This is the Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe that has converted many Brussels sprouts haters into lovers! They’re made with just 4 ingredients, get super crispy and caramelized in the oven, and can be served hot or at room temp. Whether you’re planning a special holiday feast or need a quick weeknight side, these roasted sprouts are the perfect choice!
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Roasting veggies is, without a doubt, one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare them. They’re healthy, they’re simple to whip up and they pair well with a variety of dishes. From roasted carrots to roasted asparagus and roasted cauliflower to roasted potatoes, my family loves them all.
Brussels sprouts, on the other hand, are one of those take-it-or-leave-it kind of foods. Enter, roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta and balsamic syrup. The combination of savory pancetta and sweet balsamic syrup adds a depth of flavor to the caramelized veggies that will have you coming back for more.
Whether you’re looking for a new way to enjoy Brussels sprouts or want to impress your guests with a tasty and healthy side dish, this recipe has you covered. It’s never been so easy to eat your vegetables!
What’s to Love
- Irresistible flavor.
- Perfectly crispy texture.
- Sweet and tangy homemade balsamic syrup.
- Savory pancetta.
- Made with just 4 ingredients.
- Easy to make.
- Fresh Brussels sprouts: Choose Brussels sprouts that are bright green and firm. Avoid any with yellow or wilted outer leaves. And if possible, opt for Brussels sprouts on the stalk, as they tend to maintain their freshness longer. I prefer to buy small sprouts, about the size of a large marble, because they’re sweeter and more tender. However, if you prefer a heartier bite, opt for larger sprouts, just be sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
- Pancetta: Start with half a pound of pancetta, which is essentially Italian bacon made from pork belly. Dice it into small pieces to infuse the Brussels sprouts with its rich, savory flavor. If you can’t find pancetta, you can use bacon as a substitute. While the flavors are similar, bacon is smoked, so it will impart a smokier taste to the dish.
- Balsamic vinegar: You’ll need one cup to create the perfect balsamic syrup. Instead of reducing balsamic vinegar to create a syrup, you can use store-bought balsamic glaze or reduction. This is a convenient option that will save you time but still provide a sweet and tangy element.
- Olive oil: A drizzle of high-quality olive oil helps the Brussels sprouts caramelize and become tender while providing a touch of richness.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Trim Brussels Sprouts
While you absolutely can roast Brussels sprouts whole, I recommend halving them for this recipe. Cutting them in half results in a more even caramelization and the perfect combination of crispy, charred outer leaves and tender, melt-in-your-mouth inner leaves.
- Remove imperfections: Check each sprout and take off any damaged, loose or yellow outer leaves. These leaves may not cook well, so it’s best to discard them.
- Cut the bottom: With a knife, remove the tough stem end from each Brussels sprout. Some people prefer to cut off just the very tip of the stem, while others like to remove a bit more. The choice is up to you and your personal preference. Just make sure to remove enough of the stem so that the sprout will cook evenly and have a tender texture.
- Halve lengthwise: Cut each Brussels sprout in half from the tip to the trimmed end.
- Preheat your oven. Begin by preheating your oven to 400°F. This temperature will help achieve the perfect balance of caramelization and tenderness in your Brussels sprouts.
- Coat with olive oil. In a large bowl, drizzle the halved Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons olive oil, tossing to coat.
- Arrange on a baking sheet. Spread the coated Brussels sprouts out on a rimmed baking sheet. Make sure they are in a single layer and not overcrowded. Overcrowding can lead to steaming rather than roasting, so use a larger baking sheet or two if necessary. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Roast in the oven. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and let the Brussels sprouts roast for about 40 minutes. Consider checking for doneness a bit earlier, as it may vary depending on the size of your Brussels sprouts. The sprouts should turn golden brown and crispy on the outside while remaining tender on the inside.
- Cook the pancetta. While they’re roasting, sauté the diced pancetta in a large non-stick pan, cooking until golden brown. Set aside.
- Simmer the balsamic vinegar. Simmer 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Keep a close eye on it, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning or boiling over. Patience is crucial here, as the reduction process can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the desired thickness of your syrup. Once it has reduced by half and is thick and syrupy, set aside.
- Combine pancetta and Brussels sprouts. Remove the roasted Brussels sprouts from the oven and pour the sauteed pancetta (plus any drippings) directly atop the Brussels sprouts, tossing to combine.
- Drizzle with balsamic syrup and serve. Transfer the mix to a serving platter and drizzle with the balsamic syrup.
- Garlic: Add a generous sprinkle of minced garlic before roasting for a garlicky punch that will satisfy garlic lovers.
- Bacon: Instead of pancetta, use crispy bacon bits for that classic smoky flavor.
- Parmesan: To give your roasted Brussels sprouts a cheesy twist, begin by adding ½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese to the bowl containing the sprouts and olive oil. Toss to coat the sprouts evenly. Follow the original instructions for roasting them in the oven. The result: a golden, crispy and delicious Parmesan crust.
- Maple-Glazed: As your sprouts roast, prepare a maple glaze by combining ¼ cup of maple syrup with a pinch of salt and pepper. Around 5 minutes before they’re done, drizzle the maple glaze over the Brussels sprouts and return the pan to the oven. Your sprouts will emerge with a sweet, caramelized finish.
- Citrus Zest: Squeeze fresh lemon or orange juice over the roasted sprouts before serving for a burst of citrusy freshness.
- Spicy Kick: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a spicy kick that contrasts with the sweetness of the balsamic syrup.
- Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (made with a Japanese-inspired twist!): See The Secret Ingredient Cookbook.
- Avoid Overcrowding: The cardinal rule of roasting vegetables is not to overcrowd the pan. Ensure the Brussels sprouts are in a single layer to allow proper air circulation. Overcrowding can result in steaming instead of roasting, leading to less crispy sprouts.
- Cut-Side Down: For the crispiest Brussels sprouts, ensure that each one is placed cut-side down on the baking sheet. This allows the flat, cut side to make direct contact with the pan, promoting better caramelization and enhancing the overall texture.
- Consistent Size: Aim for Brussels sprouts of a consistent size when roasting. This helps ensure even cooking and prevents smaller ones from overcooking or larger ones from being undercooked.
- Maximum Crispiness: To maximize the crispy surface area, cut your Brussels sprouts in half. For very small sprouts, you can leave them whole, and for very large ones, consider quartering them.
Absolutely! The one caveat is that roasting frozen (thawed) Brussels sprouts won’t result in the same level of crispiness as roasting fresh Brussels sprouts. You can roast them directly from the frozen state (using the recipe below) and just add additional time as needed.
The secret to caramelizing Brussels sprouts is high heat and a single layer on the baking sheet. Make sure they have contact with the pan’s surface for better caramelization.
There’s no need to soak your Brussels sprouts before roasting them. However, if you want to reduce the cooking time, you can blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes prior to roasting. This will soften them slightly and allow them to cook faster in the oven.
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- 1/2 lbs pancetta (one thick slice), diced
- 1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, stems removed, halved
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- In a large bowl, drizzle the halved Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons olive oil, tossing to coat.
- Pour them onto a sheet pan and season them with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Roast the Brussels sprouts for 40 minutes.
- While they’re roasting, sauté the diced pancetta in a large non-stick pan, cooking until golden brown. Set aside.
- Simmer 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until it reduces by half, about 10 minutes. It should be thick and syrupy. Set aside.
- Remove the roasted Brussels sprouts from the oven and pour the sauteed pancetta (plus any drippings) directly atop the Brussels sprouts, tossing to combine.
- Transfer the mix to a serving platter and drizzle with the balsamic syrup.
- If you can’t find pancetta, you can use bacon as a substitute. While the flavors are similar, bacon is smoked, so it will impart a smokier taste to the dish.
- Ensure the Brussels sprouts are in a single layer on your baking pan to allow proper air circulation. Overcrowding can result in steaming instead of roasting, leading to less crispy sprouts.
- For the crispiest Brussels sprouts, ensure that each one is placed cut-side down on the baking sheet. This allows the flat, cut side to make direct contact with the pan, promoting better caramelization and enhancing the overall texture.
- Aim for Brussels sprouts of a consistent size when roasting. This helps ensure even cooking and prevents smaller ones from overcooking or larger ones from being undercooked.
- To maximize the crispy surface area, cut your Brussels sprouts in half. For very small sprouts, you can leave them whole, and for very large ones, consider quartering them.
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