Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Onions


Fresh herbs, onion and sautéed bacon flavor this easy Brussels sprouts recipe. This savory dish is delicious in the fall and winter months when Brussels sprouts are in season.

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
10 servings, about 3/4 cup each

How to Trim Brussels Sprouts

1. Start by trimming a thin slice from the stem end of each sprout, but don't cut off the stem completely. Keeping the stem intact helps keep the Brussels sprout in one piece while cooking.
2. Remove any brown or yellow leaves.

Should You Soak Your Brussels Sprouts Before Cooking?

No, you don't need to soak Brussels sprouts before cooking. After trimming, rinse the Brussels sprouts under cold running water in a colander. Cut them in half if they're small or into quarters if they're larger.

What Takes the Bitterness Out of Brussels Sprouts?

To reduce the bitterness of Brussels sprouts, make sure to shop for the freshest ones at the grocery store. They should be bright green in color and firm to the touch. Smaller Brussels sprouts are often milder and sweeter in flavor than larger ones. Adding lemon juice at the end gives the Brussels sprouts some brightness and acidity to balance out the flavors of the dish.

How Can You Make Brussels Sprouts Taste Better?

Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable that contains glucosinolates, which are compounds that give them a slightly bitter flavor. To improve the taste, it's important to not overcook them. When boiling the Brussels sprouts in Step 1, you want to cook them until barely tender. They will continue to cook when you're sautéeing them. A little bit of bacon pairs well with Brussels sprouts, but you can add smoked almonds or nuts for a vegetarian version of the dish.

How to Make Sautéed Brussels Sprouts Ahead of Time

Recipes that can be made ahead in full or in part are a must-have during the holidays. For this Brussels sprouts recipe, you can prep and cook the sprouts a day ahead (through step 1). Store the cooked sprouts in the refrigerator and finish with steps 2 and 3 15-20 minutes before you are ready to serve them.

Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer and Jan Valdez


  • 2 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 4 sprigs thyme or savory, plus 2 teaspoons leaves, divided

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If sprouts are very small, cut in half; otherwise cut into quarters. Cook the sprouts until barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.

  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until brown but not crisp, 3 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the pan.

  3. Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, reducing the heat if necessary, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme (or savory) sprigs, salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, add the Brussels sprouts, and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until tender and warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove the herb sprigs. Add the bacon, thyme (or savory) leaves and lemon juice, if using, and toss.

    Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions
    Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Stylist: Phoebe Hauser


Large heavy skillet

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

77 Calories
3g Fat
10g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Serving Size about 3/4 cup
Calories 77
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 4g 9%
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Vitamin A 971IU 19%
Vitamin C 78mg 87%
Folate 77mcg 19%
Sodium 303mg 13%
Calcium 50mg 4%
Iron 2mg 9%
Magnesium 28mg 7%
Potassium 430mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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