Maple bacon Brussels sprouts is the ultimate easy side dish recipe perfect for weeknight dinners or holiday celebrations. Only needs 3 ingredients and very little prep work to create something that is smoky, savoury, sweet and very delicious, all at once.
Why You’ll Love This Brussels Sprouts With Bacon Recipe
There are no more reasons to avoid Brussels sprouts. This simple 3 ingredient recipe is a game changer. Why? Add two family favourite ingredients – bacon and maple syrup.
I know Brussels sprouts are not everyone’s cup of tea. The slight bitter taste makes them an acquired taste. For some reason, I am lucky that my whole family is happy to devour a big plate of Brussels sprouts.
And when you sauté the vegetable with smoky bacon fat and then finish with sweet maple syrup, this elevates Brussels sprouts into something quite extraordinary. Everyone will now love them.
Bacon and maple syrup pair well together with Brussels sprouts, creating a delicious contrast of flavours. The sweet and savoury combination reduces the natural bitterness of sprouts, which makes them easier to devour.
This easy side dish recipe is super simple to prep and cook over the stovetop but easily made in the oven or air fryer. So, depending on what else you’re cooking, you can adapt the cooking method.
From weeknight dinners to fancy Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, maple bacon Brussels sprouts is one recipe you can add to the menu.
The Best Way To Cook Brussels Sprouts
Roasting Brussels sprouts enhances their naturally sweet flavours. Plus, the charred crispy bits on the outside add extra texture and flavour that is unbelievably delicious. You can easily adapt this recipe to roast Brussels sprouts and bacon together on one sheet pan.
For this recipe, however, I decided to give the Brussels sprouts a quick par-boil and then sauté in the frypan.
The main reason is that I wanted the Brussels sprouts to soak in all the oil released from the bacon bits that I fried in the same pan. The bacon flavour is then infused throughout the vegetable side dish, creating the ultimate smoky seasoning.
Sautéed Brussels sprouts are also a lot quicker than roasting in an oven.
Flavour/Texture: The combination of sweet maple syrup and savoury bacon elevates Brussels sprouts, creating a delicious side dish.
Sautéed Brussels sprouts are not mushy and overcooked. I like that they retain a lovely bite to the overall texture.
Ease: This is a simple recipe that a novice cook can make using 3 ingredients.
Time: Brussels sprouts and bacon should not take more than 30 minutes to prep and cook over a stovetop.
These are the ingredients you need in Brussels sprouts with bacon:
Brussels sprouts: When selecting Brussels sprouts, look for ones that are fresh and have a vibrant colour with a firm texture. Most commonly, you will find green Brussels sprouts, but there is no harm in trying red or purple Brussels sprouts if you see them in store!
Bacon: Be sure to cut the bacon rashers into small bits so they are easier to fry up. If you love bacon, feel free to add more!
Maple syrup: A good quality maple syrup not only adds sweetness but deep caramel tones that are perfect with bacon and Brussels sprouts.
Variations and Substitutions
Vegan option: Switch pork bacon for your favourite vegan bacon product.
Additional ingredients: This is a very flexible recipe that can be the foundation of a more elaborate Brussels sprouts side dish. You can add other ingredients to elevate flavour, such as:
- Walnut or pecan for extra crunch
- Fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar for acidity
- Parmesan cheese for a savoury flavour
- Red pepper flakes for spice
- Goat cheese for creaminess
Step by step instructions for how to make sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon:
Rinse Brussels sprouts to remove any excess dirt. Trim and cut them into half.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and parboil until barely tender. This will take approximately 3-4 minutes. Drain from water.
Chop bacon into small pieces. Then cook bacon in a large frypan or heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir until bacon bits are golden brown.
Increase heat to medium-high and add the Brussels sprouts to the frypan. Sauté Brussels sprouts for a couple of minutes.
Add maple syrup and season well with salt and pepper.
Taste and adjust to your liking. If you prefer a bit sweeter, add a little more maple syrup.
Continue to saute Brussels sprouts until tender with a nice golden brown colour on the outside and the bacon bits are crispy.
How to Make This Recipe Perfectly (Expert Tips)
Choose fresh Brussels sprouts: Fresher and smaller Brussels sprouts will have a milder and sweeter flavour compared to older ones that have a strong and more bitter taste.
Do not overcook Brussels sprouts: I like to parboil the Brussels sprouts first to speed up the cooking process, but be careful not to overcook them. This will give you a mushy Brussels sprouts dish, leading to a more pronounced bitter taste.
Use quality maple syrup: Be sure to have pure maple syrup in the pantry. It is worth the investment. Maple flavoured syrup is a sticky concoction made from other sweeteners and added colourings.
Do not discard the bacon oil: One of the main reasons to sauté the Brussels sprouts is to allow the bacon flavour to infuse during the cooking process. So after frying the bacon bits, do not discard the oil. Use the same pan to sauté bacon and Brussels sprouts.
Great Mains for This Side Dish
What to serve with Brussels sprouts with bacon? Try these delicious main dish recipes:
This sundried tomato pasta with chicken would make an excellent main meal to have with these Brussels sprouts with bacon. Or perhaps you might like to get out the slow cooker and make beef stew or sausage casserole. Great for an evening at home with the family or a treat for a midweek meal!
Frequently Asked Questions
You don’t have to boil the Brussels sprouts first. You can add them directly into frypan or skillet to sauté. This will just take a little longer to cook.
I prefer to cook this dish and serve not long after. However, you can prep all the ingredients first.
If you are running short of time or have many other dishes to prepare for a holiday celebration, you can sauté Brussels sprouts ahead of time. Reheat gently in the frying pan, or if you have the oven on already, reheat for approximately 5 minutes at 180°C or 350°F.
I do not recommend freezing cooked Brussels sprouts as the texture can be quite soft and mushy when defrosted.
With minimal prep work, an easy cooking process, this Brussels sprouts recipe with bacon and maple syrup is a fantastic all-rounder when it comes to delicious side dish recipes. The smoky, salty and slightly sweet combination will convert any Brussels sprouts hater!
Easy Brussels Sprouts With Bacon Recipe
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- Chop bacon rashers into small pieces.
- Rinse Brussels sprouts to remove any excess dirt. Trim and cut them into half.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and parboil until barely tender. This will take approximately 3-4 minutes. Drain from water.
- Cook bacon in a large fry pan or heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir until bacon bits are golden brown.
- Increase heat to medium-high and add the Brussels sprouts to fry pan. Sauté Brussels sprouts for a couple of minutes.
- Add maple syrup and season well with salt and pepper.
- Continue to sauté Brussels sprouts until tender with a nice golden brown colour on the outside and the bacon bits are crispy.
- Serve warm.
- For a vegan option, switch pork bacon for your favourite vegan bacon product.
- Choose fresh and smaller Brussels sprouts for a milder and less bitter taste.
- Be careful not to overcook Brussels sprouts.
- Sauté Brussels sprouts in the same pan as bacon so the bacon flavour can infuse the vegetable.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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