Recipes Side Dish Vegetarian

Butter-Braised Brussels Sprouts

Steamed then braised in butter, this recipe enhances the flavour and makes a wonderful presentation for the often-maligned Brussels sprout. | Share

Updated 12/28/2023

If you ever wondered if Brussels sprouts were just miniature cabbage, you would be partially right. In fact, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts all belong to the same family of cruciferous vegetables.

The quirky little sprout

For centuries, this unique vegetable has been cultivated in the cooler parts of Europe. One such region with ideal growing conditions is often referred to as the low countries. This includes the Netherlands and Belgium today. And its due to their popularity in Belgium’s historic capital, that they gained the French term, choux de Bruxelles. Which literally means cabbages of Brussels.

Mont des Arts, Brussels, Belgium. Photo: K.R. Lamoureux

What makes Brussels sprouts unique is the way they grow. The edible part of the plant develops like buds that spiral around a thick stock. Some farmer’s markets sell them by the stock. However, you’ll find them cut from the stock at most grocery stores. They are considered a winter-stock vegetable as their harvest season is late fall to early spring. When buying, choose sprouts that are firm, bright green and relatively uniform in size.

An acquired taste made easy

Nowadays, most Brussels sprouts sold are milder in taste than those available in the past. That’s because back in the 1990s, Dutch scientist Hans van Doorn managed to identify the actual compounds responsible for the bitterness. With this knowledge, producers developed hybrid varieties with lower bitterness and higher yields. This has had a dramatic impact on the popularity of Brussels sprouts, especially in Europe and North America.

There are several ways to prepare them such as boiling, steaming, sautéing, roasting or shredding and serving raw. I find the tastiest way to prepare this trendy side dish is by steaming and braising them in butter.

Brussels sprouts

Butter-Braised Brussels Sprouts

Kevin Lamoureux
First steamed then braised in butter, this recipe enhances the flavour, reduces the bitterness and makes a wonderful presentation for the often-maligned Brussels sprout.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine vegetarian
Servings 2
Calories 142 kcal


  • ¾ lb Brussels sprouts (about 10-14) trimmed, cut in half
  • ½ cup water
  • tbsp butter (divided)
  • ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)


  • To prepare the Brussels sprouts, remove excess stems, peel away any loose, damage leaves then cut them in half from crown to stem.
  • Place Brussels sprouts cut side down, in a large frying pan, add the water and cover with a lid.
  • Bring the water to a boil and allow to steam, covered, for about 7 to 10 minutes (until desired tenderness).
  • Drain the water, add about 1 tbsp of the butter and cook the sprouts face down on medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the cut sides are lightly braised.
  • Add the remaining butter and turn the sprouts to coat with butter in the pan.
  • Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.


Per serving
Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3.5g | Iron: 2mg
Keyword braised, Brussels, Sprouts

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