5 Mistakes to Avoid When Roasting Brussels Sprouts

updated Sep 11, 2020
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Oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, with a toasty color on the outside

I’ve never met a roasted Brussel sprout I didn’t like — that is, except for the few times I wasn’t cooking them right. I’d toss them them in the oven and the result would be just fine but never the irresistibly crispy, golden-brown sprouts that I really desired. Turns out I was making a few simple mistakes that were preventing me from achieving roasted Brussels sprout perfection. Here’s what to avoid the next time you roast a batch.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Roasting Brussels Sprouts

1. Roasting at a low heat.

If you want your roasted Brussels sprouts to be seriously crispy, you need to crank up the heat. Roasting at a low temperature won’t allow them to brown properly, so you want to get that oven nice and hot before tossing in your baking sheet.

Follow this tip: Roast Brussels sprouts at a minimum of 400°F. (425°F is even better.)

2. Not using enough oil.

The other secret to ridiculously crispy Brussels sprouts is tossing them in plenty of oil. We like to use olive oil, but plain vegetable oil is great too. If the sprouts are well-coated, they’ll caramelize and char instead of simply softening in the oven.

Follow this tip: For every 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, you’ll want to use 2 tablespoons of oil.

3. Forgetting to place them cut-side down.

After tossing the halved Brussels sprouts with oil, it’s easiest to just spread them out on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the oven. However, if you take an extra minute or two to place the sprouts cut-side down, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. Doing so allows for the cut side to caramelize perfectly while the outer leaves crisp up.

Follow this tip: Place halved Brussels sprouts cut-side down on the baking sheet before roasting then toss them halfway through.

4. Discarding the outer leaves.

You’ll likely have a handful of leaves that fall off the sprouts when you trim and halve them. Instead of throwing them in the trash or compost, save them and roast them right along with the Brussels sprout halves. They’ll become chip-like in the oven and extra irresistible.

Follow this tip: Save the leaves that fall off the sprouts when you trim and halve them and roast them right alongside the sprouts.

5. Opting not to jazz them up.

Yes, Brussels sprouts roasted with just olive oil, salt, and pepper are wonderful — but they take to other flavors so well that it’s a mistake if you don’t play around a bit every now and then. Toss them with other spices, dress them up with honey mustard, or simply finish them with lots of Parmesan cheese.

Follow this tip: Make Brussels sprouts your own by jazzing them up with things like spice blends, balsamic vinegar, and, of course, bacon.