Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Maple Orange Glaze

Simple Caramelized Brussels Sprouts - golden brown, just crispy enough, 20 minutes to make. |

The thing about caramelized brussels sprouts is that they are a) adorable, b) delicious, and c) healthy, because they’re like baby cabbages disguised as beautiful food.

On our Washington, D.C. weekend getaway, I found various forms of brussels sprouts on every restaurant menu. Caramelized, roasted, chopped, sauteed, braised, you name it. And obvi, I ordered all of them. But there was only one that really made my heart flutter, and that was the caramelized brussels sprouts. How can a real live person say no to that crispy, golden exterior? So lightly sweet and so perfect.

And this is still a VEG-E-TA-BLE we’re talking about here.

Simple Caramelized Brussels Sprouts - golden brown, just crispy enough, 20 minutes to make. |

Brussels sprouts are totally trendy right now, so in addition to being delicious and 150% cute, if you like them you get a free pass to the Cool Kidz Club because of their built-in awesomeness. And a bonus 200 cool person points for caramelizing them with a sweet maple orange sauce. And crumbling bacon all over them. And yeah, I’m serious.

I made these three different times because I am kind of picky about texture. The first time, they were sure crispy alright. Like, CRISPY crispy. My oven is a leetle bit over-zealous, and it’s all my oven. Totally all my oven. The second time, they were smushy and soft when sauteed on the stovetop. Not so much, friends. We’re looking for the light crunch factor here.

So the final time, when I got the crunch just right but not too much, it was by doing this:

Simple Caramelized Brussels Sprouts - golden brown, just crispy enough, 20 minutes to make. |

That’s right, cut side down, in the pan. Not ideal for my lazier moments, because you have to literally place them one. by. one. in the pan. It requires moving your hands for at least two minutes, which… I know. WHAT IS THIS. It’s like I became your bossy Jillian Michaels. But the one on one attention to place each of them down in the pan is so worth it. They browned evenly on the cut side, cooked just enough to be fork tender on the back side, and then just sizzled to a perfect caramelization state when I added the sauce.

Angels singing? I hear it too. LALALALALALA.

This plus bacon plus Parmesan equals done. Delicious and done.

Simple Caramelized Brussels Sprouts - golden brown, just crispy enough, 20 minutes to make. |

And keep barking up that brussels sprouts tree because –>

Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad with Chicken and Walnuts

Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad with Creamy Shallot Dressing

Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad


4.8 from 11 reviews
Simple Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Serves: 6 as a side
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 20 brussels sprouts
  • juice of one navel orange (I got about ¼ cup)
  • 1 shallot, peeled and quartered
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons stone ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cane vinegar (any kind would work)
  • 2 teaspoons real maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Parmesan for topping
  1. Remove the base of the brussels sprout by cutting off just the very bottom part of the stem (it's white). If you cut too much off, the leaves will fall apart, so be careful. Slice the brussels sprouts in half as pictured and set aside.
  2. Puree the orange juice, shallot, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, and salt in a food processor until a smooth sauce forms. Taste and adjust if you want more of a certain flavor. Set aside.
  3. Fry the bacon according to package directions until crispy. Drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, chop into small pieces. Pour the hot grease into a small heatproof container and set aside.
  4. Return the same pan to medium high heat and add the brussels sprouts to the pan, cut side down. Drizzle with a little bit of the reserved bacon grease (1-2 teaspoons) and gently push the brussels sprouts around in the pan, keeping them cut side down. You might need to do it twice depending on how many you can fit in your pan at one time. After about five minutes, when the brussels sprouts have browned slightly on the cut side and the pan is hot, pour the sauce in with the brussels sprouts. It will sizzle like crazy; that's perfect! Pick the pan up by the handle(s) and shake it a little bit so that the brussels sprouts move around in the pan. They burn easily, especially once the sugars are there, so do this quickly (1 minute or less) and remove from heat when you have the right amount of caramelization. Toss with the reserved bacon and Parmesan cheese. Yummay!

Nutrition for Brussels

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  1. Brussels sprouts are my favorite veggie to eat in the winter and I’m always looking for ways to spice ’em up! This is perfect. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. Is there anything better than caramelized brussels sprouts? I don’t think so!!

  3. Yep that caramelized base is now haunting my salad dreams. When ever we get brussels in Australia; I am not passing that chance to buy my self some and try your recipe. Veggies are always cute; especially bacon.

  4. Brussels sprouts are my new fave veggie ever since I tried them a few months ago!(sad I know) If you don’t want to place them one by one in a pan, you can try roasting them in the oven with some citrus olive oil like I did here – They are still nicely caramelized and no need to do 2 batches or place them cut side down. =) for lazy days…

  5. After I read the title I thought–I bet those would be really good with bacon… And you’d already thought of that! Because you’re a genius.

    I’m super picky about brussels sprouts, too many mushy ones in my childhood. But these look really good! Maybe I’ll try them this weekend!


  6. My favorite vegetable ever! These look amazingly perfect :)

  7. Brussels sprouts are my weakness. Love them! Especially caramelized like this.

  8. We love brussels sprouts at our house! I have never made them this way, but amazingly enough I think I have all the ingredients to do this! Now….to find the time…. 😉 Thanks for the great recipe!

  9. This looks great Lindsay. Thanks! Brussels sprouts are quite strange little vegetables – and you’re right, they’re like minime cabbages packed full of flavours. Thanks for the frying tip – great idea! Love this combo of flavours/ingredients. I just googled and realised that red brussels sprouts also exists – how awesome is that? Have a great day! :)

  10. YES! These are my jam. Brussels + bacon + orange juice=BEST.

  11. OMG yum! Brussels are my all time favorite vegetable! They are so delicious.
    xo Dina

  12. oh yum! you know its a good recipe when it makes you crave veggies! =)

  13. I absolutely love it when bloggers make me want to eat more veggies. These look delicious! Maybe I could even get my kids to eat them too since they’re sweetened a bit.

  14. These little guys look so good! I love the orange maple combo.

  15. Ahh crispy texture, I’m sold. I agree with Brussel sprouts it is all about the texture and though I’ve never had it with a glaze, if it involves maple syrup it’s bound to be delicious. Maybe I can even get my hubby to try them!

  16. Thanks for the Recipe.. I always overcook these and mess it up 😛

  17. I am obsessed with sprouts, so darn good! Roasted and caramelized and they are just amazing.

  18. The fact that I stumbled across your blog and this is the very first recipe up at the top–it’s ZING, fate! I am in such a brussel sprout groove right now and lady, I love your writing, your photos, and your recipes. Cheers to mini cabbages on my plate tomorrow night, and all that jazz <3

  19. haha… going to the store asap to get those brussels sprouts. Holy cutest vegetable ever and deliciousness waiting to happen.

    P.S. I like Julianne Michaels, so I’m ok with your bossy side. :)

  20. Wonderful – I had actually spotted some Brussels in the supermarket the other day (which being summer I thought was rather strange) but will need to give this recipe a whirl as I do so love Brussels – but funnily enough I hated them as a child in UK, where they seemed to be a regular on our dinner plates day after day! Your pulled pork recipe was also made again yesterday, ready for todays sandwiches.
    Love your recipes…..

  21. I love Brussel sprouts! This way looks fantastic, I’ll have to try it when they comeback into season. I love roasting them with a little bacon.

  22. These brussels sprouts do look good! I love how you added the orange juice, that must have helped with the caramelizing.

  23. Yes please! I could absolutely eat a whole plate of the brussels sprouts for lunch–maybe with a fried egg on top? So good!

  24. Ohhh, I like the maple orange glaze. Now that sounds tasty! I usually roast brussels sprouts with bacon but I think I need to try this. Pinned!

  25. First off, I love brussels sprouts and am thrilled with a maple orange glazed! Roasting them brings out the sweetness!

  26. Eating some b-sprouts as I type! On top of a bed of creamy polenta with a runny egg on top. I so need to get caramelized brussels sprouts in my life ASAP.

  27. Brussels sprouts ARE on every menu in D.C. It’s like an obsession here! And, I’m not complaining because they are all delicious. Next time you come to D.C. you must go to DCity Smokehouse. Officially the best sprouts in the entire city. I’m going to try to replicate them on my blog in a few weeks! P.S. Orange maple glaze = delicious.

  28. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who orders brussels sprouts when I go out! I love them & if I see them on a menu, I have to try them.

  29. We had the most amazing brussel sprouts in Las Vegas. I need a great recipe because I want to make them at home. These look fantastic!

  30. Ohhhhhh my goodness. Brussels sprouts are officially my new favorite veggie. I eat them every day as part of my breakfast — no joke! Right now I love roasting them until the outermost leaves are crisp and crunchy (best part!), but caramelized… Those photos alone may be enough to convert me. It’d totally be worth the effort of placing each one cut-side down. Totally.

  31. Wow, these look so good. Luckily, I have some brussels sprouts that I didn’t know what to do, other than my usual cooking method. :) Thank you!

  32. Caramelized brussels are the best! I made them in the fall and cannot get enough. SO GOOD!

    Love the maple orange glaze

  33. I had a plate of something like this in a restaurant in Melbourne Australia with honey and walnuts. They were so delicious (even hubs, who normally hates brussels, liked them) and even reminded me a little of that lovely salted crispy seaweed you can get in Asian restaurants. Yours look delicious too! Love the idea of adding maple syrup.

  34. I’ll make a vegetarian version!!! I love this recipe because it looks soooo good and it’s really easy!

  35. Such a beautiful and healthy side dish!

  36. I am not so much fan of the sprouts but I have been thinking more and more that I want to try again with different recipes. This one looks very tempting.

  37. Love that you explained your process to get to your final desired result–very helpful for the cooking nerd in me, and much less daunting than a similarly structured Cooks’ Illustrated article (must be why I’m reading this instead of tackling the current CI issue on my countertop).

  38. Heart me some Brussels sprouts!! I usually roast them in the oven with evoo, s&p and they are perfectly crisp on outside and soft on the inside. If i’m looking for a quicker preparation I love to shave them with a mandolin and sauté them in a pan over the stove. I will have to try your method next, I’m really intrigued by this sweet maple orange sauce!! Thanks :)

  39. I feel like such a bad healthy living blogger – I’ve never had a brussel sprout!! I just say that I like them because they look so good :) why do they have such a bad reputation with kids? Same thing with spinach. It’s really not that bad! These look SO yummy!

  40. We LOVE brussel sprouts here too! I make them every year for all the holiday parties!

  41. These look yummy! I cannot wait to make them. Thank you for sharing.

  42. I’ve been making something similar to this but I can’t wait to try your version!
    Looks delicious!

  43. How delicious do they look, you had my attention with that first photograph. I have to try them. Thank you for sharing.

  44. I love brussels any way I can get them. These caramelized beauties look delicious.

  45. Brussels sprouts are my favorite veggie, and caramelizing them is a fantastic idea! THANK!

  46. I love roasting brussel sprouts – I made a brussel sprout and bacon pizza last week. YUM!!

  47. Loos absolutely delicious! Thank you!


  48. I was the weird kid whos favourite vegetable was the brussel sprout growing up. Nice addition of the the sweet concept. There was a deserate tsp subsitute of honey for maple as we were down to the last drip. I was dubious about the five minutes cooking time. I left mine longer ‘plain’ before ading the glaze – maybe 12 minutes. I had a very juicey orange and dumped it all in before measuring, ending up with around 3/4cup . I used the extra liquid to partially boil the sprouts longer on a low heat. The sprouts are perfect for a salad as they are still somewhat raw and have a great crunch about them.

  49. Brussels sprouts + maple orange glaze + bacon + yum = forever in my tummy! :)

  50. Brilliant! I’m 200% with you being Jillian Michaels on me if it gets me these beauties. Pinning these and making them ASAP.

  51. What a delicious recipe!!!!
    Perfect way to serve this otherwise under-rated vegetable!
    The Macadame. xx

  52. All I can think of is how is it possible that I’ve never tried brussel sprouts?! That is changing this weekend!

  53. Good grief woman! 102 calories of fat (11.3 grams) and 365 mg of sodium! Why would you do that to a perfectly good brussel sprout? Even if kids like them who wants to give their children all that fat and salt. Brown them in a small amount of olive oil and use alot less than a 1/4 cup of oil in the sauce (1 tablespoon is plenty). I’m sure this is delicious as candy but don’t call it a vegetable.

  54. We eat brussels sprouts regularly in our home. I usually just toss in olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and roast for 15 minutes in the oven. Simple and divine. Especially the little bits that break off and get super crunchy. But like anything, you need to switch it up so I tried this recipe tonight. I made a double batch of the sauce and used the extra to marinate a pork tenderloin before grilling. Oh my holy goodness. What a party of flavors. People, do yourself a favor and make this. To reference to the comment above: it’s actually better than candy. I was tempted to lick the remaining bacony citrusy (yes, fat laden) glaze from my cast iron skillet for dessert. Thank you for sharing. New family favorite.

  55. Yum for sure! Now if only I can convince my husband they are amazing!

  56. These look delicious!! Any suggestions for an truly vegetarian version?

  57. Sabrina says:

    I want to make this but I cannot find cane vinegar anywhere… if I use regular vinegar will that be ok or should I keep searching??

  58. These were so absurdly delicious! I couldn’t stop talking about (or eating) them all of Thanksgiving, and I’ve never even been one to love brussel sprouts. Yum yum YUM.

  59. Wanted to try this but no brussel sprouts in the house. Made it with cauliflower flowrettes. Dellicious!! Thanks for the idea.

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