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How to Boil and Prepare Brussel Sprouts

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Boiling Brussel Sprouts and How to Cook Them

Brussel sprouts – you either love them, or hate them. But, either way knowing how to prepare, cook and boil brussel sprouts is a different story. 

Boiling sprouts is not as simple as you may think. How long do you boil them for? Do you need to add any seasoning? Should you roast them afterwards? Is boiling the best way to cook them?

So many questions. And lucky for you, we have the answers. 

In this post, we’ll cover how to boil sprouts, and answer all of your frequently asked questions.Very soon, you’ll be a pro at cooking brussels. 

How to Boil & Prepare Brussel Sprouts in 5 Steps

Brussel sprouts are small green vegetables, and look a lot like mini cabbages. They measure 2.5 – 4 cm and belong to the brassica family along with broccoli, kale and cabbage. 

Fun fact: their name comes were widely populated in Belgium, where the capital city is called Brussels.

If they aren’t cooked properly, these mini cabbages are known to taste bitter. And much like marmite, are not to everyone’s taste.

Those who love sprouts, really love sprouts, and eating them throughout the year is a must. Sprouts are not just for Christmas.

How to Prepare Brussel Sprouts

Before you begin cooking sprouts, they need to be prepared. 

Simply slice off the stem end of the sprout with a knife or if they are small, you can leave them whole prior to cooking. 

If sprouts are large, they can be halved, or even quartered, so they don’t take as long to cook. 

The outer leaves can also be peeled and removed to reveal a lighter green, clean sprout underneath. Don’t go overboard, just enough to take off the tough and course outer leaves.

How to Boil Brussel Sprouts

Boiling brussel sprouts is very easy and simple, once you know how. Follow our step-by-step guide below.

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, and add a pinch of salt.
  2. Add your brussel sprouts, cover and boil for around 4 – 5 minutes.
  3. Check they’re ready by using a fork to test the firmness.
  4. If the sprouts are tender all the way through, remove them from the heat.
  5. Add flavouring such as lemon juice, or make them special and add a topping of bacon pieces. Serve and enjoy!

Have a watch of the video below for a visual guide to boiling sprouts.


Even though brussel sprouts became widespread in Belgium in the 16th century, they are actually thought to have originated from Rome. According to Food Print, it’s Belgium where brussel sprouts were given the name we know them as today.

Brussel Sprout FAQ’s

How long does brussel sprouts take to boil?

Brussel sprouts can be boiled for 5-10 minutes, or until you can pierce the sprouts with a fork and they’re tender.

Is it better to steam or boil brussel sprouts?

Boiling vegetables will result in losing some of the nutrients into the water, whereas steaming will retain the most amount. However, it’s important to note that every form of cooking will result in some loss of nutrients. Steaming is also faster at cooking vegetables compared to boiling.

Do you cut brussel sprouts before boiling?

Yes, sprouts can be prepared by cutting off the stem end if they are relatively large. They can also be halved or quartered depending on the size of the sprout.

How do you know when brussel sprouts are done boiling?

You can test if sprouts are cooked with a fork. Pierce a sprout and check they’re soft all the way through to the middle.

How long should I steam brussel sprouts?

Sprouts can be steamed in 5-10 minutes, or until they’re bright green and tender all the way through to the middle.

Are boiled brussel sprouts good for you?

BBC News states that eight cooked Brussels sprouts provide just 70 calories, 5.9g carbohydrates, 2.2g fat and 4.8g protein. They’re also high in fibre making them a vegetable packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Do we need to boil sprouts?

Boiling sprouts is one way of cooking them. They can be roasted, fried, steamed or even cooked in the microwave. Without some form of cooking, sprouts will be hard and crunchy.

How do you cook brussel sprouts so they are not bitter?

Without cooking, brussel sprouts can taste bitter. They are fine to be eaten raw, but slicing them into smaller pieces and by adding seasoning/flavors will help to eliminate any bitterness. You can try adding bacon, hazelnuts, lemon, herbs and spices.


Brussel sprouts are a key part of our Christmas dinner, along with the turkey and Yorkshire puddings.

Luckily, they’re easy to boil and are a highly nutritious vegetable that can make everyday food in our diet. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this step-by-step guide on how to boil and prepare brussel sprouts.

Related Food Articles: 

How to Boil and Prepare Brussel Sprouts

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