Sautéed brussel sprouts are bursting with browned buttery flavor (if you’ve never had browned butter get a spoon!) and are a far cry from the boiled bland ones of the past. Make these classics shine in a new way as a simple side or on your next holiday table.Jump to Recipe
Brussel sprouts can get a bad wrap–overcooked, soggy and bland when boiled, I can understand why people turn their nose up at them.
But oh! When they’re cooked correctly, perfectly crisp-tender and tossed in a simple browned butter and a little salt, these little cabbages feel like so much more.
They make just the right weeknight dinner side (they’re ready in less than 15 minutes) or make them ahead and re-warm them for your holiday table so you can free your oven up for other things.
How do you prep brussel sprouts?
- Give them a simple rinse in cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel or clean dish towel to remove any dirt. If yours are still on the stalk, just snap them off before washing.
- Remove any small leaves from the bottom and cut off the a small section of the stem. I find that the little leaves fall off on their own when I trim the stems.
- Cut your sprouts in half down the longest part and even in to quarters if they are really large. (See image 1, below)
How to make these sautéed brussel sprouts the best you’ve ever eaten
- Place the sprouts cut side down in a skillet with a little avocado oil. (I don’t use vegetable oil anymore but if you have that, you can use it.) We just want to get them browning.
- Add 1/4 cup of water to the skillet and add a lid. This gives us a bit of steam to cook the sprouts through. It’s hard to get them soft and golden brown when you only sauté them.
- Transfer the sautéed brussel sprouts to a plate and cover them to keep them warm. Wipe out the skillet and brown the butter to pour over.
How to brown butter (you’ll be so glad you did!)
Browning butter is a snap. It’s just melting butter and cooking the milk solids in it until they get golden brown and nutty. Essentially, we’re letting the butter fry itself!
The final result is a transformation of flavor like you have never imagined. It is essential that you use real butter here as well. No tubs or Country Crock stuff. It’s not butter and it won’t work.
Here’s how to brown the butter:
- Use a skillet that is not black or dark brown. You won’t be able to see the butter turn brown if the bottom is dark.
- Add the butter to the skillet and turn the heat on medium/medium low.
- Let the butter melt. It may make a crackling sound as some of the water cooks out. That’s fine. Use a spatula to gently stir it while it’s melting.
- Continue cooking and you’ll see the butter begin to foam. Underneath, the milk solids in the bottom of the pan will begin to turn brown. Make sure you are watching what’s happening under the foam.
- When the bottom solids turn a beautiful golden brown, you’re done. Turn off the heat and remove the skillet from the burner so you don’t burn the butter.
The whole process takes about 5 minutes or so.
Pro tip: I like using salted butter for this, but if you’d like to have more control over the seasoning use unsalted and season with a little extra salt after you pour on the butter.
What to serve with brussel sprouts
I like pairing my green veggies with a starch and a protein. Try:
- Baked macaroni and cheese
- Super creamy sour cream mashed potatoes
- Potatoes au gratin
- Parmesan turkey cutlets
- Oven roasted salmon cakes
Want some more great variations for your sprouts? Check out this collection.
Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Browned Butter
- 1 pound fresh brussel sprouts cut in half if small or quarters if large
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt season to taste after the butter is added
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons salted butter you can use unsalted if you'd prefer to control the seasoning more closely
- Rinse, pat dry and cut brussel sprouts in half if small or in quarters if large.
- In a 12-inch skillet add the avocado oil over medium high heat and allow to warm for a minute. Add the sprouts cut side down and don't move them for 3 to 4 minutes–or until they start to get some color.
- Gently stir them around in the skillet for 1 to 2 minutes more then add the salt and pepper.
- Add the water and cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium.
- Allow the brussel sprouts to steam for another 6 minutes. Remove the lid to evaporate any additional moisture and transfer the sprouts to a plate. Cover and keep warm.
Make the browned butter
- Wipe out the same skillet (if it doesn't have a dark bottom) and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Turn heat to medium and gently stir as the butter melts.
- Continue cooking gently until the milk solids on the bottom of the skillet turn golden brown–about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour over the brussel sprouts. Taste for additional seasoning and serve warm.