Smashed Brussels Sprouts
Smashed Brussels Sprouts take the most tantalizing part of any roasted vegetable—the crispy, caramelized bits on the outsides—from enticing feature to star attraction. This method for cooking Brussels sprouts is ALL ABOUT the crispy!
If you are the person in your household who tries to get to the sheet pan of roasted Brussels sprouts first to snag the darkest, crispiest ones before anyone else can get to them, then smashed Brussels sprouts are the side dish for you. (You’ll also adore these crispy Brussels Sprouts Chips.)
The “smashed” technique we’re deploying here is not new. I borrowed it from smashed potatoes, which are a steakhouse favorite and outrageously delicious, even if like me, you aren’t usually a white potato fan. It’s the power of the crispy!
Smashing consists of first parboiling the Brussels sprouts in salted water to soften them up a bit (not enough to fully cook them through), arranging them on a baking sheet, then with the bottom of a sturdy drinking glass, pressing on them firmly (a.k.a. smashing them) to spread them out. The smash increases the surface area of each Brussels sprout. Then, they go into the oven to roast.
More surface area = more caramelization = more crispy = MAX DELICIOUS.
Whether you are Brussels sprouts shy or their biggest fan, I hope you’ll give this “smashed” style a try.
The B. sprouts skeptics will appreciate the light char from the oven and (should you so choose to add it) the sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
The aficionados will appreciate the smash-and-roast as a new, more elevated way to enjoy Brussels sprouts. While I adore everyday recipes like these classic Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts, these Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, and lately Roasted Frozen Brussels Sprouts, every now and again, it’s fun to try something different.
How to Cook Smashed Brussels Sprouts
Grab yourself a bag of Brussels sprouts and drinking glass with a sturdy bottom (a short water glass, wide-bottomed coffee mug, or a pint glass all work well). It’s time to get smashing!
- Brussels Sprouts. A mis-maligned vegetable that truly shines when roasted. In this recipe, they turn delightfully crisp on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside. Plus, they’re packed with fiber, Vitamin-K, and Vitamin-C.
- Olive Oil. Helps the sprouts become crispy and keeps them from burning. Be generous to make sure your sprouts caramelize but do not burn.
- Spices. Salt and pepper provide just the right amount of seasoning for the sprouts. I also added red pepper flakes to give them a little kick.
- Parmesan. A shower of freshly grated Parmesan cheese is the final flourish these Brussels sprouts need to become addictively tasty. If you’d like to make the recipe vegan (meaning no cheese), feel free to omit it.
- Lemon Juice. While optional, I highly recommend a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for freshness and brightness.
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Prep an ice bath.
- Parboil the Brussels sprouts in the salted water. Drain and immediately move them to the ice bath. Once cool, pat them dry.
Place the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet, and add the oil and spices. Adjust the sprouts so they are in a single layer.
- Grab your glass and flatten each Brussels sprout. This is a nice time to release any tension from the day.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then flip them over. Add the cheese, and bake 5 to 10 more minutes. (For additional crispiness, broil the sprouts for 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t let them burn!) Drizzle the sprouts with lemon juice, and ENJOY!
Once they come out of the oven, you can take a note from my Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts and top the smashed Brussels sprouts with bacon (or with bacon and cheese if you are feeling so inclined).
Or, follow the lead of these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and scatter a few cloves of garlic onto the pan with them prior to popping them in the oven.
- Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. For max control of your bacon crispness, scatter crumbled pieces of Oven Baked Bacon over the top of the cooked smashed sprouts prior to serving (you can bake the bacon on a second sheet pan while the Brussels sprouts cook). To make smashed Brussels sprouts with bacon and cheese, scatter a handful of your favorite cheese over the top during the last few minutes of baking. You also can play around with chopping bacon and scattering it around the Brussels sprouts prior to baking them to save yourself a pan to wash.
- Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Cheese. I love adding Parmesan. Smashed Brussels sprouts with mozzarella, fontina, or even dollops of burrata if you are feeling fancy would be scrumptious.
- Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over the Brussels sprouts during the last 5 minutes of baking.
- Vegan Smashed Brussels Sprouts. No real changes here! Smashed Brussels sprouts are naturally, deliciously vegan—simply make them with no cheese.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Trim your Brussels sprouts up to 2 days in advance, and store them in the refrigerator.
- To Store. Place smashed sprouts in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm sprouts on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot.
- To Freeze. Store Brussels sprouts in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Brussels sprouts can become soggy once frozen, but they’ll recrisp decently in the oven.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Rimmed Baking Sheets. If you frequently roast veggies, having a good baking sheet is essential.
- Saucepan. A cooking tool that you’ll use constantly.
- Citrus Juicer. The ideal way to juice limes and lemons.
While not an original motivator for making this crispy Brussels sprouts recipe, I also discovered a happy byproduct to cooking it. The “smashing” is an excellent way to release any pent up energy you might have. Cheers to a recipe that’s satisfying to cook and even more satisfying to eat!
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment to let me know how it turned out! Your comments and 5-star ratings are so important to this site, meaningful to me, and helpful to others!
Smashed Brussels Sprouts
- 2 pounds whole Brussels sprouts - ends trimmed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt - divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes - optional
- 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
- Juice of 1 small lemon - optional
- Place racks in the center and upper third of your oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Fill a saucepan large enough to comfortably hold the brussels sprouts with water and bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. While the water comes to a boil, prepare an ice bath.
- Add Brussels sprouts to the boiling salted water. Cook until the sprouts are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the Brussels sprouts, then plunge immediately into the ice bath. Let cool 1 minute, then place the Brussels sprouts on a layer of paper towels and lightly pat dry.
- Transfer the Brussels sprouts to the center of a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Toss to coat, then spread into an even layer. With the base of a drinking glass or coffee mug, gently but firmly press on each sprout to flatten it into a disk that is 1/2-inch or so thick.
- Bake the Brussels sprouts for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully flip. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top, then return the sprouts to the oven and continue baking until they are crisp on the outside and the cheese is golden, about 5 to 10 more minutes. If you would like the top more crisp, transfer the pan to the upper rack and turn the oven to broil. Let broil for 2 to 3 minutes, watching carefully so that the Brussels sprouts do not burn. Remove from the oven and squeeze the lemon juice over the top (if using). Enjoy hot.
- TO MAKE VEGAN: Omit the Parmesan.
- TO STORE: Place smashed sprouts in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm sprouts on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot.
- TO FREEZE: Store Brussels sprouts in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Brussels sprouts can become soggy once frozen, but they'll recrisp decently in the oven.
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