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The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
Serve the perfect side of brussels sprouts at Christmas with our classic recipe. Plus, read our tips on buying, cooking and freezing this gorgeous green veg, along with alternative recipe suggestions.
Tip the brussels sprouts into a pan and add a couple of cm water and a pinch of salt – a large pan works better so they're not piled up too high. Cover and bring the water to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 3- 5 mins depending on size.
Test with a sharp knife to see if they are cooked through. If not, cook for a little longer and test again.
Drain and tip the sprouts into a bowl. Serve with a knob of butter, if you wish.
Steam halved sprouts in a steamer set over a pan of simmering water, or in a microwave for 5 mins (longer if needed). Season and dress with butter and a squeeze of orange if you like.
Toss sprouts in a little oil and tip into a baking dish with bacon lardons (or wrap each in pancetta first). Roast at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
Steam or simmer whole or halved sprouts for 3 mins, then heat a little oil in a wok and stir-fry for 3-4 mins until they colour a little. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. You can also stir-fry shredded sprouts in the same way, they’ll cook quickly so keep moving them around the wok.
Heat some oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Put halved sprouts in, cut-side down, leave to sizzle for 5-10 mins, lifting them up every few mins to see how brown they are, then dot with butter, turn them over and cook for about 10 mins more until they are tinged dark brown all over. Season and scatter over some sesame seeds or flaked almonds if you like.
Prepare your sprouts and dry them thoroughly. Fill a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan no more than a third full with oil and heat until it reads 190C on a thermometer or a piece of bread browns in the oil within 15 secs. Carefully lower in the sprouts and fry for 3 mins until deep golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper, then scatter with sea salt.
Fry sliced sprouts (pre-cooked if you like) in a little butter until they start to brown, then add mashed potato, season and mix. Press the mixture down in the pan and brown the base. Turn over in patches and keep browning wherever needed.
Roast sprouts at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 30 mins. Pour over some cheese sauce, scatter with dried breadcrumbs (and some bacon if you like) and bake for 10 mins.
Tip sprouts into a pan (in a single layer if you can) and cover with chicken stock. Add a knob of butter and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8-10 mins, then rest the sprouts in the stock until needed.
Steam or simmer sprouts for 3-4 mins until tender, then roughly chop. Fry a finely chopped onion in butter until tender, stir in the sprouts and add some cream and a grating of nutmeg and heat together until bubbling.
Shred raw sprouts, toss with mayonnaise or vinaigrette and use instead of cabbage in slaws.
We think of sprouts as a Christmas dish but there are over 100 varieties which come into season at varying points through the late summer through until spring.
Among the most popular are Abacus (ready in August and September) and Cryptus (these are like mini cabbages with frilly outer leaves, ready in December), plus dark green Petrus and Splendus that continue going strong into April. Most loose sprouts won’t be labelled but those in nets might be, you could also try growing your own if you have space..