These caramelized Brussels sprouts are pan-seared with bacon and finished with balsamic vinegar and cheese for a delicious side dish that’s full of flavors.
Unlike steamed Brussels sprouts, these are crispy on the outside with tender centers you can sink your teeth into, it’s a delicious side dish you can make in one skillet.
Similar to roasted vegetables, these pan-seared Brussels sprouts have that toasty flavor in every bite. Add blue cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and this veggie side dish checks off all the boxes.
Caramelizing Brussels Sprouts
As fancy as caramelized Brussels sprouts sound, this recipe is simple to make. Caramelizing is nothing more than cooking with enough heat until the natural sugars are extracted and reduced into a nutty flavor that coats the Brussels sprout.
This method gives ample flavor and texture without burning or overcooking the ingredients. It’s similar to what happens when roasting vegetables and meats in the oven, but with a good skillet and bacon grease- you can also do it on the stove-top.
You only need a few simple ingredients to whip up this quick side dish:
- thick-cut bacon
- chopped onion
- Brussels sprouts
- salt & pepper
- blue cheese- optional
- balsamic vinegar
Feel free to swap blue cheese for goat cheese, feta or omit completely if tangy cheese isn’t your thing. The sprouts are delicious enough on their own, but I do love the complex of tangy-creamy-roasted flavors in each bite.
Prepping the Brussels Sprouts
To prep Brussels sprouts, give them a rinse under water and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Use a pairing knife to carefully remove the woody stems and any yellow or bruised leaves. Slice each sprout in half through the stem.
Place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
How to Caramelize Brussels Sprouts
This is the part, where we cook down Brussels sprouts with bacon, onion, and toppings for one heavenly recipe.
- Brown the bacon
In a large skillet, cook the chopped bacon over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion
Once the bacon is cooked through, add the onions and cook until golden and translucent.
- Add the Brussels sprouts
Add the sprouts and toss to coat with the onion and bacon drippings. Cook for 10 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts are softened. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and steam for an additional minute.
- Season and drizzle
Remove the skillet from heat, and season the veggies with salt and black pepper. Top with blue cheese, if using, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, toss to combine.
Ready to see just how easy these are? Watch this quick video.
Tips for Perfectly Caramelized Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Turning Brussels sprouts into a delicious recipe your family will love isn’t complicated. For perfect results every time, follow the recipe and these simple tips below:
- Any sprout will do
You can make this recipe using Brussels sprouts from the produce section, farmer’s market, or directly plucked of the long-stem. Just make sure to prep them following the steps above.
- Use a heavy-bottomed pan
A heavy skillet/pan ensures even heat distribution and cooking. A cast-iron skillet or stainless steel pan are excellent options.
- Don’t get rid of those drippings
We use bacon drippings instead of oil in this recipe to give the sprouts a beautiful sear and richer flavor.
- Cook them face down
Place the sprouts in the skillet in an even layer, cut side down. This will help them cook through and gain crispy, lightly charred edges.
Serving Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
These pan-seared Brussels sprouts make a great sidekick to other healthy comfort food recipes like:
No matter what dish you serve them with, they’ll be the real star of the meal.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Leftover veggies can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and reheated in the oven or microwave. That means caramelized bacon brussels sprouts for topping salads, alongside leftover roasted chicken, or by themselves as an afternoon snack.
Here’s how to store and reheat them for later:
Place the room temperature Brussels sprouts in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Reheat in a microwave-safe container for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
Alternatively, place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and reheat in a 375F oven for 10 minutes or heated through.
Bacon Caramelized Brussel Sprouts Recipe
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon
- ½ large onion, chopped
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup blue cheese, optional
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chopped bacon. Once the bacon is cooked but not yet crispy, add in the chopped onions. Continue cooking, for another 3 minutes, until the onion is golden and translucent.
- Add in Brussels sprouts, and toss to combine. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often until Brussels sprouts have softened. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow them to steam for about a minute.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle blue cheese on top, drizzle balsamic vinegar, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.