This Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apple has so many dimensions of flavors and textures. It is a great side dish for weeknight dinner as well as holiday celebration.
Brussels sprouts are packed with nutritions, but some may be turned off by their bitterness. I find that when cooked right, they will have a crisp texture with almost no bitterness. We got to try this Brussels sprouts with apple and bacon dish at a local restaurant, and were surprised at how tasty it was despite being super simple to make. Since then, it’s been added to our list of favorite vegetable side dishes to make at home.
In this sautéed Brussels sprouts recipe, contrasting flavors blend so well together. You’ll have some saltiness and smokiness from bacon, tartness and sweetness from apples as well as mild sweetness and nuttiness from Brussels sprouts. In addition, there are all kinds of textures in the dish to make it even better.
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This dish requires very few ingredients:
- Brussels sprouts: I prefer those of small sizes which tend to be sweeter than big ones. Trim just a bit at the end, maybe discard some outer leaves, and then cut them in half through stem end to keep the leaves intact.
- Granny Smith apples: the dish tastes best with these apples. I have tried some other apple varieties, and they don’t compare. The sweet-tart flavor and crisp texture of Granny Smith apples make them shine in the dish. Dice the apples and soak them in lightly salted water to prevent color changing if you are not cooking them right away.
- good quality bacon: I personally prefer thick-cut bacon for this dish, but if crispiness is your goal, you can use thin-cut bacon. You can also use pancetta instead of bacon.
- other ingredients: onion, butter, salt and pepper.
How to Cook Brussels Sprouts on the Stovetop
You will need only one pan to cook this recipe. If possible, I recommend using a cast iron pan such as Lodge for the best results.
First, render fat from the bacon. Just be patient and use gentle heat. Then set the bacon aside, strain the released fat or scrape off the gritty browned bits from the bottom of the pan (I use a Lodge scraper to do this).
With the bacon fat in the pan over medium heat, add the sprouts with cut-side down and let them sear until browned. Don’t disturb them, just wait until the cut-side is browned then flip them. Brown the other side until the inside feels soft while the outside is still crisp. Overcooking will make them too soft and will actually bring out more bitterness.
Once the sprouts are ready, take them out of the pan and proceed to sauté the diced onion and apple. When those are ready, add the sprouts back to the pan. I like to stir and toss everything together briefly to keep the leaves intact as much as possible. You can find detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
Other Appetizers to Try
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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apple
- 14 oz Brussels sprouts (you can use up to 1 lb of sprouts)
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples
- 1 small onion (about 2.5oz, or half a medium onion)
- 4 oz good quality bacon, thick-cut preferably
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, divided (to taste)
- black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter, divided
- Trim just a bit at the end of the sprouts, discard some tough outer leaves if needed, and then cut them in half through stem end to keep the leaves intact.
- Peel the apples if you want. Dice into ½-inch thick pieces, we need about 1¼-1½ cup. If you are not cooking them right away, cover with lightly salted water to prevent them from turning brown.
- Dice onion, we need about ¼ cup. Cut/dice bacon into small pieces, about ½ inch.
- Place a heavy-bottomed pan (cast iron is ideal) over medium-low to medium heat. Add bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the meat is browned. Flip/stir as needed to avoid burning the bacon.
- Take the bacon pieces out of the pan and set aside. Strain the bacon fat or scrape off any gritty browned bits at the bottom of the pan. We need enough bacon fat to generously coat the pan's bottom.
- Add Brussels sprouts with cut-side down in a single layer. Let them cook undisturbed until the bottom is beautifully browned, about 3-4 minutes. Then flip the sprouts and continue to cook until the inside feels soft while the outside is still crisp, another 3-4 minutes. Adjust cooking time and heat as needed. Transfer them to a clean plate.
- Add diced onion to the pan, stir and cook. Add 1 teaspoon of butter, cook until onion starts to soften and turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add diced apples. Continue to stir and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the apples reach your desired textures. Sprinkle half of the salt and a pinch of pepper, give everything in the pan a quick stir.
- Add bacon, Brussels sprouts, the remaining butter and salt to the pan. Stir and cook briefly until butter is melted and the flavors are combined. Transfer to a serving plate immediately. Sprinkle more black pepper on top if desired.