happy that they have had a resurgence in the US. I keep seeing crispy brussels sprouts on various menus as standalone appetizers and so I thought I’d show you one of my absolute favorite crispy brussels sprouts variations.
If prepared correctly, they can be really delicious and a great start to a meal (or a side).
“Prepared correctly” is the tricky part though. There’s a lot that can go wrong. Sometimes they just fall apart. Sometimes they get mushy. Sometimes they are just bland.
This recipe though has exactly zero of those issues and completely conquers Brussels sprouts. I’ll probably have them prepared other ways, but I’m not sure I need them in any other way. This is pretty much my dream crispy Brussels sprouts recipe.
The recipe is from my very weathered copy of Genius Recipes, a Food52 cookbook, which basically compiles the best of the best from their website and a bunch of other sources. I think you could probably find most of these recipes if you dug around the Internet or through various cookbooks, but it’s nice to have them all compiled together.
This Brussels Sprouts recipe, from David Chang of Momofuku fame is about as sexy as Brussels sprouts can get.
If you’re looking for more ways to use Brussels sprouts, check out this Autumn Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner.
How to prepare and cook the Brussels Sprouts
I used to spend the time chopping off all the little stems on Brussels sprouts but if you try to get the smaller ones, this step is pretty stupid. Just slice them in half and leave the stem. It’s no problem to eat it and it keeps all the leaves together.
If you have very large sprouts or have ones with really dirty ends, you can slice off the tips but try to keep the leaves together.
The key to these sprouts is to start them on the stovetop but finish them in the oven and no matter what you do: don’t touch them. Don’t stir them. Don’t poke them. Don’t fiddle.
If you’re cooking a full two pounds of sprouts, you’ll need more than one skillet so you can cook them in a single layer. Heat some neutral oil in a large skillet over medium heat and lay out all the sprouts, cut-side down.
Let those cook for about five minutes and they will start to get some color on them already.
Transfer them to a 400 degree F. oven and let them roast for another 10 minutes or so. This will cook the sprouts through and make them really nice and crispy on the bottoms. The insides of the sprouts will be tender but the outside layer will be crackling.
Alternatively, you can start them in a skillet and then carefully transfer them to a greased baking sheet to finish in the oven, but just be warned that this is a pain in the butt and you also run the risk of the sprouts falling apart if you handle them too much.
Personally, I prefer the skillet method even if it means I have to make two batches.
Can you make these in an air fryer?
I get it. Air fryers are all the rage these days, but I wouldn’t try it with this recipe. For starters the air fryer basket just isn’t big enough to fit all the sprouts. You would have to do it in a dozen batches. Just crank up the oven.
Also, I don’t think the sprouts would get as crispy in an air fryer as you would have to transfer them from a hot skillet where they are developing so much flavor. Go with teh oven method for this one.
Umami Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
A lot of brussels sprouts recipes will call for a glaze for the sprouts. Sometimes this is with honey or maple syrup or even balsamic vinegar. I love a glazed brussel sprouts, but you lose some of the crispy elements when you glaze it.
Instead, this light vinaigrette just barely coats the sprouts and they still really nice and crispy.
This is some dreamy sauce. It’s light, but super-flavorful.
The key ingredient is fish sauce. I’ve been using this brand recently and like it a lot, but any brand will work. Some brands are saltier than others and you might have to adjust the sauce at the end with a little more lime or water if you have a saltier brand.
Mix in the fish sauce with the water, garlic, chiles, vinegar, lime, and sugar. Smells good already.
Right before you serve the sprouts, hit them with chopped cilantro and mint. If you add this too soon it’ll turn brownish. It’s best really nice and fresh.
How to finish these crispy brussels sprouts
Remember those sprouts in the oven? This is what happened to them and I tell you it’s beautiful.
As soon as they come out of the oven, toss them with big spoonfuls of the vinaigrette and serve them while warm or at room temperature.
I would put these up against any Brussels sprout side dish out there. They are a delicious masterpiece.
What to serve with these crispy brussels sprouts
These sprouts are delicious served with big proteins like steaks or pork chops. I would serve them next to my chile-rubbed steak or my broiled pork chops and it would be a guaranteed winner.
How to store these brussels sprouts
If you have any leftovers, you can store these crispy sprouts in an airtight container for a few days. They reheat well in a skillet but just know that they will lose most of their crispiness.
Hot tip: I like to chop up any leftover sprouts and use them in a breakfast skillet like this!
Crispy Brussels Sprouts w/ Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
- Neutral oil, for frying
Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
- ½ cup fish sauce
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 lime, juice only
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1-3 red chiles, thin sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro, stems and leaves
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- For sprouts, preheat oven to 400 °F. Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in two oven safe skillets over medium heat. Add sprouts, cut-side down to the skillets. You’ll need two to hold all the sprouts. Don’t pile them in one skillet.
- After bottoms of sprouts begin to brown, about five minutes, transfer skillets to oven to finish roasting for 10-15 minutes until they are really crispy on the bottom and around the edges. Don’t stir them or touch them.
- For sauce, combine fish sauce, water, vinegar, lime, sugar, garlic, and chiles in a bowl. Taste for salt. if it’s too salty, add more water. Right before serving, combine this base with cilantro and mint.
- Drizzle roasted sprouts with the vinaigrette and serve warm or at room temperature.