When you catch yourself throwing back healthy vegetables with the loss of self-control usually reserved for potato chips, you know you’ve found a keeper. Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, you are pure, unbridled, crispy addiction!
I shied away from the air fryer for the first year of its popularity, because I generally loathe to add appliances we don’t need, and I wasn’t convinced I “needed” an air fryer.
Had someone fed me these air fryer Brussels sprouts, I would have jumped on the bandwagon IMMEDIATELY!
(This is the air fryer we ultimately ended up buying and have been pleased with so far.)
Air fryer Brussels sprouts are F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C-A-L-L-Y crispy. Beyond crisp!
Another reason I was skeptical of the air fryer is that I’ve had excellent luck making super crispy Brussels sprouts in a regular oven—these Roasted Brussels Sprouts, for example, are wonderful—so I wasn’t convinced the air fryer could do them much better.
I was pleasantly surprised!
In fact, some test batches of air fryer Brussels sprouts crisped so quickly, it took some tweaking (and a special trick) to make sure the centers had a chance to become tender before the outsides burned.
Air Fryer Advantages
An air fryer is essentially a compact countertop convection oven.
- An air fryer cooks food by blowing hot air down and around it, making the foods you air fry crispy in a short amount of time.
- Air fryers are a delight for making healthy versions of foods that are usually deep-fried, like these Air Fryer French Fries and Air Fryer Tofu.
- If you use a convection oven at home, you might not notice *as* much of a difference with air fryer vegetables versus roasted vegetables, since they work in similar ways.
- An advantage of the air fryer over a convection oven is that it preheats very quickly—in 3 minutes for my model (perfect when I need an Air Fryer Grilled Cheese pronto).
- Between my high-powered convection oven and the air fryer, I found the air fryer does a slightly better job of making food crisp. It even made perfectly tender Air Fryer Pork Chops!
If you’ve been skeptical of Brussels sprouts in the past—even if you’ve gone so far as to resist Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts—the air fryer could be the catalyst that converts you.
Like these Brussels Sprouts Chips, they are brilliantly crispy and addictively salty.
Secrets to Crispy Brussels Sprouts in the Air Fryer
The downfall of many Brussels sprouts recipes is poor texture.
Bad boiled Brussels sprouts have caused many a food trauma. In fact, if you are convinced you don’t like them, my bet is that you were served them this way first.
Even in the oven, Brussels sprouts can turn out soggy. This happens if the pan is too crowded or the heat in the oven isn’t high enough.
This air fryer recipe avoids both pitfalls and ensures your sprouts come out alluringly crisp (not at ALL soggy!) every single time.
- A cooking temperature of 375 degrees F is perfect for air frying Brussels sprouts without burning them.
- Shaking the basket several times throughout will keep the air circulating so that your Brussels sprouts crisp evenly.
Is there such a thing as too crispy?
The biggest challenge I ran into when testing this recipe was making sure the Brussels sprouts had enough time to become tender in the middle before the outsides were charred to the point of being inedible.
While I personally like my Brussels sprouts al dente all the way through, I know that some prefer them softer in the centers. If you are one of the tender hearts, here’s my trick:
- For Brussels sprouts that are crispy outside and more tender inside, soak the Brussels sprouts in water for 10 minutes prior to air frying them.
The soak time tenderizes the sprouts so the middles are softer. Don’t worry, they won’t be soggy! I would never do that to you.
If, like me, you don’t mind some chew to your sprouts, you don’t need to soak the Brussels sprouts prior to cooking.
How to Make Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
To give the Brussels sprouts flair, I took inspiration from my Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and added some garlic cloves to the mix.
The garlic gets very dark and crispy, which we adore. Feel free to use the garlic, skip it, or try one of the other variations below.
- Brussels Sprouts. The green veggie nightmare of many childhoods has reinvented itself as a craveable side dish. These crispy air fryer Brussels sprouts are not only easy and flavorful, but they’re healthy too. Brussels sprouts are packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
- Olive Oil. Helps the Brussels sprouts become crispy and delicious. Since this is an air fryer recipe, you do not need as much oil as you do in the oven.
- Salt + Pepper. Sometimes the simplest seasonings are the best.
- Garlic. While optional, fresh garlic is a scrumptious addition.
- Trim and halve the Brussels sprouts.
- (Optional) Soak the sprouts in water for 10 minutes if you’d like them a little softer in the center.
- Drain and dry the sprouts. Toss them with oil and spices, then add them to the air fryer.
- Cook for 5 minutes at 375 degrees F, then toss. Cook another 5 minutes, then toss again. Add the garlic (if using), and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes.
- Add any desired toppings, and ENJOY!
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic. Transfer your cooked Brussels sprouts to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. (Don’t miss this delicious Balsamic Brussels Sprouts recipe!)
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. Prepare this Oven Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon, then crumble it over the top of the finished sprouts. (If you love bacon with your Brussels sprouts, be sure to check out these Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts.)
- Air Fryer Frozen Brussels Sprouts. If using frozen Brussels sprouts, make sure to leave plenty of space between the sprouts in the air fryer basket. You may also need to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time. (For an easy oven method, see my Roasted Frozen Brussels Sprouts.)
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts Parmesan. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top of your finished sprouts.
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Feta. Toss the cooked Brussels sprouts with a handful of feta cheese.
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Honey. For a sweet finish, drizzle 2 teaspoons of honey over the cooked sprouts. For a sweet/spicy variation, add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
- To Store. Refrigerate Brussels sprouts in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven or in the air fryer at 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. The Brussels sprouts will get mushy once thawed, so I don’t recommend freezing them. If you have lots leftover, you can freeze them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Air Fryer. The air fryer I own and love.
- Mixing Bowls. These mixing bowls are ideal for prepping the sprouts.
- Measuring Spoons. Easy-to-use magnetic measuring spoons.
Never thought you’d use the words “addictive” and “Brussels sprouts” in the same breath? Involve the air fryer, and you’ll catch yourself saying them together again and again.
Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
FOR THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS:
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced (optional but delish!)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze or reduced balsamic vinegar
- Drizzle pomegranate molasses
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Trim off the ends of the Brussel sprouts and remove any brown outer leaves. Cut them in half from stem to end. If any are very large, cut them into quarters from stem to end so that all the pieces are fairly similar in size and cook evenly.
- OPTIONAL—This step makes sure the Brussels sprouts a little more tender in the middle; that said, if you don't mind a firmer sprout, you can skip it—I like my Brussels sprouts firm/tender inside and crispy outside, so I typically skip it—Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and cover with warm tap water. Let sit 10 minutes.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees, according to the manufacturer's instructions (for my air fryer, that's 3 minutes of preheating).
- Drain the Brussels sprouts and with a towel, lightly pat dry. Wipe out the bowl you used for soaking, then add the Brussels sprouts back to it (if you didn't soak the sprouts, simply place them in a large mixing bowl). Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Toss to coat evenly, then add them to your fryer basket.
- Cook the sprouts for 5 minutes, then slide out the basket and shake it to toss the Brussels sprouts to promote even cooking. Cook 5 additional minutes, then slide out the basket again. The Brussels sprouts should look like they are getting nice and crispy and are almost done (if not, let them cook a minute or so longer). Add the garlic cloves and toss to coat once more. Cook 2 to 4 additional minutes, checking and shaking the basket often, until the Brussels sprouts are deeply crisp.
- If adding toppings, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving bowl (or wipe out the mixing bowl you previously used) and stir in any desired toppings. Enjoy hot.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate Brussels sprouts in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: The Brussels sprouts will get mushy once thawed, so I don’t recommend freezing them. If you have lots leftover, you can freeze them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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