Balsamic Brussels Sprouts is a classic side dish made even better with bacon and a balsamic maple glaze. Enjoy this 20-minute recipe for the holidays, weeknight dinners, and more!
Serving brussels sprouts during the holidays is a give-in. But what if you could pack this underrated vegetable with flavor from bacon and balsamic? Sounds good, right?
That’s exactly what these Balsamic Brussels Sprouts are all about. Pan-fried in bacon fat and seasoned with a balsamic vinegar and maple syrup glaze, this is one holiday side dish no one will turn their nose up at!
The process is quick and easy, too. In just 20 minutes, you’re left with glazed brussels sprouts that are bursting with sweet and tangy flavors. The fried bacon bits in every bite always leave dinner guests feeling delighted!
- Pan fried brussels sprouts are upgraded with bacon and a balsamic vinegar glaze.
- The balsamic and maple syrup glaze tempers the brussels sprouts' natural bitter flavors.
- An easy 20-minute side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or regular weeknight dinners!
Brussels sprouts - Fresh brussels sprouts are best because they’ll be much tastier and you don’t need to wait for them to thaw. Frozen sprouts tend to become softer or even soggy in the middle.
Bacon - Small bacon pieces are fried in the pan first. There are two reasons why: (1) fried bacon makes maple glazed brussels sprouts extra tasty, and (2) the brussels sprouts are pan-fried in the bacon fat to help infuse more flavor. Instead of bacon, feel free to use pancetta or turkey bacon.
Balsamic vinegar - It’s mixed together with maple syrup to make a homemade balsamic glaze. If you already have storebought balsamic glaze at home, go ahead and use it instead.
Maple syrup - To help sweeten the balsamic glaze over the sprouts while taming their natural bitter flavor. If you don’t have maple syrup, substitute honey instead.
Step 1: Cook the bacon. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. When it’s hot, add the bacon pieces and cook until they’re crisp. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate while you pan fry the brussels sprouts.
Step 2: Cook the brussels sprouts. Now add the brussels sprouts to the skillet with the bacon fat. Stir to coat, then cover with a lid to help them tenderize.
Step 3: Add the bacon again. Add the bacon back to the pan after a few minutes. Remove the lid and turn up the heat slightly. Cook the sprouts, undisturbed, until they’ve browned to your liking.
Step 4: Season with balsamic. Stir the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup together in a small bowl. Pour the sauce over the finished sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- Try not to move the brussels sprouts around as they pan fry! Leaving them undisturbed is the secret to that irresistible golden-brown crust.
- If you want to use frozen brussels sprouts, make sure to thaw them before frying.
- Sprinkle pomegranate seeds or pecans on top of the finished dish to help bulk it up and give it an enticing holiday flair.
- You can make this recipe vegetarian or vegan by omitting the bacon or replacing it with crumbled tempeh bacon. Just use olive oil or avocado oil in place of the bacon fat.
How do you prepare brussels sprouts?
Wash them well and cut off the woody ends with a knife. Remove any loose leaves or those with blemishes. Cut each sprout in half and you’re ready to start frying.
Can you bake the brussels sprouts instead?
Yes, you can easily make this recipe in the oven instead. First, stir the bacon, sprouts, maple syrup, and balsamic together and transfer the mixture to a baking sheet. Bake at 425ºF for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.
Alternatively, roast the brussels sprouts and bacon without the “sauce”. This will make them extra crispy. Simply drizzle the balsamic glaze over the top when they’re done and serve.
Can you make it ahead of time?
Yes, but I recommend roasting the brussels sprouts in the oven instead. This way, you can stir the sprouts, bacon, and glaze together a few hours in advance and keep them in the fridge until it’s time to cook.
What can you use instead of brussels sprouts?
The tangy, sweet, and salty flavors in this veggie side dish pair well with more than just brussels sprouts. Instead, you can use carrots, broccoli, parsnips, napa cabbage, or a mixture of all four.
More brussels sprouts recipes
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Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- 1 lb. brussels sprouts ends trimmed and sliced in half
- 3 slices bacon chopped
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat; remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the brussels sprouts to the skillet with the bacon fat and stir to coat. Place a lid on the skillet and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the bacon back into the skillet, increase the heat to medium and continue cooking uncovered for 3-5 minutes until the sprouts are browned to your liking.
- In a small bowl whisk the balsamic and maple syrup together. Once the sprouts are done, pour the sauce overtop and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!