5 from 3 votes

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon (Pan-Fried & Easy!)

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These Brussel sprouts with bacon offer a delicious flavor. They’re the perfect side dish with a crispy outside and tender inside. Enjoy for the holidays!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
£0.54
Makes: 6
mains
British
Freezable

With a tender inside and crisp outside, it’s safe to say this quick Brussel sprouts recipe with bacon is a favourite in our house! It’s a super easy 2-ingredient dish with a delicious flavour everyone will love. Keep reading to learn how to cook Brussel sprouts on stove, with tips and advice.

Sliced Brussel sprouts with browned bacon pieces being stirred with a wooden spoon.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Bacon elevates – Adding bacon to this Brussel sprouts recipe creates an even more delicious taste.

Simple recipe – What’s simpler than a 2-ingredient Brussel sprouts dish?!

Delicious flavor – This Brussel sprouts bacon recipe is sweet, salty, and caramelised to perfection.

Make ahead dish – I love sprout recipes, as they make great recipes to create the night before. You can have these sprouts prepped and ready to throw in the frying pan the next day with a few steps.

Versatile – Add other holiday-related ingredients to make this dish your own. For example, you can turn this recipe into a sprouts, bacon, and chestnuts dish.

Use leftover sprouts to make recipes like Roasted Brussel Sprout Carbonara, Hellman’s Creamy Brussels Sprout Pasta Bake, or Marmite Ham & Camembert Festive Toastie.

How we came up with this brussel sprouts recipe

Around Christmastime, I always get overwhelmed with complicated recipes that require a lot of ingredients. To combat the recipe overwhelm, I came up with a simple Brussel sprouts dish that only requires two ingredients (plus a few pantry staples). Even though it’s simple, it still is deliciously flavourful.

Choosing the right brussel sprouts

With simpler recipes, like this Brussel sprouts dish, I always recommend using better quality ingredients. Since the ingredients list is short, it’s easier to taste the quality of the sprouts and bacon. Here are some recommendations to help you pick the best veg for Brussel sprouts recipes.

What to look for in a good brussel sprout
The ideal sprouts are around one inch in diameter (up to 1 ½ inches is okay). If you purchase sprouts on the stalk, check the stem for signs the sprouts are bad. If the stem is brown or mouldy, skip that bunch of sprouts. The stalk should be slightly dry on the end where it was chopped but not discoloured.

Size, shape, colour
Aim for smaller sprouts, as they are usually more tender and taste more pleasant. Larger sprouts are usually more bitter. Look for sprouts that have minimal yellow leaves on the outside. They should also have tightly bundled leaves.

How to prepare sprouts ahead of time

There are a few steps you can do to turn this Brussel sprouts with bacon recipe into a make-ahead dish. For one, you can prepare the bacon or pancetta in the pan. Allow it to crisp up and caramelise (with the honey). Then, pack it into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. Wash, slice, and shred the Brussel sprouts. Then, you can pan-fry them the next day with salt and, pepper and olive oil. Finishing by tossing in the bacon chunks so they can reheat.

How to cut and trim sprouts so they are ready to cook
If your Brussel sprouts are on a stalk, start by slicing them off the stem. Try not to remove any leaves as they are chopped from the stalk (unless they are yellow/discoloured). If you’ve purchased loose sprouts, trim off the bottom (where they were removed from the stem).

Then, slice the sprouts in half. Take the halved sprouts and thinly slice them with a mandoline or chef’s knife. Then, you’re ready to get into this Brussel sprouts and bacon recipe!

Are Brussel Sprouts good for you?

In general, Brussel sprouts are good for you. They are low-calorie, packed with nutrients, and are a good source of antioxidants.

Vitamin and mineral content
Sprouts have fibre, protein, and nutrients like vitamins K and C. They’re also rich in folate. Many potential health benefits come with eating sprouts, like lowered inflammation.

However, it’s important to note that Brussel sprout recipes with bacon may be best in moderation, because of the higher fat content in the pancetta/bacon pieces.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make a Brussel sprouts and bacon recipe, laid out on a pale blue background and labelled.

Bacon – You can easily swap out bacon for other protein, like pancetta. You can even use meat-free bacon instead (though you will need to use a bit more oil with this swap).

Brussel Sprouts – On the stalk or loose sprouts will work for this recipe. Ensure you prep the sprouts properly (like the notes above/below), and you’re good to go! In a pinch, you can also use frozen Brussels sprouts.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations/ Adaptations

This recipe for Brussel sprouts is quite versatile. You can try a different meat with the Brussel sprouts, like sausage or pancetta. Or, add freshly grated parmesan cheese for a flavour boost. A balsamic glaze with some honey helps create a deliciously salty and sweet treat. Or, add some tanginess with balsamic vinegar. Finally, add roasted chestnuts to these pan-roasted Brussels sprouts for a Christmas-worthy elevation.

How to make Brussel sprouts and bacon

  1. Start by washing the Brussel sprouts and then chopping the tough base off.  Slice the Brussels lengthways, then thinly slice into shreds (Image 1).
  2. Then slice the bacon and roughly chopping into small chunks (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with sliced  brussel sprouts on chopping a board and the second with pieces of of bacon on a chopping board.

3. Now add the bacon into a non-stick frying pan with 1 tbsp of olive or rapeseed oil over a medium heat. Gently fry for around 10 minutes, or until golden and crispy (Image 3).

4. For the final minute of fry time, add a small drizzle of honey (around 1 tsp) to really get the bacon crispy. Set aside (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first slices of bacon in a pan and the second with the bacon pieces browned in the pan.

5. Add the Brussel shreds into the pan along with another 1 tbsp of oil. Season generously with salt and pepper (Image 5).

6. Fry for around 7 minutes, until golden and crispy whilst still being vibrant and green (I added a sprinkle of thyme) (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with sliced Brussels in a pan with a wooden spoon and the second with the sprouts fried and some herbs added.

7. Then add the fried, crispy bacon bits back into the pan with the cooked Brussels (Image 7).

8. Mix together to incorporate all the bacon within the sprouts and you’re ready to serve (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first with sliced Brussels in a pan with fried bacon bits on top and the second with the sprouts mixed with the browned bacon.

Serve with your Christmas Dinner, with the CRISPIEST Roast Potatoes and Honey-Roasted Carrots & Parsnips Recipe

Tips for the best results

Keeping the lid on at first helps the sprouts steam and cook on the inside…no need for boiling
This sauteed Brussel sprouts recipe does not require par-boiling the veg, since keeping the lid on for a few minutes helps soften the sprouts. Ensure you cook Brussels sprouts covered first for the best results.

Having the lid off is what will allow them to brown
Ensure you leave plenty of time for the Brussel sprouts to caramelise in this recipe. To do so, remove the lid for part of the cooking time in this Brussel sprout recipe.

Decrease cooking time by choosing smaller sprouts
When making bacon Brussel sprouts, do not overcook them. They will be tender, not crunchy when they’re ready to remove from the pan.

Have extra bacon? Try making these dishes: Creamy Bacon Pasta, Delicious Tagliatelle Carbonara or Easy Bacon and Lentil Soup

Sliced and cooked Brussel sprouts with browned bacon pieces with pepper added..

Serving Suggestions

These caramelized Brussel sprouts are a great side dish during the holidays (like Christmas, Easter, etc.). They pair well with roasts (beef or vegan), ham, oven-roasted chicken, duck, and other meaty mains. They’re also great with mashed potatoes, salads, roast veggies, and other veg side dishes. In my opinion, this is the best Brussel sprout recipe, because it pairs with nearly everything.

Storage and Reheat Instructions for Leftovers

Any leftover Brussel sprouts you have, allow them to cool fully. Then, pack them in an airtight container/bag. They can stay in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat this yummy dish by tossing it into a pan and frying for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. You can also microwave the leftovers, though the pancetta/bacon may not be crispy afterwards.

FAQs

Should my Brussel sprouts be boiled before cooking?

Some recipes call for boiling the sprouts for a few minutes ahead of time. However, when you cover the Brussel sprouts in this recipe with a lid, it steams and softens them (similar to cooking them in boiling water).

Should I soak my Brussel sprouts before cooking?

It’s not necessary to soak sprouts before you cook them.

Why do you cut Brussel sprouts in half before cooking?

Slicing the sprouts in half makes it easier to cook them, as they will stay together more easily. If you slice them into shreds, it will be easier to cut them from halves as the core allows them to stay together better.

How can you tell when Brussel sprouts are done?

These crispy roasted Brussels sprouts will be tender (not crunchy) when they’re done. If they’re still crunchy, they need more time on the stove.

Why are my sprouts still hard after cooking?

If you don’t use enough oil, you may have hard sprouts when making Brussels sprouts recipes. Ensure there’s enough oil to properly coat each sprout before tossing them in the pan.

Should I line my baking sheet with parchment paper?

If you’re making oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, cooking them with parchment paper is best. It will help the roast Brussels sprouts from sticking to the pan.
 
If you’re making oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, cooking them with parchment paper is best. It will help the roast Brussels sprouts from sticking to the pan. Serve these yummy Brussel sprouts with recipes like Christmas Dinner, Slow Cooker Gammon Joint, or Goats Cheese Tart with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

Sliced and cooked Brussel sprouts with lots of browned bacon pieces  topped with pepper.

If you tried this Brussel Sprouts with Bacon recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon (Pan-Fried & Easy!)

Print
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
£0.54
mains
British
Freezable
Servings: 6
These Brussel sprouts with bacon offer a delicious flavor. They’re the perfect side dish with a crispy outside and tender inside. Enjoy for the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 300 g bacon £2.25
  • 500 g Brussel sprouts £1.00

Cupboard Essentials

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  • Start by adding the bacon (roughly chopped into small chunks) into a non-stick frying pan with 1 tbsp of olive or rapeseed oil over a medium heat. Gently fry for around 10 minutes, or until golden and crispy. For the final minute of fry time, add a small drizzle of honey (around 1 tsp) to really get the bacon crispy. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, wash the Brussels and then chop the tough base off. Slice the Brussels lengthways, then thinly slice into shreds. Add the Brussel shreds into the pan along with another 1 tbsp of oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and fry for around 7 minutes, until golden and crispy whilst still being vibrant and green.
  • Then add the fried, crispy bacon bits back into the pan with the cooked Brussels. Mix together to incorporate all the bacon within the sprouts and you're ready to serve.

Notes

  • Keep the lid on initially for steaming and cooking the sprouts without boiling, ensuring softening.
  • Remove the lid to allow browning and caramelization, leaving ample time for the process.
  • Opt for smaller sprouts to decrease cooking time, preventing overcooking for a tender texture.

Nutrition

Servings: 6 servings
Fat: 14g
Calories: 212kcal
Carbohydrates: 8g
Protein: 16g

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