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I’ve been cheating. On Brussels sprouts. After more than a decade of cooking this stellar (if mis-maligned) vegetable in what I *thought* was the one and only way to make it taste delicious, I’ve become hooked on an entirely new (and faster) preparation method: Sautéed Brussels Sprouts.

A pan of sautéed brussels sprouts with balsamic

Charred and crispy on the outside, lightly caramelized and meaty on the inside, and ready to serve faster than you can say “hustle!” sautéed on the stovetop is my new favorite way to cook Brussels sprouts.

While Brussels sprouts can be bitter raw, cooking them at a high temperature ensures they have a rich, caramelized flavor, and a tender, satisfying (but not mushy!) texture.

Oven baking is one popular high-temperature cooking method, like Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts (and their elevated spinoff Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic).

Or if you happen to have an air fryer, Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts also bring the heat.

But if your oven is busy, you don’t own an air fryer, or you want your Brussels ready FAST, you are going to need an alternative.

That’s where sautéing Brussels sprouts comes in!

Easy sautéed Brussels sprouts in a skillet with balsamic, Parsley, and pine nuts

A Fast, Easy Way to Cook Brussels Sprouts

The texture and flavor of these sautéed Brussels sprouts is outstanding.

So outstanding in fact, they have (for the moment at least) replaced roasted Brussels sprouts as my preferred cooking method.

  • All you need to make sautéed Brussels sprouts is a heavy-bottomed pan, some olive oil, salt, and 10 minutes over medium-high heat.
  • I’m going to encourage you to add a splash of acid and maybe a handful of nuts or cheese if you feel so motivated, but if you like, you can just throw the halved Brussels sprouts in the pan and call it a day.
  • If you’ve been searching for a way to get more vegetables into your diet that a) doesn’t take too much work and b) you’ll actually enjoy eating, this easy sautéed Brussels sprouts recipe is the place to start.
Crispy sautéed Brussels sprouts in a pan with balsamic, pine nuts, and fresh herbs

How to Make the Best Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

You’ll also see sautéed Brussels sprouts called pan fried Brussels sprouts, pan roasted Brussels sprouts, or pan sautéed Brussels sprouts.

All of these terms refer to the same method of cooking the Brussels sprouts with oil in a large skillet over high heat. The ingredients are basic, the recipe prep is straightforward, and the results are exceptional.


The Ingredients

  • Brussels Sprouts. These delicious little green veggies are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and Vitamin C. Once sautéed, the sprouts will have a crisp, caramelized outside and tender but firm inside.
  • Olive Oil. Be generous to ensure the sprouts caramelize in the pan.
  • Kosher Salt. Kosher salt is critical to making your Brussels sprouts tasty. I always recommend kosher salt because it has a more pure, soft taste than table salt (which tastes metallic due to the treatment process that keeps the salt free-flowing). Season the sprouts as you go along, then at the very end to taste.
  • Black Pepper. As much or as little as you like.
  • Acid. Brussels sprouts crave acid; a splash will balance and perk up their flavor. In this recipe, I use balsamic vinegar, though you can also try lemon juice, pickled onions, or an entirely different vinegar.

No acid on hand? Just leave it out and vow to try Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar a different day. Your sautéed sprouts will still be tasty, I pinky promise.

The Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottom skillet (a cast iron pan is a good choice), then add your Brussels sprouts. Cook undisturbed until caramelized.
  2. Add spices and stir. Continue to cook and stir until the Brussels sprouts are deep dark golden brown.
  3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vinegar. Finish the sprouts off any way you like: a handful of Parmesan cheese, nuts, or herbs, or simply enjoy them just as the are. Serve hot and DIG IN! 

How to Trim Brussels Sprouts

  • Before trimming, I recommend washing your Brussels sprouts to remove any dirt.
  • To Trim: Use a knife to cut off the tough stem end of each Brussels sprout. Then, remove any yellow or damaged leaves, and cut each Brussels sprout in half lengthwise, from tip to trimmed end.

The Difference in Taste and Texture Between Sautéed Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

While both oven roasted and pan sautéed Brussels sprouts have similar qualities—both taste addictively crispy and caramelized on the outside and distinctly savory—I have observed some differences between the two.

  • Oven roasted Brussels sprouts tend to be softer all the way through the interior.
  • Pan roasted Brussels sprouts stay firmer. They’re still delightful to eat, but they don’t totally melt in your mouth the way baked sprouts do.
  • So which is better? Honestly, I’m torn! I enjoy them both for different reasons and appreciate the variety. Try them both and see what you think.
Crispy sautéed Brussels sprouts in a pan with balsamic and pine nuts

Recipe Variations

  • Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. Dice 4 slices of bacon, and cook them in your skillet. Once crispy, remove to a plate. Then, cook your sprouts in the bacon drippings. Top your finished sprouts with the crispy bacon pieces. YUM!
  • Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Herbs. Add a tablespoon of fresh herbs to your sprouts at the end. I used parsley, but cilantro and mint would be delicious too.
  • Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan. Toss a handful of Parmesan over the sprouts at the end. Feta and goat cheese are other, super tasty options.
  • Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Onions. Add 1/2 cup of thinly sliced onions to the pan with your Brussels sprouts. They’ll crisp and caramelize in a most excellent way.
  • Pan Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Nuts. Stir a handful of chopped, raw nuts into the pan with the Brussels sprouts at the very end. Continue stirring, allowing the residual heat from the pan to toast the nuts. For today’s recipe, I used pine nuts. Walnuts and pecans are two of our other favorites.

What to Serve with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

More Easy Vegetable Sides

How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

  • To Store. Place cooked Brussels sprouts in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat until warmed through, adding in a splash of balsamic vinegar to perk them back up. You can also microwave the Brussels sprouts on a microwave-safe plate until warm. Add fresh toppings as desired. My other favorite method is the oven: warm at 350 F until heated through (about 5 or so minutes).
  • To Freeze. Brussels sprouts can become soggy, so I don’t recommend freezing them. However, you certainly can freeze them if you don’t mind the less-than-optimal texture. Place cooked and cooled Brussels sprouts in an airtight, freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Recommended Tools to Make Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Even More Ways to Eat Brussels Sprouts

We’ve been gobbling up this pan sautéed Brussels sprouts recipe. Pan frying is a fresh, healthy way to cook Brussels sprouts. Try it on a weeknight, and it’s an easy recipe for dinner parties too.

Do you cook Brussels sprouts at home? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

4.76 from 326 votes
Pan sautéed Brussels sprouts are a quick, easy way to make delicious Brussels sprouts you'll want to eat every night! Crispy, caramelized, and addictive!

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons raw pine nuts or chopped raw walnuts, almonds, or pecans (optional)
  • Chopped fresh herbs like parsley cilantro or mint (optional)
  • A handful of Parmesan feta, or goat cheese (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large cast iron or similar sturdy bottomed skillet over medium high for 4 minutes. Add the oil. As soon as the oil is hot and shining (but before it starts smoking), swirl to cost the pan, then add the halved Brussels sprouts. Shake the skillet a little and prod them so that as many as possible are cut-side down. Let sit completely undisturbed for 5 to 8 minutes, until they develop a dark, tasty, caramelized sear.
  • Add the salt and pepper. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the Brussels sprouts. Continue cooking, stirring every few minutes, until the Brussels sprouts are browned all over and just turning tender the inside, about 6 to 8 additional minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vinegar, then the pine nuts or almonds. Let the residual heat of the skillet toast the nuts, stirring them very often so that they toast evenly on all sides and do not burn (if they aren’t toasting, return the skillet to low heat). As soon as the nuts are toasted, transfer the sprouts to a serving plate and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Enjoy hot.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Place cooked Brussels sprouts in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through. You can also microwave the Brussels sprouts on a microwave-safe plate until warm. Add fresh toppings as desired. 
  • TO FREEZE: Brussels sprouts can become soggy, so I don’t recommend freezing them. However, you certainly can freeze them. Place cooked and cooled Brussels sprouts in an airtight, freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to 12 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4) without toppingsCalories: 114kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPotassium: 441mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 855IUVitamin C: 96mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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483 Comments

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  1. My favorite way to cook sprouts!! So easy, fast and delicious. I usually like to roast brussels sprouts but this is even better. My husband saw I was making these and said, “Yum!! I didn’t think I’d ever get excited about brussels sprouts, but I am!” :)5 stars

  2. I’ve made this 3 times and my brussels sprouts Ney-sayers have converted! This is a great and simple recipe. Thank you!5 stars

  3. Excellent recipes and additional ideas! I usually do my Brussel sprouts in the oven but it’s 105 outside so I really didn’t want to “fire up” the oven. To the basic recipe I added additional items from my garden — green onions, small butternut squash, and red shishito peppers. First time toasting pine nuts so I think I should’ve done them a little longer. Added more fresh herbs from the garden — lemon Thyme — and then sprinkled parmesan. YUM!! Love the versatility of this preparation method. Thank you!5 stars

  4. It would be helpful if you could address the bitterness that some encountered when buying Brussels sprouts. From what I’ve read, it might make a difference when buying small vs large sprouts. What do we look for when choosing Brussels sprouts at the market? Is there a difference in how small or large sprouts are treated before cooking? I haven’t made them yet but this would be important information when selecting them. I’ve never eaten sprouts but want to try making them. I found some tonight and bought the smaller sprouts so I guess I might have made the right decision (hopefully). However, I’ve read comments not only from your recipe but others and bitterness seems to be a huge issue. It may be related to the size from what I gather but what should one look for when buying sprouts? Is there special preparation in large vs small sprouts so that you don’t run into textural problems? It certainly would affect the cooking temp and times when using small vs large sprouts. The texture in the center of large vs small sprouts also has been brought up in comments. That is the kind of information that would be very helpful to your readership! I am happy to find a recipe where they can be pan-fried rather than roasted since my oven is often not reliable. However, I don’t know if I’ve made the right choice on the size or exactly what I should be looking for as I have never cooked them before. Hopefully, my feedback will be helpful for you since a lot of us haven’t bought or attempted to make them before. Bitterness is a big turnoff for anyone trying to give Brussels sprouts a chance…LOL! I guess that stinkiness is also an issue but I assume that pan frying or roasting makes a huge difference compared to steaming.

    Thanks for posting a recipe for pan frying them, rather than roasting. I am looking forward to trying both methods to see which is more convenient and tasty. A little information on how to select them would be extremely helpful, however.

    1. Hi Dianna! Brussels sprouts can be bitter raw. I haven’t had this issue while cooking them so it’s hard for me to know for sure why others are getting that result. It could be that they are just not cooking them long enough. There shouldn’t be any difference between cooking larger ones or smaller ones since you’ll be making a pound of them. Enjoy!

      1. I’ve always heard that bitter Brussel sprouts have been picked before the first frost. After a frost, they become sweeter.

    1. Sharon, for this one you need fresh but you can check out my roasted frozen Brussels sprouts: http://www.wellplated.com/roasted-frozen-brussels-sprouts/.

  5. So yummy pan fried in the cast iron pan! I added the balsamic vinegar, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds at the end and it was ridiculously delicious.5 stars

  6. Sooo tasty! I’ve only ever roasted them in the oven before so this was a nice change! I did both lemon juice and a little bit of balsamic… obsessed5 stars

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