How To make Brussels Sprouts

I’ve got a little confession to make. Until last week I’d never had brussels sprouts. No, this wasn’t a case of childhood resistance hanging on way too long. I’d just never had them put in front of me.

I didn’t know, until my wife said we should get some, that they were miniature cabbages. And since I recently discovered I like boiled cabbage — thanks again to the wife — that means I’ve got an easy new side dish. Wait, did I say easy? I meant drop dead simple.

Figure on four or five sprouts per person. Like full-size cabbage, brussels sprouts grow from the inside out. That means the inside will be clean. Just peel off the outside layer and they’re ready to cook.

You can roast brussels sprouts, but steaming is nearly foolproof. I’ve got an electric steamer, but decided to go with the pasta and steamer set.

Two inches of water in the bottom of the pot. Give the sprouts a quick rinse and put them in the steamer basket.

Put the lid on and place over high heat until the water boils, then turn it down until the water just keeps boiling. As long as there is steam under the lid, the sprouts will cook. Turning the heat up won’t make the steam any hotter, and will just boil off all the water before they’re done. Steam for 15 minutes, until you can poke a fork all the way through without much resistance.

Add salt and butter.

And that’s it.

No, really. That’s it.

I told you it was simple, didn’t I?

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts


  • 4-5 Brussels sprouts per person
  • 1 tablespoon butter per person
  • kosher salt


Peel off the outer layer of leaves from any sprouts where they have started to turn yellow. Trim the stalk as close to the sprout as you can go without cutting off any more leaves.

Place the sprouts in a steamer basket above boiling water. Steam for about 15 minutes, until a fork goes all the way through the thickest part of a sprout without resistance.

Transfer the sprouts to a serving dish and top with butter and salt.