The Best Crispy Brussel Sprouts Recipe

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  • This Crispy Brussel Sprouts Recipe is bursting with flavor!  Brussel Sprouts with pancetta and shallots are sauteed into a fragrant, textural side dish that will leave your family begging for more. 

    White bowl with sauteed brussel sprouts, blue linen napkin and serving utensil to the side.

    Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Shallots

    These brussel sprouts are a richly flavored side dish, and so beautiful to serve! They compliment a wide variety of protein entrees and are well-suited for many of the healthy lifestyle plans that are popular today. The crispy texture and deep flavor of the brussels sprouts when combined with the fried pancetta and shallots is going to blow you away! Think you don’t like brussel sprouts? Think again! 

    Do you know that there’s an Italian sweet and sour sauce? It’s called Agrodolce, and it’s the ultimate sauce to accompany these sauteed brussels sprouts! When we were introduced to this sauce at one of our favorite local Italian restaurants, I fell in love! The concept of agrodolce is simply to reduce the sweetness in a dish with sugar, honey or vinegar and create a sweet, sharp, tangy contrast that you’ll crave! It’s perfect with roasted or sauteed vegetables because it brings the natural sweetness and moisture to the surface.

    Close-up of sauteed brussels sprouts, pancetta and shallots.

    Crispy Brussel Sprouts Recipe Ingredients

    This beautiful golden side dish is made with simple ingredients. As the brussel sprouts cook down, you’ll note that the agrodolce sauce is adding an unforgettable flavor! 

    • 1½ lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved – you’ll want to make sure that your sprouts are cleaned up and trimmed in half. When I have extra-large brussels I might even quarter them just to make sure they are cooked through! 
    • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil – the olive oil is what helps brown and caramelize these brussels.
    • ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more – I like kosher salt for this recipe because it’s the perfect large bite, crunchy foil to the softened ingredients.
    • Freshly ground black pepper – you can customize this to your taste, but we like a lot of salt and pepper with our veggie side dishes! It brings out the natural flavors and it’s so easy to customize to our family’s tastes. 
    • Pancetta – as noted below, you can also use bacon for this recipe. Pancetta is an Italian version of bacon and I love that I can often purchase it already cubed! It’s so easy to add incredible flavor to recipes.

    Close-up of sauteed brussels sprouts, pancetta and shallots.

    • Shallots – shallots are a type of onion- they are small and more oblong and have a subtle sweet flavor that we love. 
    • Butter – butter gives this recipe an extra richness that can’t be beat! 
    • Red Wine Vinegar – this vinegar is what helps create the sweet and source nuances of this recipe.
    • Sugar – it doesn’t take much! A little sugar brings out the subtle caramelized flavors here.
    • Optional: pine nuts – want a little extra crunch? Try adding some pine nuts! 

    White bowl with sauteed brussel sprouts, blue linen napkin to the side.

    Making The Best Brussels Sprouts Recipe

    These crispy brussel sprouts are perfectly caramelized and filled with sweet and sour flavor. Adding this agrodolce sauce is the easiest way to get your kids to love brussels too!  

    For these photos, I sauteed my brussel sprouts. However, you can also roast them, as noted below.

    SAUTEED BRUSSEL SPROUTS: 

    Aluminum pan on the stovetop, fresh pancetta waiting to be cooked.

    1. Add pancetta and olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to brown while tossing in half the pan.Aluminum pan on the stovetop, fresh pancetta and brussel sprouts waiting to be cooked.
    2. Add brussels sprouts face down leaving space between. (Brown side down for color and caramelization.)Aluminum pan on the stovetop, fresh pancetta and brussel sprouts waiting to be cooked.
    3. Salt and pepper and shallots over the top.Aluminum pan on the stovetop, fresh pancetta shallots and brussel sprouts waiting to be cooked.
    4. Once they brown, stir it all together and add butter.Aluminum pan on the stovetop, fresh pancetta shallots and brussel sprouts cooking, pats of butter on top.
    5. Add vinegar and sugar while stirring. Do not burn sugar. Allow vinegar to cook off until sauce thickens.Aluminum pan on the stovetop, fresh pancetta shallots and brussel sprouts cooking down.

    Aluminum pan on the stovetop, fresh pancetta shallots and brussel sprouts cooking down in an agrodolce sauce.

    QUICK TIP: You can buy Pancetta (Italian bacon) already chopped! Such an easy and delicious shortcut for this recipe.

    Crispy Brussel Sprouts Cooking Methods

    While my version of crispy brussel sprouts is sauteed, this recipe can easily be converted to the oven. Roasting your sprouts is another delicious method and can save you from standing over the stove if that’s what you prefer! 

    1. Place a rimmed baking sheet on bottom rack of oven; preheat to 450°. Toss brussels sprouts and oil in a large bowl; season with salt and black pepper.
    2. Carefully remove baking sheet from oven. Using tongs, arrange your trimmed and halved brussels cut side down on baking sheet. Roast brussels on bottom rack until they are soft and very brown, 20–25 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, add the rest of your ingredients (minus the butter) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook pancetta and scallions, stirring often, until sauce begins to deepen in color.
    4. Return saucepan to medium heat, add butter and cook, whisking constantly, until the agrodolce glaze is thickened.
    5. Transfer brussels sprouts to a large bowl. Add glaze and pine nuts (if you’re using them) and toss to combine. They’re ready to serve! 

    QUICK TIP: Be sure to leave your pan in the oven as it warms. This will help the brussel sprouts achieve the correct searing when you add them to the pan for roasting! 

    Close-up of sauteed brussels sprouts, pancetta and shallots.

    Sauteed Brussel Sprouts Recipe Variations

    While this recipe is incredibly delicious as it stands, you can also add or eliminate items to meet your tastes and dietary needs. 

    • Garnish with pine nuts
    • Variation: use apple cider vinegar for a touch of fall flavor
    • Substitute bacon for pancetta
    • Looking for a Keto-approved version? Simply eliminate the sugar in this recipe.
    • Whole 30? Eliminate the butter! 

    White bowl with sauteed brussel sprouts, blue linen napkin to the side.

    Love This Recipe? You’ll Love These Side Dishes Too!

    I never thought I would be an adult that loves brussel sprouts, but now I know better! I think there is some kind of childhood trauma associated with brussel sprouts and once we get past that weirdness, we realize that they are incredible when cooked the right way! What do you think? Are you a fan of brussels sprouts? Even if you’re not, I encourage you to give these a try! Agrodolce sauce can improve any veggie, I promise! 

    If you make these crispy brussel sprouts, please come back and leave a comment and review. I’d love to hear from you! 

    White bowl with sauteed brussel sprouts, blue linen napkin to the side.
    5 from 5 votes
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    The Best Crispy Brussels Sprouts Recipe

    This Crispy Brussel Sprouts Recipe is bursting with texture and flavor!  Brussel Sprouts with Bacon are sauteed into a crispy, fragrant side dish to savor. 

    Course Side Dish
    Cuisine American
    Keyword easy side, easy vegetable, side dish, vegetable
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Servings 4 people
    Calories 226 kcal

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup Pancetta diced
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 lb brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
    • 1 shallot sliced into rings
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/8 cup sugar
    • salt to taste
    • pepper fresh ground, to taste

    Instructions

    Sauteed Crispy Brussel Sprouts

    1. Add pancetta and olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to brown while tossing in half the pan.

    2. Add brussels sprouts face down leaving space between. (Brown side down for color and caramelization.)

    3. Salt and pepper and shallots over the top.

    4. Once they brown, stir it all together and add butter.

    5. Add vinegar and sugar stirring. Do not burn sugar. Allow vinegar to cook off until sauce thickens.

    Oven Roasted Crispy Brussel Sprouts

    1. Place a rimmed baking sheet on bottom rack of oven; preheat to 450°. Toss brussels sprouts and oil in a large bowl; season with salt and black pepper.

    2. Carefully remove your hot baking sheet from oven. Using tongs, arrange brussels cut side down on baking sheet. Roast brussels on bottom rack until soft and brown, 20–25 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, add the rest of your ingredients (minus the butter) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook pancetta and scallions, stirring often, until sauce begins to deepen in color.

    4. Return saucepan to medium heat, add butter and cook, whisking constantly, until the agrodolce glaze is thickened.

    5. Transfer brussels sprouts to a large bowl. Add glaze and pine nuts (if you're using them) and toss to combine. They're ready to serve! 

    Recipe Notes

    • Add pine nuts before serving for a little extra added crunch.
    Nutrition Facts
    The Best Crispy Brussels Sprouts Recipe
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 226 Calories from Fat 153
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 17g26%
    Saturated Fat 7g35%
    Cholesterol 24mg8%
    Sodium 118mg5%
    Potassium 462mg13%
    Carbohydrates 18g6%
    Fiber 5g20%
    Sugar 9g10%
    Protein 4g8%
    Vitamin A 1121IU22%
    Vitamin C 97mg118%
    Calcium 50mg5%
    Iron 2mg11%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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