The best way to enjoy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon is when they’re roasted to perfection in the oven with slices of tender, sweet red onion. Smoky bacon does the rest, making this recipe one of my favorite ways to celebrate the sprout!
Whether fresh on the stalk of sold by the bag, these little cabbage lookalikes have a big, bold flavor that needs some big, bold treatment. High-heat oven roasting brings out their natural sweetness, and the bacon–who can resist anything roasted with bacon?
I know I can’t. And if you try this recipe, I bet you won’t be able to, either.
Making Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon for a giant winter’s meal? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
But…What are Brussels sprouts?
As you might have guessed, these cute miniature heads of cabbage are indeed a member of the Gemmifera group of cabbages. Each “sprout” is actually an edible bud that grows on a stalk. Because they have been so popular in Brussels, Belgium for so long, they’ve been named after the city.
How can I make Brussels sprouts taste better?
Well, I’ve always heard that bacon makes everything better, but there’s some history surrounding this little vegetable, that probably started a long time ago. Generations back, older versions the vegetable had stinkier compounds (called glucosinolates) that, when cooked, gave off an unpleasant odor, and a taste to match. It made them…not so popular.
Today, though, Brussels sprouts are grown with fewer glucosinolates, and they taste milder and sweeter. Cooks used to add a lot of maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar to counterbalance the bitterness of the Brussels sprouts; it’s not as crucial to do that today.
How long do you cook Brussel sprouts at 400?
Depending on the size of the sprout, and if they’re being roasted whole or they’re cut in half, roasting should be finished in 25 to 35 minutes at 400 degrees. If you’re cooking at 425 degrees, or even 450-475 degrees, keep an eye on the clock and check your sprouts frequently- at very high temperatures they can burn if forgotten. And parchment paper can burn if used higher than 450 degrees…
How can you tell if Brussels Sprouts are cooked?
When a fork, the tip of a sharp knife, or a skewer can be poked through the sprout with ease, your vegetables are tender enough to eat.
Tips for the best Roasted Brussels sprouts (and any other vegetable) you’ll ever have:
Once you learn the basics about how to roast Brussels sprouts and other vegetables, you probably won’t need a recipe anymore-it’s that easy!
Uniform sizes: No matter what vegetable you’re roasting, make sure that everything is cut in the same general size, for even cooking. Slicing the sprouts in half increases flat surface area, too—flat surfaces make more contact with the baking sheet, which is good for flavor. Brussels sprouts benefit from being sliced in half, so their flat sides can roast.
Keep things dry: After you wash your vegetables, pat them dry or allow them to air dry before they go into the oven. More moisture= more steam, which prevents things from getting toasty and crisp.
Roast like with like: If you’re just roasting one type of vegetable, you don’t need to worry so much about this…but if you’re mixing it up, see the section below for how I like to sort my vegetables for roasting.
Keep the temperature high: Roasted vegetables enjoy higher oven temperatures, between 400-450 degrees, to develop caramelization and a deep, rich, concentrated flavor.
A little oil goes a long way: You don’t need a ton of oil to roast vegetables. Drizzle a thin stream of olive oil over the sheet tray, and gently toss with your hands to coat everything. Or use a spray mister with your favorite cooking oil to lightly coat your vegetables. If you like, you can combine oil and vegetables in a bowl and toss them before arranging them on the baking sheet.
Don’t crowd your veg: Crowded vegetables create steam, which prevents them from getting roasty. The baking sheet surface in contact with the Brussels sprouts flat sides is what gives your roasted vegetables those brown, crunchy bits. Also, flip your veggies halfway through cooking so the other side has a chance to get just as delicious.
Add flavor: Salt and pepper go a long way, of course, and so do chunks of bacon. But there are some other fun ways to add flavor to roasted Brussels sprouts, too.
- Make your own mayo: a good-quality mayonnaise, or one you make your own, is a fabulous dip for roasted veggies of any kind. Add chopped garlic, a spoonful of miso paste, or lemon juice.
- Grated Asiago, pecorino, Parmesan, or Romano cheese make a delicious addition when dusted over the top of roasted sprouts.
- Coconut aminos or soy sauce can be drizzled over vegetables instead of salt.
Brussel Sprout Variations:
Roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar: A drizzle of your favorite balsamic vinegar introduces a nice acidic punch to the sprouts.
Brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts: Chestnuts are in season right around the time that Brussels sprouts show up at the market. Chestnuts have an earthy sweetness and crunchy texture that compliment the sprouts.
Brussels sprouts with bacon and cranberries: Dried cranberries are often tossed in with the roasted vegetables for a hint of autumnal sweetness to the recipe.
Brussels sprouts with bacon and apple: Chunks of apple roasting in with the sprouts are a time-tested way to add sweetness to the dish.
Brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots: If you’re blessed with extra shallots, substitute them in for the red onions.
Do different vegetables have different cooking times?
When you’re planning to roast combinations of vegetables, such as roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes, you need to know that vegetables have different densities, and therefore slightly different cooking times.
Vegetables that take longer to roast, like potatoes and butternut squash, can be put in the oven beforehand, and then shorter-cooking vegetables can be added to the tray partway through the roast.
Not all of this is a hard and fast rule, however. If you want to roast Brussels sprouts with garlic, for example, you can definitely can. Just add slices of garlic to a sheet tray of Brussels sprouts without worrying about keeping them separate.
Vegetables that take longer to roast (35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the slice/chunk/or left whole):
Squash: kabocha, pumpkin, butternut, acorn, delicata, spaghetti
Potatoes, root vegetables, and tubers: Beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas
Alliums: Garlic, shallots, onions, leeks
Vegetables that have a shorter cook time (18-25 minutes depending on the slice/chunk/or left whole):
- Brassicas: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
- Mushrooms: shiitake, morels, cremini, portobello, and hen of the woods
- Summer squash: zucchini, pattypan, and yellow squashes
- Peppers: bell peppers, poblano, and Hungarian peppers
Do you need parchment for roasting vegetables?
Nope, you don’t, but it does make for easier cleanup. Not all parchment is suitable for high heat cooking, so read your labels carefully.
You’re well on you’re way to becoming a roasted Brussels sprout fanatic, and I’m happy to have helped! Let me know your favorite way to enjoy them in the comments below.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Recipe
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 1 small red onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 8 ounces bacon chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
- Add Brussels sprouts, onion, and bacon to baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Toss to coat and spread into a single layer.
- Bake until Brussels sprouts are tender-crisp and browning around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time. Drizzle with vinegar and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.