Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

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Yes, you read that right, Mom. I made Brussels sprouts and I LIKED them. I actually liked them so much; I found myself eating a crazy amount of these Caramelized Brussels Sprouts just as soon as I finished taking a picture of them.

If you’ve been wondering how to cook Brussels sprouts in a pan, this is the recipe you need. I’ve never tasted a sprout I loved quite so much.

I made these sprouts again last week to update the photos and then served them with Baked Polenta and Chicken Piccata. It was a winner of a meal!

How To Cook Brussels Sprouts In A Pan

These Brussels sprouts knocked my socks off. Lightly sweetened with brown sugar and still crisply warm from the stove, these are addictive. (They really must be, because I’m still shocked that I enjoyed them!)

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Recipe

I have been on a mission to like Brussels sprouts for a while now. After hearing other cooks rave about roasted and pan-fried sprouts of all kinds, I made them a couple of times recently and been unimpressed.

The turning point for me was the shredding. In this recipe, the Brussels sprouts are finely sliced and basically shredded into ribbons. This eliminated any of the bitterness that I usually associate with Brussels sprouts. I can hardly wait to make these again.

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts in a Pan

If you’re like me and tend to find Brussels sprouts bitter, make sure to slice each sprout as thinly as possible. You want them to look like green ribbons with just a few “cabbage-y” looking pieces left.

Start the pan-cooking process by sauteing a clove of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil just until fragrant. This took about 30 seconds for me–you don’t want the garlic to burn!

Next, you add the Brussels sprouts. Saute the sprouts in the oil and garlic for a few minutes. You’ll know the sprouts are done when they turn bright green and get nice and tender.

After removing the sprouts from the heat, comes the caramelizing step. Add in some brown sugar and kosher salt and stir until all the sprouts are well coated. The outside of each sprout will turn bright green and lightly crispy.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts on the stovetop

Serve these sprouts right away as a side dish for Roast TurkeyCrispy Oven Baked Chicken or just about any other main course you like. I admit to loving them so much that I could have happily eaten a whole bowl of these for dinner by themselves.

These sprouts can also be stored in the fridge and eaten cold tossed into a lunchtime salad the next day. Try them mixed with a green salad with apples and bacon for a perfect easy lunch.

Updated to add: In the years since I first shared this recipe, my family has developed quite the taste for Brussels sprouts. We continue to love this recipe but we’ve also become a fan of other pan-fried sprouts like these Smoky Buttered Brussels Sprouts

These caramelized Brussels sprouts are so good, you'll be sneaking them straight from the pan!

 How to Cook Brussels Sprouts in the Oven

If you’re like I was and you haven’t figured out how to love these little green cabbages yet, chances are you just haven’t tried the right recipe. While this pan cooked recipe was my turning point, roasted Brussels sprouts have been known to convert many a skeptic.

Learn how to cook Brussels sprouts in the oven with this Crispy Brussels Sprouts recipe. (The sprouts are baked in a pan and covered with cheese – what’s not to love?) I also heartily recommend Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Bacon and this recipe for Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausage.

When trying to convince a child to try Brussels sprouts, combining them with other favorite foods can be a great entry point. We love our one pan meals around here and Brussels sprouts make a fantastic addition.

Try Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Red Pepper and Bacon next time you need an easy weeknight dinner! Tossed with crispy roast potatoes and smoky bacon, the sprouts get a delicious flavor that no one will want to turn down.

This Brussels Sprouts Gratin caught my eye a while back and it’s on my list to try soon. I’m betting my boys will love the tender Brussels smothered in cheese.

How To Cook Brussels Sprouts In A Pan

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

This is the recipe that converted me from being “meh” about Brussels sprouts to being over the moon for them. With brown sugar and garlic, this easy Brussels sprout recipe needs a place on your dinner table!

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  2. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir gently to coat with oil.

  3. Continue sauteing until the Brussels sprouts are bright green and tender, about 5-6 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat. Add the salt and brown sugar and toss to combine.

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These caramelized Brussels sprouts are so good, you'll be sneaking them straight from the pan!

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

5 from 2 votes
Recipe adapted from and with thanks to Eat Live Run
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 20 small brussels sprouts sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar I used dark brown, but light or dark should work

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. Add the garlic and saute just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir gently to coat with oil.
  • Continue sauteing until the Brussels sprouts are bright green and tender, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the salt and brown sugar and toss to combine. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 95kcal · Carbohydrates: 14g · Protein: 3g · Fat: 4g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Sodium: 171mg · Potassium: 370mg · Fiber: 4g · Sugar: 8g · Vitamin A: 716IU · Vitamin C: 81mg · Calcium: 45mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 12/3/11 – recipe notes and photos updated 2/26/20}

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are irresistible!

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Sue/the view from great island says

    I'll eat Brussels Sprouts any old way, I just love them. I've never tried shredding them, though, sounds interesting. I did read once that different people inherit varying tolerance for bitterness which explains why some people can't stand foods like Brussels Sprouts and other like them.

  2. Kara says

    That looks so yum. I thinks I'm gonna try this in a quinoa salad. I've been working on some different versions and this would be really good.

  3. Diana says

    We love brussel sprouts and always looking for a new way to prepare them. Thanks for the caramelized idea! If you haven't already, Alton Brown has a good recipe with cranberries and pecans.

    • Anonymous says

      I make Alton's brussel sprout recipe all the time, except I started adding parmesan cheese to them which makes them even better jn my opinion. They are soooo good! It's another sprouts recipe everyone should try!

  4. Words Of Deliciousness says

    I haven't eaten brussels sprouts in years, I am not a big fan of brussels sprouts. So I should try this recipe and maybe I would find out that I like them. I have to admit they really tasty in the picture that you took.

  5. EcoCatLady says

    Hmmm… that's a very interesting idea. I absolutely LOVE brussel sprouts… wait… my spell checker says brussel isn't a word… I'm having another horrible speller moment… wait… Brussels Sprouts?!? as in the city in Belgium? Holy Moly… that's going right up there with the cantelope.

    ANYHOW… what I started to say before my inability to spell so rudely interrupted me, was that I love all cabbage like leafy green veggies, but CanMan HATES them. He always says they taste bitter, which totally baffles me. So, one day we saw something on the TV about how some people have more taste buds than others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supertaster

    So we did the test and it turns out that CatMan is a classic supertaster… meaning he has WAY more taste buds than average, and I am a nontaster, meaning I've got WAY fewer. Which explains why I gravitate towards anything with a strong flavor, and why he likes things that taste like Styrofoam.

    SOOOO… maybe if I use this recipe I can get him to eat Brussles Sprouts and we'll both be happy!

    Whew! That took more effort to get out than it should have!

  6. prairiepixie says

    I am definitely going to try these. I had brussels sprouts for the first time last summer at a restaurant, and loved them. I promptly came home and found a Dr. Weil recipe called "Brussels sprouts for people who don't like brussels sprouts" and made it right away. YUM!

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook says

    I am going to buy Brussel sprouts tomorrow to make this. I am a huge serious fan of Brussel sprouts and I just made it for the party's side dish last Sunday. And I'm already craving for this. Very easy with brown sugar – I've never make this recipe so I'm very excited! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  8. Anonymous says

    hi,
    I tried the recipe a few days ago and it was great. I used about 700g sprouts and my husband and I ate it all in one go. I didn't increase the sugar and oil quantity and it was perfect just as it was.
    thank you,
    adina

  9. Judith Hembree says

    I love my version of this recipe because it calls for orange flavor from the spice rack. It is just a subtle flavor that can hardly be tasted . This cake is a great breakfast cake any time of year. It is sooo yummy!!!