Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts

Today I have a recipe for Simple Brussels Sprouts steamed and then tossed with garlic butter and olive oil. It’s about as basic (and fast) as you can get but so incredibly delicious! They’re ready in 8 minutes flat!

Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts

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It’s maple season here in Vermont. Which means we have snow on the ground, lots of mud and we are down to the dregs of the storing crops before green things start popping out of the ground for the spring. Thankfully Brussels sprouts are a terrific storing crop that though they’re harvested in the fall, will last all winter long in cold storage. 

I wanted to share this Simple Brussels Sprouts recipe with you so that you have an easy go-to way of preparing them on the stove-top. I mean we all can agree that roasted brussels sprouts and brussels sprouts with maple syrup are amazing! But sometimes taking the time to preheat the oven and roast them is not an option. This recipe is by far the fastest way to cook Brussels. 

You’ll want to Pin This Recipe for later so you have it the next time you want to make Brussels sprouts for a side dish. 

How To Cook Brussels Sprouts: 

  • As with cabbage, Brussels sprouts can be eaten raw, like in this shredded brussels sprouts slaw. I have been loving combining raw Brussels Sprouts with Kale this winter. This Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan, lemon vinaigrette and kale is my current favorite! But most commonly Brussels Sprouts are cooked. 
  • Brussels Sprouts can give off a sulphur odor if they are overcooked. I would argue this is the main reason people think they don’t like them! But if you don’t overcook them, this is not a problem.
  • You can sautee them like in this recipe for Skillet Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo and Lemon. Or you can Roast Brussels sprouts, one of my favorite ways and  the easiest way to win someone over to loving Brussels Sprouts. I even add them to sheet pan dinners like this Chicken with Brussels Sprouts recipe. 
  • You can also add them to a casserole, like Gina did in this Gratin recipe. Or you can make them into a delicious Brussels Sprouts Pasta Carbonara.
  • I should mention that if you love this recipe today and want to try a fancier (we’re talking holiday worthy upgrade) try this Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnut and Sage recipe. It is very similar, but elevated so that it serves a crowd and is so festive. 

Once you have fallen in love with them, you’ll want to make them any which way! And that includes this lightning fast recipe for steamed Brussels sprouts with garlic and butter I have today.

Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to answer a couple of your questions about these little green gems! 

Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts

Are Brussels Sprouts Small Cabbages?

If you remember way back to biology class, there is an order to taxonomy rank for plants. You can refresh your memory here. Basically the family is more broad of a category than species. How that sugars out for Brussels Sprouts is the following:

Brassica Family: Brussels Sprouts are a cool season biennial in the Brassicaceae family which is also known as the mustards. This is a huge family that includes some of our favorite healthy veggies like turnips and mustard greens. 

Brassica Oleracea Species: Within the Brassica family, Brussels sprouts falls in the Brassica Oleracea Species. There are several varieties of brassica vegetables in this species which also includes: cauliflower, cabbage,  collards, kale, broccoli, and kohlrabi. {Source.} 

So no- they are not small cabbages, but they are related! 

Where Are Brussels Sprouts From?

Origin: Brussels sprouts are from Europe and became popular in Northern Europe, and especially near Brussels (Belgium) which is how they got their name! 

Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts

How Are Brussels Sprouts Grown?

Brussels sprouts are grown on stalks. The sprouts themselves appear along the stalks of the plant, at the base of the leaves. They often grow from largest sprout along the bottom to the smallest at the top. 

How To Harvest Brussels Sprouts:

If you are growing several stalks of Brussels Sprouts at once, you can harvest the decent sized sprouts and leave the smaller ones at the top to continue growing. To harvest them cut the sprout or snap them off the stalks at the individual base while leaving the rest of the stalk, leaves and smaller sprouts attached above. This will allow the smaller sprouts to continue to grow, and you’ll be able to harvest another batch within several days.

You can also harvest the entire stalk all at once by sawing it off at the bottom. I use a felco saw to do this. This may be a choice you would make at the end of the season before a frost or if you have grown a variety that matures more evenly.

Are Brussels Sprouts Healthy?

Yes they most definitely are! Here are some of the many star properties of Brussels sprout nutrition:

They are high in anti-oxidants which may help ward off cancer. 

They are high in fiber with 4 grams per cup.

They are low in carbohydrates coming in at 11 grams per cup. Though if you watch your net carbs (subtracting the fiber) they come in at 9 grams.

They are high in Vitamin C and K among others. 

You can read more about the  

Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts

Ingredients You’ll Need For This Recipe

See complete recipe and instructions below in the recipe card.

  • 1 ¼ pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


How To Make this Simple Brussels Sprouts Recipe

These stove top brussels are super simple. I used a technique similar to the one I used in this green beans with walnuts recipe. But it’s perhaps even more simple! I’ll walk you through how to make it! 

Trim the Brussels Sprouts:

The base of the Brussels sprouts where it was attached to the stalk of the plant can sometimes be fibrous and pithy. trim it off, and pull off any outer leaves of the sprout that are loose or black. 

Cut the Brussels Sprouts in Half:

Cutting them in half will help them cook more quickly, and make it easier to eat them! If you have some large and some small ones, just cut the large ones in half and leave the small ones whole. 


While you are prepping your Brussels sprouts, set up a large saucepan with a steamer basket and boiling water. You want the water line to be just below the surface of the steamer. Add the prepared Brussels Sprouts to the steamer basket and let them steam until they are just tender. This will depend on the size of your Brussels. It should take anywhere from 4 to 5 minutes. While you wait chop up your garlic.

Set Aside:

Here’s my super easy trick to saving a dish. Take the steamer basket out of the saucepan, and set it down on a heat proof surface. Try not to allow the sides to flop open. Then cover the steamer with the lid of the pot. You could also use foil if this feels awkward for you.

Use The Same Pot:

Then empty the steaming water out of the saucepan. You can give it a quick rinse (I don’t bother.) And then return the saucepan to the stove for the final step.

Cook Garlic in Butter and Oil:

Melt a little butter (for flavor) in the saucepan and add in some olive oil (which is lower in saturated fat.) Quickly add in the chopped garlic and saute it only until it just starts to brown. This will be less than a minute. Then shut off the heat and immediately slide the Brussels sprouts off the stemer right into the saucepan. 

The Brussels sprouts will prevent the garlic from browning more in the hot oil and butter. Add in some salt and pepper and then toss everything together! 

Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts
1. Trim the stem end and cut in half.
Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts
2. Place Brussels sprouts in the steamer basket, cover and steam 4-5 minutes.
Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts
3. Transfer the steamer basket to the work surface.
Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts
4. Cover the basket with a lid to keep them hot.
Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts
5. Melt butter in the saucepan, add oil and then saute the garlic.
Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts
6. Add the steamed Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper, and stir to coat.

What to Pair With These Steamed Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

  • These sprouts are super versatile so they will go with a lot of the weeknight main courses here on my site.
  • A few ideas that come to mind are to serve them with my Oven Baked Chicken Tenders or my Crispy Skin Chicken. Make some Lemony Quinoa or Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes to round out the meal. 
  • My family loved these and they would be super psyched if I made Sloppy Joes with these Brussels as a side. 
  • Same goes for my Turkey Meatloaf recipe. That is always a clean-plate club kind of meal. 
  • I also love them with Pork, and this Grilled Pork Tenderloin will be hitting the grill later this month, I guarantee it! If it’s too cold for grilling where you are, you can also make Slow Roasted Pork.
  • For a vegetarian meal, these Brussels sprouts would also be a quick side-dish with these Black Bean Burgers. 

Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts

Thanks so much for reading. If you make this recipe, I really appreciate it when folks come back leave a review and rating. It is so helpful! 

If you’re new here, and you want to stay up to date, make sure you sign up for my email newsletter or follow me over on instagram. 


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Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts

Steamed Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

  • Author: Katie
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x

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Here is a super fast and tasty way to make Brussels sprouts on the stovetop. Simply steam them for 4 to 5 minutes, then toss them with garlic butter.

Is it better to steam brussel sprouts?

Not to mention, a quick steam is the perfect way to cook the sprouts and keep their vibrant-green hue intact. For end results that aren't too mushy, here's how to steam Brussels sprouts. 1. Place 1 pound quartered Brussels sprouts in a steamer basket over 1 inch boiling water.

How long should I steam my brussel sprouts?

Bring one inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket over high heat. Add brussels sprouts, cover and steam until they are tender but still bright green 4 to 5 minutes.

How long do you boil brussel sprouts for?

Fill a large pan with cold water, add a little salt and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, prepare the sprouts by discarding any tough, coarse outer leaves. ... .
Add the sprouts to the pan of boiling water, cover and boil for 4-5 minutes until just tender..