Crispy Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
These crispy caramelized Brussels sprouts with bacon are one of my most requested recipes (yes, really). Glazed with honey Dijon vinaigrette and topped with fried shallots, they’re sweet, savory, crunchy, and decadent. They’re my #1 go-to side dish for dinner parties or holidays!
Every time I get stressed out this week, I remember that at the end, I get to wear a velvet dress and eat cheesy mashed potatoes and sausage cornbread stuffing and hang out with my fam. I don’t know that it’s completely working, but it’s not not working? We can do this, friends.
Anyways, I know Brussels sprouts aren’t the most exciting thing to ever happen but hear me out. It’s very rare that Brussels sprouts blow me away. Like, I’ve had many that taste like feet. But these are ridiculously good.
In fact, at dinner the other night, I had a choice between a second helping of cheesy potatoes or a second helping of crispy brussels sprouts, and I chose the Brussels. (I mean, I also chose the cheesy potatoes, but still.)
About these sprouts
I honestly didn’t love Brussels sprouts until I learned the secret to restaurant-quality sprouts in culinary school. All you have to do is cook the sprouts on a sheet pan that is hot AF and they’ll crisp right up!
- These sprouts are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
- With bacon, fried shallots, and Dijon vinaigrette, they have tons of flavor.
- Every time I make them, they’re the first thing to go. (You might want to double them. 😬)
- You can make these sprouts in advance for dinner parties, holidays, and get-togethers.
- Brussels sprouts – look for sprouts that are crisp, green, and don’t have brown spots on the leaves.
- Bacon – go for thick-cut bacon so it crisps up in the oven without burning.
- Olive oil – a bit of oil will help the sprouts caramelize on the sheet pan.
- Red wine vinegar – a bit of vinegar will add acidity to offset the sweetness in the vinaigrette.
- Garlic – for the best flavor use fresh garlic (instead of dried or pre-minced).
- Dijon mustard – you can use any Dijon, but I prefer smooth in this recipe.
- Honey – just a touch of honey will add sweetness and help caramelize the Brussels.
- Shallot oil – if you make your own fried shallots, use the oil in the dressing for a boost of flavor! You can also use olive oil.
- Fried shallots – you can buy these in the store or make homemade crispy fried shallots instead. I recommend homemade – they’re crunchier!
- Salt & pepper – I use Morton’s Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
Try to pick Brussels sprouts that are smaller and relatively the same size. The smaller Brussels sprouts crisp up better than larger sprouts. Also, you want them around the same size so they cook up evenly!
- Vegetarian – to make this vegetarian-friendly, just leave out the bacon.
- Oil – any neutral oil will work in this recipe – avocado, canola, etc.
- Vinegar – apple cider vinegar will also work in this vinaigrette.
- Honey – maple syrup would be delicious too!
- Fried shallots – feel free to replace these with store-bought or homemade crispy frizzled onions.
How to make this recipe
To make the sprouts
- Start by placing a sheet pan in the oven and preheating it to 450°F.
- Next, combine the Brussels sprouts and bacon in a large bowl.
- Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to combine.
- Spread the sprouts evenly on the hot sheet pan. Roast the sprouts until charred.
- Then, toss the hot sprouts with the dressing (instructions below!) and mix until they’re caramelized.
- Lastly, top the Brussels with fried shallots and enjoy!
For the maximum crispiness, place the Brussels sprouts on the hot pan cut-side down. To do this quickly, I spread out the Brussels on the hot pan and use tongs to quickly flip them over.
To make the vinaigrette
- Whisk the red wine vinegar, garlic, Dijon, and honey in a small bowl.
- Then, drizzle the oil into the mixture while whisking constantly.
- Add salt and pepper and mix until the dressing is emulsified.
These sprouts are amazing with pretty much any cozy main dish! These are just a few of my favorite options:
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken & Orzo Skillet
- Apple Glazed Pork Chops with Bourbon & Sage
- Sheet Pan Chicken Cordon Bleu with Dijon Sauce
- Pot Roast with Red Wine & Shallots
- Beef Stroganoff with Shallots & Brandy
Storing & reheating
To store leftovers, place the sprouts in an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat the sprouts, you can either microwave them or crisp them up in the oven.
- Microwave – heat them for about 1 minute, stirring them halfway through. They won’t be as crisp but will still taste great!
- Oven – heat them at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, tossing halfway through, until crisp and hot.
Keep in mind that the fried shallots will get soggy in the fridge. So, if you expect to have leftovers, I recommend adding shallots to individual servings instead of the whole platter!
To make these sprouts in advance, start by under-baking the sprouts by about 10 minutes. Don’t add the vinaigrette! Then, about 15 minutes before serving, finish baking the sprouts at 450°F for 10-15 minutes until crisp. Toss the sprouts with the dressing and sprinkle with fried shallots.
You can also fully make the sprouts about 2-3 hours before serving (just don’t add the shallots). Reheat them at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, garnish with shallots, and serve immediately. Keep in mind, they may not be as crispy as they are when freshly-baked!
Tools you’ll need
- Sheet pans – you’ll need 1-2 metal sheet pans so the sprouts get nice and crisp.
- Tongs – metal tongs will help you flip the sprouts cut-side down.
- Sharp knife – for slicing the Brussels sprouts and bacon.
- Large mixing bowl – so you have plenty of space to toss everything together.
- Whisk – for mixing up the dressing. You can also use a blender or food processor!
Tips & tricks
- If the sprouts have little brown spots, remove the outer leaves. As long as they’re not completely damaged, they’re ok to use.
- The key to getting crisp Brussels sprouts is to roast them on a very hot pan. Make sure to stick your sheet pan in the oven while it’s heating.
- Don’t over-crowd the pan. You want the sprouts to crisp up, not steam!
- The Brussels sprouts will shrink considerably. It may look like a lot, but they’ll shrink by half or so. Feel free to double or triple this recipe for a crowd.
- Top with fried shallots right before serving. Otherwise, they’ll get soggier the longer they sit.
Why are restaurant Brussels sprouts so good?
Restaurants have lots of secret tricks to making sprouts that are crisp, never soggy, and super flavorful. Using a hot pan, adding acid, and roasting them for long enough are just a few. Luckily, I learned a lot of these tricks from culinary school and years of working in restaurants so I’m sharing them in this recipe!
How do I keep the sprouts from tasting bitter?
These are my 3 key tips for bitter-free sprouts!
- Choose smaller sprouts. The smaller, the sweeter.
- Roast them in a hot oven. It brings out their natural sweetness.
- Finish the sprouts with acid. The vinegar in the dressing will neutralize the bitterness.
How do you make Brussels sprouts crispy?
To keep these nice and crispy, make sure to cook them in a very hot oven – at least 425-450°F. You’ll also want to roast them on a hot pan cut-side down for max crispiness.
Do I have to blanch the Brussels sprouts first?
Nope! Blanching the sprouts could actually make them bitter. (Boiling brings out the bitter flavors). They’ll get nice and tender in the hot oven!
Can I roast frozen Brussels sprouts?
I honestly would recommend fresh Brussels for this recipe if you’re looking for super crispy sprouts. In a pinch, frozen will work but they won’t be as crunchy. You can also roast them straight from frozen – no need to thaw!
More cozy side dishes
Easy Domino Potatoes with Shallots
Charred Broccoli with Breadcrumbs & Pecorino
Lemony Green Beans with Pine Nuts & Garlic
The Best Hot Honey Brussels Sprouts
Raw Carrot Salad with Feta & Shallot Vinaigrette
Simple Rice Pilaf with Orzo
If you make this recipe, I would love it if you left a star rating and review! I read every single comment and love hearing what you think about my recipes. Thank you for supporting Sunday Table!
Crispy Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1/4 pound thick-cut bacon, diced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup crispy fried shallots, for serving
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup reserved shallot oil (or olive oil)
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- 2 metal sheet pans
- Metal tongs
- Place two sheet pans in the oven and heat to 450°F. In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts, bacon, olive oil, salt, and pepper until everything is well-coated.
- When the oven is heated, carefully spread the Brussels sprouts evenly between the hot sheet pans. Use tongs to place the Brussels sprouts cut-side down for max crispiness.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, until the Brussels sprouts are charred on the outside and tender on the inside.
- While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, make the dressing. Whisk together the red wine vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, and honey. Slowly whisk in the shallot oil or olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Right after the Brussels sprouts come out of the oven, drizzle half of the honey Dijon vinaigrette over the hot pan. Quickly toss to coat the Brussels sprouts. The dressing should thicken slightly and coat the sprouts.
- Taste and add more dressing, if desired. Top the Brussels sprouts with the fried shallots and serve immediately. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day – Friend Song by Slaughter Beach, Dog
Originally posted November 26, 2019.